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Dross In Space

[My story, just published online, about space junk. More on this to come in your morning paper.]

Satellite 33442 orbits the earth every 91 minutes, circling at an inclination of 56.1 degrees to the Equator and gradually slowing down, destined to fall into the atmosphere in late spring or summer and burn up. Aficionados of satellites know that 33442 is a toolbag. A spacewalking astronaut let it slip last year, adding one more tiny, artificial moon to the junk in low Earth orbit.

The military tracks about 18,000 pieces of orbital debris. Earlier this week the census of space-shmutz suddenly jumped by 600, the initial estimate of the number of fragments from a stunning collision Tuesday of two satellites high above Siberia.

Space is now polluted with the flotsam and jetsam of a satellite-dependent civilization. The debris is increasingly a hazard for human spaceflight and has put everything from the Hubble Space Telescope to communications satellites at risk of being struck by an object moving at hypervelocity.

The military's radar can spot objects about four inches in diameter, roughly the size of a baseball, or larger. This collision, however, may have produced many thousands of small, undetectable pieces of debris that would still carry enough kinetic punch at orbital velocities to damage or destroy a spacecraft.

Click here to keep reading.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 13, 2009; 3:26 PM ET
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Next: What's That Worker Worth?


Is the whole article a hotlink to mock us for our lack of linkiness?

Posted by: engelmann | February 13, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the FSM just left an extra noodle in the text...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 13, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

RD_Padouk will have a thing or two to say about this...

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC- It's so flat here that if newborn babies aren't caught they shoot off into space.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It is sad to think of little babies as space junk.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Ahem. Cough cough. Joel, a baseball by regulation has a diameter of between two and seven-eights inches, and three inches. Military radar cannot pickup a properly thrown fastball, although given enough time in a batting cage, they might pick up a slow-hanging curve.

Whether they could hit it is another question entirely.

On the other hand a regulation softball is about 4 1/2 inches in diameter, so yes, they could pcik that up on radar.

[Incredibly obscure factoid only umpires would know: baseballs are measured in diameter, whereas softballs are measured in circumfrance. Why? No one knows.]

You may now return to your dull, humdrum existences, having received this beautiful little gem of knowledge to take home to share with your loved ones.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 13, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel! Joel! "Destory" in the hed!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 13, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

If one is willing to play with a softball after it has become beaten and deformed, that could explain it -- the circumference will be unchanged so long as it remains intact and convex, but the diameter would have several different values. My understanding is that a baseball must be discarded once it starts to become deformed.

Of course, these issues may be side-effects of the initial decision over how to measure the balls. Your balls. Them balls. Balls. Oh, dear.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

You know what occurred to me immediately after the story about the two satellites crashed into each other? One of them must have been texting and wasn't paying attention to the space road.

Or something like that.

Maybe there were oxen involved.

Well, okayyyyy then. Is Friday the 13th over yet?

*ducking for cover, but not underneath a ladder*

BTW, Mudge, I think you are completely correct (when do I not???) about the Rethugs -- the GOP is so stupid that..... (fill in your own blanx, Boodledom). And I think Obama is doing everything (save certain cabinet appointments) right. From what I read in the paper (*snicker* *snort*) most of the country is still behind him. So there!

Hmmm. Here it is past 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I wonder if I can get any work done today. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" -- (Rule 5: Clean up your own mess.)

What is it with people and the idea that you can throw something "away"? "Away" is not an actual place, just a concept that means I don't want to think about this anymore. And the rocket scientists (insert ironic tone here) who figured, "space is big, so it's okay to just leave our trash out there to float around" -- they can't plead ignorance or stupidity. Hubris, maybe; I'm sure that's an occupational hazard.

The rest of us, we'll be colliding with our debris soon enough here on Earth.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 13, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Tee-hee!! Joel said "space-schmutz"!!

Wait, that *is* naughty, isn't it?

Oh, before you ask, the circumfrence of a softball by regulation is 16 inches.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 13, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Baseball draws more money than softball; referees can afford some sort of caliper. Softball referees only need a piece of string.

Nobody got so excited about debris in space when the USAF pulverized their own Obscenely Expensive Kinetic Object last year. Is it because the accident was caused by a presumably drunk Russian piece of junk?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 13, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

There's talk of a prize for a solution to cleaning up the space junk. My idea is a big mat the size of a small city and cover it with, essentially, chewing gum. Ballistic gel, actually. Easy to avoid by active satellites, only small debris would impact its sticky mass.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 13, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

It'sOK Yoki, the umbilical cord snaps 'em back.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 13, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

What about one o' them gigunda super-magnet. They usually have to be super-cooled, but in space that'd be no prolemo, correct? Loft that bad boy up there. turn it on, and watch it suck up stuff. When it starts to look like a giant furball, fire one small retro rocket to slow it down, and the whole shebang burns up on reentry. Promelm solved.

Sometimes I just amaze myself.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 13, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I suspect plain carbon steel isn't the most abundant material up there. Al, PH stainless, CF and Ti aren't magnetic.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 13, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I suspect if they ever get really serious they will use lasers.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, picky picky, Shriek. *sulking*

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 13, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm blowing this pop stand until Tuesday. Everybody (in Murka) have a nice three-day weekend; you furriners have a nice-two-day.

Ciou, bella.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 13, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say this.

Billions of dollars of hardware are jammed into a small region around this planet. This is dictated by where satellites launch, and where the need to look.

The odds of these satellites being hit are getting pretty darn good.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 13, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

One of the big problems in concocting a clever method to clear the space junk out of the way (giant wads of chewing gum for example) is that it also needs to refrain from clearing the non-junk out of the way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 13, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Just snag 'em all and ransom them, ScienceTim. Non-junk will have owners wanting to pay.

Space piracy as a stratospherical eco-friendly solution....

Walk the Planck, me matey! Shiver me atomic numbers!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

SD - the satellite that was blown away last year was done so at a location specifically chosen to minimize the impact on other satellites. Th ASAT test done by the Chinese was not so polite, hence the uproar over it. The Russian/Iridium collision was like an accident on the expressway.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 13, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, little can be done about the debris that is up there now. What can be done is to make sure new spacecraft do not add to the problem, even if this means making them more costly. Further, we need to design everything put into orbit with the expectation that they may have to move a little from time to time. Finally, we need to increase our ability to track junk in orbit.

Otherwise we really will end up with that whole "Wall-E" situation.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 13, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow, all. Three day weekend here too.

Posted by: engelmann | February 13, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

What is it about us humans that require us to mess up anything and everything that we come in contact with? Space junk. We haven't been familiar with space that long to junk it up too, have we?

Thanks to all of you for the nice pick me up. It's been a long day, and I'm just not feeling that well. Going to hit the sack. I have the g-girl here, so don't really know how all of this is going to play out.

Have a great evening, folks. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 13, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I may be about to out-curmudgeon Curmudgeon, but can I just say that I hate the very concept of Valentine's Day? Also Mothers Day and Fathers Day. *Every* day should be a day to say "I love you." The whole cliched program of Valentines Day turns my stomach.

Thank you. Go back about your business.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, when I am your age, I will hate that modern christian corruption of Lupercalia fifty times more than you do.

Right now, I merely am at utter loathing.

I actually like Mother's day, if only because it always falls close to my mother's birthday and wedding anniversary, so it makes for a somewhat extended celebration, and we tend to chip in for something special together to cover all three.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

You're preaching to the choir, Yoki. And that would be the middle-aged married male choir that learned long, long ago that life was much, much easier to just turn to page 43 in the hymnal and get in tune.

There are men that also active espouse this position. Not only is this the only espousing they generally get to do but, returning to the last kit, Darwin's theories are directly applicable.

Posted by: engelmann | February 13, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

LOL! engelmann. I have some sympathy with these men, really I do. Life is too short to fight some of these cultural imperatives!

Wilbrod, my objection is not because I am single again. No no, I object to the programmed nature of it; candy and flowers and a card, perhaps a jewel, out for dinner, all utterly meaningless and insincerely, and then business as usual the rest of the year. It is the opposite of real romance, which is spontaneous and overspilling and messy, dangerous even. And therefore Valentine's Day useless for the intended purpose (except see engelmann, above for the one use to which the program can be put).

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I would never dare say that it's "because you're single again;" trust me, if I say I hate valentine's day, people may assume it's because I'm STILL single.

But truthfully, I've had too many crappy valentine's days with friends mourning bad relationships to ever LIKE the idea of valentine's day as a romantic day.

And I agree with you about the programmed nature; the commericalization, and the utter opportunistic vapidity of it all.

I'm one for the surprise of fun myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Then we're of a mind, for sure, Wilbrod.

I just looked at my 7:06 and there is no way to SCC so many errors. I will simply make a blanket apology.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. Joel has given me permission to buy a lottery ticket! But for this to work everyone else has to buy one too. Since the odds of someone winning it are good, I want all of you to buy a lottery ticket. I will buy one but pretend I haven't - or something like that - so that I don't skew my own odds. Next stop, riches!

Although I'm uninterested in the forced expression of affection, I like Valentine's Day. My family can be relied on to give me chocolate and I can eat it with abandon. What's not to like?

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 13, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

That is a good reason to love Valentine's, Ivansmom! It is the missing piece of the puzzle.

Sadly for me, I have no taste for chocolate nor anything else sweet, so this door into the mystery is closed to me.

Now if someone gave me cheese! Do you know, I think it is a great oversight that there is not a holiday (except in stupid Switzerland) devoted to the consumption of cheese. We could lobby for Yoki Day, late January I think, and little packets of gorgonzola and Orsay Iraty could take their tortuous paths to the Beloved.

I amaze myself sometimes.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Valentines Day never seems romantic to me. Seems a day of make valentines from scratch for schoolmates: every one, please. Then you place them in the decorated shoeboxes we all made that week. I like paper doilies and heart cut outs.

The second level is that as a Catholic, I saw it as a day of devotion to agape and filial love, not one of eros. St. Valentine hid the host within his tunic from the authorities. He also married lovers within the catacombs.

As Yoki says, Eros come unbidden with intensity, robed resplendent in a double cloak of darkness (we shall flee to Kismet or the Casbah under cover of night) and light (unbearable lightness of dual beings who strive for union.)

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 13, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful, CquaP! I wish I'd said it that way, not that I could.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, there ARE those among us that try and do surprise romantic stuff outside of the formulae...

Such as baking.

Slyness, would you recommend an A, B or C type fire extinguisher for best results with baked goods? And which of their residues is the best base for writing with white icing?

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 13, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Even a flaming romantic/Romantic like me hates V-Day, for all the above state reasons, and a few more. Not the least of which is the fact that it isn't remotely reciprocal. As E-man so eloquently put it, we guys "know" what to do: turn to page 43 in the hmny book, get with the program, and just shut up. That means we have the routine down pat: the box of candy, check, the card, check, the flowers, check, maybe a piece of bling, check. That's the drill, the cockpit checklist, and it's available to every spouse in the husband's handbook, chapter 19.

Now, I know this is going to sound utterly selfish, but what's the recip[rocal? What's the guy get out of this routine? Zippedy-doo-dah, far as I can see. It's all one-sided. It isn't about "us," as a couple; it's just all about her. She gets the flowers, card, candy and bling. Now, I really don't care about the acquisition of presents, but it's simply the point of the whole enterprise. (Similarly, why is Mother's Day such a major event, whereas the allegedly reciprocal Father's Day is such a drag? "Here's your necktie, dear. And since it's 'your day,' you don't have to cut the grass!! Until tomorrow.")

Valentine's Day "might" be OK if it was about "us." But it ain't, and never was.

I think I first learned to question Valentine's Day back in about third grade, when we all brought in empty Quaker Oats tubes to make "mailboxes" out of, and then we all sent Valentines to *every* other classmate. And I really do remember thinking, why the **** am I asking Roland Williams and Wilmer Wiley and Tom Norton to be my Valentine?

And it never got any better after that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Hola Boodlers!

Sitting here, all packed, waiting for my ride to take off into low orbit. Will stay low enough to avoid most space debris.

See ya all in a few weeks once the communications gear of the South Boodle Station is operational.

Besties to all,


Posted by: Braguine | February 13, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

An English high tea with cheese, pickles, finger sandwiches, and sweets (picked from as you please), Yoki?

I think that would be a fine tradition to begin.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

In Japan, Valentine's day is about giving chocolates... expensive chocolates... and women do it-- to their bosses, etc.

Mudge, why don't you tell us how valentine day (or day XXXOXXX) would be if it WAS about the guys, too?

'Cause I'm pretty interested to hear that other side. Would it be a day to play go-kart hockey, or what?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Brag!!!! Travel well, dear Boodler, and come back to us as soon as you can. And don't tell us about high summer in your new home, please. Not for a couple of weeks at least.

I really do wish you the very best.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I have no clue whatsoever.

Brag, viya con queso. Can't wait to have you back on our six.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

See, I'm stunned to learn this! I always, when I participated in the program, was as reciprocal as reciprocal could be.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I hate Valentine's Day, too. You get a bunch of flowers and THEN ... you know what happens. I believe I've made opinions known on THAT subject.

But we shan't discuss it here. (Weingarten, maybe)

:-) :-) :-) :-) ! ! ! !

Posted by: KBoom | February 13, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Valentine's Day for true lovers is redundant. Yet there is still a need for a day to encourage the timid lovers in our midst to move forward. It is a day for the shy student to have an excuse to give his or her beloved a token of affection. It is an opportunity for the jaded to give or say something romantic without actually admitting that they actually entertain such sentiments. It is only because the day mandates it, they can protest.

Of course, for some, it just means you can finally find a card that says what you want to say.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 13, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Come on, you mean, you really don't know what guy-romantic would be, Mudge? No wonder you feel unfillfulled.

We'll have to page RD and others, I suppose.

I still think go-kart hockey sounds good.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Me, too, Yoki, reciprocal in many ways. So, Mudge, not sure about this. I suppose it should be studied more.

And, I still love the way my children said it: Valentimes Day.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 13, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Rd, I normally make my own cards to suit the occasion.

However, my favorite valentines' card I ever saw was a Pepe Le Pew card, complete with ze romantic Pepe-isms.

And I know I'll never find that card again. Ah well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

That's another question, RD_P. Why is it that most lovey cards are so friggin' trite?

Me, when I can't find just the right words, send a fine poem by a real poet (copied with my own hands onto the computer and emailed by mine own self!) They are much better at approaching the complexity of the deep mysteries than most hacks at even the most reputable greeting-card manufacturer.

KBoom, you consistently crack me up! So glad you are here in the fellowship.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree, Yoki.

Back in high school, our English team celebrated Shakespeare's birthday by selling Shakespeare-o-grams-- quotes from the Bard for all occasions-- hatred, love, friendship, congratulations.

Personally, I like to employ my own twisted humor in my cardmaking, or write to suit inside blank cards.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, the best V Day's card I ever got, I still remember word for word, and I think you would like it.

Shakespeare is seen sitting at his desk on the cover, and we look over his shoulder to see this dialogue in pen-and-in manuscript:

"Ah, how I love you, Miranda! Try to tell me how you love me, my sweet."

"I'm very fond of you."

Turn to the inside right, and this:

"Try harder," Ferdinand replied.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

If it was up to me, we would run off Friday evening and spend the weekend in a romantic bed-and-breakfast somewhere. There would be candlelight dinners stuff.

It might include a visit to a museum, or a play or a concert. A walk in the woods (well, not in February) or along the beach (ditto; I think they need to move Valentines Day to the first week in October). Maybe room service. A sauna and/or a steam room and/or a jacuzzi. Possibly a spa with massages etc.

That's if it was up to me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course, if my wife ever found out, my ass would be grass.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, a lost weekend without the kids.

By the way, I do recommend Berkley Springs, West Virginia. My parents loved the bed and breakfast there, and they do have massages etc.

And yeah, schedule it when the weather's good. October would be great.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, an A extinguisher, I think. The agent is sodium bicarbonate. Don't use it on a grease fire, though.

Mr. T came home with chocolate-covered strawberries. Not that he thought of them himself, they were a gift from the businesswoman who provides the branding items for our conferences. You know, shirts, tumblers, whatever. She's a good lady and a Carolina grad, so it's okay. And the strawberries are good.

He sees Valentine's Day as an excuse for a upscale meal. I'm okay with that. I bought a card and the ingredients for creme brulee, so there will be some reciprocity.

Posted by: slyness | February 13, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, the idea of a walk on the beach in October has us Canucks pulling another throw over our laps while we shiver!

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

West by god?!

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, yes, the dream is clime-dependent, Yoki. But in this neck of the woods the first week of October is just about as giolden as it gets. (Got married Oct. 2 and honeymooned on Martha's Vineyard. Celebrated 25th wedding anniversary/renewal of vows there, too.)

If I lived in Calgary, step one in either October or february would be a drive to the airport and a flight to Cancun. Or St. Maarten. Maybe St. Kitts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The real stuff, Mudge, is in the books we read in college:

Rollo May's Love and Will is the most true and complete and reverent discussion of eros ever. Now, giving that book, with perhaps a monthly appointment to read aloud together, that might make Valentine's day ongoing.

And, Mudge, perhaps some praxis might descend too.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 13, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

You know I loved that book, CqP, and I've mentioned it before. But it is not the answer, not now. There is no answer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

There is too!

A Sport and a Pastime.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The books remains an answer. And, you are right in this post Modern age, we have no answers. I like answers. I am a throwback to answers.

Continue to be the romancer we know you to be. Romance is bigger, way bigger than Valentines Day.

Tis the triumph of feeling and nature over staid and plodding and misapplied reason.

Tis mystery over explanation.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 13, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting recommends, CqP and Yoki-- I have never heard of either.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I like Valentine's Day because it's right before my birthday...and as Ivansmom said, chocolate, flowers, what's not to like? Mr seasea is very good about getting me a little something, which is very sweet. But I understand not liking the forced nature of it, or if it makes you feel more lonely or depressed. (Eat some chocolate, smell some flowers!)

30 Rock was good last night. The Alec Baldwin character had a dream of eating a decadent dessert with the Salma Hayak character - but she made him go to mass AND confession! While the Tina Fey character had a first date...It's become a pretty good show, makes me laugh out loud...

Posted by: seasea | February 13, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Salter? I think I read it 40 years ago, but don't remember it at all. I'm getting it confused with something by Herbert Gold, too.

I'm guessing I should go back and re-read it?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Indeed you should.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I tend to think of Valentine’s day as rather harmless and ignorable, if you aren’t part of a couple or sometimes even if you are. We usually don’t celebrate it except for giving each other a card but today, just after 4 pm, I heard our office door open, and in walked “S” carrying a pretty cyclamen with a note attached. He wrote me a poem. “Roses may be red, violets may be blue, a gift of flowers is nice, but I’d slay a dragon for you.” I’ve made a jelly roll cake and some little chocolate mini brownie things for tomorrow, so his sweet tooth will be happy. The granddaughters will be here so it will be more hectic than romantic.

I’ve enjoyed all the comments this week but as usual, I’m either at work when I think of something to share, or I’m just way behind the subject. So happy it’s a long weekend.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 13, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

seasea... so glad you gave me the opportunity to post the best line from last night's 30 Rock. CP had given me a small opening with her mention of St Valentine, but you really pushed me through...

Salma Hayak's character to Alec Baldwin's... "You're not one of those *convenient* Catholics who only goes to church on Sunday, are you?"

Posted by: -TBG- | February 13, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

[Figured I'd repost some stuff from previous comments I'd made about the gathering storm of space junk overhead...]

As far as the Satellite collision goes [Not so much space exploration, as "Attention associates: We need a cleanup on Isle 7, please."], what're the odds that a couple of old Plymouths would total each other nearly miles up? If someone was hurt, I'd think we'd have heard about it by now -- but still, was there a police report filed, and if so, was fault assigned in the accident? Any tickets issued? How soon will it take for the orbital tow trucks to get over there and haul the wrecks away (debris cloud aside)? And if NASA has to move the ISS, shouldn't the folks that bought the Iridium satellite network and the Russians at least offer to pay for the Station's gas? [Since the accident took place over Siberia, I have no idea what legal jurisdictions apply, but I suspect that we're looking at a "no-fault" insurance situation here.]

From the article: "Said Humphries: 'It gets down to probabilities. Space being very big, these pieces of debris being very small, the odds are very high that they're not going to collide.'" Now, what are the odds that those two satellites would have collided, and wouldn't there be an even greater chance of a shotgun spread of debris colliding with something than a smaller discrete object?


Posted by: -bc- | February 11, 2009 10:06 PM
I posted some thoughts on the satellite collision in last night's Boodle (hint: it's going to be down to the insurance companies), but it is worth noting that space is pretty big, but prime minimal energy orbital slots are getting a little crowded. I wonder if there will ever be a point where there's a cascade of orbital birdshot/debris clouds that render everything in particularly desirable High Ground to bits.

The rings of Earth wouldn't be ice and dust like Saturn, but a junkyard.

Speaking of Wall*e, I beleive that Earth is portrayed in that movie as being surrounded by a debris field (I seem to remember a shot where the ship Wall*e is clinging to shoves a very Sputnik-like object out of the way...)

Ok, I got all that out of my orbital system.


Posted by: -bc- | February 12, 2009 12:39 PM

More later, actually.


Posted by: -bc- | February 13, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of love and variations thereon, did anybody else read Carolyn Hax's chat today? I was appalled by all these young people who seemed to think that being a couple meant being in each other's pocket every.. single.. moment.. of.. the.. day. Really shocked!

Surely we've evolved? EYE certainly wasn't like that when I was 24 or 30. Gosh! The idea that there would be conflict because one party wants to go to a party, and the party of the second part doesn't, but goes anyway because WE'RE A COUPLE? Oh, dear. Why doesn't the person who wants to go just go, and person who doesn't, not?

I'm all confused!

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

That was quite the chat, wasn't it, Yoki? Pretty much all heavy stuff. I remember being annoyed when the ex went off and did his own thing at a time I had something planned, but I never was against our going our separate ways. And that's a strength our my relationship with Mr. T. It's a matter of trust.

Posted by: slyness | February 13, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I reciprocate for Valentine's Day! I get Ivansdad a whole sack of a kind of candy he likes, all for him, and the Boy a sack of something he likes, and each of them gets a fancy chocolate bar or something like that. The Boy often also winds up with a very soft squishy large stuffed animal (good pillows, they are). So there!

Yoki, I've never understood why people can't be a couple and have lives too. I go to a great many civic-type functions without Ivansdad, he goes to many theater-type functions without me, and frankly the Boy would just as soon we both stay home when he's got an engagement. This doesn't mean we love one another less, it just means we respect one another's wishes and desires.

That said, I may coin-toss with Ivansdad over who picks the Boy up from the Valentine's dance in about an hour. Loser goes.

No more all-class valentines for us, thank goodness - one good thing about middle school. However, while purchasing a pink shirt for the dance [and here let me interject that for years I've tried in vain to get the Boy into a pink shirt, until he suddenly today insisted on it as if he'd never before heard the idea] he picked up a small box of chocolates to take and give to a girl. What girl? you ask. So did I. "Just a girl" he replies. I still don't know whether the beneficiary is intended or random.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 13, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I raised two boys, Ivansmom -- intended!

Posted by: nellie4 | February 13, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Having grown up with four brothers (well, three and a cousin) I can assure you, 100%, *intended.* I think this is what RD was saying; it is the occasion when young men can declare without being mortified by their own awkwardness. So the forms and programs are good for at least one thing.

That's sweet, isn't is?

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, the other side of the coin is, sometimes it can be pretty lonely if you go to the movies by yourself. Or to a play, or whatever. Even if there's other people with you. And sometimes no matter what, you feel guilty.

Sometimes what you want is the "shared experience," not just the event itself, whatever it may be.

No, you don't want to be in someone's pocket 24/7/365. But sometimes you do.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Ok, one other item about Space Junk, from a couple of years ago on the, dealing with the possibility that the EPA could cite NASA for improper solid waste disposal in Low Earth Orbit, thereby opening up the possibility that it could begin to cite - and collect fines from private companies like whoever owns all that Iridium hardware, the Russian Space Agency (who owns all those Cosmos spacecraft these days?)

Space could indeed become profitable, not just from the EPA collecting fines, but from some enterprising orbital Fred Sanford that begins exercising salvage rights, gathering and selling hardware that is no longer under control to countries interested in utilizing and/or refurbushing stuff that's already in orbit. The major cost of putting weight into orbit's alredy been sunk and absorbed by someone else, so perhaps a given pound of stuff can be bought or sold for a lot less than the $5-$10,000 it took just to put it there, and still make it profitable for someone. [Is there a Clean Green Space Industry provision for something like this in the Stimulus Package? If there isn't, there should be.]

Oh, wait -- there that old TV show, "Salvage-1" with Andy Griffiths as an Space Junkman. As I recall that venture didn't last very long.


Posted by: -bc- | February 13, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Precisely; the lupercalia has always been for YOUTHS.

Reading Hax now-- and glad to be single even more than usual.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'd say it depends on the pocket.


Posted by: -bc- | February 13, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I suspect the very last thing on the face of the earth he'd want to do is discuss his feelings about that girl with his mother. Sometimes you shouldn't even ask.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

But that's not what these chatter(er)s were saying, 'Mudge. It wasn't that they didn't have companionship. They were members of loving couples, but still thought that since they are one of two, the Other had to go absolutely everywhere with them, as a sort of declaration of coupledom and assertion of true love, with no exceptions.

It just seemed atavistic, and dangerously territorial to me, and not, as Ivansmom says, trustful nor something that I could bear to contemplate. Smothering and demanding, rather than freely-giving.

I'm sure I'm not saying this right. It just seems as though people are anxious to deform each other, simply as proof that they have the power to do it. As a way of reassuring themselves that they are primary. And if you have to do that, you're sort of a priori *not,*, right?

And that's wrong, I think. More about possession and control than a free flow of feeling. Oh my, alliteration in its worst manifestation!

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

You'd think so, Mudge, but so far he's discussed the girls he's liked fairly freely with me. They change frequently, you know. I usually just ask for basics: 7th grade? (It is very unsettling when they're in 8th grade and I don't even want to get started on the "hot" high school girls) In any of your classes? Tall or short? Sometimes I'll ask why he likes her, other than her being "hot" (they're all "hot"). Then I get to hear nice or smart or likes to laugh - actually those assessments can be a real treat.

I'm sure he'll get less forthcoming. For now I encourage conversation but try not to press too much.

I do wonder if Chocolate Girl is the girl he thought about asking out to a movie. Guess we'll see.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 13, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

If I was really looking forward to making a date evening and the SO couldn't do it, I'd be bummed, of course.

But hobbies and seeing old friends or such that your SO isn't that crazy about-- completely different kettle of fish.

People should be allowed to have their own hobbies without making it a "togetherness" issue.

I had a SO who INSISTED I watch movies (on DVD) with him when he was watching movies. That was his idea of "our time"-- which he didn't really consult me on. I must have watched some %^$&^% movies 10 times.

As long as I lived with him, I barely got to read a book. I couldn't just read a book in the same room, I had to be doing what he was doing.

I mentioned years later I was writing and he said, "You write? You never wrote when we lived together."

"How the hades was I going to get any time to do that?"

Does that mean the other extreme is desirable? Not at all. Been there, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Boodle! Such an interesting day, I'm worn down.

See you tomorrow.

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Yoki. Thanks for the discourse.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I agree with your 10:15, Yoki, and yes, it is possible to carry it way too far.

I can understand a basically "brand-new" couple thinking that way, but it ought to wear off pretty quickly. And I understand it if this was basically the first time the two were part of a couple. One sometimes has to learn how to be a couple the first time or two around, because a couple isn't simply the sum of the two people, it is yet a third entity, and has its own distinct "personality" and behavior separate from the two individuals. And as such it takes a while to get that new thing sorted out. (And sometimes it isn't a good thing at all.)

I didn't read the Hax column, so don't know what they said. But I'm inclined to give them a bit of slack, and would bet their opinions will be different six months into the relationship.

And Wilbrod is right about hobbies and seeing/being with old friends, etc. The Other doesn't need to take part in all that. Some hobbies are best shared, other hobbies best done alone.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, some people figure it out later and then can't figure out how to undo the dynamic.
That's when break-ups become a blessing.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 13, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

True. And also, relationships change and morph over time, and not always for the better. So what is OK now might not be ten years down the road.

And people get "trapped" by all sorts of things, too. Domesticity is itself a trap. Children can be a trap. Dependency can be a trap. And it is no small thing to break up a longstanding relationship, no small thing at all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Nothing worse than a couple who needs to be joined at the hip. Yuck. I'm with sneaks, V-day is very ignorable. I'm kind of hoping for a storm door for Mother's Day though.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 13, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, there *is* something worse than a couple that needs to be joined at the hip: a couple that shouldn't be a couple at all, for whatever reason.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Let me withdraw and grow small and so speak
In the big quiet there is little to say
'I love you' is not a wide discourse
ror very useful to you as time flies

Quiet, your great face was a sunshine
suddenly broken warm upon the field
and the bees roared and the grasshoppers jumped
The shadow of the cloud slipped up the hill.
Pan stepped from behind the boulder lightly

He had me by the throat A foreign voice was ululating ililileee!
it wasn't mine, that panic poetry.
Therefore shyly, darling, I let sink
like a horse my silent muzzle in your neck.

--Paul Goodman

(with apologies on the punctuation. I can remember the words, but not the dots and hooks)

Posted by: KBoom | February 13, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse


nor very useful

How typical! Moment ruined by bungling. Ha!

Posted by: KBoom | February 13, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Good point Mudge.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 13, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm supposed to be gone, and I am really, but OMG, KBoom, I'd never heard of Paul Goodman and did not know this poem. It is *amazing.* Wonderful. Wondrous. Thank you. Thank you!

Posted by: Yoki | February 13, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

You ladies that insist that you do reciprocate with flowers and candy and such are so delightfully cute and so clueless. Men don't want candy. Much like how Fathers Day is a sad affirmative action cousin of Mothers Day, someone invented a day for guys to be treated by their female companions.

It's celebrated one month after Valentine's Day and is called, simply enough, Steak and [sex act with a membership warehouse chain named after it] Day. It even has a website:

In an unrelated anecdote, we went grocery shopping for VD dinner. We were going to have pork chops, but the porterhouse was on sale, so we got that instead. The chops will have to wait until Sunday.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 13, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I believe *that* Paul Goodman may be *this* Paul Goodman, sociologist and the author of "Growing Up Absurd," one of the most influential books of the late 60s, along with "Communitas," and one of the leading liberal anti-war people of that era. A tremendous influential man in his day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 13, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Evening All
Beautiful moonlit drive tonight,nice to see all the lights on tonight though.

Happy Valentines Day to everyone,especially our boodle babes.May all your Valentine wishes come true.

And now for your viewing pleasure, our Favorite French Lover.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 14, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

RDP, you magnificent nitwit, there is a day that aids the timid (male) lovers amongst us, but it's not Valentine's Day. No, even the most unschooled recognize that Valentine's Day is a minefield, particularly with the sort of girls (that is, girls of one's own age) that one encounters in one's initial forays into love. Is it the right kind of chocolate? Does the card display sufficient monetary sacrifice to express an appropriate level of love or, at least, lust? If high school and college girls do not care about these things, then why do they punish us so for our failure to understand? It's a sport to you women, isn't it?

No, the day that best serves us callow fools and gets us past that difficult first moment is Sadie Hawkins Day. I swear, if it were not for Sadie Hawkins Day, I would remain to this day a candidate for the second Immaculate Conception (except, you know, that I'm male. But surely, I hope, you get my drift). My very first date ever was because a girl grew irritated with my cowardice and took advantage of our school's annual Sadie Hawkins Dance to get things (me) moving. She, by the way, is the old girlfriend that I contacted a couple months back for assistance with ScienceKid#2's school project.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 14, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh, that's sweet, Tim.

gwe, you reminded me of one of my favorite Stones' songs (and thanks for Pepe!):

When the wind blows and the rain feels cold
With a head full of snow
With a head full of snow
In the window there's a face you know
Don't the nights pass slow
Don't the nights pass slow

The sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind
Just another mad mad day on the road
I am just living to be dying by your side
But I'm just about a moonlight mile on down the road

Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
Gonna warm my bones
Gonna warm my bones
I got silence on my radio
Let the air waves flow
Let the air waves flow

Oh I'm sleeping under strange strange skies
Just another mad mad day on the road
My dream is fading down the railway line
I'm just about a moonlight mile down the road

I'm pining sister and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile
I'm pining baby and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile
I'm riding down your moonlight mile

Let it go now, come on up babe
Yeah, let it go now
Yeah, flow now baby
Yeah move on now yeah

Yeah, I'm coming home
'Cause, I'm just about a moonlight mile on down the road
Down the road, down the road

Posted by: seasea | February 14, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Love is letting go of fear. Trite, but at least a little true, I think.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 14, 2009 3:10 AM | Report abuse

My all-time favorite Stones song.
Got the tickets to the balloon ride once. And a polite "hell no" from lady I was dating.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 14, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Moonlight Mile is a classic. The album it's on is right up there, too. Can't You Hear me Knocking...

Off to the show ring today.

Posted by: -jack- | February 14, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

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

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. While reading your comments regarding Valentine's Day, and laughing out loud, I thought about the girl my son fell for when in middle school. I don't know if she was the first girl, but he went all out for this young lady. He asked her out to the movies, I think, or a school dance. And he dressed the part, even with a hat. My sisters helped him, and they drove the car for him to pick up his date. He took flowers I think or candy. I'm not sure. Oh, it was something else. He looked so nice and seem so happy. The details of this event are lost in my remembering how much he looked forward to it, and how happy he was.

Prize those moments, Ivansmom, they are jewels to hold later and admire.

Mudge, you and Valentine's Day. I laughed out loud at your comments, especially the one about what would be grass.

Slyness, Scotty, Yoki, Martooni, and all, have a great weekend with your special someone, and know that I love all of you. *waving*

The g-girl is here, so we may do the walking later on. It's seems to have cooled off some, not feeling warm anymore, and I think it's raining too.

Time for the coffee.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 14, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse


I hope everything goes well for you in your new place. We're looking forward to hearing from you soon. Will keep your spot on the Dawn Patrol.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 14, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle, Cassandra. jack, may the judges be impartial and the other handlers courteous.

A pleasant morning stretches ahead of me, as I will be having breakfast with a favourite young lady whose name begins with #, whom I have not seen in two weeks. Such a treat!

And I have many other things to look forward to. My boss, the National Director of Marketing, gave me an excellent performance review yesterday, and laid out a two-year development program that sees him move up to a different management position outside the department, and me become NDM, all within two years. And it is said to require my moving to Toronto in about a year, which is good for all kinds of reasons; it puts me near #1 and me poor old white-haired mother who lives on the shores of Lake Ontario, me own Dad in the nation's capital, and also an hour and a cheap flight from my brother in NYC and, of course, some Boodlers in the DC area. So that's quite motivating! I left the meeting feeling as though this is the perfect time for a new challenge.

Have a good day, everybody.

Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yoki, that's great news.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Enjoying some fabulous Hondo coffee: dark, dark roast but not burnt. Just the ticket. Huge swim meet today. For some amazing reason I am not timing. So, can mosey over and sit with the team this time. Preparing for a headful of frizzy hair. Should be the last one unless three people do not swim seeded times. In other words, CPBoy is a close but not shoe-in candidate for the state meet.

Mudge, here is your Rollo May quote of the

Care is a state in which something does matter; it is the source of human tenderness.

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. Sip some boodle-love all day.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 14, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Happy Valentine's Day to you all. The people in my house are all a little sick today. I am holding out because I carefully avoid miasmic vapors. I am hopeful that I can get them on the road to recovery soon. There shall be much pushing of fluids so as to put their humours back into balance. Otherwise we might have to resort to leaches.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 14, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Yoki! I'm pleased as punch about your news for very many reasons, too! Hope you enjoyed breakfasting with #2!

See you in a couple of weeks! (I love saying that)

Posted by: -TBG- | February 14, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, and happy Valentine's day to all my friends here!

Mr. T and I were lazy arising this morning. Such luxury, to sleep in till almost 8 o'clock.

Mr. T's card to me opined that a big heart was not the first organ the Tin Man wanted. Mine to him opined that I would be okay with him ravishing me. Great minds in the same rut, as it were.

That's fabulous news, Yoki, we look forward to having you closer to us. And Toronto is such a great city!

Cassandra, don't let the g-girl totally wear you out! CqP, best wishes on the swim meet - may the best athletes win! Jack, good luck with your show.

Posted by: slyness | February 14, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Happy Valentine's Day, all and a good morning to you.

Went for a brisk morning run, had nice warm breakfast with coffee, and am doing a few things around the house before heading outside to change the oil and a couple of wonky sensors on the 200,000 mile German sedan.

Then more errands in the afternoon, and a nice dinner.

Mudge, that day sounds just fine if you'd just like to be treated like a piece of meat. To each their own.

I, for one, am not interested in specifics but insist on proper tenderization, and perhaps some malice and forethought.

RD, leeches! You're a peach.
When I was a kid, we couldn't afford 'em and didn't live near an appropriate body of water to harvest them for ourselves (Talk about livin' off the land!), so Mom would just take us out on the back porch and give us our quarterly haircut and bloodletting, whether we needed it or not. Boy, you look and sound sick. Get my scissors, The Comb, The Bucket, the Blade, and some newspapers to put down on the porch - it's time for your haircut, too.) Gotta admit, a good bloodletting helps keep a kid from squirming around too much in a barber's chair.

Besides, with my mop of hair, I was more afraid of The Comb than The Blade.


Posted by: -bc- | February 14, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

yello-silly man, there'd be a lot more action of the kind that web site is looking for, if there was a lot more reciprocation by men-and I'm not talking about flowers and candy.

Good morning Boodle and happy Valentines Day! Cassandra, I think your comment about your son's middle school date was among the most poignant things I've ever read about sons. Thank you.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 14, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

SCC: ("Boy, you look and sound sick. Get my scissors, The Comb, The Bucket, the Blade, and some newspapers to put down on the porch - it's time for your haircut, too.")

Ah, the good old days.


Posted by: -bc- | February 14, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Frosti... will you please hand me something to wipe the coffee off my laptop?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 14, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

bc-you had newspapers!

Watched "Now" on PBS last night, which featured Charlotte's light rail and state/city transportation folks railing against the feds for encouraging sprawl over steering denser development with transit. Once again the random commuter quote included, "I can read the newspaper." Hmmmm. Could better transit build stronger neighborhoods, reduce energy consumption, slow global warming, and save newspapers?!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 14, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Sorry TBG. Sometimes the truth makes you spew.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 14, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Oh so true, Frosti.

The biggest problem with local transit, as I see it, is the painfully slow pace of growth. I wish there was a magic wand we could wave and have it done, now. Nobody really anticipated how successful the first light rail line would be.

The really strong point of the current plan is that it is multimodal - light rail, bus, streetcar, trolley are all in the mix. If the system is built as envisioned, it will make automobile use redundant, at least for getting to and from work, for many people. If it saves the local newspaper, I'll be thrilled.

Posted by: slyness | February 14, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, and a happy Valentine's Day to Joel, all Boodlers and lurkers. The rabbit is running around like a mad thing (I hear her claws on the hard floors) whilst I sip a giant cup of tea and gaze at a lovely box of chocolates, marked for later consumption.

I'm sorry to hear your whole family is now unwell, RD. Take frequent bunny breaks (I believe they have antiviral and antibacterial properties), and don't hesitate to threaten the leeches. I have discovered that the mere mention of strong medicine may prompt recovery.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Rail Rail Rail!!
Nobody ever discusses light canal.
I saw a working model of a light canal system working at small midway just this summer. Then kids seemed to be having a wonderful time and I don't see why it couldn't scaled up for adults.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 14, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Yoki. And thanks, Frosti. It is a special memory.

BC, sometimes when I read your comments, they just grab me. And always make me smile.

Slyness, the g-girl is in the bathtub now. We'll have a fight to get her out.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 14, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Son of G will be moving to an apartment close to the light rail in Charlotte next month to attend community college--his smart return to higher education.

His new home is a result of the improvements the light rail has brought to the city. The apt. complex is a short walk to two of the light rail stations and was completely remodeled recently as part of the general upgrading in that area.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 14, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

That's because mules are hard to keep in the city and all the toe-paths have been allowed to become overgrown.

Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki!
I hope you enjoy your new job and TO.

Frosti's reply to yello reminds me of contractual obligations for some strange reason.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 14, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Hi Boko!!!

I confess, the idea of Toronto is a bit daunting, as I don't know the city at all except in having the very vaguest sense of the downtown business core. However, I have two brothers, a cousin and many good friends there, and they'll give me the gen I'm sure when the time comes. I figure if I can find my way around Bombay and Ougadougou, I should be OK in TO!

Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Yoki! Toronto!

I may be late to the ibph, a meeting scheduled 2 months ago that my boss seems to feel is important, but everything else is a go.

TBG, SoG, what does SoG need for his new apartment? My garage is open for shopping.


Now to move enough furniture in the living room to have room to steam clean the carpets I bought a few weeks ago. Then I can move them upstairs and check one more thing off my list. Sooner or later this getting up early every morning retrains your brain.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 14, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"I should be OK in TO!"

Sorry, Yoki... that's Ivansmom's job!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 14, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, I am sure you will soon grow to love TO, for you in particular so much to do and see, Theatre, Galleries, restaurants, at least two literature festivals, one major arts festival plus Shaw and Stratford not that far away.

Not to mention a particularly charming boodle a short commute away :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Morning all,gray day in west by god today.Later I will be off for Baltimore to celebrate our winter birthdays.Duckpin bowling and dinner at Moms.I am heading in early to help.See she worries too much.I think 84 meatballs for 14 people is enough.she is worried it is not.So I am cooking another 18 before I leave as a backup.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 14, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks TBG. I was thinking that myself.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy, that sounds like plenty, but I guess one can never have enought meatballs. Ivansdad and I always worry that our guests won't have enough to eat. I think this is because (a) both our dads grew up in fairly large farm families, and (b) etiquette says that when the food runs short the hosts do without. A friend once said she liked to eat at our house because she knew there would be plenty of food so she never had to feel guilty about taking seconds or thirds.

Our honeymoon was in Stratford, a charming little town. We wandered into London and west through cow farms to a little town on the shore of some Great lake, but never made it to Toronto. It all seemed very bucolic.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

That area is very nice Ivansmom, where my Dad is from - halfway between Stratford and London to the south. He was raised on a Dairy farm. Lots of nice small towns along Lake Huron or Lake Erie both a reasonably short drive from Stratford and London - Erie to the south, Huron to the North.

Will be heading that day Monday to show the kids my parents gravestone - it was placed much after the funeral as Dad had it started after Mom's death but got sick before he could decide on a design. He had hand picked a granite boulder from a quarry and had had it split and polished. Took us a while to formulate the right design.

This year I believe Stratford will include MacBeth, been a while since I saw a play there might be the year to go. Went on several school trips in grade school and high school and one trip we saw a very good production of Othello which we were studying at the time.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

My thought exactly, dmd, especially about the charming Boodler!

Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Duped again!
The person sitting on my couch, drinking my beer, and breathing my air has informed me that the light canal system I observed was actually a light rail system disguised as a portable inland waterway.
According to him the boats I saw the children riding in weren't floating but cunningly contrived to ride on rails placed in the bottom of the canal.

How disappointing, although an interesting twist on the canal/rail hybrid.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 14, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Ivansmom it will be enough I'm sure.Because when you go bowling you have to have a slice of pizza,maybe some popcorn etc....I am hoping I can swap some of my meatballs,for some of Moms. I have tried for years to make Moms meatballs,but they are never as good.

Starting to snow in west by god,better up the leaving process

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 14, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Any commuter canal must include a revolving lock - it would just be so much fun, probably linked to this before but I do like this.

LOL Boko.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 14, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could regale you with stories about the feats of my ancestors like Loomis does but I come from a long line of under-achievers.
Great Uncle Enoch999, for instance, was the navigator aboard a canal barge that was lost with all hands when their canal horse got into the load on hemp they were taking to a rope factory.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 14, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I just occurs to me: soon we'll have TWO Miss Torontos! (Torontoes? Torontoseses? What's the plural?)

You're right, bc, I *do* want to be treated like a piece of meat. I want to be tenderized, and then well done.

Back atcha, CqP:

Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one's death.

Depression is the inability to construct a future.

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.

Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one's identity as a being of worth and dignity.

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.

One does not become fully human painlessly.

Imagination is the outreaching of mind . . . . the bombardment of the conscious mind with ideas, impulses, images and every sort of psychic phenomena welling up from the preconscious. It is the capacity to "dream dreams and see visions.

The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.

Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.

The word courage comes from the same stem as the French word coeur, meaning "heart." Thus just as one's heart, by pumping blood to one's arms, legs, and brain enables all the other physical organs to function, so courage makes possible all the psychological virtues. Without courage other values wither away into mere facsimiles of virtue.

What is courage? This courage will not be the opposite of despair. We shall often be faced with despair, as indeed every sensitive person has been during the last several decades in this country. Hence Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and Camus and Sartre have proclaimed that courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.

Love is generally confused with dependence; but in point of fact, you can love only in proportion to your capacity for independence.

--Rollo May

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Niche magazines did it years ago with "50 under $50 gifts" or "ten things to know before you go," even before Facebook sent the list lemmings off the cliff, but when a general interest news magazine succumbs to the tyranny of 25 I am completely aghast. Why should I pay for a conglomeration of lists masquerading as journalism? For this I drove to the post office?

Time- 25 People to Blame for the Economic Mess We're In,28804,1877351_1877350,00.html

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

For some reason both my home and work e-mails are down. If anybody has sent me anything since about 11 p.m. last night, I didn't get it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

(Didn't want anybody to think I was ignoring you.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

That they needed a navigator on a horse-drawn barge riding a canal tells me the horse was the brain of this outfit boko.

It's the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend. You look at your favourite bird habitat for at least 15 minutes (no maximum) and note the maximum number of bird of the same specie you saw in the interval. I'm closing the book at sunset; we usually get a flock of cardinals just about then.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 14, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

hi, boodle.

have valentine's day and long weekend. today is my dad's birthday as well, so that's always been a part of the day for me. makes it easy to remember, which is also a plus.

cool news about your job, yoki.

Posted by: LALurker | February 14, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- I love Toronto. I've been there several times and for a big city I find it energizing in a good way. And there is tons of stuff to do and great restaurants, too.

Dmd -- the only time I was ever at Stratford was a trip in high school (say, 1962 or 63, perhaps?) to go see Troilus and Cressida. I didn't remember the play so much as the acting by one of the stars who was the son of Robert Donat, who played Mr. Chips in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips". Robert Donat also played the lead in one of my all time favorite Hitchcock movies "The 39 Steps". As for his son, I thought he had the most gorgeous legs I'd ever seen on a man. I remember them to this day, even if I can't remember his first name or even if he is still alive.

Gotta go Google these folks.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 14, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

OK -- back from Googledom. It appears that Peter Donat is the nephew of Robert Donat (not the son) and he was born in Canada. He's 80 years old now, according to the various clicked on sites.

Ah, but those legs. . . .


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I have a similar memory FTB, while watching Othello (a student audience matinee), the actor playing Desdamona (sp) took exception to some students talking during the performance, without missing a beat she included in the middle of her lines an appeal to cease the conversation. I do remember really enjoying the performance but that single moment still stands out in my memory 20 plus years later.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I've never done the Stratford thing, but managed to wander into Ashland, Oregon a year after discovering London (the big one). The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's main indoor theater is sort of a bargain version of the National Theatre's. I've been assured that a similar building would be unaffordable today.

The OSF caused a lot of consternation this year--they included "The Music Man" in their offerings. But evidently using only their own repertory acting staff.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 14, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Interesting FTB, the author of The Thirty Nine steps, became Governor General of Canada, and was the GG that I have a picture of sitting with my grandfather.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- I am sure we are related, really. My's family and many cousin from Wexford lived in Kincora Township in what is now Stratford, Ontario. We are cousins, surely, if only by the thinnest of marriage ties.

The lived there from 1850 or so until 1867, when they came into the US through Chicago to St. Joe, MI of all places. MOST OF THE FAMILY remained in Canada. My ancestor came because his wife, literate, was encouraged by a priest to come and work in railroad construction around Kansas City, KS/MO. He convinced them because of the local school he had founded. She was desperate that the children go to school.

Some of the older boys were farmhands for the poor wives and sisters and mothers of the Dalton, James, and Younger gangs. SOMEBODY needed to work the land while the Princes of Thieves worried the railroads and banks. Cole Younger personally intervened with the KKK to leave three families alone, despite being foreign-born Irish and Catlik, to boot.

DMD- coz, dear. Just think, I coulda been Canooki like you. Is there a right of return for wandering generations like mine?

Mudge -- Why don't people now know Rollo May's work? Pity, more, that they don't.

I would say if you want to understand the metaphysics and some of the physics of love, read May's Love and Will.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 14, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

MacBeth? I would travel far to see a good production of that. The last one was at NC State with Anthony Quinn while I was in college, so it's about time.

Another play I'd love to see is GBS's Man and Superman. The only production I've ever read about was done in Niagara on the Lake some years ago. The complete running time is about five hours, so they did it in two parts on successive days.

"He who can, does. He who can't, teaches."

Posted by: slyness | February 14, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I do have an aunt (whom I was named after - first name) who was from Stratford, she married into the family.

It was only my Dad and brothers and sisters from Southern Ontario, both grandparents and all previous relatives stayed in Ottawa from 1827 when they arrived.

I would not be surprised at all at a connection - with the size of both our families it is quite possible :-).

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Forgot my Mom's family is from the Guelph area (not overly far from Stratford), one side is Irish but less is known about them.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Not only MacBeth this year Slyness, but The Importance of Being Ernest as well.

I love MacBeth as well.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Colm Feore is playing MacBeth - it would be well worth the trip - Stratford BPH :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I dunno why, CqP. Why don't they also know Erich Fromm and "The Art of Loving"? Why do they not know Paul Goodman and his "Growing Up Absurd" and "Communitas" (or his pomes, for that matter)? Why do they not know "The Temple of Gold" or "Boys and Girls Together" (William Goldman), or more William Golding, or Rumer Godden, or the great Edwin O'Connor? Why don't they know both William E. Barretts (the novelist, "The Left Hand of God," and the philosopher, "The Irrational Man")? Have they read all three novels by Camus, plus "The Myth of Sysiphus" and "The Rebel"? Do they know Hannah Arendt? They should have read at least four books by Barbara Tuchman. The should know Edna St. Vincent Millay and Sara Teasdale, Kate Millet and Betty Friedan.

I'm just the wrong guy to ask those kinds of questions, CP.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse


Rumor Godden is my favorite under appreciated writer. She GETS children realistically.

I still weep after reading The Battle of Via Fiorita.

Kingfishers Catch Fire is astonishing for its subject, and time, and subtlety.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Boko, have you ever done any genealogical research into the 999 clan? Were you folks always three digits? Are you related to Agent 99? Were your ancestors German, from the NeinNeinNein clan?

I need the help of one particular Boodler, but I don't remember who. But about two months ago we were talking about books, myseteries mainly, and one of you recommended a novelist named John something, not at all well known, who had a mystery series you recommended, set in an interesting and atypical locale. I wrote down the name and then lost the paper (and let's not discuss my memory). Anybody recollect who it was?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Boko and Byoolin are genetically and consistently funny, funny, funny.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 14, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Turned out not to need the fire extinguisher, but the bicarbonate would have been a great base for the blue frosting. In any case, NukeSpouse shall find, upon entering the NukeAbode, two very large, heart-shaped oatmeal raisin cookies, decorated in much the style of the little candy hearts we all treasured in grade school.

Now if only she didn't have to work from 9 to 5 on Valentine's Day... *SIGHHHHH*

On the other hand, there is a good deal of leftover frosting, in a convenient applicator tube.

Go get 'em Yoki!!! *throwin' confetti*

Here's hoping Brag has had a very uneventful flight and will rejoin the formation soon.

*sauntering-off-with-a-distinct-spring-in-my-step Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 14, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, you are a dear! Die boodle des femmes cheer you. Salute too.

Tender is, as tender does.

I predict a surfeit of tenderness.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

That was me, Mudge. John Burdett, the Bangkok series. Awesome. (Don't be put off by the film adaptation of Bangkok Dangerous starring Nicholas Cage, disregard it altoghter).

Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm still thinking about the leftover frosting.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 14, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say tenderness?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 14, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, Scottynuke! Y'all be careful with that icing, now.

Colm Feore! He's a favorite here. We saw him in something in Stratford on our honeymoon. I don't remember what; we saw several plays. Several years ago Ivansdad played the eponymous thane in the Scottish play. The Boy was only disturbed at the very end, when they brought in his dad's head on a pike. It was very realistic.

And hey, if you bring bad luck on the Boodle by naming the play, it's not my fault.

The first daffodil is out today, but the weather turned chill and windy and the daffodil doesn't look too happy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Burdett!!!! Yes yes yes yes. *banging head* Thanks, Yoki.

Did you read the Lake Sequemish story?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Now I'm in the mood to go back to Shakespeare and read them all. When my parents were newlyweds back in 1934 they were poor "with only a bed and some orange crates for furniture" said mom. Over the years somehow they managed to collect some lovely furniture and some gorgeous books.

Their Shakespeare series was published in real leather, with a feel of butter softness, and the pages are in onion skin. Each book has its own box and the flyleaf for each is in tissue paper. I have coveted them for so many years and now they take their place in a cabinet which I walk by everyday on my way to the kitchen. Books are to be *read* dangit! So these go on my more-than-immediate list.

Interesting about the GG, DMD, and your grandfather. Ah, those degrees of separation.

Looking ever so forward to seeing you again on the 26th, Yoki. . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 14, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse


These leather-bound Will's


The Little Leather Library collection at my grandparents' house was divided among the 9 children and 63 grandchildren.

EACH GR.CHILD ended up with a tiny volume. I have the Merry Wives of Windsor near my bedside table, with a rosary my grandfather had (we found more than thirty within suit pockets, surgery tools (he grad. med. school in 1911), garage drawers (he restores several antique clocks in his hoary years), and even between sofa cushions.

There was another series of leather Shakes-plays at their house. My sister has one, bound in cinnamon suede, but of say 4 by 6 dimensions.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 14, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully I will not cast bad luck on the boodle, despite my Irish ancestry I am very anti-superstitious. As a youngster would purposely stride under ladders - I was a weird child.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Although we have discussed (and dissed) Valentine's Day, I don't believe anyone has remarked upon Joel Garreau's rather excellent piece on kissing, its history, sociology and troubled future, at

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I've just checked, CqP, and the books were printed by Thomas Nelson & Sons of London, Edinburgh, Dublin and New York. The tops of the pages are burnished in gold and there is a lovely yellow-gold attached ribbon bookmark. The outer tissue paper has seen better days (which would disturb Antiques Roadshow, I'm sure) but the books themselves are in fabulous shape. There is no date inside the book (the works themselves are out of copyright, and were in the last century, as well). The leather binding is sort of reddish-brown and the printing on the outside binding is in gold. The dimensions of the outside box is about 4 1/2 x 6 1/8 inches.

It's funny -- I was speaking with a friend in another country this morning, who was interested in getting cookbooks for very young children (i.e., on what youngsters might like to eat). I told her that I would look around here, but that I would then have to send her the American non-metric cups and tablespoons in all gradients, etc., as the United States is so completely terrified of multiplying and dividing by 10, we are loath to go metric -- *ever*! She laughed and laughed, as did I.

Shakespeare would likely have written a comedy (or, *gasp*, tragedy) about that, don't you think?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 14, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Did someone mention Die Strafe des Schweigens?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 14, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The ice hotel in my hometown is open for business. It may not be the best VD date though, all that cold ya know...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 14, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you qualified that, firsttimeblogger. I was wondering about a need for cookbooks for very young children. Very Swiftian. It also seems to be a narrow specialty, more worthy of a chapter or possibly a section in a cookbook generally containing recipes for children. One could imagine: very young children, toddlers, etc., all the way up through teenagers. What with all those hormones teenagers might require stronger sauces and longer cooking times.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Chefs specializing in teenagers would need training and certification like the ones who deal with poisonous fish in Japan.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 14, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, frostbitten. And, as with fugu, there might be a whole macho cult built around teenage consumption. This might be most true of the young adult male cohort, for whom teenage exploits are so recent and vivid as to provide a backdrop for derring-do; much older men might also use this to express their courage and strength. I suspect it wouldn't have much appeal for women of any age.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

SD - I think that would be an ideal Valentine's Day venue. Because, you know, all that ice raises the possibility of hypothermia. And the best way of reducing that risk is, well, contact.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 14, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know that was your hometown, shriek! I've always wanted to spend a night there.

Now that I'm old and my knees are going, I think I'd want some reassurance that the weather would stay cold enough that the floors of that hotel would not be a thin slick of melt-water over ice. Because that would be treacherous for one of my great age.

But such a wondrous building, and a perfect dream/concept realized (at least for winter-people like us Canucks). Like being in Middle Earth or Narnia, just for a night.

Of course it is not not correct, but I envision a beautiful man, and a lovely woman, dressed all in white fur, entering such a place and discovering its delights. Very Russian in a way, very Pasternakian. Like that scene where Lara and Yuri drive up to the iced-over dacha in the sleigh in deep winter.

Posted by: Yoki | February 14, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

That reminds me of a dream I had about an ice hotel once.

If only there were red carpet in the halls, that would be perfect, SD. (And yes, extra blankets too.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 14, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Recently Ivansdad stumbled upon some television show in which an Irish couple had a wedding at a Scandinavian ice hotel. She was resplendent in white fur. He looked very cold in formal dress kilt (he showed us his warm shorts underneath). It was lovely and looked very romantic. In a cold way.

All the guests apparently received warm white robes (also fur? hard to tell) upon checking in, as they were all wearing them. The cold-drink glasses in the bar were also made of ice.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 14, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Yoki.
The hall was so noisy next to the ring where we were showing that the dog spooked, and never hit her stride. Tough day to win, anyway, as a lot of the handlers migrated south from the WKC show. Our #1 daughter arrived home from her week long cruise sunburned. And, thankfully, safe.

Posted by: -jack- | February 14, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

there are diamonds on the soles of her shoes --

Posted by: nellie4 | February 14, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

jack -- years ago, my son was showing a very young dachshund. The dog did a pretty good job until all of a sudden he decided he would rather not. He went to a different handler and sat down at her feet -- "Save me!"

Posted by: nellie4 | February 14, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

A very schizophrenic day here. On the up side, the granddaughters came and I taught the older one how to sew. She cut out a pattern and used the sewing machine to make a pillow shaped like the first letter of her name. The other granddaughter wanted one too but didn’t want to do the work, she’s a bit young, so I made it and she stuffed it.

Meanwhile we got FiOS and all was well until “S” decided to deinstall his old virus program. This caused his Internet connection to go south. He tried the Verizon tech support line, which is a joke (they really need to bring the support operation back to the US where at least some people speak English!), then went out and bought a new virus program and installed it. Of course it can’t finish installing as there’s no Internet connection. Then we realized the wireless had lost its IP address so I assumed it was the same one that was on my computer. It took 20 minutes to figure out how to manually type it in, the wireless thingy says it’s connected, but he still can’t get online. I give up. The installer did give us a person to call, but during regular office hours, so it will be Tuesday before we have a chance to find out what’s wrong. Anyone have any ideas?

Posted by: badsneakers | February 14, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers is your wireless network password protected? If so you may need to add that - that is all the advice I have as I got caught on that issue once before, I quickly learned where to store the password for when I needed it.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 14, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

All- it appears to be a relatively slow night in the Boodle, so here's a link to the latest bit I posted on the 10thcircle, having to do with Objects in Space and things we can do to make sure they stay that way:

Badsneaks, if the router has a port for a cable, you might be able to plug his computer's network card into that, and have him install the SW anyway. Er, is his computer a Mac or a PC?


Posted by: -bc- | February 14, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, gang. Yes, bc, it does seem to be a slow night. I was trying to stay up for SNL and Alec Baldwin, but I think I'm gonna just tape it. We're leaving the house in the morning at O-dark -hundred to be in Est-by-God-Virginia for a christening at 9 a.m. Afterward we're going back to the house of the couple involved--one of the grandparent pairs are our old friends from way back, the people we co-built our vacation house with. Then on the long drive home down Route 9 (?) we may stop to hit a vineyard/winery for a wine-tasting or two. Don't know when zackly we'll get home but it probably won't be until after dinner. Everyone have a nice Sunday.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 14, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Our daughter's homecoming and Valentine's Day was celebrated with a round of heart shaped Krispy Creme doughnuts, coffee, and a movie, with Havs in our laps. Big love.

Posted by: -jack- | February 14, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a nice Sunday planned, Mudge.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 14, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Have a safe trip, 'Mudge. *faxing a travel blessing*

Posted by: -jack- | February 14, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Can we make valentine's day illegal?
I'm ready to sign a petition right now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 14, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

bad sneakers, you might get weekend tech support from the new virus software people. Surely their directions said to uninstall the old software? You were just following orders...

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Jan 20 was a historic day for you all. It was for us, too. Unfortunately, the event wasn’t a joyous one. On Jan 20, a sudden deluge flooded the power station plunging ¾ of the city in total darkness for 3 days. The telephone went dead as well. When I got back from my 1-week leave, the phone was still dead, my CD player won’t play, my washing machine tripped the main switch board, my fridge broke down, my car won’t start (wasn’t because it was idling) plus a couple of other bad things. The car and the fridge got repaired. My CD player and washing machine are still in the shop. The phone was dead for 3 weeks and only started working again yesterday. I’m telling you, the forces are really against me.

For 3 weeks I was not able to go online. I felt so cut-off from the outside world. Wonder how I survive before the internet era which started only about 10 years ago in this country. It was suffocating. Sure, there’s the newspaper. But the newspaper has more ribbon cutting news than actual news. Plus the reporting is sub-standard.

Valentine Day was quiet. A couple of restaurants did have Valentine specials but that was all. Muslims in this region were warned not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They’ll get into trouble if they do.

Posted by: rainforest1 | February 15, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Just a quick drive by to say good morning, and wish everyone a good day. I hope your Valentine Day was good, and you got everything you ever wanted, candy included.

I got a box of candy from the g-girl. My daughter told me that the g-girl told her dad that she wanted him to give me a box of candy, some flowers, and some groceries. Out of the mouths of babes.....
I got the candy, didn't get the flowers, and will see what happens with the groceries. I thought, this is so sweet. Of course, as much as the g-girl is here, I'm pretty sure she had that in mind.

Mudge, Scotty, Yoki, Martooni, and all, have a great day. *waving* And I hope all of you get a chance to go to church today.

Slyness, your fair city is on the front page of Yahoo this morning. It's a news item about the failure of the banks linking Charlotte's banking business to Wall Street failures, and showing how all of this has taken some of the glamour from the city.

TBG, I'm glad son of G is going back to school. My daughter has started a class too. I'm hoping just being there will rub off on her in a big way.

We're ready to go out the door. Just have to put the clothes on. Yikes.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 15, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Glad you have your internet connection back Rainforest.

Hope everyone had a nice Valentines Day.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 15, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

RAINFOREST!!! :-O Glad you're OK and back among your friends!!! *HUGSSSSSSSS*

Cassandra, that's sweet indeed, good for g-girl!

And NukeSpouse was quite pleased with the cookies; she was also very happy the kitchen was still intact.

She'll also be happy with the end result of the annual tax preparation, as am I.

*preparing-for-the-usual-jog-and-a-somewhat-less-hectic-than-usual-Sunday Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Rainforest! Welcome back. I was wondering what had happened to you.

Wow, Scottynuke, warm cookies and a clean kitchen. Always a good combination.

Good thoughts to all. Especially to those for whom Valentine's Day might not have been their favorite day of the year.

Cheers! Y'all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 15, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Al!

Posted by: russianthistle | February 15, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Al Franken?

Al Dente?

Who???? *confused*

In the "I'm shocked, shocked" category, Sen, Burriss discusses the obvious:

frostbitten, does this article about the latest recruiting effort give you the same growing sense of the "mercenary" heebie-jeebies I get after reading it?


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Sen. Burris, of course...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Hello Scotty! several weeks ago, I said good morning all and someone asked, who's al?

And, as you bring him up, it would be Franken.

Court tossed most of Coleman's list of complaints about the now famous election out the window.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 15, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, I happily slept in and now have to move fast to be ready for church on time. And I'm having issues typing; I seem to be typing words that aren't what I want to say.

Rainforest, welcome home, we missed you. Hope this doesn't happen to you again!

Cassandra, no surprise about the banks. The husband of one of my colleagues at the fire department was laid off by Bank of America last summer. He managed to find a job with one of the smaller banks just before Christmas. He was lucky.

Onward into the day! I hope I get to see my two favorite baby boys at church.

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

That sounds like quite an ordeal. Glad to have you back.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 15, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Good morning and howdy to rainforest. I'm glad you're back.

It looks bright and balmy out there but it is only about thirty degrees (F). I know that is balmy for some of you, but not here. I get church twice today; first the morning service, then an afternoon evensong at which I sing a lovely solo during the anthem.

I was reading a story about the recent landmark court decision holding that thimerosal interactions in vaccines do not cause autism. Talk about a faith-based belief - I don't understand how the plaintiffs thought the court (specially set up to hear these cases) would find anything else. I immediately thought of the Boodle when I read this comment from a disappointed claimant: "When does anecdotal evidence become enough?" The answer, of course, is never, if the empirically-based evidence contradicts the weight of anecdotes.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 15, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle, Cassandra. Weed, hope you are still on the mend. Scotty, NukeSpouse is a lucky woman. Not as lucky as you are, but pretty well off. Rainforest! I've missed you.

#2 spent last night with me, and we are now eaffeinating ourselves and contemplated peanut-butter toast and melon. Baby steps...

Cold again today, but it looks as though the snow has abated. There wasn't much accumulation, but it was steady and made the roads slick yesterday.

Have a lovely Sunday-that-feels-like-Saturday-because-Monday-is-a-holiday, if you are lucky enough to have tomorrow off.

Posted by: Yoki | February 15, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!
rainforest-I was relieved to read it was simply weather that kept you offline, though I'm sure the Minnesota motto "could be worse" is no consolation.

s'nuke-heard that on the radio before I even got to the papers, but it doesn't bother me that much. I do wonder how it will be spun for the immigration debate. Blackwater "rebranding" as Xe, now that makes me think mercenary b@$tards.

It appears boodlers are following the MN election contest trial more closely than most Minnesotans. The MN Supremes decided late Friday that they are going to examine some of the 19 categories of ballots Coleman wanted in. Franken wasn't opposing most of them and wanted 17 in. In the post decision spin- team Coleman claimed 13 categories would be counted, Franken's camp said 9. I prefer to go with Noah Kunin of who reported 6 types of rejected ballots will be in. At this point I think Coleman is toast no matter what is done. Every time more ballots are counted Franken gains. Coleman's election specialist lawyers need to find another specialty. The key all along had to be having fewer ballots counted, not more. (I am available as a political strategist, or Commerce Sec'y-should Ivansmom decline.)

Long day of grant writing yesterday, and more ahead of me today. At some point I'll have to get my laundry done because I can't use the procrastinator's back up-no place in Our Fair City to buy more underwear. If I don't have time for laundry I surely don't have time to drive "to town."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 15, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-I was relieved to hear of that autism decision. I'm not sure it will slow the anti-vaccine movement much though, and that scares me.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 15, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

Only have a minute, as the day is already getting away from me. Quick giggle though (at least for Mudge and YJ, if not others)...I got an email from JC Pen-A about their latest offer, and I kid you not, for their on-line Valentine's Day Sale they're offering free shipping on orders over $69.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 15, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Alas, frostbitten, I suspect it will have just as much effect as the court decisions overturning requirements to teach ID and creationism as science have had on their proponents.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 15, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A clear, chilly MidWinter's day here, having some warm homemade muffins and coffee, and taking some time out from chores to read the paper.

Can't say I'm surprised about anything I'm reading - Sen. Burris' having been approached by former Gov. Blagojevich's folks for contributions, the accelerated pace of Global Warming, the truth about lies, Darwin, etc.

Have I become so cynical that what passes for surprising news these days is simply a deepening disappointment?

On a related note, I can't help but be amused at the scowling picture of the President that the WaPo used for their Executive Pay article on page A-1.


Posted by: -bc- | February 15, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Loved that Obama pic bc.

Saw Thomas Ricks on Charlie Rose last night (replay of Friday night's show). I was going to share my paraphrasing of his very credible view, but he says it himself here-

His realistic, but probably to be denied by politician types, assessment includes:

"The quiet consensus emerging among many who have served in Iraq is that U.S. soldiers will probably be engaged in combat there until at least 2015 -- which would put us at about the midpoint of the conflict now.

'What the world ultimately thinks about us and what we think about ourselves," U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said to me last year, "is going to be determined much more by what happens from now on than what's happened up to now.'

In other words, the events for which the Iraq war will be remembered probably haven't even happened yet."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 15, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey, all. I willingly overslept and now I'm trying to figure out how to fit in all the stuff I had planned to do today (and not yet started) in the time I've got left before I hit the sack again. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, here's a link to a story on the Telegraph (UK site), which awakens memories. I had no idea she was still alive.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 15, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see Mike Green set a NHL record for defensemen.

Who do you like in the Daytona 500 today? Jeff Gordon is my favorite driver,so I will pull for him.

We are ready for our birthday celebration day.I want to beat my nephew in duckpin bowling.He challanged his uncle the last time we saw each other,so I will do my best.

Have a great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse


glad to have you back.

Posted by: LALurker | February 15, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

With the exception of clean laundry for tomorrow, ftb, do the things you'll enjoy the most first. If you're not looking forward to any of them, bag it, go out and rejoice in the day.

Big sigh of relief. Got beeped to consult on another's system problem, and after almost 2 hours we tested it out of my area. I feel for the 11 people still working on it, but I'm free! Free!

Just finished putting the estate sale oriental in the guest bedroom. Fabulous! Now to drag the other one to outside the master bedroom for placement later in the week (in case the cleaning/vacuuming makes me sneeze, I need a bedroom I can switch to) and then move onto the dining room.

Sometimes you've gotta do good things for yourself on Valentine's Day. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | February 15, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Hi RainF, Glad you are back. Wonder about the other Pacific Rimmer (Daiwanian).

About the kit title: I flash on these variatons --

Lost in Space (cue theme)
Drosselmeyer in Space (cue Nutcracker music)
Floss in Space (cue dentist drill)
Floss in Place (Health 101 directive; cue your most enthusiastic PhysEd teacher)

And, this quote from Shakespeare's great and interrupted competitor, Christoper Marlowe:

“Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss! Her lips suck forth my soul: see, where it flies! Come Helen, come give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips, And all is dross that is not Helena.”

You can save this for next year's Valentimes fest. Insert the name of your intended:

Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips, and all is dross that is not [Bartholomew] [Penelope] [etc.]

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 15, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Good day all! Still much sickness around the house, but the worst seems to have passed. Doubtless because of the karmic crystals I set in a pentagram.

CP -When I read the kit title I keep thinking "Dress in Space." You know, a primer for extraterrestrial fashion.

Ivansmom - I really liked this discussion of the autism/vaccine ruling:

I am heading to the library. Perhaps I will get some recommended books so as to, you know, better myself literature-wise.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 15, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I like the thunderstorms, gwe... Dunno that they're going to be able to complete the race.

Today seems to be my day to agree with the distaff boodlers:

Yoki, you are SO right that I'm the luckier party in the NukeArrangement. :-)

frosti, you are indeed correct on both the recount and the Blackwater B@$t@rds.

Both frosti and Ivansmom are spot-on in that the anti-vaccine crowd didn't even blink at the decision. Such commenters on the WaPo and LA Times articles were in full "it's a conspiracy" mode and kept turning to "research" that's been thoroughly debunked. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I had someone point out Hulu to me (online TV) and after perusing it, thought that I pay taxes to have people haul trash OUT of here, not deliver it. So I started thinking and found one item and a list.
The item is the film Mindwalk which I recommend to all boodlers
and the list is 56 episodes of Nova available online

I wish I could think to search out such treasures at night rather than morning. Oh, well, they're on my list now.
And I would love feed back on Mindwalk!

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Good thing I mopped the kitchen floor yesterday, so it was clean for two little boys to eat their lunch on. Since Gramma slyness doesn't have two high chairs, the floor was the best place. Of course, I had to mop it again after they left, but that's okay. I had enough for them for lunch, and they loved the cheese, the cookie, and the small bites of creme brulee. So cute and busy, they are!

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

We're just getting back from lunch at the local eatery. Of course, it was messy, but hey, it's fun. Mom should be on her way to give me a break. I just hope she gets here before dark.

Rainforest, I meant to say what everyone else has said, it's good to have you back. I can imagine no Internet is like going through withdrawl from drugs or even worse, cigarettes.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 15, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

What a little difference a little mountain range makes. The Siskiyous across the California-Oregon line. The I-5 pass is only 4100 feet. Here in the banana belt it is sunny and 50 F. On the other side they have been holding all the big rigs at Redding on the 1-5 a couple hundred miles south since Saturday. Thousands are lined up on the edge of the interstate. The Mount Shasta area is snow bound with over a couple feet of snow. Here we got a couple inches Friday night that all melted when the sun came out Saturday.

Posted by: bh71 | February 15, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Rainforest, where did you go on your week off?

Posted by: bh71 | February 15, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Awwww. Twin boys and g-girl! Love the tales, friends.

Have said good-bye to #2 for now; the next time I'm in the same building with her I won't see her, as I shall be in the audience for Hamlet and she shall be stage-managing her big heart out. This is good! When the run is over I intend to take her to an undisclosed location (a cabin in the mountains) and feed her and let her sleep for 4 days. And then send her back to school fully recovered.

Posted by: Yoki | February 15, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Ha LiT!

Hmm, they could've have played off a sexy prime pair like 5 and 11 too.

But math geeks are prolly not big spenders.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 15, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The confusion over vaccine-autism is probably because one, the symptoms do fit mercury poisoning, but two, the vaccines are NOT the major source.

There was an article showing that autism rates go up the closer to a factory-- coal-burning plants can and do release airborne mercury.

It's an EPA issue, not a FDA issue.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse's quiet.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 15, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

And yes, wasting time on this red herring of vaccines is actually hurting our efforts to identify the true case of this autism epidemic, as well as worsening public health overall.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Quiet is good, Cassandra.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the peace while you can, and rest well, Cassandra.

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Hi all.. I'm whispering so I don't wake anyone up... the boodle's so nice and quiet.

Got to visit my great niece today... she's three months old and so changed! Her eyes and hair are lighter and she's really "bulked up" to about 10 or 11 pounds.. yeah.. real bulky.

She's so interested in everything around her and will have a "conversation" with you if you talk directly to her. She smiles every time she sees her grandmother... and her Thea TBG, of course!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 15, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Thea TBG! The ladybaby cannot be 3 months old already?! She'll be in college while we are all still young, at this rate.

Such a lovely description of a what me old Mum calls a "baby baby." That is, no longer a newborn, but a real Baby.

Posted by: Yoki | February 15, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, folks.

LiT, I'm snorting over here at the notion of a better Valentine's Day for a low, low $69.

OK, I'm watching the Daytona 500 draftfest, knowing that the race won't really start until after the sun goes down, and certainly will become a lot more interesting over the last 25 laps.

So, I'm watching with half an eye, if you know what I mean (I'm doing other stuff, like Boodling).

Rainforest, I'm glad you're back online, and more importantly, that you're safe and sound given everything that's been going on in your neck of the woods.

Have a nice quiet afternoon, all.


Posted by: -bc- | February 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I wish someone could explain the vaccination issue to me. I understand that statistically there is known now to be no link between mercury, i.e., thimerosal and autism. I also know that now "virus expands the lining of the bowel causing leakage causing autism" is also discredited. What makes me scratch my head is that I still don't see a clear statement that "statistical research shows that there is zero link between immunization and autism." That's the one statement I'm looking for, and I don't find it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - Well, since autism often presents symptoms around the time immunizations are administered, a good study would involve withholding vaccinations which are known to be effective.

Problematic, that.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 15, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

RD can explain this better, but given the way we have set up statistics to look at the PROBABILITY of causality, not the lock-step-iron-clad notion of actual causality, we will not find a zero link between

and A (a hypothesized cause) and
B (a real outcome, for which we must find an explanation).

We can only approach causality and, likewise, only approach non-causality. The approaches can be so asymptotic to be Good-Enough for practical causality or non-causality.

Waiting for the stats-men to speak. BC, too, because understanding the universe and entropy requires we look at statistical models of sets of defined populations of samples and size.

Back to grading papers.

But with a sad heart for the human impulse to rise up and SEARCH FOR AN ANECDOTAL CAUSE. What really should happen is a society that protects and helps those whose truly-lived anecdote is hard and requires support.

I think that the lawyer-litigiousness of the system of seeking rewards for ills-done plays into this. People with autistic children are desperate for a variety of helps. They need to throw monies at these problems. I have occasionally needed to through money at items to improve the lot of my darling precious children. MY ANECDOTES, lived with love and anxiety.

Whoopsies back to the papers.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 15, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

On the up side, the parents who ARE withholding immunizations from their children are performing the experiment that ethical researchers cannot.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 15, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

You got to it before I could, Bob! Yes, they are and have been providing that data.

And by "zero" link I meant undiscernible from statistical noise. I'm no stats guy, but I did have a long career in science, and never leap to conclusions. I'm good for any number of wacky hypotheses, but that's different from conclusions.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

My latest wacky hypothesis is, by the way, that it's Scotchguard and pajama-fireproofing chemicals.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Inevitable losses made me think of this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon/evening, Boodle. Just got back from WbGV a little while ago. I think that's probably the last Sunday church service I'm ever going to. I go to be polite, but its starting to get abusive. 80 minutes including a 25-minute sermon, the logic of which is infuriating.

But otherwise a nice day. We all went back to the parents house and had a nice lunch based on ham (had ham for dinner last night, too; ah, well, what can ya do). Left about 1:30 and had a lovely meander through the deepest interior of Loudon County (some of you locals can attest to the beauty of LC on a nice sunny warmish day like today. We stopped at four vineyards, and came away with purchases at two of them, a case at one place and half a case at another. The last one was a smallish place called CVorcoran Vineyards, which is 1 1/2 miles down a gravel road off Rt. 287 somewhere out beyond Helland Gone. But they have a really nice, inexpensive Seyval Blanc, and we wound up buying 6 bottles. It's really yummy. And after leaving (and, well, perhaps a mite tipsy and a wee bit giggly) we got lost on a couple of back roads looking for another vineyard we never did find, but went through a lovely little village called Waterford. About a mile on the other side, and having no clue where I was, but navigating by the location of the sun, it suddenly occured to me to turn on the GPS (d'oh!). Perhaps the vino was an influence on my slowness of mind, I dunno. But if it hadn't been for cyber technology, my wife and I would still be driving down some dirt road somewhere near the Shenandoah Valley.

And giggling.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 15, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

*Star Sighting*

We tried to eat at the new Maggiano's Friday night around 9 p.m. after seeing the new Clive Owen movie, "The International." The wait was an hour. We tried eating at Maggiano's on Valentine's around 6 p.m., to learn that the wait was about two to three hours. I do not have any patience for these kinds of waits, particularly when I'm quite hungry.

So we delayed our Valentine's Day dinner to today, figuring we'd have linner--a lunch/dinner around 3 p.m. Just as we were finishing our meal, we learned the identity of the man (and woman) seated in the booth just kitty-corner from us. I paid no attention to them, but saw the back of the man's head just as he passed our elevated booth, but did hear his country-western accent as he bade good-bye to our waiter, Casey.

Casey asked us if we had ever heard of Gleeeeen Campbell. He hadn't of the crooner, but was familiar with the movie, "Rhinestone Cowboy," starring Tom Berenger. When Casey admitted no knowledge of the singer to the man to whom he had served dinner, Glen Campbell proceeded to warble a few lines of "Rhinestine" for our shared 22-year-old waiter. Casey confided not only the identity of Campbell with us, but also the fact that his life was upended when the family home was destroyed in High Island, Texas, when Hurricane Ike roared through last September.

My husband figured something was up when the manager or assistant manager spent about 10 minutes at the table talking to the man who turned out to be Campbell. My husband had a far better view of Campbbell at his table than I did from our booth. My husband also caught a full view of Campbell when he passed our booth and didn't recognize the clean-shaven Campbell at all.

Campbell was dining with a woman from CNN, whose daughter lives in town. As I understand it, the woman's daughter's boyfriend services the septic system on the house owned by San Antonio Spur Tony Parker and Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria Parker, Eva also a fairly frequent diner at Maggiano's, not with her husband, but with her Corpus Christi family. Not surprising, since the basketball senasation and Hollywood star just got a new home up the road from the popular Italian restaurant.

Wonder if Campbell is in town for the rodeo or to perform there one night? Reba and Billy Ray have been on the rodeo stage on different evenings since the rodeo opened.

Posted by: laloomis | February 15, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Space Schmutz Hits Texas (on-topic)

In full:

Associated Press - DALLAS — The Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday that it has received numerous reports across Texas of falling debris, which could be related to a recent U.S.-Russian satellite collision.

Some of the callers reported what looked like a fireball in the sky.

FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said officials suspect the debris could be related to the collision, but he said that had not been confirmed.

He told The Associated Press the agency had received numerous calls saying debris was falling around midmorning Sunday.

The FAA notified pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible space debris after a collision Tuesday between U.S. and Russian communication satellites. The chief of Russia's Mission Control says clouds of debris from the collision will circle Earth for thousands of years and threaten numerous satellites.

Posted by: laloomis | February 15, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Linner is making me 'leepy.

SCC: Casey hadn't heard of Glen Campbell, and it's Casey's family's life that was upended by Hurricame Ike, their home destroyed and now beachfront, when it used to be about three blocks from the beach...hope that was clear.

Off to walk the pooch in the park on this cool, overcast, dreary Sunday...

Posted by: laloomis | February 15, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Berenger in Rustler's Rhapsody:

Stallone and Dolly Parton in "Rhinestone" but no Glen Campbell sound track:

If my subjects and verbs don't agree, blame it on the peach bellini!

Posted by: laloomis | February 15, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 15, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse








Posted by: seasea | February 15, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks like you passed, Mudge.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 15, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Maybe, maybe not. The refresh screen is hanging up halfway through. Anybody else having problems today?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 15, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

My only problem today, Mudge, is slacking off on "should dos" for a rut-free day.

Sounds like a giggly day-- and I would agree with you about that church, you are not obligated to listen to things you do not like nor believe in just to be polite. Find another "church to go to" instead, even if it's on the back nine of a golf course.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

It was because of a christening of our friends' grandchild, Wilbrod. A very tough call.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 15, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, it was probably all that wine. Your refresh is just giggling.

Funny you should mention ham. Today I took the big bag of scraps which is all that is left of the Super Bowl ham and cooked them up with in pot of Great White Northern Beans. They're almost ready. I'm having a little snack and a little wine while I wait, since I did hard labor singing today. Hah. Really, at the Evensong service we did an astonishing piece by Benjamin Britten (a Te Deum) and I had a lovely solo - lots of long floaty high lines - which I managed to pull off pretty well. After that there was a brass quintet mini-concert that was just splendid - and it all was over in about 63 minutes.

I tell you, Mudge, you're just not going to the right church services. We'll try to fix you up with a good one at the Oklahoma BPH (wholly imaginary so far but hey, it could happen - remember the regatta in the fall).

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 15, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse


Britten wrote (just so far as I know, and my knowledge is incomplete) three Te Deums (Te Deui?). Which O# was it? I can just imagine your voice floating over the choir.


Posted by: Yoki | February 15, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so you won't feel obligated to go every time you visit then, Mudge. Phew.

A christening is nice, but generally for close family and co-believers in the church, so you really shouldn't feel overly obligated to attend.

I mean, if I got an invite to a bris, I'd be honored to be included but definitely give it a pass.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm embarrassed to admit I don't remember. I'll look on Tuesday (next time I'm in the choir room) and let you know. It was possibly written for a coronation or something but then, on reflection, they probably all were.

I will say this one has a most wonderful ending. It is in English and the final words are "let me never be confounded", set very very quietly, peacefully and tonally after a wild ride to a loud penultimate section. I seldom have emotional reactions to the music itself while I'm singing it (as distinct from emotions that the circumstances, words or music may stir within me) but this gets me every time.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 15, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Psalm 31, Ivansmom, as interpreted by the King James Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. Lovely and pure.

Posted by: Yoki | February 15, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Sounds lovely, Ivansmom. I like Britten's music, always fun to sing. Been a long time, though.

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

maybe we can have virtual outings, same as virtual picnics and such. like next time ivansmom sings.

i have just eaten half of the starbucks mocha dark chocolate bar my thoughtful mother sent me for valentine's. and mocha turns out to mean finely ground up coffee beans mixed in. it tasted good, but i hope i can fall asleep tonight.

Posted by: LALurker | February 15, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Great white northern beans. !

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 15, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Funny, Jumper1 *laughing*

Posted by: Yoki | February 15, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how you folks's evening is going. But I got to the the cinematic masterpiece "Space Buddies" with a young lady *finally* getting over the flu.

Hard to beat that.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 15, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

SCC: got to see the.

Sorry, still overwhelmed with the conceptual complexity of the film. I mean, it had Puppies. In Space.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 15, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

It is nice to hear the tales of the floor-dining babies and the g-girl. And at the other end of the spectrum, the education-continuing SofG. Warm thoughts out to all.

I had a long-overdue talk with my offspring today. We are already making advance plans for a roadtrip in May to attend her graduation from college. Enthusiasm is high, all around.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 15, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like a perfectly fine evening, RD. A cinematic adventure - with the intellectual challenge of space puppies - with a damsel no longer in distress. Yes, indeed, that's an evening well spent.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 15, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Howdy All
Finally home and happy to report, this old man can still take the young whipper snapper in some sport. Although He did have an excellent excuse,2 soccer games yesterday. But I have bragging rights for another year.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 15, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Space puppy puddles
Floating like golden golf balls
Fore, block, and vaccum!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Fore, chip and vaccum!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 15, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Ian McEwan sheltered Salman Rushdie shortly after the infamous fatwa. Story at the Guardian, more in the New Yorker, Monday.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 15, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

We knew this.

Posted by: Yoki | February 16, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

A quick comment on the vaccination question -- seems to me that things once again comes down to statistics and science and faith and belief.

And in this case, parental responsibility and *trust* as well.

I think people are looking at the statistics and the data supporting the scientific analyses and the stories and antecdotal evidence describing ill effects attibuted to the vaccinations, and asking themselves, "Who do I trust with my children's welfare?"

Some might dig into the scientific side more deeply if that's what they're curious about or what resonates with them, just as others resonate with the stories and antecdotal evidence (let me add here that just because evidence may be antecdotal does not make it wrong - it just means that any conclusions based on them are based on limited information).

When people ask themselves that "trust" question in light of the last 8 years of the Executive Branch of Government and find that they're not comfortable with it and that some story they read on the Innertubes or were forwarded through an email from a friend or relative is more trustworthy and believable to them, well, I can see their point.

I suspect that over time (with this new Adninistration) we'll see people regain their trust in the Government.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

marginally on kit:

Posted by: LALurker | February 16, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

It looks like somthing took a big chunk out of the moon.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 16, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the welcome backs. It’s good to be back among friends. Those weeks without internet, I kept wondering what you guys were up to.

The rain had caused much flooding, landslides and death. I’m glad the heavy raining has stopped now.

Cassandra, I don’t know if that’s withdrawal from being without the internet. I found myself pacing back and forth and called the phone company every other day. I have a lot of books I could read. Instead, I sat around and moped. I don’t smoke, but if I didn’t get my internet back for another week, I just might start smoking.

Posted by: rainforest1 | February 16, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

bh, I took a week off for Chinese New Year and went back to M’sia to visit my oldest sister. She lives in our family home with her 2 daughters, 4 dogs, 2 cats and 3 guinea pigs. Two of the dogs are wolf wannabes. Everyday when the nearby mosque calls for prayer, the 2 wolf wannabes would howl – 5 times a day, everyday of the week. During CNY, the poor dogs were so terrified by the fireworks set off in the neighbourhood that they forgot to howl. Those poor dogs have to suffer the noise for 3 weeks.

My nieces bought a lot of cookies to celebrate CNY. Unlike some of our industrious boodlers, we don’t bake our cookies. We outsource our baking to the bakery shop and to some ladies who mysteriously surface during festive seasons to take cookie orders. I ate lot of “kuih kapek” also know as “love letters.”

The picture here shows them folded. A lot of times they are rolled, like cigar.

Posted by: rainforest1 | February 16, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Good to see the Internet connection is holding, rainforest!!! :-)

I... Waitaminit.

*checking calendar*

*checking flight line*

Where IS everybody???? *L*

*looking-forward-to-a-fairly-relaxed-holiday Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 16, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm up, Snuke. But I guess everybody else is sleeping in. It IS a holiday for some of us. Not everybody: Mr. T left for work at the normal time. Local government in this county gave up Presidents Day for MLK Day some years ago.

You may go back to bed. Enjoy the extra sleep!

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. We have a beautiful winter day ahead of us. Too bad there ain't more fresh snow, the old one was transformed into ice by last week's rain.

I just handed in my bird counts for Feb 14 and 15. Our semi-regular visitors the pileated woodpecker and red-breasted nuthatch didn't show up but the pine grosbeaks graced us with a visit. A neighbour has 25-30 mature white pines on his lot, it's a magnet for those fearless birds.Here's my count for the 14-15.

0-2 Mourning Dove
2-2 Downy Woodpecker
2-1 Hairy Woodpecker
2-0 Blue Jay
4-2 American Crow
5-5 Black-capped Chickadee
2-2 White-breasted Nuthatch
3-4 European Starling
1-0 White-throated Sparrow
9-5 Dark-eyed Junco
3-3 Northern Cardinal
0-2 Pine Grosbeak
2-5 Purple Finch
10-8 Common Redpoll
5-6 American Goldfinch

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for missing muster. I've been editing vacation videos. From two years ago.

If the Pigs in Space are blown up, would that be a Stellar Bacon Explosion.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Ooh Stellar Bacon Explosion could have been an awesome new flavour for potato crisps!

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 16, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Al!

Posted by: russianthistle | February 16, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Al's not here.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Al.

Yes, I slept in this morning.

I was thinking that a big stellar bacon explosion would be a BacoNova.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. A day off. Ideally it would be a day to lounge and read George Eliot and sip tea laced with sweet liquor.

But, alas, we do not live in an ideal world.

Here there be dust bunnies.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

And as a matter of fact I *do* Blame it on the BacoNova.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Apropos of nothing, here is five minutes of Thai-style ethnic dancing that I shot in Beijing two years ago.

Now that I have a computer that doesn't make me scream in anguish every time I try to edit video, I need to redouble my efforts to bore the entire world with my vacation slides and movies.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Beer flavored Doritos:

Pure genius.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The garage door guy is taking his clue from the cable guy. When asked when he will show up the answer was "between 08:30 and noon". Grrrr. The fish tank was cleaned and I seriously contemplate a much more dangerous job; cleaning the old (December 2002) computer. That doorstop might not survive the ordeal.
Just to mock me the little red-breasted nuthatch is looking at me from the cedar edge.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle! No rest for the weary around here. Up late last night submitting a grant application online, 90 minutes to spare-and Mr. F thinks I call things close. I know there were many people hitting submit at 23:59.

On the "autism epidemic" and the vaccine lawsuits-the creation of the category "autism spectrum disorder" in the Special Ed. world, and subsequent counting of kids with this "diagnosis" as autistic accounts for much (dare I say most?) of the rising rates of affliction. As for anecdotal evidence, my own tells me that parents of FLKs who are having difficulty in school are always looking for a diagnosis. Autism spectrum seems to be a favorite.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

FLK=Funny Looking Kid
SCC-over use of the quotation mark shaker

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Very nice yello. I remember when I was about eight watching my aunt and uncle’s slides of Florida over and over again, video would have been an improvement - but not much in that case.

It feels good to have a weekday off. The sun is out and I can catch up on some chores this morning before meeting #2 for a walk with her dog. Spent yesterday with my right wing friend. We talked economy a bit without incident, mainly because I kept my opinions to myself.

We still haven’t solved the FiOS problem but the virus software tech support did help “S” clean out the remnants of the old software. I think we have the wrong IP address for the wireless device. We’ll wait until tomorrow to try Verizon again.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 16, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Sunday Fireball in Texas Sky Now Thought to be Rare Daytime Meteor--Not Debris from Satellite Collision

Posted by: laloomis | February 16, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

*yawn* 'Morning, Boodle. *wandering into the Ready Room in a bathrobe and big fuzzy slippers*

Did I forget to mention Dawn Patrol can stand down this morning for the Murkins? You Canukis may still have to fly, though. Scotty, you probably wake up at that time no matter what.

I really hate to wake up and read really stupid headlines such as this: "Stimulus Battle Has Just Begun." No, morons, it hasn't. This is a couple of political writers in desperate search of an angle for the lede for their assigned, required, follow-up stoy, Day 27, and that's all they could come up with. It has a tired, but tried-and-true formula: take whatever has gone before, trivialize it and condense it down into nothing, and then say, "now the *real* battle begins." Whether it is true or not.

Sweet Jaysus. They could take the bubonic plague years, after a third of the earth's population has been wiped out, and STILL produce a headline and lede that says, "Now the Real Battle Against the Plague Begins: Rebuilding Europe and Getting on With the Renassaince." No, no, and no. Because that's a better headline than: "Plague Has Gone Away," or "Stumulus Fight Over, Obama Has Won."

And the hed above it ain't a whole lot better: "Guantanamo Cases Will Challenge Administration." Really? Ya think? Why is that today's top story? Couldn't that story and that hed be written three weeks ago? (Hint: it was.)

Meanwhile, I am happy to see reportage that Brit and French nuke submarines have had an underwater fender-bender (pleased only because it's usually us and the Russians). Apparently the Vanguard, a Brit boomer, snocked bows with Le Triomphant, the class-named Froggie attack sub. Wikipedia has this lovely little explanation of the French nuke: "In French, they are called Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d'Engins de Nouvelle Génération ("SNLE-NG, literally "Device-launching nuclear submarine of the new generation").

Wiki adds this puzzling claim: "They are roughly one thousand times quieter than the Redoutable-class vessels, and ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines." Um...apparently not.

The fender-bender produced the usual, expected utterly nonsensical reactions from the anti-nuke crowd in Britain. Good thing Scotty didn't have to go to work and have to deal with any of that stuff.

However, we can guess with some certainty that two captains have just joined the unemployment lines. Navies do not like captains whose boats hit things.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 16, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse


I didn't chime in on your FiOS problems earlier because I would have been no help. I've moved my router/modem all over the house and had it connected to three different computers. Each one has been completely plug and play.

The two places the communication can be lost is between the FiOS network and the router and between the router and the computer. Usually the first thing tech support people do is use your phone number or other ID to see if they can "see" the router from their end. If so, the problem is on your side of the connection.

The default IP address for most routers is

If you put that into your web browser you should get a control panel screen for the router where you can muck with the settings to your heart's content. If you get an "address not found" type of error, that means there is a communication problem between the router and your computer.

Hope you can get it resolved but I almost guarantee a long annoying phone call with tech support.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Got snow flurries here. Yuck.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 16, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

George Will is beating his old drums again.
Now claiming that the thin skin of Arctic ice is equivalent to previous mass. And still quoting old magazines about ice ages. I assume with a little more research we'll find all that was paid for in the '70s by the coal and oil companies.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 16, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks yello. That’s the IP address that we tried. My computer is working just fine. I don’t know if there’s some weird issue caused by the fact that I’m on a Mac ( which is where the router is) and “S” has a PC, but when the Verizon guy left here on Saturday, everything was working. “S”’s connection failed when he deinstalled his old virus program. It’s all very frustrating and knowing that the techs for Verizon are all halfway around the world and some don’t seem to have a clue, well, don’t get me started!!

Posted by: badsneakers | February 16, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, of course we don't have many sub collisions with the Russians anymore; I don't think they keep much of a fleet in the water anymore.

Getting back on Kit for a moment, it seems we've moved those Russian/American fender-benders to the High Ground of Earth Orbit where we get to whang fenders with the Chinese, too.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Autism, like diabetes, has been on a definition widening bender for quite some time, accounting for a good bit of the 'epidemic.' Heaven only knows what sorts of medication I would have been put on if they had been available when I was a kid.

I have a ten-year-old cousin WHO was fathered my 60-year-old uncle and has minor autistic-like symptoms. It is my wholly unprofessional opinion that age-related chromosome damage is a far more likely suspect in most autistic children than vaccines that have been in use for decades.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I saw George Will's column yesterday and was impressed by the depth of his Lexis/Nexis search, but I still don't see any peer-reviewed journals in his global cooling rant.

As for outer space bumper car, nothing like a good game of chicken at 17,000 mph to pump up the adrenaline.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I see that the "Car Czar" position has been dropped in favor of a Quarter Panel:

(Or should we call it a Valence Panel?)


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "who was fathered BY my..."

Here I am trying so hard to fix my preposition problem only to stumble elsewhere.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

How about an autodidact-ator?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

'Member that little paper I groused about last week? Recent headline (this is TRUE): DROUGHT SPARES NO ONE.

You coulda knocked me over with a feather.

Posted by: KBoom | February 16, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

FYI, that notion that all those things in space might smack into each other at 17,000 miles an hour is wildly inaccurate and misleading. I noticed this not so much in yello's comment a minute ago, but in Joel's column and in some of the reporting about the collision. I didn't see a single word anywhere about what speed these things were traveling when they hit each other.

That 17,000-mph thing is misleading on at least two levels. First, it doesn't describe the relative speed of two objects in orbit; it only describes their speeds relative to eart. We send up space shuttle all the time and the dock with the space station and they rendezvous with satellites, and whatnot; Quite obviously, they don't smash into each other at 17,000 miles and hour or they'd be obliterated.

Also, 17,000 mph isn't "the" only speed thing up there travel at; their speeds depend in part on their altitude, as well as their function. Geosynchronous satellites are in orbits designed to stay in exactly the same place; in one sense they go "nowhere" at all, and in one sense their speed is supposed to be zero. Of course, since the earth itself is both moving and roatating they may have to move at 20,000 mph to "keep up" and stay "immobile in a fixed relative location.

Other satellites are designed to orbit, so in fact they go faster than 17,000 mph.

But it is flatly wrong to think that the Russian and American satellites were each doing 17,000 mph relative to each other when they hit. (This inclines one to leap to the inccorect conclusion that their closing speed must therefore have been 34,000 mph.) In fact, one scientist has estimated the closing speed was about 26,000 miles per hour. Of course, the closing speed could just as easily have been 5 mph, but then we wouldn't have read about it, and there wouldn't have been all this discussion of the size of the debris field and the problems it created.

It's basically the same problem as watching a NASCAR race and seeing two cars bump into each other at 190 miles an hour -- and virtually nothing happens. That's because they weren't, in fact, doing 190 mph *relative to each other."

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 16, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Everybody here will enjoy this:

What does make a great teacher? I'd love to see that data, and see what can be done to being all teachers up to the top quartile. ;-)

I have a vested interest in that, being dependent on what kids in school today do, for my future care.

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I didn't say they were going 17,000 mph at each other. I merely implied that my entry into the Low Earth Orbit Demolition Derby was going that fast. Because otherwise I'd fall out of orbit, and I don't want to join Skylab in the Outback.

Since all satellites go the same direction (W to E if I have my right hand rule correct) the best they can do for maximum relative velocity is hit at 90 degrees. Unless we put a figure-eight into the track. And perhaps some jump ramps.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Neat questions you bring up, Mudge. Orbits can be equatorial, polar, or more likely a combination of the two. Leaving out speed variations caused by highly elliptical orbits, which I believe are simply not used (although with spy stuff who knows - I can't see the justification even there) then it's likely the two craft were at angles to each others' flight. And thus the angular vector sum would be the impact energy. I think the 90-degree scenario is least likely, but I may be using flawed logic. A shallow angle might increase the liklihood of eventual collision.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Wikipedia gives the speed of a geo-stationary orbit as being 6877.8 mph. I came up with 6858.8, so it's a good thing I'm not a rocket scientist.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

No, you didn't say that, and I didn't say you did. But you DID drop the 17,000 mph figure into it, which implies something not necessarily true. It's like the problem of a shuttle docking with the space station; to say they are traveling at 17,000 mph is misleading and introduces a factoid that serves no purpose. I was faulting you, yello; I was simply stating that most people who write about such things use a misleading idea.

Similarly, no, satellites DON'T all go in the same direction; some are in polar orbits, and I'm not entirely sure a west-to-east description is very useful for those kinds of satellites that have trajectories that look like sine waves, etc.-- the Mercury and Apollo missions, and all that. Yes, they went west to east, but that is hardly a useful description of those wave-like orbits.

A polar-orbiting satellite could theoretically hit an equatorial one at angles well above 90 degrees, methinks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "I was faulting you, yello..." Wasn't, wasn't, wasn't.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Here is a video simulation of the collision and the resulting debris field:

The accompanying text says they they had a closing speed of about 15,000 mph. And the resulting vectors of the debris field will be showing up on Physics 201 quizzes any day now.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Your Freudian slip is showing, mudge.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Y'all are so cute. Here I have learned something and it is even my day off.

I did have to get up and teach at 8:00 am; the gummint and schools are closed but universities are not. Ah well, it provided a nice early start to the day, and I still got to sleep in until 6:30. Also, I like teaching. I don't mind working on a day off because it is fun.

I could be a Dawn Patrol member, rising habitually by 5:45, but usually the computer is off. Of course very soon (tomorrow?) my tiny ancient kitchen television, without cable, satellite or converter box, will cease to provide me with the day's weather report. I may start using the computer for that, and take the opportunity to join the flight line.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 16, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I think it was a foot fault he was calling, Yello.

Remember to release your 170K mph-ball at least a step before the line, slide, and there you have it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 16, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

SCC: 17K or 17,000 miles.

I no count zeroes on Monday.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The other day there was discussion about how high a balloon could go and whether it would ultimately pop. I don't know why I didn't think of it, but the Echo 1 and Echo 2 balloon satellites show there is no limit to the height a balloon could go, nor whether it would pop. (Of course, balloon satellites don't rise up by themselves; they are inflated once in orbit.)

Echo 1 was 100 feet in diamter and lasted 8 years; and Echo 2 was 130 or so feet, the largest "satelloon" (that's what they called them), and last 5 years.

Echo 1 was launched in 1960, less than two weeks before my 14th birthday. I remember going outside at night and watching it go over -- it was the first manmade space object visible to the naked eye. To say that I was watching something move at 17,000 mph would be true--but misleading and pointless.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 16, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Here's a good explanation of why an inclined orbit shows up as a sine wave on a mercator projection.

The satellite is going in a circle (or slight ellipse) but the earth is turning underneath it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The sun goes much faster than that, Mudge, relative to the galactic center.

For some head-spinning astrophysics:

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 16, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I bet it's a blue Freudian slip... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, buddy, I have a couple of comments to ya:

Mudge, you can't just take a balloon into orbit from the ground without some sort of energy boost to escape velocities, can ya? Echo-1/A and -2 were balloons, but they were lauched into space by rockets and didn't actually lift from the ground as balloons, but inflated in orbit, above the atmosphere, IIRC (I think tying to shove an inflated balloon through the air at several G acceleration to 17,500 mph would pretty much shred any unshielded inflatable object ).
Atmostpheric buoyancy does *not* equal orbital acceleration - much less Earth gravitiational escape velocity - in my book. As romantic as it sounds, I don't think you can take a balloon from the ground to the Moon or Mars. Sorry to burst that, anyone.

The number I'd seen for the impact velocity of the Cosmos and Iridium satelites was somewhere in the ballpark of over 25,000 mph due to their relative orbits. Not a bump draft in a pack at Daytona where everyone's going the same direction, but a solid intersectional co-spatial event.

Interestingly, from what I've read, Russian boosters were used to put both of these communications satelites into orbit (different boosters and from different locations, though). Both were communcitions satellites, so one would have to wonder if the launch control folks utlized some of the same numbers for orbtial insertions (at different inclinations to provide maximum service coverage)... which would make the likelihood of a collision a little bit higher, perhaps?

And Wilbrod, geosyncronous orbit has no relative motion to the Earth's surface, but is something like 26,000 miles up, well over the 500 mile orbit that the collision took place in.

Ah, gotta run.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Ah, consider my 12:26 a BOO.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Okay. For the record.

The size of a balloon is stable when the normalized radial component (inward pointing) tension of the material plus the internal pressure equals the external pressure.

The upward force of a balloon is determined by the weight of the displaced atmosphere minus it's own weight. (Archimedes Principle.)

The atmospheric pressure drops as you go up.

Okay, the interaction of these three factors is what determines the behavior of a balloon.

As it goes up the decreased atmospheric pressure causes the balloon to expand until it either pops, *or* the balloon's weight equals the displaced atmosphere. If it is a thin light balloon, the popping will occur prior to equilibrium. If it is a heavy rigid balloon the equilibrium will be reached first.

A balloon in equilibrium in the upper atmosphere is not in orbit, because it requires lift to stay aloft. If the atmosphere were to suddenly vanish, it would drop like a stone.

k' then.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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