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Last night, I actually heard myself referring to the statuette as a real person, as in, "Oscar likes comebacks," and realized that I needed to stop watching the show. (Also, Oscar apparently doesn't like comebacks enough to give Mickey Rourke the award for Best Actor.) Amy Argetsinger has an interesting story this morning about how awards shows have taken over the industry, in part because there's nothing else for these stars to do. They don't actually make movies:

'Cameron Diaz, as A-List as they get: But, when was the last time you saw her in a movie? Err . . . When was the last time you saw her in a magazine, or on TMZ? Like, 10 minutes ago, and probably three times in the past week.

'So the ritual of arriving somewhere -- of lighting up a place with their sheer presence, all that tragically underused charisma -- that's the performance these days.'

So if people don't see movies like they used to (is that really true, or is that just me?), and if they don't buy music, and if they don't watch scripted TV, and if don't subscribe to newspapers or magazines, what do people actually do with their time, money, eyeballs? Please tell me they don't just play Grand Theft Auto. (Am I too old to become a game designer? I once designed a board game, loosely based on the underappreciated game Star Reporter.)


Because you can never get enough alien-world news: Here's my science story on Europa vs. Titan, from this morning's paper.

[more to come]

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 23, 2009; 7:45 AM ET
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Next: When Panic Is Prudent


Talk about burying the lede! What could be more important or timely than Europa and Titan?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

As a software developer let me tell you that the last thing you want to be is a game developer. Long hours, crazy deadlines, low pay. The burnout rate is very high, and I've met few game developers who are older than 30, or married.

Posted by: wiredog | February 23, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Middle of the Pacific, try this:

Also from the last boodle, why are you going to be moving and looking for a job next year?

(I'm a long-time lurker.)

Posted by: JustSaying5 | February 23, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I love it when people de-lurk. Hi, JustSaying5!

And yes, MotP, tell us, do.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I must admit I find Europa more intriguing than Titan simply because I have a cold ocean fetish. Have you seen the news about all the nifty critters who hang out under polar ice? Of course, there is also something intrinsically mysterious about an ice-covered world. For as the makers of quality fripperies have long understood, that which is concealed is always more intriguing than that which is exposed.

Which leads us back to the Academy Awards. I agree that a lot of the appeal is people watching. Which is part of why I liked the "gang of five" method of announcing the nominees. It allows one to see some faces from the past and note, one hopes without too much nastiness, that the ravages of time affect us all.

Except Goldie Hawn whose ravages were equally caused by her sartorial choices. She, perhaps, should pay more attention to the architectural trickery Sara Jessica Parker was packing under that gown of hers.

But I am far to cerebral, of course, to pay much attention to such things (Tina Fey - Yowza...).

Of course, people watching doesn't just involve checking out the clothing and physiques. It also involves behavior, which is why I am a little disappointed that the stars nowadays just seem too gosh darn well behaved. I would so much like to see somebody really do something outlandish. Which is why I, like many, was secretly hoping for a Mickey Rourke win, since his mere physical presence is so much more interesting to me than Sean Penn. Who, in my view, kinda peaked with Spicoli and those checkered shoes.

I also agree with Hank Stuever that the technical awards should not be given short shrift. Because, as we all know, those special effects and other technical manipulations are what make many films worth seeing in a theater. I might consider paying the 12 bucks per head (I spring for the big popcorn) it takes to haul my family out to the Cinema if I am promised something flashy.

Yes, I am shallow that way.

Small personal humanistic films I am just as happy to rent and watch at home on the big screen telly. And I know I am not alone.

Besides, it is truly amazing what these technical guys can do nowadays. For example, not too long ago I saw an IMAX film called "Aliens of the Deep" that featured some eerily realistic cephalopod-like space aliens.

Under the ice of Europa.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Hi JustSaying5! Nice to see you here.

I hope this doesn't send you back into lurker status, but it's actually Rainforest who is moving and finding a new job. I believe the mandatory retirement age where she lives (Brunei) is 55, which she will reach next year.

I think she says she is planning to move back to Malaysia and start her second life there. I'm sure she'll be successful wherever she lands.

I can see the mixup--I mean she IS in the middle of the Pacific... but MoP is our very own former Aloha.

Posted by: TBG- | February 23, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

There's a vast gap between the occasional wide-screen spectacular that has to be watched in a really big theater and all those intimate little art films. One of the more remarkable movie events in local history was a newly restored version of "Apocalypse Now" playing on the biggest screen at the local multiplex. Unfortunately, I don't think much of anybody came.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Just read this emotional story of a high school basketball team in New Brunswick, devastated by a van crash that left 7 players dead last year, now Provincial champions - the story has a very hollywood feel to it - I was more than a little teary eyed at the end.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 23, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Europa Hopper. I trust Edward didn't name his daughter Europa. Could a satellite probe be named "Nighthawk"?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Oops. Thanks, tbg.

Posted by: JustSaying5 | February 23, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

In case you missed it last night, I live blogged other people blogging about the Oscars (I'm very meta that way) and included some boodlers in the excerpts.

Maureen does nto like to be lectured to about race. She is already enlightened. She has a cute black mailman and everything.

I even got a comment in on Jen Cheney's chat.

And nice call-out to Kurt Vonnegut in the Europa-Titan article.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm so busy boodlehogging, I forgot the link:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who laughed out loud at the Gang o' Five presentations? What ludicrous arrogance. It was like a council of gods welcoming a new god to their ethereal ranks. Not only that, but the existing as well as the potential gods seemed hilariously confused by fantasy and reality.

"Actress So-and-So, you portrayed a woman who'd lost everything, who fought the forced of Eeeevil, struggled under the yoke of tyranny, got bunions, and saw all the truth in the world in the eyes of a child. We salute you."

Their intonations were so vaunted and grave it was as if they'd forgotten the two most important words of their little speeches, "you portrayed." The actors didn't actually *do* any of those things. And the rictus of sincerety screwed up on the nominees faces ... precious!

Maybe I'm just a crank, but I thought that bit was the funniest thing I've seen on TV since "Arrested Development."

Posted by: KBoom | February 23, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I am having a Nighthawk/Mark Wenner moment.

Am I supposed to be at M&S on Thursday?

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm spelin' challenged today. Still frozen from the 31-degree temps of the morning job.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Posted by: KBoom | February 23, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse


Criminey! Stop me before I typo again!

Posted by: KBoom | February 23, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The gang of 5 thing was different, but I can't say I liked it. Maybe I'm just not ready for the change. Everything else was quite well done.

It seemed like the focus was back on the acting, and the movies themselves and not so much on the celebrity. Maybe that has been part of the problem. Too often they sell themselves more than the movie.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 23, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Weed, you are. And we're taking attendence. Arrivals start about 5, and dribble in over the next hour or two.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I am a bit puzzled by those folks that try to tell me (Rick Santelli) that the market is made up of normal and "real" Americans. The market, today, is poised to open on the up-side because of rumors that the US govt is going to "take a larger stake" in Citigroup.

That is "good" news? Help me out Rick!

Note to folks who thought that things weren't bad... Citigroup used to be THE LARGEST bank in the world. Some have it slumping to number 8 in 2008.

And, now, we get more of a piece of this sagging giant and that is good news?



Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Mudge! Happens to be the one day that I can come by. I will try to get there before you start edging to make your escape.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Our film-going habits as a couple have changed little over the past decade. We aim for quality; I read reviews; we pay attention to trailers. We gravitate to the celluloid risktakers and innovators.

If people are attending movies less, perhaps it's for one of two reasons. Many movies aimed at audiences are formulaic (often top summer-box-office draws), while, at the opposite end of the spectrum, many others are international in feel, perhaps daunting for those who don't seek adventure and would prefer to spin in their own small, suffocating cocoons.

Look at the top acting and film awards last night (similar to the past two years: Mirren, Cotillard, Day-Lewis, Bardem): one to Spaniard Cruz, another to Australian Ledger, a bravo to Brit Winslet, and a statuette for American Penn. An indie with an ensemble cast from India swept top picture honors. Through cinema, which shrinks distance, the world is becoming a smaller and more accessible place. I gladly hail it.

We thought last night's Oscar broadcast was too long, yet we appreciated the effort to mix up the old format. As much as we enjoyed some of the song and dance, such as the Hugh-Beyonce extravaganza, we think it should have been cut. Jackman's opening routine seemed too pared down as far as his props: it looked cheap. The emphasis was supposed to be more show than biz, but a little too much show for our tired backsides.

I did like the set design of the floor in the Kodak Theater and loved the Swarovski crystal curtain, the organic framework of the backdrops, the podium support, the trim on the chandeliers.

Our paper gave a slight nod to former San Antonian and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, putting a small photo of him on the front page along with other major actor winners, provided a one graf mention of him on the front of the S.A. Life section, and truly buried him (a larger photo) yet again (as they did with the story of his nomination) inside the same section. Immediately after his acceptance speech, my husband called out how poignant were his words. No mention of Black's speech on NBC's morning show, Viera and crew shining the media's morning-after spotlight on how touching were the words spoken by the Ledger family oh Heath's posthumous honor.

Given the calibre of the films for the last several years, I look forward to selective movie-going in 2009!

Posted by: laloomis | February 23, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

SCC: providing, burying

Posted by: laloomis | February 23, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I liked that gang-of-5 format. Granted that a few of the speeches were a bit over the top and pretentious, but some of them were heartfelt, and a few of them downright funny. How can anyone object to DeNiro saying to Sean Penn, "Sean, how could you get away playing the straight man all these years?" That was hilarious.

And I think it was new and different from the old, tired format of the preceding year's winner coming up and doing a bit of tired, usually unfunny monolog, and then just saying, "And the nominees are...." At least this way we get to see people talking to each other, and in this case five of them instead of just one.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Russianthistle... you are commanded to be at M&S on Thursday night, as are all wide-area boodlers...

McCormick & Schmick's
1652 K St, NW
Near both the Red Line and the Orange/Blue Line. Also... valet parking begins at 5:00 for $7... there's not excuse NOT to be there!
5:00 to... ?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 23, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The Gang of Five format reminded me of some sort of reality show ritual. Which in a way it was.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

This is shaping up to be the best BPH ever (at least, of the ones I've been to)! I'm looking forward to meeting you, russianthistle.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Rick Santelli also got a shout-out from Maureen Dowd this weekend. She shares his unease over irresponsible homeowners getting a free ride.

And speaking of rides, for my photo-illustration I have Dowd and Obama riding in a surrey with the fringe on top.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | February 23, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh, my!!! This is from the breaking news alert of this very same Washington Post...

"The government will ensure that banks have the capital and liquidity they need to provide the credit necessary to restore economic growth," said a joint statement issued by the Treasury Department, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Reserve. The change in the investment terms was sought by Citigroup and other banks that are trying to convince investors they can survive their financial problems.

In exchange for its investments, the government required the banks to issue preferred shares that pay interest and are designed to encourage repayment after a few years. Under the changes announced this morning, companies instead can give the government preferred shares that can be converted into shares of the company's common stock.

The conversion would be at the discretion of the companies in consultation with regulators.


I'm thinking that a couple of us get together and form a "bank." Then, THEN, we can fund the boodle to make sure that we all are going to prove to our friends that we can ride out the recession/depression.

I'm thinking maybe our top 200 executives can get a million or more in bonuses, not to mention weekly trips to the M&S happy hour. Heck, we could get our own seats!!!

I guess the Treasury would really like to encourage us to start paying them back in a couple of years. If not, we can let the government have some stock in our weekly happy hour, er, bank.

We can make Joel a trustee!!!! That can easily make up for that Washington Post shortfall that is sweeping the newsroom. I hear that it is turning really Ireland there. And, what about that guy who was running the GWU Medical School? Maybe we can get him to come in and tell us just exactly what to do to make all seven ends meet.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Only time for a Boodle fly-by this morning.

And there I go -- taking a gravity boost from the Boodle and sailing off to the far reaches of deep space: an Executive Status Meeting.


Posted by: -bc- | February 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

just make sure you have one and then come back.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Executive Status: middling to high.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I would like apologize to the financial managers and financial kingpins out there. I make light, but I seriously do respect what you do.

I think you guys are amazing. Especially guys like Warren Buffett and Bernie Madoff--both men, I hear, can rattle off a comprehensive list of all their investments by memory.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Europa goat.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 23, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Somewhat predictably, Shales didn't much like the show, but he never does, and so he's getting as predictable as that which he criticizes. He concludes his column by noting that they've been doing this show since the 1940s, and still haven't gotten the kinks out of it.

Well, that's as may be. But maybe it also says that if they couldn't fix it in 60 years, maybe it is either (a) inherently unfixable, or (b) maybe does not in fact need fixing. Yes, it is long. So are Moby-Dick and War and Peace. Yes, it is often glitzy and over-the-top. But it is Hollywood, after all, not the Nebraska Cornhuskers Annual Cob-a-thon and County Fair, so maybe we should just accept it for what it is, and not expect it to be something else. (In other words, people like Shales should just suck it up and deal with it on its own terms.)

Yes, they spend an hour or two on the allegedly boring technical awards. But I think Steuver has it essentially correct: that we shouldn't just confine the awards to just the glamorous celebrities, and that there's nothing wrong with honoring everyday working people who do unglamorous things behind the scenes. If we are bored and intolerant of that, then perhaps the fault lies with us, and not the show.

I've been watching these things for something like 40 years, and without fail, the part that always gets me is when they list the people who died during the preceding year. And it wouldn't bother me one iota if they stretched that out a little bit and added a few more clips. Last night one of the people they showed was a Hollywood publicist. And I thought, wow, I never heard of this guy in a zillion years, and neither has anyone else outside a small portion of the industry. And this guy didn't even get his "15 minutes" of fame. I don't think he got four seconds. But you know what? I'm glad they included him. A lot of the people they feature in that segment were people whose faces you never ever see: costime designers and sound engineers and producers and writers (quick, before last night did you know what Abbbey Mann looked like? One of the best screenwriters who ever lived, and he gets three seconds.)


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse


I think a lot of criticism of the Oscars and the Emmys and Golden Globes and all the rest of it rests on the assumption that the shows are supposed to be about "entertainment" and should therefore maximize the experience for the viewer. In other words, it's "all about us." But no, it really isn't about us; it *ought* to be about them. They did the work, and they are getting honored. And so if somebody wants to babble on for two minutes thanking her mother and her agent and her 11th grade drama teacher and the hairdresser and the manicurist and the prop guy, I'm OK with all that. That 11th grade high school drama teacher, sitting in his/her small living room in Ames, Iowa, deserves a little thanks and recognition, even if it's anonymous and only that three seconds of gush. So I'm OK with that, and I'll sit through it (paying minimal attention), even if it means a three-and-a-half hour show. Cuz it's not about me, it's about them.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

‘morning all. Geez Joel thanks for exposing what a boring planet we’ve got as this poor excuse of a satellite. The Moon neither has a single frozen lake nor the smallest pond of methane. It’s not even made of cheese for Stinking Bishop’s sake! Why are we going back there yet?

I didn’t watch the O-show last night so I won’t comment. Other people had other priorities and I’m not enough of a fan to bury myself in the basement to watch it alone. Like most people, I note that I have seen only a few of the nominated pictures.

Cooking is funny sometimes. I put the second (boneless) leg from the whole lamb I bought last fall to thaw in the fridge Friday. So even if I was insanely busy yesterday I HAD to cook it. And so at about 4pm I rushed to stuff it with sprigs of rosemary raided from the Fungi’s hot house, garlic, mustard and what not, rubbed it with some of the same and olive oil, tied it back together and slapped it in the oven. Elapsed time: 19 minutes. It turned out to be the best lamp roast I’ve made in years. Maybe the best ever. The lovingly prepared other leg I served to guests during the holiday season was not even close; it was a bit of a letdown actually. I’ll know what to do next time.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 23, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

SCC It wasn't the best lamp roast I've made, but the best lamb roast.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 23, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Posting between copious yawns. Serves me right for staying up wayyy past my bedtime.

Frankly, I liked the gang of 5 presentation. I mean, did you *see* how fabulous Sophia Loren looked last night??? That woman is way past 70! Good genes and good pasta, yanno?

I was also surprised that Anne Hathaway could sing. She's got a great voice, and I hope she will put it to use in a movie or stage show sometime.

I wss also waiting up to see the In Memoriam presentation -- the world lost a lot of really good people since the last show, and I had a feeling that Paul Newman would be in last place for the biggest impact. What a guy!

*yawn* Sure gonna hit the bed early tonight. It helps that there's nothing to look at on television.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 23, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm just getting the news about the woman with the chimp, as in sleeping with this animal, and bathing together. She said one does not really know a chimp until one bathes with a chimp. When donkeys fly! She was doing everything with this animal, well, hopefully not everything. That is so over the top.

welcome, justsaying five.

As for the movies and the Oscars, the g-girl and I read a book, and both of us fell out, as in asleep. I suspect one runs out of themes for movies or storylines. How many ways can we tell the human story, and most of us have seen those ways. I'm sure there are different ways, but the basics rarely change. So what's new?

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 23, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Robot life stories?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse


Didn't Hathaway's bf do some singing as well, Rafaello Follieri?

Mayhaps, John McCain can remind us. I believe that John spent his birthday on Follieri's yacht in the Mediterranean.

It's tough when your Senate fact-finding missions have you away from your homes on your birthday.

Come to think of it, Senator McCain always finds himself making news one way or another on his birthday... didn't his birthday celebration keep George away from New Orleans after Katrina?

Maybe McCain should eat more yogurt.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Anne Hathaway totally rocked out in "Ella Enchanted."

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

How many ways can we tell the human story, Cassandra? There are eight million stories in the Naked City. And apparently one very clean chimp.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Just spent the better part of an hour setting up a blog for our fair city's new fire department auxiliary. Now, if the people who wanted it and claimed they'd keep it updated if I set it up...

Mudge is right about the Oscar show. It is the Oscar show-you can't change it too much without changing the award that's given out. Anyway, I think it's shorter than the Nick Kids' Choice Awards, if not it certainly seems so.

Wow, just looked at the thermometer and our temp has risen 18 degrees in 3 hours, we're up to +10F now. Cooking! Spring can't be more than 10 weeks away.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 23, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

And Anne Hathaway totally freaked out in "Rachel Getting Married."

And 'washing your chimp' is a euphemism I never want to figure out.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, Mudge, Yellojkt, thank you for THAT image to start the week.

Jeez, gotta stop hanging out here before my morning caffeine.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This may be the single most intelligent thing Ahnold ever said:

"Other Republicans urged bipartisanship. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) likened the economy to a cancer patient. "You want to see this team of doctors around you have their act together, be very clear and say, 'This is what we need to do,' rather than see a bunch of doctors fighting in front of you and arguing about the treatment," Schwarzenegger said on ABC's "This Week." "I mean, that is the worst thing. It creates insecurity in the patient."

I am really sick of a bunch of Republican governors having so little self-recognition that they think their opinions matter. So don't take the effing money, you morons. See if I care.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Blame yello, Wilbrod. He's the one who bent it that way. Cassandra and I are out of it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I haven't been inside a movie theatre for over 20 years. Does this make me a freak of nature?

Even home movies I have a tough time sitting through. The problem is that a bad movie, by virtue of it being a bad movie, isn't worth the time investment. On the other hand, a good movie, by nature of it being a good movie, throws my emotions out of wack. It's tough enough for me to achieve a sense of normalcy, impossible when my feelings are all out of sorts.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 23, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I will not be able to attend the BPH on Thursday evening, and respectfully request the Committee grant me an excused absence. DC has her normal Monday night sitter tonight, and then tomorrow is Mardi Gras, which of course makes the next day Ash Wednesday, and then Saturday I've got a friend's birthday party to go to. If she doesn't have normal nights Thursday and Friday, she might start calling the sitter 'Mom'. Or join a gang. Maybe get a tattoo. And purple hair. Or pierce something. Or drop out of school to start a band. None of the possibilities would be good for a five-year old.

I thank the committee in advance for their consideration of my request.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I'll put it on the committee's agenda, LiT. But you already know they are a pretty tough bunch, especially when they get testy.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I suspect we'll see a lot of new banks, S&Ls, and maybe even credit unions over the next year or so. Like a onetime friend whose mortgage-bank employer merged with a big bank from Boston. He set up his own mortgage bank, which worked very nicely. The guy is now running a credit union and promoting "dream loans for dream homes". I think I concur that there's some great mortgage opportunities for those who weren't caught in the great price bust.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

What kind of tattoo?

Uh, never mind. As a parent myself, I don't want to know.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Chimpanzees are primates. Primates include humans. Humans are known to get angry occasionally and lash out. Chimpanzees can get irritated and lash out, too. Chimpanzees, however, have jaws built like a workbench vise, teeth like wood chisels, and are strong enough to rip a human arm right off, if motivated. I feel sorry for the woman who got mauled by her chimpanzee. I feel more sorry for the chimpanzee, who got killed as a result. This woman behaved in a way that is fundamentally stupid and, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, "Stupidity is a capital crime, and Mother Nature is a hanging judge."

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'd hope for a *strategically placed* dainty little flower, but with my luck, she'll choose SpongeBob an inch or two over her heart and to the left a little.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Now that they are retired empty-nesters, my Dad and step-mother keep taunting us with their swell vacations. Today they are taking off for Tanzania.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Here's a question. Let's way that life is discovered somewhere in the solar system. And let's say it is somewhere between single-celled beasties and Spock. Or even Chewbacca.

You know, something reasonably complex, but not likely to hold up its side of an intelligent conversation. I'm thinking the equivalent to a horseshoe crab. Or your typical talk-radio host.

The point is, if we find life whose implications are more philosophical than anything else, will this really change our culture? A common theme in sci-fi is that discovering extraterrestrial life will be this overwhelming event in humanity and that we will all collapse in a huge collective spasm of Shifted Paradigms.

But I wonder. Humanity is very adaptive. My guess is that after a few weeks of going "Golleee" the residents of this planet will settle down and things will remain pretty much the same. Our own little preoccupations will easily destroy any epic shifts in Cosmic Perception.

This is especially true for the talk-show radio hosts.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

If 'washing your chimp' brought forth any images other than Cheetah in a bathtub, perhaps with a loofah or rubber duck, please do not share them with me.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I suspect the general public will react much as you say, RDP. However, the scientific community will go wild with figuring out how the biochemical differences between them and us instruct us on the fundamental nature of living systems. Technologically, this sort of exploration of the completely-unknown is likely to prove very fruitful. Thus, even though the general public is likely to shrug off the philosophical implications rather quickly, there will be tangible benefits. At least until the new bio-automatons begin to wipe out "the undesirables" and make the Earth a green and verdant (and well-fertilized!) Eden once more.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I suspect you are basically correct, Padouk, though I think there will be two pretty subtle changes that will operate in the background.

First, confirming life on some other planet will "confirm" a whole bunch of beliefs and theories that many people already hold, but have no proof for. For instance, many of us already believe at some intuitive level that there is life somewhere else in the universe, "just because," and even if it is at horseshow crab/Ann Coulter levels if ignorance. So confirmation of a theory is twice useful: it confirms what you suspected, and it also eliminates its contrary theories.

Second, I think it will have subtle but profound implications for the religious communities, who will have to deal with the notion that we are not alone in the unicverse, nor "the" only creatures in it. It may be a very deep "invisible" thing, but it may ultimately turn out to be as significant as the Copernican revolution, that we are not at the center of the universe. We're not only NOT at the center, but we're not even especially "special." Right now, that's only speculative. To confirm it would be, as the lawyers like to say, "dispositive." And then religions would have to find a way to deal with it. (A couple of centuries of denial would be my best guess. But you know how cynical I am.)

But yes, I think there would be repercussions.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

My touchstone on RD's issue is when the misguided (but not completely evil) scientists in ET start screaming up and down "It's got DNA!" For some reason that scene just really bothers me both scientifically and cinematically.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

A look at the stock market makes one wonder if we are going to bust through 7,000 in the next couple of days.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Howdy All
For those of us up late tonight,there is a new comet coming into view.Comet Lulin will be visible tonight(it's closest to earth)and for the next several nights.

I have my binoculars ready for tonight's viewing on the way home from work.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 23, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I fear some misguided people would attempt to make such information (newly discovered extraterrestrial life)classified. Because some bozo, at least for some period of time, seems to have managed to make the "martian microbe" fossils classified. Even that.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 23, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Concerning Anne Hathaway, I want to add a "Me Three!" to ScienceTim's and yellowjkt's comments. I've been a fan of Anne's for a long time and, yeah, she rocks in "Ella Enchanted." The girl can sing, dance, and act and does comedy and drama with equal aplomb. Not only that but as a person she seems to have her head screwed on rather well. That is what really attracts me to her.

I just hope in the years to come that she gets those roles ("Prada" and "Rachel" come close) that allow her to shine to her limits. After last night I'm thinking a romantic drama with Hugh Jackman.

As for the asides and jokes about a recent bad choice in a boyfriend, who of you boodlers really wants to cast the first stone in that regard? She seems to have weathered and managed that bit of disappointment rather well.

Have not seen "Rachel" yet but it is a sure bet that I will.


Posted by: DLDx | February 23, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, LiT, I was just going to ditch! (Actually, I have to work).

Posted by: -dbG- | February 23, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I completely agree there.

Yello, I've never even seen Cheetah, let alone the rubber ducky deal.

Just the idea of sharing a bath with an overweight, highly hairy chimp is enough to make me reach for the mind bleach.

I suppose you never really know how much a dog sheds unless you've bathed one, but I wouldn't ever name that as an activity I miss.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Well said DLD as a mom of girls I have seen many of Anne Hathaway's movies - Ella Enchanted many times - such beats Lindsay Lohan as a role model.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 23, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey! That's personal.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, Al.

Writing this on a Solar Exit Trajectory, having encountered several dense objects this morning (including my own considerable density).

LiT, we're certainly going to miss your shoes Thursday night. Wouldn't want Dear Child to steal a Harley and give you a lawn job by doing donuts in the yard, though. I vote for an excused absence based on the cost of sod these days.

Personally, I think people *expect* to find life elsewhere in the Universe, and probably in this here Solar System. I, for one, am surprised we haven't found alien life *yet.* [Excluding Texas.]

I'm on record here in the Boodle for being an Anne Hathaway fan from way back -- "Princess Diaries" back. And she harpooned my heart in "Ella" with that rowdy cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love." As I like to say, "You had me at Queen."

gwe, thanks for the heads up on that comet, I'd been meaning to check up on it. Forunately, I still have the Orion out.

More later.


Posted by: -bc- | February 23, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see why bathing a dog is OK, but bathing a chimp is not. What am I missing? Are you supposed to take them to the dry cleaners?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Ditto the Anne Hathaway comments. She was particularly good in Becoming Jane. Turns out she did an honors thesis on Jane Austin at Yale, and in the shots that focus on her hand writing, that's Anne's hand doing the writing. I liked seeing Shirly Mclain honoring her, but the others seemed a trifle embarrassing.

Posted by: davemarks | February 23, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

If they can do THIS, they sure as heck don't need help bathing themselves.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

re: the kit, maybe people just spend most of their time cleaning... oh, and driving around!

Posted by: MissToronto | February 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Media Matters (a group I don't particularly care for) is drumming up a campaign to force WaPo to retract, correct, or disavow George Will's anti-climate change tirade from last week.

Here's the brunt of their argument:

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | February 23, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

In short, "liar, liar, pants on fire?"

It is time to draw the line on meaningless, lie-filled punditry, but it's around 15 years late to start.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, dmd. Like most of the Disney actresses, however, she has done some "breaking out." See "Brokeback Mountain" for instance. And don't let your girls see "Havoc" until they are out of college.


Posted by: DLDx | February 23, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else having trouble with that *&^%$#^%$#@ Apple drop-down ad on the front page? If you click on "close" it doesn't. Had this happen at home on my linux/firefox system, and here at work on my PC/Windows IE system. In short, it's broken.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"I fail to see why bathing a dog is OK, but bathing a chimp is not. What am I missing? Are you supposed to take them to the dry cleaners?"

I repeat and amplify: because a dog can't rip your arm free of its socket and use it as a drumstick to pound on your head.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I just assumed it was a big banner ad, Mudge. It doesn't work for me either and I'm using Safari on a Mac. It surely must be broken.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 23, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

But Tim, saying that a chimp is potentially dangerous because it can do X, Y or Z to you isn't any different from saying a rottweiler can do X, Y, or Z damage to you.

There are dogs that can kill you. J. Fred Muggs never ripped Dave Garroway's arm off. Isn't there a difference btween tame and wild?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

As for Joel's semi-rhetorical question, you haven't seen much of Cameron Diaz recently because she has been hiding behind a microphone hauling in wheelbarrows full of ShrekBucks as Princess Fiona.

She did release 'What Happens In Vegas' in 2008 and has two films slated for 2009, 'My Sister's Keeper' with Alec Baldwin and the horror/sci-fi story 'The Box.'

So Diaz is not the dynamo that rising star Amy Adams is (ten movies since 2006 and two in the can), but she's hardly a 'what has she done lately?' either.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Dogs pose a much greater threat to people than chimps do, if you think about it.

It is only the lack of opposable thumbs that prevents them from tearing us limb from limb and beating us with the bloody stump.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It's neither chimps nor dogs we should worry about...

Posted by: -TBG- | February 23, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Any chimps in my house are on their own for bathing. I do all my nit-picking at the office.

Posted by: engelmann | February 23, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

A chimpanzee (or rather, a chimpanzee's handler) does not have the benefit of ten thousand years or so of breeding for certain desirable behavioral traits in a domesticated animal. A chimpanzee may be tame, perhaps, but not domesticated. A chimpanzee in captivity is a wild animal with an overlay of training.

Being a very intelligent animal, a chimpanzee can be trained in complex ways. Given that they look and act a good bit like us, this could easily lull a person into thinking they "understand" a chimpanzee. I'm sure there are people who truly do understand chimpanzees (Jane Goodall comes to mind), but I suspect that true understanding comes from knowing many chimps, rather than believing that one knows a single chimpanzee very well. J. Fred Muggs never tore off Dave Garroway's arm, but I'll bet you that there were experienced trainers just off-camera who could read very well when a chimp was not in the mood to behave as desired, and there was probably more than one J. Fred Muggs, so that a Muggs in a bad mood did not get called out to perform.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, for me the issue isn't bathing the chimp--it's bathing *with* the chimp.


Posted by: Raysmom | February 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

*Nods frantically*

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

That's an interesting distinction and a big 'only'. I recently read a Nancy Kress horror/sci-fi novel about a town where the dogs begin turning on the owners. Because canines are so ubiquitious, it was truly frightening.

So which would be more plausible, 'Tarzan the Ape-man' or 'Julie of the Wolves'?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

But that Lancelot Link was one smart Secret Chimp.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia, my guess was wrong -- just one J. Fred Muggs, and his girlfriend, Phoebe B. Beebe. Size in the two still photos on the Wikipedia page suggest that he's a bonobo, not a chimpanzee per se, and thus not capable of ripping out a human arm. A nasty bite, however, is not out of the question. Apparently, Muggs is about 60 and living in retirement in Florida with Phoebe and a caretaker.

It is a point -- press accounts say the woman bathed with her chimpanzee. Is it a chimpanzee, or a bonobo (much smaller)?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree with *Tim, I'm just goofing around.

I *am* Julie of the Wolves, yello, only with far less pulchritude.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Good afernoon, Al.

Joel's article got me think about alien life on Titan:

An Ode to Alien Life on Titan-
Methane Rain
[With apologies to Prince or whatever he’s calling himself these days]

I never meant 2 get this close to Saturn
And wearing a slicker space suit is such a pain
I only wanted 2 to see u aliens living
But now I see u buggers laughing at me in the Methane rain

Methane rain Methane rain
Methane rain Methane rain
Methane rain Methane rain

I only wanted 2 see u squirming in the Methane rain

I never wanted 2 send some robotic rover
I only wanted 2 be some kind of friend
Baby I could never be your science-y lover
But my lander’s crashed so I’m stuck here until my mortal end

Methane rain Methane rain
Methane rain Methane rain
Methane rain Methane rain

I only wanted 2 meet u underneath the Methane rain

Little ones, I know, I know, I know the risks in landing
I traveled across worlds 4 something, someone new
That means I came for u
I said, “take me to your leader”
And that’s the last thing on your little hive mind
Cause there isn’t one to take me to
And now you’re laughing at me in the Methane rain

Methane rain Methane rain
Methane rain Methane rain

Go ahead and make fun of me I won’t last long out here
I don’t think that if you had one, you’d lend me a hand

Methane rain Methane rain

I only wanted 2 see u, only wanted 2 meet u
In the cruel beautiful freezing brown stinking Methane rain



Posted by: -bc- | February 23, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom and Wilbrod, you guys have never been in a boy's high school/college locker room (somewhat self-evidently).

Most days I'd rather bathe with chimps.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Howard Kurtz's MediaNotes today says: "As the Octomom debates continues to rage on television, the Nation's Katha Pollitt says..."

I believe I coined Octomom, right here in the Achenblog! Where's my share of the fame and glory?

What's that, you say? Rule 6? Blast it! Damn you, Rule 6!

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse


Go and read Robin Givhan's chat on Oscar-garb. Here be a few bon mots fur ye(why I am writing like a pirate, I do not know. Must miss Brag, etc)

(CqP-EDIT)By RG on SJP's bodice:

But in the real world, a little cleavage is nice, but the girls should not look like they are trying to escape an organza prison.

Robin Givhan: Hey Minneapolis! I think a lot of guys just can't shake off their inner rockstar/teen slacker/Peter Pan/rebel. Someday they will grow up and realize that there is a reason the tuxedo has endured all these generations with very little change. Men look great in them. I know Mickey Rourke is, well, Mickey Rourke, but I think he'd have looked so much better in a traditional tux instead of that Gaultier craziness. A tux with the mad max hair would have been fine. As it was, he really just looked like he needed a bath.
(CqPEdit)RG responding to horror on Tilda's choices: ...
But, and I know this will be controversial, I LOVED Tilda Swinton. I thought she looked incredibly chic and sophisticated. My love for that beige top knows no bounds. It was so understated. So Tilda. LOVE.

Robin Givhan: I found Bill Maher's suit to be quite possibly the worst ensemble of the evening. It looked like it was made of foam or something. And his blathering about his movie on religion did not make him any more endearing.

(CqPEDIT on Amy Adams) RG says:
...And I'm not a huge fan of redheads in red.

Maryland: Robert Downey Jr. looked amazing last night -- what is he doing to look better every year? Unbelievable.

Robin Givhan: it's amazing what shaving -- and what appears to be healthy living -- can do for a person. He looks great.

Robin Givhan: I was stunned by Sophia's Armani dress. Yikes! It was ruffle-mania. It was a dress better suited to a debutante. Sophia has the age, the figure and the carriage to pull off something drop dead sophisticated. I longed to see her in something more elegant.

Robin Givhan: Okay, I did not to malign all redheads. (Although I think they tend to look incredible in greens/browns/camel.) I'll just say I didn't find this red dress flattering on that redhead.

CqPEDIT: RG on Jessica B and Heidi K (hair)...
Robin Givhan: Did not love their hair. Jessica's looked too messy and Heidi's looked too dominatrixy.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Al (Year of the Cat) Stewart already wrote the definitive 'Sirens of Titan' song:

I was drawn by the sirens of Titan
Carried along by their call
Seeking for a way to enlighten
Searching for the sense of it all
Like a kiss on the wind I was thrown to the stars
Captured and ordered in the army of Mars
Marching to the sound of the drum in my head
I followed the call
Only to be Malachi Constant
I thought I came to this earth
Living in the heart of the moment
With the riches I gained at my birth
But here in the yellow and blue of my days
I wander the endless Mercurian caves
Watching for the signs the Harmonians make
The words on the walls

I was drawn by the sirens of Titan
And so I came in the end
Under the shadow of Saturn
With statues and birds for my friends
Finding a home at the end of my days
Looking around I've only to say
I was the victim of a series of accidents
As are we allI was drawn by the sirens of Titan (as are we all)
As are we all
I was drawn by the sirens of Titan (as are we all)
As are we all...

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Katha Pollitt goes on to say: "Basically she's a one-off, a mentally disturbed individual with excellent manipulation skills. She's the maternal equivalent of a cat collector."

That's my line, too!

Man, I gotta get me one o' these lucrative blog thingies.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"The Traveling Curmudgeon" Is collection of aphorisms by some of the best travel writers in the world.

It starts with something I thought I'd share:

cur•mud•geon {not even going to begin to try to the phonetics in]

1 archaic: a crusty, ill-tempered, churlish old man

2 modern: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Well, Mudge, you may be ancient but you're definitely thoroughly modern.

And now, back to work...

Posted by: omnigood | February 23, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

omnigood!!!!! I was getting seriously worried about you.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

You are a man ahead of his time, Tim. Maybe by only three or four days, but still...

CqP, I suspect you've begun writing like a pirate because of the questionable company you sometimes keep (me, bc, Brag, Padouk, PJ, etc. Arrrghhhhh.) Keira Knightley has the same problem.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

On Kit comment: Mythology 101

Europa: (Greek Εὐρώπη) was a noble Phoenician woman. Unlucky in life, Europa later became immortal in the name of the continent. Zeus abducted her in the form of a white bull. She may have been a daughter of primordial Oceanus and Tethys.

Ganymede: (Greek: Γανυμήδης) was a Trojan prince, son of the eponymous Tros of Dardania, and of Callirrhoe, and brother of Ilus and Assaracus. Ganymede was extremely beautiful. For this, he was abducted by Zeus (he played for both teams) in the form of an eagle.

(Τιτάν - Ti-tan; plural: Τιτᾶνες - Ti-tânes); were powerful deities that ruled during the legendary Golden Age, before the age of Zeus and his crew of Olympians.

So, I would study Europa, based on the classic story:

young milkmaid in the field of flowers and watching cows....along comes a really big cow; she goes for a ride....the ride turns out to not be what she expected....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm perfectly happy with the first definition, omni. Methinks the second flatters me a bit too much. But I'll wear either.

BUT FOR GOD'S SAKES, MAN, DON'T DISAPPEAR ON US LIKE THAT! We wuz all starting to get worried. Whadja do, go on a walkabout? You didn't have a blackout and wake up in a squalorous motel room in Tijuana with a new tattoo and a floozy, did you?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Or, as Joseph Campbell once said,

"So, her parents wake up and see she isn't in the teepee and of course the first thing they think is, 'She probably ran off with the buffalo-prince!' The buffalo-prince *always* gets the girl."

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki, the stories are the same always and everywhere...and Rahda and the cows and later blue Prince Krishna....let's study


for the classic narrative reasons.

OK, scTim?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I liked "Europa and the Pirate Twins." It's a shame it got overshadowed by "Blinded me by Science."

Oh. Wait.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse that there's anything wrong with that, omni.

Zeus played for BOTH teams? I never knew that.

However, I've long thought that when it comes to chosing a supreme deity, Zeus was a pretty lousy role model. I mean, look at his track record! Abducting and deflowering women left, right, and center. "Unfaithful" to his wife doesn't even BEGIN to cover it. Not to mention all his other various and sundry cruelties.

Taken altogether, I've long thought that Greek mythology is basically the ancient origin of the Aristocrats joke. It's tough to find an all-around nice deity -- and when you do find one he/she (most often a she) is some sort of victim.

These weren't deities one should make sacrifices to and worship. These were deities who need a restraining order and some serious counseling.

Just your Bullfinch Thought for the Day.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Did it have a dog in it?

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the buffalo prince...another guy who needs a dose of saltpeter in his pemmican.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I think it was a goat Yoki.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 23, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank for clearing up the mix-up between me and rainforest, TBG. I was wracking my brain trying to remember if I posted something about moving (and the Oscar link) and was beginning to think I was losing my mind! Whew. Not moving and had seen the Jackman opening of the Oscars on TV last night. There. I'm all straight now!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | February 23, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Not only did Zeus play for both teams, I think he MANAGED both teams -- and was known to abuse his managerial power in deciding who got to play at what position, if you take my meaning.

I am fairly certain that Zeus was a beautiful white BULL when he abducted Europa, not a cow. It is only his proclivities that were in flux, never his gender. If I recall correctly, his grandson was the Minotaur, more than hinting that he didn't bother changing back to humanoid form when he had his way with Europa -- or she with him. Whatever. I have never understood why a giant man with the head of a bull (an herbivore, if you are weak on your zoology) would be an obligate carnivore -- anthropophagous, to boot.

I always was fond of Hephaestus.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Alas, Tim, the Minotaur was one of few offspring Zeus DIDN't sire. We find from wiki:

"After he ascended the throne of Crete, Minos struggled with his brothers for the right to rule. Minos prayed to Poseidon to send him a snow-white bull, as a sign of approval. He was to sacrifice the bull in honor of Poseidon but decided to keep it instead because of its beauty. To punish Minos, Poseidon caused Pasiphaë, Minos' wife, to fall madly in love with the bull from the sea, the Cretan Bull.[4] She had Daedalus, the famous architect, make a wooden cow for her. Pasiphaë climbed into the decoy in order to copulate with the white bull. The offspring of their coupling was a monster called the Minotaur."

The word Minotaur joins the name Minos with the word for bull, taurus. And the architect Daedalus was the one who with Icarus flew toward the sun, etc. I believe they are still trying to find Icarus' black box.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, piffle. Then again, who are you going to believe -- me and my half-remembered bits of predigested mythology, or Wikipedia?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 23, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

You really have to be a Cretin Bull to copulate with a wooden cow.

I wouldn't bathe with my dogs. ewwwwwwww.
Although we sometimes share the same pool. But there is 80 000 liters of water in the pool, not 80.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 23, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I'm sorry to have missed the Robin Givhan chat. I've looked at the WaPo photo gallery of the red carpet and had a couple of reactions to the garments:

Sarah Jessica Parker: A little too Glinda the Good Witch for my taste.

Tilda Swinton: Lobster bib on top; Hefty bag on bottom.

Amy Adams: Lovely woman, lovely dress--why is she wearing a chunk of swimming pool around her neck?

Jessica Biel: Wearing one of Tilda's cast-off lobster bibs.

And to prove I'm not totally snarky, I thought Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, and Anne Hathaway looked mahvellous.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 23, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

In fairness to you, Tim, there is some speculation that Zeus was the Cretan Bull, although the jury is still out on this.

"Some forms of Greek mythology associated the constellation with the tame white bull, in some versions Zeus in disguise, that seduced Europa and took her to Crete (Minos), whereas others associate it with the white bull that fathered the Minotaur. The Cretan Bull which fathered the Minotaur was originally calm and sent from Poseidon, but the king (Minos) whom it was sent to fell out of favour with Poseidon, and so in some versions of the story, Poseidon made the bull angry."

Me: But if Poseidon [Zeus] *sent* the white bull, he himself couldn't logically also BE the white bull.

We need some DNA testing here, methinks.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 23, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

So Zeus is like Al? Who is both a creation of RT but also, somehow, RT's alter-ego? Although, RT, you are not the crystal goblet nor, somehow, the wine.

No no, the White Bull is like Al, and Zeus is nothing like RT nor a crystal goblet?

I'm getting confused.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, 'tis shapeshifting, no need to whip out the cheek swabs for DNA testing.

The Olympians are different from you and me.

Raysmom: agree...although I could accept Tilda's swathing of herself if the colors were better for her porcelain loveliness. i look a bit Tilda-ish in winter. One of the rules of fashion is that beautiful people can rock the odd and ugly. Remember Sinead O'Connor and the lovely bald head?

But the algebra is this:

Tilda's odd beauty requires

lovely color + swaddling cloth = striking TS1


fleshy color + shaped style = striking TS2;


fleshy color + swaddling cloth = odd odd disappointing TS3

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I defend Tilda Swinton's fashion choices to the death. For it tells us that she doesn't give a carp, and that totally rawks. As does everything else about her.

However, I agree with you CP, that she is a beauty that is hard to see.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Agree, Yoki. Tilda is refreshing and let's admit, the clothes are real clothes. Bork's bird thing and Lara Flynn Boyles' ballerinie garb -- costumes.

She might also find that the being costumed part of actor-life is oppressive. It is. Some people hate, hate, hate being dressed. So, she might be rebelling against that objectification of the techne.

I say this, having costumed people with body and psychology issues about clothing....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I rather liked Tilda's outfit, but I agree that better colors would be good for her. The outfit that I really didn't care for was Sarah Jessica Parker's. Looked to me like the girls were just about to pop out. Now a wardrobe malfunction has its place for entertainment, but the red carpet at the Oscars is not it.

Posted by: slyness | February 23, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not so sure that Tilda's choices show she doesn't give a carp. Because the clothes she chooses serve to call *more* attention to her. And if she didn't give a carp, why would she want to do that?

Posted by: Raysmom | February 23, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't see them as mutually exclusive. My thought is she doesn't give a carp what you think of her clothing or anything else, she dresses to please herself, her odd aesthetic, and if you find that compelling to look at, well, so be it. She doesn't seem to care one way or the other about that, either.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse


About SJP and the puppies: were I to make a bodice like that for a performer and NOT adjust for subtle restraint...I would be fired....text book sample in Costuming 357 of what effect NOT to achieve.

However, we must remind ourselves of the context here: SJP may well want the perked puppies as plush and plump evidence that the pups are not tired and etc. She may want that effect for the carpet and for our living rooms.

The other storyline is that the gown is vintage. SJP may needed to force the puppies into the smallest of crates because the store is out of medium crates.

Last storyline: actors often have body dimorphism problems. SJP may, like many colleagues, have unrealistic "feel" ingrained into her. So, the puppies must be constricted into upward feel right.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. I do not want to reveal too many trade secrets. But, the bodice and corset is an engineering and structure feat of derring do. I have made four corsets....hardest thing ever, ever, ever. When they are good they are very very good; when bad, absolutely horrid.

TS does not care about it all. But also makes a statement. Both are right, I think.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Anne Hathaway is currently filming the next Tim Burton movie, Alice in Wonderland. She'll play the White Queen. Don't pop a major artery there Tim.
Bonham-Carter is the Red Queen and Depp the Mad Hatter. It may become a classic.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 23, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

About the color: the taupe/dove/pigeon color on Meryl Streep worked fine. Meryl has a bit more color in her pale complexion. Even a subtle shift in TS's mushroom or putty top...perhaps a necklace with color...a scarf...even a hair ornament....would have helped. Needed a contrast....and, perhaps in person TS's color was fine....remember, the lights and broadcast setting.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I read that Meryl's color was dove gray. Did Robin Givhan say that? To me, it looked like it was shading over towards lavender. I didn't care for it.

I loved Angelina's gown. It showed off her sexy figure but not too much.

Posted by: slyness | February 23, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

By "not too much" you must mean "not nearly enough."

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I've always liked puppies. They're so cute.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge- Poseidon and Zeus are not the same dude. Poseidon was the Greek name of Neptune, god of the sea. And Zeus was the bull-headed AC/DC who liked to impregnate.

Posted by: Gomer144 | February 23, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

No matter how well that dress stuck, a 1/2 breast neckline just begs out for straps, stole, hands, anything.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Poseidon had a thing for horses, not bulls, too. I think either Zeus did a switcheroo for a white pony, or this was a Cretean bull-cult retell of the centaur myth.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Or at least double-sided tape, the model's best friend. Another thing I learned from my theatre-peeps.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse


This gallery of distinctive Oscar gowns through the years is pretty darn good. No. 20 is the self-made Joanne Woodward gown for winning the 1557 Oscar. Complicated bodice to fit and sew. Nicely done.

Other highlights:

Audrey Hepburn's white lace cocktail dress
Grace Kelly's blue satin Grecian gown
Uma Thurman's lavender Prada slip dress (like Carolyn Bessette K's wedding dress)

Cher's BobbedMackie abomination (one of them)
Annie Hall's tuxedo/spats/bowler channel of Charlie Chapman
Charlize Theron's Titanic Bow disaster

others good and bad.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 23, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Double-sided tape sounds like a mammoth undress operation afterwards. Ew.

Even if she was wearing some, it still doesn't look right.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Johnny Depp the Mad Hatter. Are we ready?

On the side, the NY Times reports on cutbacks at the mighty Metropolitan Museum of Art. I happened to wander into their Orlando store as it was closing--exited with Christmas cards, a book on Japanese prints, and a big ceramic tile after Frank Lloyd Wright.

One tidbit from the cutback letter was that foreign tourism in the Big City will be down in 2009, important because 35% of the Met's visitors are from abroad. Which is intriguing. Europeans coming to NYC to see the Met. Those rich Americans from the Gilded Age onward must have plundered Europe pretty effectively.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

CP - Those pictures are fun. And they include the infamous "Shoulder Bow" gown worn by Charlize Theron in '06.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

The Met also has an unique musical instrument collection of over 5,000 pieces, detailing history of manufacture.

And it has plenty of Americana as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Dave, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter sounds like perfect typecasting.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that's the problem. Alice got the Disney treatment, long ago. I'm not sure anyone reads the book any more; I certainly couldn't make sense of it, circa 6th grade and didn't retry in college. The Red Queen (from Looking Glass) later turned into a major intellectual figure, inspiring a whole raft of evolutionary theory.

My hunch is that Burton's Alice will be discomfiting, indeed. More so than the Demon Barber.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Blessedly, the Met has great Americana and they show it off. Not long ago, they borrowed a bunch of Louis Comfort Tiffany stuff from the wonderful Morse Museum in Winter Park. The Morse houses the trophies of determined salvage and restoration work, much of it done at a time when Tiffany was seemingly scorned.

I got to visit the National Palace Museum in Taipei for its Grand View re-opening show a couple of years ago. Along with the Palace's own wonders, they proudly featured paintings from the Met and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

Occasions like this say a lot about the treasures we have in the US. I pray that the grand museums in cities like Detroit and Cleveland can hold on to their collections.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I was the Mad Hatter in my school's seventh grade production. I love the Alice stories in part because they are so subtextually creepy. Tim Burton is just the guy to do it justice.

'The Red Queen's Race' is a fairly famous Isaac Asimov short story.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I read those books a few times, Dave. They make perfect nonsense.

And like Yello says, they do have subtextual creepiness. They parody various rather creepy figures.

Today, I suppose the Mad Hatter could well be Nixon, and the Red Queen would be Dick Cheney-- "Off with her head! What, I thought she was a quail..."

The famous trial scene is unfortunately too familiar now.

And the caucus race? Beauty, especially after last year's Democractic caucuses/primaries.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

sorry to worry all, but i have said I'm doing my job AND training idiots to do it after I'm gone

And when i say idiots i am insulting idiots the world over.

I'm also doing triple duty trying to do as much as I can to 'child' proof the processing...

I will make the IBPH. I hope bc can make it cause I'm sure to remember to bring that book...

Meanwhile. i am seriously considering taking Brag up on his offer to visit him when my shift ends in Abril.

Also, an aside to Mudge, I did get your e-mail, but unfortunately, none of that was up my alley

and one more also, if anyone needs or knows of someone who needs a Data Processing Programmer Extraordinaire....I'm Your Guy

(después de que vuelva de Chile, ok)

[it being me, meaning I] (Babel Fish back translate ... )

OK, I've lost it...time to watch 'Lost' season one episode 4 ... again

If Mudge and I were lost ... he would be Jack (and there would be no contest between he and Sawyer) and I would be Charlie (without the musical talent and habit)
åI luvs me some Claire ... though I'm partial to brunettes, she has such a purty accent [sigh]

Posted by: omnigood | February 23, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

"And they include the infamous 'Shoulder Bow' gown worn by Charlize Theron in '06."

And may I add also worn by RD Padouk in '06.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 23, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

wanna hear/read something funny?

On my home I stopped in a local watering hole for happy hour ... HaHa.

Wait, that's not the funny part.

the funny part is I said/wrote that's funny ... (irony alert one (I think))

No, but seriously folks .... I was at the end of the bar and four seats or so over the bartender was showing this alligator head toy to some other patrons. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but it looked like they were touching the tongue and then pulling their hand away real quick ... like it was supposed to close...I thought it's a toy ... it can't possibly hurt. so I walk over and realize you are supposed to push a tooth down. My one and only push snapped the jaw and I walk away with arms raised like I'm the Champ (irony alert two I'm sure).

Turns out they were playing a game that whoever gets caught buys a round. Me being the good sport that I am said OK. Five drinks on my tab. Made some friends, and the the bartender bought ME a drink.

being the good sport I am, I left a 30% tip.

Now really, I am seriously missing me Claire

Posted by: omnigood | February 23, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Just saw a news squib that Microsoft thinks it overpaid the severance to some of its layed off workers. It wants them to send a check or money order. LOL

Posted by: bh71 | February 23, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

But, TBG, it looked much better on Charlize.

At least I hope it did.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 23, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

RD - we *know* you like puppies.

CP, Yoki, & etc. -- thanks for the pup training insights. We guys think we have it difficult with the whole external plumbing arrangement, but that tends be to be, er, camoflaged somewhat. Certainly nothing to be considered as part of a public appearance package anyway (ahem).

Omni, I expect to be there on Thursday evening, so please do bring the book.

Now - I'm thinking that a long hot bath, a big glass of red wine, and a good book are in order for the evening. Or until I fall asleep (which shouldn't take too long).

But first, a little comet hunting...


Posted by: -bc- | February 23, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Bc, thankfully the days of codpieces are over. Maybe someday people will be shaking their head over Madonna's cones along with victorian bustles and thinking we were really obsessed-- even as they adjust their overinflated calf-pads...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 23, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

No more codpieces? But...but...

I never got the memo...

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 23, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

who left the freezer door open? Seesh it is flippin cold tonight!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 23, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Well, EYE am just glad to know that omni is omnigood on this green earth.

Lovely dinner-out with the family; talk of Hamlet (duh!) and Shakespeare in general (plus two performances of Shakespeare-single-handed-in-under-60-seconds [one by me - The Tempest, one by #2 - Romeo and Juliet -- a small speciality of ours] others in the extended family do fish impressions or impromptu wedding toasts for strangers); metafiction, experimental fiction (and the difference between the two); the reading or reciting of poetry and its interpretation, a dance or two; *wonderful* presents from the girls and their usual too-funny cards (one a pop-up concerning itself with dog farts), a loving card from Himself; physics-boy very dry and witty; fine food, excellent wine, great service, and home before my bedtime. It just doesn't get any better than this. We laughed and laughed. *So* much fun.

Good night, Boodle dear.

Posted by: Yoki | February 23, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi, JustSaying5!

Thanks very much for the link. Hope to see you post more often.

TBG, thanks for the explanation. I’ve sent workers home kicking and screaming when they were 55. They kept saying they can still work.

Posted by: rainforest1 | February 24, 2009 5:05 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends, and happy to hear from you Omni. The fact that you're working with folks that give idiots a bad name must be really tough.

Mudge, I didn't read Robinson this morning, hoping you can give me the 411 on that. Do we really want to know what the banks did with that money?

As for the fashions at the Oscars, I think Tilda doesn't care one bit about the clothes she wears at these events, and perhaps that's a statement in itself. She just might be uncomfortable in those kinds of clothes.

Raysmom, Angelina Jolie looked fantastic, but N. Portman just did not come up to the mark for me. And Sarah Jessica Parker was a nightmare in that garb she tried to pass off as style. And who picked that gown for the teen throb, M. Cyrus? Someone described it as a Christmas tree, which failed to do it justice. I've seen better looking Christmas trees.

And Heidi K. needed to go back to the drawing board with her outfit. M. Streep looked okay, but she always looks to me like she's fading. Perhaps it is her coloring. Some of the gowns were beautiful, just did not go with the folks that were wearing them. I think it takes a brave woman to wear off shoulder gowns and gowns with ruffles. Ruffles are for little girls. Off shoulders are for women with plenty of, well the word "b" comes to mind.

Slyness, I haven't walked in days, and I'm seriously thinking about it this morning, but it's colder this morning than yesterday morning. No excuses here, just don't want to brave the cold. If I don't start back soon, it's going to be like starting all over again.

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

Time to ponder the idea of walking.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 24, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

And the mom with the babies, more surprises coming out. Now we have the man that thinks he's the father wanting to know for sure if he's the father. Mom says no, but she asked for his sperm under the pretense of having ovarian cancer. He moved on with his life, but now back in this. I'll bet his wife is loving this.

At the grocery store, the magazines show this mom with a picture of Angelina Jolie next to her picture. I'm thinking the authorities might need to keep a check on this mom, and those babies. Is there a grown-up in the house?

And where are these kids that are killing getting the guns from? And where's mom and dad? Can we send mom and dad to jail?

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 24, 2009 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. I meant to feel better this morning. Darn cold. I got stuff to do! The snotty nose really needs to go away...

Oh well. I will have to see about the walk this morning, Cassandra. I walked yesterday and it was okay. It didn't feel as cold as said it was.

I have to go to a funeral but fortunately it's this afternoon and not this morning.

Okay, onward and upward.

Posted by: slyness | February 24, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you reminded me of something I’ve seen in those pictures of the octomom. She appears to have manicured French fingernails. I find it curious that she has the time and the money to have this done. And I don’t think long nails are practical when you’re caring for young children and infants. Maybe I’m just cranky, but it speaks volumes to me about where her head is at.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 24, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

In my morning Facebook notes: congratulations from a colleague to the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) team.

In my email a few minutes again: an announcement that NASA will convene a mishap investigation board because OCO failed to achieve orbit.

In the old days, they would get the flight-spare spacecraft ready for launch and have it up in a few weeks, maybe months. These days, there are no flight spares. This is not good news.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 24, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

"Failed to achieve orbit"? Does that mean "crashed"?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 24, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I think pretty much. I have seen no other reporting yet -- we could hope that it's a message prepared in case of a bad outcome and it was just sent out by mistake. But I doubt it.

Failure to achieve orbit can also be a second-stage failure, failure of the satellite's onboard motor, that sort of thing.

On the first launch of the Ariane 5, it "failed to achieve flight certification," meaning that the control software went haywire and the rocket tore itself to pieces just off the pad.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 24, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

SciTim - That is horrible news about the OCO. I know how important that satellite is. One would think that by this point in the game we could reliably get those things up there. But, alas, bitter experience has taught us otherwise.

yello - Fail to Achieve Orbit typically means that the sat has ended up somewhere it isn't supposed to be. So, no, it isn't just a euphemism. Indeed, as we all know, sometimes sats that fail to achieve orbit have to be shot down.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 24, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

You know what would be cool? If they could do a night launch of a rocket off the Washington Monument. I guess it might scortch a few cherry trees and blow the water out of the Tidal Basin, but it would be cool. (or hot).

Posted by: russianthistle | February 24, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Here's the official NASA statement:

"Several minutes into the flight of the Taurus rocket carrying NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory spacecraft, launch managers declared a contingency after the payload fairing failed to separate."

OJ Simpson is very lucky he wasn't supposed to be on board.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 24, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

OR, WAS HE????

OJ, the Final Chapter.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 24, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

It's now being reported that the sat failed to separate properly from the upper stage and everything crashed into Antarctica.

Fording Carping Dalmation.

When a sat like this fails not only does it mean the loss of millions of dollars of hardware and the loss of mission capability, it also means that many scientists who have committed themselves to the analysis of the data so generated now are left with nothing.

And, as a practical manner, it reduces the confidence in all satellite launches.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 24, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

RD, does this mean that it is a very sad day, indeed, in dark (but not dank) laboratories around the globe?

Posted by: russianthistle | February 24, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 24, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Do I understand that these "thangs" are getting to be very data-dense emitters.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 24, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I had not been keeping up with this particular bird. Now I see its loss is particularly ill-timed and bad.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 24, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I had just finished this global CO2 blogpost a few days ago.
Connolley's work of course tells the real story. In the links.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 24, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The loss of this sat should sadden us all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 24, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I am asking One Who Knows about flight spares for OCO.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 24, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

A subdued good morning boodle, out of deference to those who mourn. At a loss for words in more ordinary circumstances, what can I say? So sorry about your satellite.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has an op-ed piece in today's WaPo "Banks That Had a Brain"
A little cute with a lead off Keillor reference and an Oz analogy running throughout, but she didn't embarrass herself, or us, so for Minnesotans it's cool.

Small town stim package report- 31 showed up at our housing repair and weatherization forum yesterday. Our two-county agency that handles this stuff will weatherize 400 homes in the next 18 months. They would normally do 90 in that time, and 0 from our town (they've done 1 here in 30 years). Lots of work for small contractors.

The transportation bill due out next month should have opportunities for things like our paved hiking and biking trail. We've only been working on this for 3 years, have the alignment and easements in hand. If the ground weren't frozen we'd be able to start tomorrow.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 24, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Obama may be canceling the new Marine One chopper. I've got a friend who is the PAO for that program. He might be unemployed soon.

Cassandra, here's Robinson's money line: "they [bankers] had a decade-long toga party, safeguarding our money with the diligence and sobriety of the fraternity brothers in "Animal House."

I don't know why, but the Post and maybe NASA are falling all over themselves not to state the obvious. The front page teaser calls it a "troubled" launch, as though it had some sort of juveile delinquency issues. The jump page headline says it "landed in the ocean," which sounds nice and benign.

AP says it "failed to reach orbit." That's like saying Custer "failed to reach Montana."

The PR guy for the rocket builder says it "splashed into the ocean," which makes it sound like it was enjoying a nice vacation in Puerto Vallarta.

Nobody wants to say it hung up and crashed, which is plain English. I believe this is called "experiencing a euphemism event."

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

Mudge, we've seen it here. You think that your job is fine, then, one day--as Emeril puts it--BAM! Last night, I got an email from a new friend who started a job just three weeks ago (leaving the job she shouldn't have left) and then BAM. Here is your check through right now. May I please have your key card and here's a box for your "stuff."

Posted by: russianthistle | February 24, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Breakfast is being served at the new kit.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 24, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I would also suggest as a counter to the Post's piece that Nationalizing certain banks was always on the table, but wasn't thought to be as close to reality as we are now observing.

I have here and other places blogged away with little resulting conversation, that the Fed. Govt should be dumping money into smaller local banks that are still working. The larger ones which, in many ways, have participated in this contraction of consumer and small business credit, may very well become "occupied" territories just long enough to be broken back up into regional operations that can be more responsive to their locales.

We don't need a big Citigroup. We need 30 smaller local banks that are out there in the community and who's managers understand must function "LIKE A BANK" to survive.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 24, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I jst got a call from my old boss at Pax (we keep in touch) and learned my friend the PAO left that slot some time ago and is working with some other chopper program elsewhere on the base. And he's a fed, so he's fire-proof. (They just move ya around from spot to spot; it's us contractors who get fired on 10 minutes notice.) But yes, Obama's comment is richocheting all through the military. And my boss, among others, says Obama is dead right, and that program is way bloated and over-run, and past due for scrutiny. So good for the O-man for spotting it and doing something about it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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