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Bluebell Season

[My story in today's Weekend section.]

The officially iconic harbinger of spring in Washington is the sudden blossoming at the Tidal Basin of thousands and thousands, perhaps millions, of tourists. Somewhere in that mass of humanity are a bunch of cherry trees. Question: How did the cherry blossoms become more iconic than the bluebells?

The bluebells -- Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, specifically -- are the very opposite of exotic. They are not as flamboyant, to be sure, as cherry trees. They don't preen like tulips. But they're local, reliable, never disappointing. Perhaps that's what you expect from a native perennial, but with so many other things going downhill lately, it'll be nice to see the bluebells again.

The structure of a bluebell plant is so simple it might have been designed with a crayon. Sometimes you see just the one, an outlier poking up from the opportunistic garlic mustard and other invasive weeds, but usually the bluebells travel in packs. They may form just some patches along a trail, but there are places where they ramble across the landscape and turn the woods into the Bluebell Kingdom.

They bloom in the promising weeks of early spring, when the bugs haven't fully arrived, the spiders haven't booby-trapped the trails with webbing and the trees haven't fully leafed out and gloomed the woods. The biggest danger in bluebell season is mud or a late cold spell that will droop the bluebells for a couple of days before they pull themselves together.

You can buy a bluebell at a garden center, but that's like seeing a fox in the zoo. Nothing makes me weep like the sight of a wildflower in captivity.

My favorite patches of bluebells are in the floodplain of the Potomac gorge, one on the Virginia bank inside the Beltway, one on the Maryland bank farther upstream, but beyond that I will eschew specificity lest the locations go all Tidal Basin on me. The bluebells deserve to live in peace.

When I visit my bluebell patches, I see only a few dog walkers, the herons, the songbirds, the squirrels, scrawny deer here and there, and the very occasional black snake waking up from its winter torpor. The frogs provide a soundtrack.

There are other wildflowers, too, such as Dutchman's breeches, though invariably I find myself wondering if I'm really looking at a Dutchman's breeches or something that I mistakenly think is a Dutchman's breeches. The confusion coming from a lack of knowledge about the Dutch, I suppose.

And, yes, it does cross one's mind that the reason bluebells are so great is that everyone knows what they look like. (If you don't: They're the ones with the flowers that look like little blue bells.)

The peak of the bluebells will probably be sometime in mid-April, but unlike the cherry trees, no one need try to nail the peak moment precisely. The bluebell world is more relaxed than that. It's easy come, easy go. There's no pressure: just nice wildflowers.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 20, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Next: Outrage Week in the Capital


I just bought some Virginia Bluebells to plant yesterday, I am on kit!

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I just hate bluebells. Bluebells just ached and ached for hours. There was only one way to get rid of bluebells and it was a little awkward and embarrassing Fortunately as I age, I get bluebells less and less often. I don't know if marriage is supposed to stop bluebells, but I still get bluebells now and then. I guess if I never had bluebells, I'd be just as worried.


A flower?


Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Since we are talking Bluebells, and lovely they are had them at my old house as well, I need some advice.

Last fall I purchased some English and Spanish bluebell bulbs (attempting a non-partisan garden) but the ground froze too early for me to get the bulbs in - can I plant now or should I wait til fall again. Same for some Anemone St. Caen bulbs. CP, DotC, Seasea?

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The bluebells along the C&O Canal are particularly pretty. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The boss is into flowers? Sheese, he's been hangin' around the boodle too long!!! :-)

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm the weed, so I'm on kit.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

And in the There Sarah Goes Again But It's No Great Surprise Department:

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

There may be a job opening at that place up in McLean:
It seems the James Bond movies undersell the sex.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Wow, whatever kind of coffee I'm drinking is REEAAALLY GOOD!

AND, I am very excited about the weather that is expected for the weekend.

I'm so happy!

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

And in the Now For Something REALLY Completely Different Department, I just heard a big-band jazz version of Steve Miller's 80s hit, "Abracadabra."

*raised eyebrow*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

bluebell world... that's me!

Posted by: MissToronto | March 20, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

OK, today I can post my comments. Yesterday, I could not. This makes me crazy. Yesterday, I had something clever to say 'bout sprinting through the neighborhood wearing nothing but a bow tie. But now, never mind.

The day before yesterday, I had a nuc-o-lar stress test. The doc said that my heart is beating well, although it's a bit "wobley", a not uncommon condition among bypass patients. It never ceases to amaze me that I could see a computer rendition of my own heart, actually beating, against the background of a measurement grid. While I was on the treadmil, the doc grilled me about how much I've been exercizing. When I said, "a lot", he cranked the treadmil up as high and as fast as it would go. "How do you feel, now?" he asked. Memo to self: keep me mouth shut from now on.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

OK, today I can post my comments. Yesterday, I could not. This makes me crazy. Yesterday, I had something clever to say 'bout sprinting through the neighborhood wearing nothing but a bow tie. But now, never mind.

The day before yesterday, I had a nuc-o-lar stress test. The doc said that my heart is beating well, although it's a bit "wobley", a not uncommon condition among bypass patients. It never ceases to amaze me that I could see a computer rendition of my own heart, actually beating, against the background of a measurement grid. While I was on the treadmil, the doc grilled me about how much I've been exercizing. When I said, "a lot", he cranked the treadmil up as high and as fast as it would go. "How do you feel, now?" he asked. Memo to self: keep me mouth shut from now on.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the subject is wildflowers. Great choice. My roses are beginning to show signs of life. They're not actually mine, they were here when I showed up. It is a beautiful day here in the Carolinas. I think I just might skip the laundry room and stay outside. It is a bit chilly for spring, but I'll wrap up.

I do hope it's nice where you are, and that you get a chance to go outside and enjoy the sun, the landscape, whatever.

God is so good.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 20, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Having been raised in a valley once known exclusively for its flowering bulbs, I have a soft spot for perennials. And while daffodils and tulips were the mainstay of my youth, there were plenty of bluebells around as well.

My mother planted a patch of them in our back yard sometime in the Kennedy Administration, and they reappeared faithfully as long as I lived in that house. Bluebells are a simple flower, but the purity and intensity of their color is one of my earliest memories. I vaguely remember seeing them glowing brightly against a backdrop of fresh snow.

When I was sixteen I was about to go on a date with a young woman with shimmering blonde hair when I suddenly decided to surprise her with flowers. I cut a modest bouquet of these bluebells to present to her. Never underestimate the delight that freshly-cut bluebells can have on a 16 year old.

I remember one of the very last times I visited that house, the bluebells were there waiting for me. That’s how it is with perennials. They offer you their beauty to enjoy today, and when they are gone they offer you the promise of their eventual return. And sometimes you can give them to a pretty girl.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

RD, great story!

Flowers know how to keep giving! I had a friend who, many years ago, bought her first house with her new husband. They got the house in the fall and enjoyed it greatly until one spring morning when they looked out on their front lawn and the previous owner's name popped up in big letters across the whole lawn in bulb-sourced blossoms.

They conveyed.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Did they convey with a shovel or a backhoe, weed? *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Is Bluebell Season before or after Porching Season and do either coincide with March Madness?

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning sunshine! Not that there is any here, it is cool and cloudy, but at least I know the sun is out there somewhere.

Here we have bluebonnets, which I always think of as Texas bluebonnets, and everything Joel said applies equally well to them. There's a big vacant mowed lot on the way to the Capitol which seasonally is filled with bluebonnets. The owner has a big permanent Ron Paul sign on the property, but we forgive him for the flowers.

Of course, if you want to talk about purple wildflowers, I have an unusually vibrant and thriving crop of henbit in every yard. Think of it as a grass-like lawn product.

russianthistle, does hondo coffee ship to the heartland?

Later y'all, I'm going to drop in at work.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

That was beautiful, RD_P.

I don't think I've ever seen bluebells in nature.

Weed, that's funny.

When Himself and I put hardwood on the main floor of our house, during the time that the subfloor was exposed we decorated it with many paintings, poems, equations, quotations, riddles, etc.

I don't know that this will ever be discovered, but if it is the featured art is a large painting of Robert Plant in the dining room (#2 and her best friend), the full text of both "To His Coy Mistress" and the St. Cripin's day speech from Henry V in the hall (me), and a family portrait including dogs and a very nice Siamese cat in the family room (Himself and #1). Good times.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Whoa. I have just completed my backboodling and discovered via Wilbrod's 1:37 a.m. post to my shock that *I* am the object of LiT's midnight umbrage. I read that post, didn't know who or what it was referring to, and made no effort to find out. I had briefly mulled it and assumed the miscreant in question was probably one of two people, one being Kevin Spacey, i.e., "the usual suspect," and other possibly having something to do with all the Brazilian stuff (I was aware, from a private e-mail or two, that people other than LiT were not happy with that thread).

And no, as Wilbrod speculated, I missed the preceding post at the bottom of the previous kit, so didn't know what precipitated the midnight umbrage (and still haven't gone back that far to read it, which I think is the wiser course at this point).

I believe that the major focus of the midnight rant was not so much the original offensive statement, whatever it was, but that the miscreant in question was blatantly ignoring you and thereby being rude.

And so I do confess and beg forgiveness: yes, I *was* ignoring you, LiT, because I didn't know I was the one you were addressing, and so, yes, I do apologize profusely. And you may charge me with being dense, clueless and oblivious (my wife does all the time), for which I again abjectly apologize, but no, I was not being deliberately rude.

(Whereas I *was* deliberately ignoring mako, in part because I didn't fully understand his/her complaint. I understand that Loomis and I more or less agree on the matter of the bonuses, but I couldn't figure out what martooni had to do with anything or whom he offended; I couldn't even remeber him posting anything, let alone it being offensive to someone. So in keeping with the oft-cited Boodle recommendation to hold one's tongue, yes, I ignored mako, in part because it seemed at first to be one of those snotty drive-by trolls we have been asked to ignore. Yup, guilty of ignoring mako because I was trying to be good, and made light of it with the Harriet Miers joke.)

I am not especially aware that I said anything that isn't being said by Obama, or the 300-whatever members of Congress, E.J. Dionne, Pearlstein, 2/3 of all the other pundits, and a very large majority of the pitchfork-wielding American people. But perhaps I did, or perhaps I mis-spoke myself, or didn't express myself clearly. I think it is clear -- or it isn't clear then it ought to be --that my own pitchforkness is directed at the 73 people who got the million-dollar bonus, not the support staff. And my umbrage is also directed at AIG management, which has been telling contradictory stories that I view as rationalizations if not some outright lies. Beyond that, if I said something deemed offensive, then I'm perfectly happy to apologize. Whatever it was, it is not readily apparent to me, but then again, I've already confessed to being somewhat oblivious.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 20, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It's also the season for spring beauties, which are the old-fashioned soda jerks of the forest-- and about as endangered.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Morning all
We have oodles of bluebelles here in west by god,but mostly at the river.Several years ago I dug a bunch up and brought up on the mountain.It was like an alarm went off in the deer community"bluebelles in green with envy's yard" Meet you there for lunch. So now they need to be very close to the porch for them to survive.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Spring ephemerals - something I can speak on more intelligently than the economy (not that that's saying much). It's officially spring now, and we awoke to a dusting of snow and 18 degree temps. I think our wildflowers are a ways off...

Every year I look forward to a wildflower garden (in a city park)filled with spring ephemerals - trillium, Dutchman's breeches, wild geranium, marsh marigolds, skunk cabbage. Their blooms often coincide with warbler migration. Since the leaves in our climate don't unfurl until late April, there is that magical week in which the understory blooms and one can actually see into the trees those flying blooms that are the warblers on their way further north to make babies. (Does that lead us back to bluebells?) It is marvelous.

I don't know if I can endure another month without spring... We do have a trip to DC planned, though (my first since 1993, my husband's and children's first ever). We'll be among the touring mobs. There wouldn't perchance be a BPH the week of March 30, would there?

Posted by: mlwjaw | March 20, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey 'Mudge, don't go thinkin' you can challenge me for the title of Densest Boodler Ever, now...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Scotty, trowel, I believe. We would go back each year for the arrival to see how they were doing.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Perchance absolutely, mlwjaw!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Joel eschews specificity - and gets paid for it! I am so jealous...

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

If RDP gave bluebells to a blonde, what flowers does he give to the redheads? Enquiring minds want to know.

Memo to self: Pick up some flowers tonight on the way home.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, when I installed a jetted bathtub in the town house my wife and I originally lived in, I covered the back side of some drywall with both Schrödinger's equation and the generalized formula for relativistic equivalence of energy and mass.

But what you did is way cooler.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

RD, make sure that you are properly signing in the bathtub.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Red roses.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

You are *such* a Romantic, RD!

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Being a guy, I didn't want to FUSS with flowers, I just wanted some in the yard. So I planted some tulip bulbs in a corner, threw a bag of bone meal on top, and have ignored any maintenance since that day. So I get a glorious profusion yearly. finally the day came when I knew I needed to dig them up, separate the bulbs, and replant some somewhere else. The pecan tree roots have moved in and there is no way. Ah, pink and orange tulips, you look so stupid together... I must learn to accept this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

A wose... How wo-mantic.

Won't you sit down, Shewwif?


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Jumper pick either all the pink or all the orange and put them in a vase for your table,then leave the other color in the ground,it won't look so stupid then and you get to enjoy them twice.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I love it that you shouted out for Spring Beauties, Wilbrod. There's a relative of them here.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Decided to start making a red sauce for lunch. Given a properly stocked refrigerator and sharp knife, I start with a browned mirapoix. Extra ripe tomatoes and sliced mushrooms sauteed in a nice oil, then deglazed with some wine. Some sausage that I had, nothing special at all, just a bit spicy to my tastes. A can of stewed tomatoes and a can of crushed... water and now cooking down.

I started thinking that I would make a 4 minute quick red sauce, just to put on some left over sliced up fried chicken breast that I have along with some pasta and moz. cheese, but I just couldn't resist.

Being so un-wealthy for the past 12 months, I just got into the habit of making absolutely sure that I used all my veggies, so that means salads, stir-fry, sauce and stew--all great filling solutions, and fun, time permitting.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Doh! Good idea, GWE.

Bailey just sent me this story regarding Spitzer.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Flower arranging for men:

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Weed, I have a feeling that video involves suspenders and a hanky tied at the corners, no? *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

President Obama, meet builder Gordon Hartman of San Antonio.

Hartman put together a large team of parents and professionals to design Morgan's Wonderland for children and some adults with disabilities. What is rising from the caliche flats in the old Longhorn Quarry on the Northeast Side appears to be the only one of its kind in the nation, if not the world. ...

For 22 years, Hartman ran a successful housing development company. He sold it in 2005 and started the Gordon Hartman Family Foundation to support other charitable groups. Not long afterward, he started thinking about the park.

His daughter Morgan is his inspiration. She is a 15-year-old girl who likes music and videos but struggles with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Many of Morgan's physical problems have been corrected through multiple surgeries, Hartman said, but she is mentally unable to handle “difficult issues in math and reading and that kind of thing.”

Even though she's aware of some of her limitations, and even with 26 screws in her back, he said, Morgan is the most positive person he knows.

“She wakes up every morning with a smile on her face, and goes to bed with a smile on her face,” Hartman said. “Morgan's got it figured out much better than any of us do.”

Posted by: laloomis | March 20, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Weed! Dude, give a person some warning.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

.... for an unforgettable experience, plan a trip to the Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands... awesome experience... and the scent in the air....

Posted by: MissToronto | March 20, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I’m not sure if true also of American lawyers, but no Commonwealth lawyer can hear “bluebell” without thinking of Lord Denning. He wrote numerous influential English decisions including the modern foundation case for promissory estoppel, and both decisions that are the precedents for Mareva injunctions (pre-judgment prohibitions on disposing assets) and Anton Piller orders (civil law search and seizure).

His connection with bluebells comes from his clear and lucid writing style, and frequent use of humour and scene-setting. Famously, he began the decision of Hinz v. Berry (1970) 2 Q.B. 40 thus:

"It happened on April 19, 1964. It was bluebell time in Kent"

As an aside, the general rule for defendants’ counsel is that when the decision begins with such lovely prose you know it’s time to get out the oversize novelty cheque book.

Lord Denning lived 100 years, passing in 1999. His obituary:

More on Lord Denning. I was unaware he chaired the inquiry into the Profumo affair:

Posted by: engelmann | March 20, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

National Sauce Report!

The effort is only two hours old, w/ can of paste added along with another cup of water ... tastin' gooooood.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

And not only that. Didn't he write the famous judgement that says that arranging one's affairs to minimize tax is not avoidance. And, further, was he not at one time the only Jew sitting? There are Jewish yacht clubs and the like named after him from the days when people like me didn't let people like him golf and boat with them.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad I take my coffee in the living room mornings, not here.

I previously have griped about the big names somehow staying out of the news re the financial collapse. Relatively speaking. Here's a goody:

Lately I have been thinking about what "unregulated" means. (CDSs) Normally my brain elides, but I decided to think about that. What I came up with, that is, what that SHOULD mean, is that normal other laws on the books apply. In other words, if it's not specifically allowed, then Ponzi scheme laws should kick in. Every single trader who dealt unbacked instruments should be prosecuted under the already existing laws. "Unregulated" has a price. What I DON'T know is if there was specifically legislation allowing naked credit default swaps. If that is the case, then the business was NOT "unregulated."

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Dawgonnit, weed, your 10:59 is making me drool. Here I was going to go workout and run. I hate that sloshy feeling I get from doing that on an empty stomach. But that's better than trying to run on a full one.

Maybe I'll just eat some of those peanutbutter filled crackers that I got. Such a deal, this guy was practicaly giving 'em away. Trouble is, I tend to feel kinda oookey after I eat them. I wonder .......

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Thistle, what are you cooking up? (a fine video, BTW) I decided to see if some 5-year old yeast was viable, so I worked a sponge yesterday w/ some flour, water, and molasses and yeast, and it finally decided to grow and multiply. Homemade pizza soon. One for today and one for the freezer. I'm cheating on the sauce - storebought.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

As a lad, I drew a large and rather unflattering cartoon of one of my brothers on the drywall of my room (as my brothers and I finished my Mom's old basement in order to make larger rooms for ourselves) before I painted it. It did not occur to me at the time to *not* use ballpoint pen.

I do not remember how many coats of waterproof sealer it took to finally keep the drawing from bleeding through, but my mother and brother remain unimpressed - and I an object of abject mockery and derision - to this day.

With regards to that wall, too.

RD, I'm assuming you used greenboard drywall for that bathroom - did you write those equations in classroom chalk?

Following this thread, I believe Joel eschews specificity for the same reason I attempt to squirm away from it as well -- the universe we live in appears to be probabalistic rather than deterministic.

Schrodinger, indeed. Heisenberg, Born, Einstein, Wigner, Everett, DeWitt, Hawking, Penrose, Greene, Kaku, and all the rest - get your arms around Everything, and you've got it All.

I ponder such things in my bath, as well.
A good port helps.


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure of those, Yoki, but on further reading (re)discovered that he is also the author of the decision about the "red hand"- the idea that some clauses in contracts are so onerous that they should not be enforced unless special attention was drawn to them (by, for example, a big red hand):

"I agree that the more unreasonable a clause is, the greater the notice which must be given of it. Some clauses which I have seen would need to be printed in red ink on the face of the document with a red hand pointing to it before the notice could be held to be sufficient."

Spurling (J.) Ltd. v. Bradshaw [1956] 1 W.L.R. 461, [1956] All E.R. 121 (C.A.)

Okay, back to work, it being tulip season in Alberta (at least on my desk).

Posted by: engelmann | March 20, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

sorry, here is another... longer one from one of my favorite movies

I'm usually on the floor after watching the "announcement of the tournament"

(not final 4)

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, bc. Waterproof greenboard. But I think I wrote in permanent marker.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Don and Jumper,

Coolin' off right now, going to get me some cheese ready and make a little for lunch.


Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Gold Service Intl." exists on the internet in only one (severally duplicated) report.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

RT, I was *falling about* while watching the joust!

Many thanks.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

As I go around the 'net, I see a lot of weird stuff. This takes the cake. Remove coffee from lips prior to viewing.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! Yeah, I think IMHO, one of the funniest and dry pieces of video work ever.

In another scene (and I work from memory), the king is dining in his dusty and dank dining room and something falls from the arched ceilings... "Food Taster!" he calls...

Palin rushes over with his spoon and tastes, it and thinks, then announces:

"Plaster, my Lord! 12th Century, no wait, 13th century"

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Shorter link to funny picture

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Did somebody forget to give out today's lunch location or something? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I have been lost in searching for photos of bluebells - inspired by Joel - which lead me to Canadian Geographic Members photos - very pleasant diversion and gorgeous photos.

I was looking for a photo I had once viewed of a forest floor covered in English bluebells, the prompted me to originally plant some Virginia bluebells when I saw them in the nursery. Just saw a similar photo of Virginia bluebells - nice to look at one a sunny but chilly first day of spring, and dream of a garden full of blooms. Recreating the acres of forest, sadly not possible.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Alas we have no bluebells blooming. We are still in the land of much snow. When spring does come, we still have no bluebells, but we do have a native lungwort that will suffice growing all over the place in the forests here.

I've tried to grow only native species in my yard but I gave that up a couple of years ago. Just like everything else, when there are too many, mother nature sends something over to redistirbute the balance of nature. And so the deer ate all my canada violets (they think it is candy) and a wee black with blue stripes caterpillar eats my lungwort. And mother nature is still laughing and punishing me.
Nothing has come for the anemone, but I expect there will be something soon.

Till the violet affair, the deer ignored things in my yard. Now they eat the branches of the many small junipers I have tried to grow, they treat all the mugho pines like vitamins. 6 years and the pines are just barely 6 inches high (they should be 5-7 ft tall)

And if that wasn't enough the deer now eat my beloved lilies. They wait till the blossoms are hanging full and ready to bloom, and then snip, gone. Deer are cruel.

I don't do anything about the balance mother nature has exacted because I agree 100% with what Joel says. No wildflowers in captivity and no getting rid of the deer either. Besides, they are better than the moose that used to come by. They stood right on my deck and ate the non native daylilies.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 20, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

So exciting that Joel is writing about one of my favorite spring flowers! But no picture? Here's one:

Now, the common blubell, or squill, that comes from a bulb, is pretty too. They become quite weedy here - I must admit I rip them out where they become invasive (and have never knowingly planted one).

I have Virginia bluebells growing here, in dry shade. The leaves when they first emerge are purple, almost black, and they do this very early in spring (I have not seen them yet). Then the lovely pink and blue flowers...then they die away as if they were never there. Will have to take pictures this year.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

But dr isn't a wildflower a native plant? I am justifying my purchase as bluebells are native to my area - albeit in very select areas and as climate change evolves so will the species that will be suitable to my area and over time will become native (in truth how do you define native).

I shall promise to let my bluebells spread and florish is a natural way, and we have a lot of trees so it is kind of a natural setting.

I am sure Joel would be astounded at how tempted I am to plant some trillium (available only through nurseries - as digging them out of the ground is not allowed).

I like to think of my garden as a zoo - preserving various species.

Have I rationalized this enough yet.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

For -dr- and others who have nibblers in their garden:

I swear by the stuff. Before, I used to just swear. Memo to self: put some deer-away down this weekend.

Miss Toronto, I've been to Keukenhof Gardens. It's beyond fantastic.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Astronauts successfully unfurled the newly installed solar wings at the international space station Friday, a nerve-racking procedure that went exceedingly well.

To NASA's relief, both wings went out smoothly, one at a time. Nothing hung up, and none of the panels stuck together.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I want a yard! And then I'll plant bluebells. Or lots of wildflowers, anyway, of various locally-appropriate kinds. Technically, I have a yard, I suppose, but it's really my landlord's, and it's swampy and needs major redoing, and we're planning to move in a few months. But, oh, to have a yard with flowers in it...

Posted by: -bia- | March 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news - I ran out in the rain to check for bluebells - luckily, the balsam fir keeps the area they're in quite dry. There are a few emerging already - yay!

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

So, with the new panels, the ISS is going to be brighter in the sky (when properly oriented) than Venus, right?

Posted by: bobsewell | March 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

bia, I know. The thing that spurred us on to buy our first house was when our landlord would not allow me to plant geraniums along the walkway to our apartment...which was a separate part of the house, with its own walkway (I guess it was what they call a mother-in-law apartment - and was way out in the boonies in Maryland, so really only we would have seen them). You can only do so much inside, or outside in containers.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I want this feature on the boodle:

A five second undo window would be pretty useful.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

bia hope you get the yard you desire soon, at my old house I had a Muskoka/Adirondack chair in the back corner, behind a big sandbox that I had surrounded with a big snowball Viburnum and a blue spruce. Behind the chair where three large white spruce, I could quietly hide back there on a warm spring day with a coffee and watch the bluebell come up that were planted in the back corner.

The snowball viburnum was great for summer snowball fights with the kids - since it grew so quickly - maybe 15' in a few years no danger of not having enough snowballs.

This house has many great features - but my garden hiding spot has been lost. As a kid my hiding spot was under the bridlewreath spirea - a couple large ones were planted next to tall spruce, underneath the bushes was a great place to play for kids - especially when the bush was in bloom and we could make it snow.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

At least Mr. Dr extracts his pound(s) of deer flesh back dr.

We have some Virginia Bluebells around here but they are rare, the native flowers of springs are the Dog’s-Tooth Violet, the Spring Beauty, the Blood Root and the Trilliums (both red and white). I confess a fondness for a naturalized import, the Lily-of-the-Valley. There was a small patch of them when we moved in 11 years ago but now I’ve spread them around pretty good. They smell good.

I am so ready for spring. The weather is gorgeous today but the temperature stayed below freezing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 20, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

RD, the undo feature was designed with me in mind I think.

Sorry for boodle hogging - it is day five of March Break - house has been full of children all week - this will be one weekend I look forward to having fly by.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I believe I can state categorically on behalf of the Haute Maine lawyers that none of us hear the word "bluebell" and associate it with Lord Denning. I have never before had the opportunity to ponder any form of assocation with Lord Denning, professional or otherwise. He does seem to have been a fine jurist, though, and well worth the mental association.

Clearly, lunch and perhaps even dinner are at Russianthistle's. We need to help him out with that red sauce. I'll bring some wine, and a little grapefruit salad.

I can't shake it. I've been thinking about RD's drywall decoration (applause also to Yoki and bc). I am still worried by his jetted bathtub. That just sounds very dangerous. I am disturbed by the necessity for jet fuel in proximity to the tub itself, but even more worried by the thought of that bathtub zooming about. I hope you had a big skylight, RD, because that could make a real mess indoors.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Whoops. Un-Haute Maine. Sud Maine. Y'know, those of us not familiar with the solicitor/barrister system.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm worried about Dave of the Coonties. You okay? Looked like you either had a stroke or spilled a drink on your keyboard. This would look the same, on the internet.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Saltwater on Mars.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be l'Ouest Maine, Ivansmom?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Although I have foolishly never considered the hazards of the jetted bathtub in just that light, Ivansmom, its construction was not without danger.

First of all, this tub was geometrically perfect, the space into which I intended to install it was not. I had to perform quite a bit of creative drywalling to compensate for this.

Then there was the fact that I initially plumbed the tub backwards, with the cold water going to the hot faucet and the hot water going to the cold. Fortunately, the increased topological complexity of the pipes needed to correct this are hidden behind the drywall.

Next there was that inadvertent miscalculation in the depth of the valves themselves, which meant that before the plexiglass handles could be attached, a quarter of an inch had to be removed from the back. Heaven help anyone who tried to replace them.

Finally of course, there was a fundamental misperception of reality inherent in the entire concept. When I installed this tub, my wife was pregnant with my son.

The intent of the tub was to create a bubbly refuge of relaxation and, one might expect, a certain amount of frothy recreation in the postnatal world.

My son, it turns out, had other plans.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hah. If I knew nothing else about your family, RD, your explanation for the tub would reveal that your son is your firstborn.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Ivansmom. Indeed.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Wyoming has a bunch of Mertensia species, all of them pretty. The state is very worth visiting in the spring, even if you have to put up with wind, closed back roads, and the occasional ice cream-type snowstorm. Actually, the mountains tend to look their best with a fresh coating of spring ice cream. Much different from the grey of winter.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 20, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Dave! Excellent. Must have been liquid on the keyboard.

Here's irony for you. Some weeks it seems I am present at work a full eight hours every day but never accomplish anything. This week I've easily been gone two full days, probably more, but I finished three cases while I was there. Of course, they were easy, but still.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Ah, dmd, thus was my rationalising. Surely a wildflower garden would be better than a hybrid flower garden, be they purchased or stolen from the woods. Mother nature had other plans.

mrdr applies some balance back as SD points out but mother nature laughs louder and longer. We thought about the deer deterrent stuff, particularly for the trees, but have not found anything that will reliably keep them away from pines. They just love pines.

So we choose to coexist. What I really want to know is how come they don't eat my weeds.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 20, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The Boodle men continue to impress me with their varied, exotic and arcane skills! I can't imagine installing plumbing, building walls, fixing boats. The list is endless.

I do know how to make red sauce (or gravy, as it's called here). Today, though, I'd be happy to try weed's. I'll bring daffodils and biscuit tortoni.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

just returned in time for your comment. Thanks. I am a bit sad with the quality of the sausage (I am sure that I am not the only one here who has complained about the very same thing). Seriously, it just didn't have the personality to hold up in the sauce. (gravy).

You are more than welcome to share. I have two cheeses and have glasses ready for some red wine, if you bring.

Jumper is right, it is a good time for homemade pizza, as well. ... thinking about pulling out the pizza stone and the peel.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse


What a lovely story about flowers and a special girl.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 20, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

re: The 'boodle skill set - A certain amount of energy and foolhardiness goes far!

Christopher Walken is widely quoted as having said: "If you want to learn how to build a house, build a house. Don't ask anybody, just build a house."

Posted by: bobsewell | March 20, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I did that. That's why that collapsed shed is still in the back yard of Himself's house.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Yoki! Perfect timing for a perfect response.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, unfortunately that's also how you learn how NOT to build a house!

Posted by: bobsewell | March 20, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm confident that shed makes a nice habitat for some lovely creatures the dogs can't be bothered to harass Yoki.

As a deer deterrent dr, have you thought about a large aggressive dog? It worked for us.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Also perfect.

I'm teaching Emma how to bark on command. For a 70# lab, she has a very big bark, more like a Rottie twice her size.

Doesn't take much to amuse me.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Or her, either. 10 tries, she's got it down.

I wonder if I could train her to do my job?

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I have also installed a new jet propelled bathtub. It works well, although my next door neighbor says that it sounds like we are trying to launch the Space Shuttle in the bathroom.

On tap for this weekend, installing a new water pressure regulator. The old one was hidden behind a storage unit, quietly rusting away. That is, until a trail of water began to trickle over the basement floor.

Then it's on to adding more new lighting circuits, to keep the breakers from popping like popcorn. Will the fun never end?

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 20, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from MYE stress test; it went really well. No major concerns. Much relieved.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Clap, clap, clap /and the crowd goes wild/.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

That must eliminate a lot of stress. Great news.

Any show-off handymen are welcome to renovate my bathroom. The shower stall needs to be eliminated. The single vanity needs to become a double vanity (by expanding the counter into the demolished shower). The roman tub needs to have a shower valve at either end with a glass enclosure around the tub and steps up to the tub.

I'm even willing to pay for beer and pizza for the duration of the project.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Great news Yoki.

I too need a bathroom reno, as well as a proper fix for the ceiling below the bathroom where water has damaged the ceiling.

dbG, does your training magic work in reverse - as in stopping barking on command - I have only managed about 50% success.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I am told this was my sister-in-law's shooting instructor. She used to shoot a lot of clay pigeons. (Nowadays she's earning black belts - one after another, it seems.)
Warning: fascinating.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I know it's not funny if you have to explain it, but I'm sorry I didn't get the Harriet Miers joke. Please just a hint.
PS, I live outside the beltway.

Posted by: bh72 | March 20, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I understand that if you begin handing out treats liberally for getting them to learn how to speak, then for speaking on command, then stop treating but still commanding they think "He 1 1 with this. I'm not doing it without a bonus" and stop.

At Border Collie Camp (how geeky is that?) one of the trainers worked with a collie who barked incessantly. He hated having his paws touched, so when he began to bark, his owner would touch his paws and say, enthusiastically, "Good boy!" After a day you could see that when he barked he finally realized he was doing it, and he started to dance away so she couldn't touch his paws in response. After 3 days, he stopped barking.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

So I guess he trained his owner not to touch his paws.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 20, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that like so many things, dbG?

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

My childhood home in NE Ohio had a bridal-wreath spirea in the front yard, but as I was the youngest of three daughters we usually called it "the prom bush." This was undoubtedly due to the fact that there seem to be hundreds of photos of us girls in formals in front of this blooming bush. The perfect backdrop. Who could have resisted using it?

My lovely spouse re-tiled our bathroom last year. I will ask him what he wrote (drew, etched, scribed, carved) on the studs in the walls. Right now he is cooking dinner, and hopefully making us some cocktails...

Happy weekend, everybody.

Posted by: mlwjaw | March 20, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Alas, Wilbrodog likes to shake, so the paw-touch wouldn't have worked. Instead I just dragged him away from whatever he was barking at, let him calm down, and only let him go back to the window, etc.

By this way I trained him to only bark once or twice before I responded.

I also started distracting with treats and tricks before say, an obnoxious dog was due to pass by our door, keeping him calm and helping him realize the dog will go away without his having to bark.

I also started rewarding for QUIET alerts and discouraging barks on leash-- once he realized I'd always be happy to have a silent alert and never happy to be barked around, he went with the program.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, bh. There's almost nothing to it. The question was, who is mako? It occured to me momentarily that a mako is a kind of shark, and we sometimes use "shark" as a code word for lawyer around here, and that mako might be a lawyer. So I thought, OK, to make a joke and lighten things up, who is the funniest lawyer's name and/or least likely lawyer to be a Boodler or Boodler lurker. And Harriet Miers just popped into my head. That's all: just a small piece of silliness.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 20, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Dogs can be trained?

Great. Now you tell me.

Seriously, dbG that is brilliant.

My dog hates having her paws touched to the extent that her nails are often in marginal shape. Might as well try to make that work in our favor for a change.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Ah, a lawyer joke in a nice way

Posted by: bh72 | March 20, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Good evening all.

Thought I'd mention that I'm watching a film on ESPN tonight, "Truth in 24," a documentary done by the
NFL Films folks, which chronicles the Audi/Joest racing team's run at the LeMans 24 hour race last year in the Audi R10 diesels.

I *love* endurance racing, and of all the trophies I've won, those are the ones I treasure the most.

Also the 12 Hours of Sebring is tomorrow with live coverage on the Speed channel.

Good stuff, though I won't be able to watch much of it.


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody, happy first day of spring!

I'm in Atlanta and have had a great time. As my friend who's with me said, we've seen the great archeological discoveries of two great civilizations, near east and far east. The terracotta soldiers are amazing and the exhibit is excellent. The King Tut exhibit is imposing, so much really impressive stuff.

Yello, thought about you today at lunch at the Varsity...looked over to the Tech campus.

More later, you all keep on being good...

Posted by: slyness | March 20, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

slyness! Glad to hear you are having a blast in Atlanta.

This is a fine Friday evening, don't you think Boodle?

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Certainly is.

I had a nice evening already and I am now torn between reading, finding a conversation, or just trying to slip off to dreamland on the quiet.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

You could friend me on facebook, Wilbrod, if you want a conversation.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I may have to join facebook yet. people my age keep sending me emails saying they are on it. Or in it. Whatever.

I am very tired. I've been trying to get ahead on class preparation but was reduced to document formatting because my brain won't think anymore. Now I can't type either. Time to stop. In 15 minutes the Final End to Battlestar Galactica will be done and Ivansdad will be released. I stopped watching long ago and it is all space jabber to me. I kept asking whether the people on screen were real people or pretend people.

Vaya con queso, Boodle, buenos gnocchis and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 20, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I often ask that exact question about the people I meet in real life, Ivansmom.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey yellojkt -- we just got back from "Annie Get Your Gun" at River Hill High School. I highly recommend it. The female lead is particularly good. You may say nothing harsh about her, because she is in our synagogue. Not that I'm trying to bias you or anything.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Evening all
Clear crisp and cold in west by god tonight.The fire just got going and it is a bit nippy inside tonight.Is there some sort of astronomical event going on tonight? I saw 2 shooting stars on my way home,or is it just finally clear?

Heard a really neat threesome on the way home
A day in the life(beatles)longest sustained note followed by Pink Floyd's Time
Then Free's "Alright Now" which was first played by the band as an improvised encore tune at the end of a show,when they had no more songs to sing.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

So, that's pretty much the Rock canon right there, isn't it, greenwithenvy?

All Right Now is my most favourite song ever, by association.

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes it was yoki, glad to hear your good be the weather up north these days?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

The angel's share

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, excellent. I kind of think creativity feeds off itself.

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse


Sebring has to compete (a bit) with a high surf advisory on the Florida Atlantic coast. Regrettably, a long-period swell from some enormous storm in the Atlantic will be turned into a churning mess by strong onshore winds.

I spent yesterday inspecting Lakela's Mint plants at the south end of town. The mint grows only in sandy scrub vegetation (with scrubby live oaks, Florida hickories, assorted shrubbery, and some neat perennials, including the lupine that was flowering). The mint has--or had--a tiny geographic range, much of it on fairly expensive commercial property along US Highway 1. An effort to augment the mint at a protected site looks as though it's doing reasonably well. It was nice to see some seedlings.

Despite drought, the scrub hickories are freshly leafed out and the oaks and bumelias have cute little leaves, not yet fully deployed.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

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

Have a great day, everyone. Enjoy your weekend.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 21, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Brrrrrrrrrr! The March lion hasn't left just yet! Even makes a guy want to forego a jog.

Even with caffeine, I can't seem to get firing on all cylinders this morning. (specially when the WaPo Comment Machine has thrown a cog) I'll check back later. Hope everyone's weekend is starting off well.

*propping-eyes-open-with-toothpicks Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Hello to all! Cassandra, I just wanted to tell you that I have come to look forward to your blessing everyone here every day. It's a little comfort, even though I'm not religious.

Just put youngest child on a plane to Costa Rica for 9 days (school Spanish class trip). Loud warning at 9 p.m. last night that I was setting out on the last drugstore trip to purchase last-minute items didn't faze her - at 3 a.m. when we awoke she noted that she needed batteries for her camera and probably a new memory card for it. Try finding those at 4 a.m. on a Saturday!

The newly-turned 16 y.o. daughter did pass her driving test on the second try. All is calm. She is now, apparently, confident of her ability to leave the nest and eventually procreate. Kids!

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 21, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

One somewhat high maintenance Mom who is accompanying the group on the trip went into a tizzy when it was found that her suitcase was over 50 pounds and would cost a LOT extra. She unloaded two 2-pound ankle weights and a full set of electric curlers, along with some clothes, to make the weight limit. I now have those items in my car trunk awaiting her return.

Ankle weights on an international flight? I mean, really?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 21, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope your daughter enjoys her sojurn in Costa Rica. I'm sure it'll be a great experience. And congrats on a new driver. Now you can send HER out on errands to the drug store.

I'm going to go brave the cold for my weekend morning walk. Brrrr!

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Good luck to yout daughter Wheezy. May her luggage end up in San Jose, Costa Rica and not San Jose, CA as it happened to friends. Also, she shouldn't leave anything valuable in her checked-in luggage as well. The San Jose airport has a significant "loss" rate. The Fungi's luggage somehow dematerialysed at the airport last year and it wasn't much of a surprise for the airline. They grumbled and paid up quickly.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 21, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

SCC youR. Where's that second cup of coffee?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 21, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Hi, SD and Yello - the older daughter did this trip two years ago so we feel very sanguine. Everything valuable she's bringing is in her carryon. I tried to teach her to beware of pickpockets during the 5 hour Miami layover - her valuables are in her backpack which she ignores on her back. You'd have thought I had made a day trip out of Dickens' 19th century London to bring her news of another era. If she loses her spending money she'll be fine, doesn't really need it.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 21, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hope it's a fine and trouble-free trip for her, Wheezy!!!

So folks, how about a BPH when mlwjaw comes to town? It's the last week of the month, right mlwjaw? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 21, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I won't bother joining the Cold Chorus, though I do feel the motivation to. Think I'll wait until later for prolonged outdoor activity.

Nothing much to talk about this AM, except to mention that Cleveland State's very convincing win over Wake last night was a real Bracketastrophe for some, including myself.

Ah, well, it was fun to watch and inhale a tube of Thin Mints.

Now for some coffee.



Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm boodle-hogging, I know. Older daughter laughed about a Canadian girl who snuck away from supervision in Costa Rica and got a tattoo - lovely crescent and star on her upper arm. She didn't understand why everyone was urging her to change into a shirt with sleeves for the return flight. She just liked the design.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 21, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, you've made me laugh with the ankle weights and electric rollers story. I just do not "get" the ankle weights. I hope your daughter has a wonderful time.

Unfortunately I have to work today and it was COLD when I left at 0615. My car was frosted over which looked funny as it is parked closed to a pear and cherry tree which are in full bloom. I am past ready for sustained warmth and sunshine. It has been chilly, rainy, gray and depressing here for a while. Today is the first sunny day in a long time.

I will be getting home while the Maryland game is on...I'll know how it's going as I get out of the car. There's a certain kind of yelling when they're winning and a different kind of yelling when they're losing. Fear the turtle!

Posted by: Kim1 | March 21, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Britsh reporter/blogger Toby Harnden takes on the top 10 gaffes--verbal and nonverbal--committed by both Biden and Obama.

The gaffes in this link were made by the White House duo only since Nov. 4; Harnden has a link to gaffes he compiled during the presidential campaign. The gaffes made by Obama and Biden, as assembled by Harnden, are acompanied by YouTube videos.

Posted by: laloomis | March 21, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. We have been enjoying a nice light rain here, I hope it sticks around, because while not as dry as some other places we certainly need the moisture.

Soon I'll venture forth to retrieve the Boy, who spent last night at a friend's house. We thought of going to a grown-up movie in his absence, but there was nothing playing we both really wanted to see (Ivansdad would have seen Watchman, not me boy). Also, of course, there was that last episode of Battlestar Galactica. Ivansdad described it to me after it was over. It was apparently all metaphysics and angels.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 21, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Not to imply that we don't all feel schadenfreude sometimes, but what must it be like to feel it for everyone, every day? Miserable, I'd imagine.

I envy you the stars, gwe. I saw them clearly when I lived in rural Ohio, not so much here in Philly.

Off to clear a small part of the garage to accommodate some things which need to be out of the house for the moment. As usual, a trip to TBG's is also an occasion to rearrange space/objects prior to the arrival of the dogsitter.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 21, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Al! A lovely morning, and I hear Canada geese, ducks, phoebes, magpies and a barking dog.

Have a happy Saturday, everyone.

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It'll be a good morning AFTER I get the gnome outside for my tree duties.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The lack of the local, often prolific, wildflower, the Texas bluebonnet, framed in financial terms. From today's paper, a clever lede indeed:

From the looks of the landscape, Mother Nature invested all her bluebonnet seeds with Bernie Madoff. The fields are barren.

But, alas, the absence of bluebonnets is one current calamity we can't blame on Ponzi scheming, financial fumbling or partisan politicking. Rather, it's the weather.

Drought has left most of the parched Lone Star State pining for lupines, but all is not lost like a bad financial investment. Recent rains awakened other flowers just in time for spring. And if more showers come, more flowers will follow.

Posted by: laloomis | March 21, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

We, in our backyard, had 2.38 inches of rain last week. I sincerely doubt if this was enough locally--the airport recorded 2.37 for the storm--to move us out of the exceptional drought category.

But on the days it rained, I felt true joy.

Posted by: laloomis | March 21, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. Many of my crocuses are nearing their end, but daffodils and dwarf irises are coming on strong with tulips starting to poke out. I have a couple of small patches in my city dwelling that keep me sane when I have some time on weekends.
As mentioned earlier, successful unfurling of the space station's fourth and final solar array yesterday. I was nervous watching it unfurl, since it had been boxed up for over six years. Nice to see there were no problems. Yes, one would now think that ISS is now even brighter in the night sky. I'll poke around to see if we have some info on that.
Today I pack for Russia/Kazakhstan. I'm heading over to see the Soyuz rocket launch on the 26th. My first time. Should be interesting. Trying to see if I can get into to see a Kontinential Hockey League's Gagarin Cup playoff game.

Posted by: Radz | March 21, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Happy travels, Radz!

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I know just how you feel, Loomis. Our rain seems to have stopped today and I'm sorry. We're not so bad off right now, but a few years ago the farm ponds were completely dry. The drought then was actually worse than during the Dust Bowl; were it not for years of conservation farming and land management we would have had another one.

Radz, have a good time. When I saw the unfurling story I thought of you.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 21, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I notice they have turned off the rotating photo machine on the home page.

I know you are not going to believe me but yesterday I went over to costco to pickup some pills and birdseed I had a premonition moment. I always park in the outer lot to avoid the hassle of those waiting to park up front and besides I need the exercise. Anyway as I was walking through the parking lot I was looking at all the blackwall tires on on the cars and trucks and the thought occurred to me 'when did the demise of the white wall tire occur'? I used to put those white stripe rubber falses on my '51 ford when I was in college. When I got my '73 Chevy truck I always had my tires mounted with the white lettering turned inside. The guys with the big jacked up macho trucks with the super oversized tires seemed to favor the white block letters on the outside. But I haven't seen that for a long time. Haven't even seen may jacked up trucks lately. But anyway on the way back to the car there were two cars with white wall tires! The first was a restored 1933 Graham that the big broad whitewalls were perfect. The other car four spaces up was a late model Chevy Caprice with little narrow whitewalls that didn't seem to be out of place. It boggled my mind to have been thinking about the demise of the whitewall when suddenly two appear.

Posted by: bh72 | March 21, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

A relatively new Wikipedia article on odd variants of the game of chess.

Formerly I read this topic at

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Мое скоростное судно полно угрей.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Jooell! Boko's writing in cyrillic again! Make him stop.

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Babelfish says:
"the high-speed vessel is full of the blackheads"

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Lagomorphic letter opener for RD etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

My recollection is that the fashion for big white lettering on big off-road tires started when some drivers began mounting the letters so they faced inside, because those letters got bashed and scratched all too easily.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

hmm. I left out a negative somewhere in my last post. Anyhow, once those big white letters were fashionably not on display, they disappeared.

A couple of days ago, my yard was full of cardinals. Noticed the same thing in the sea grape thicket at the beach this morning. They must be migrating.

The morning was an odd one--showers with fairly large surf at the beach. Good weather for taking a walk on the beach, interrupted by some really nice body surfing. Why was no one else there?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I love that lagomorph letter opener! 'bout time we made them do something to compensate for all that high-quality timothy hay they consume.

My bunny would be ideal for this, for she is a chewing machine. Indeed, recently I went upstairs for a heavy-lifting emergency, and when I returned I found that the little dear had started chewing the power cord to the laptop. Fortunately, I returned before she reached wire.

Let that be a safety lesson for everyone.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 21, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Having given up on having a goat trim my lawn, I have turned my thoughts to bunny lawn care. I envision a moveable pen, to expose bunnies to new grass once they have mowed the area. If I could make it move by bunny power, I'd have something.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

About my rant…

Joel, I’m sorry I exploded all over your beautiful boodle. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it was an accident. It looks like that wall’s gonna need a whole lot of spackle and some paint if not a HazMat team and new drywall. Any chance there’s an insurance policy? I can dig around in the sofa/car for some money, have a bake sale, maybe put a donation jar in the bunker…whatever I can to make that right….

Mudge, thank you. Yes, both my original post and my rant were about what I perceived as condescending attitudes. I can move on now.

The Tims, laloomis, I’ll bet the first thing you both thought was ‘thank goodness, for once that lunatic woman isn’t aiming at me.’ I understand.

Cassandra, I know you sat in your home and applauded the fact that I stood up for myself the way I stand up for others, even if I did maybe kinda sorta but not really aim in the wrong direction and even if I went just a smidge overboard. Thanks. Having a cheerleader helps. Even though the pendulum is swinging fully at this stage, hopefully I’ll get to a nice equilibrium. I also know you applaud the forgiving and moving on part. You’re a good influence that way.

bc, it would be great if you can still come do my floors, but I might be hitting up you and RD for some drywall help…

To those of you who have wondered if I’ve really lost it, nah…there’s probably a couple good ones still in me (my guess is they’ll be doozies, make this one look like a walk in the park on a bright sunny day) but I don’t think I’ll go so far as to risk going off the deep end for good. I’ll try to remember that combustible materials are outside toys. And overall, I’m okay.

And S’nuke, you know that scene in And Justice for All where Al Pacino goes in with the cafeteria tray? Something tells me if (when?) I get to that point, you’re going to be Al Pacino. Thank you in advance for liking me enough to save me from myself.

If a new kit gets posted this weekend, can someone please re-post this for me? I’m going to be out of pocket a bunch of the time. Thanks.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 21, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I've been home for a while, have now caught up on the boodle. Note to self: always take computer so you can keep up.

Atlanta was great fun. It's wonderful to have a companion who enjoys the same stuff I do. She has had both knees replaced so we can go slow and see everything, and sit down and rest when we feel like it.

I was fascinated to learn that the central burial mound of the First Emperor has not been excavated. Archeologists are waiting for advances in technique and technology before they attempt it. One issue is that it appears the underground garden had a river of mercury, so the area is contaminated. I don't know if it would be possible to excavate in hazmat suits.

Several years ago, I threw out wildflower seeds from a can. The bed behind the house looked really nice for about twelve days, then it looked weedy and forlorn. I've been trying to fill in with bushes and annuals ever since. Gardening is the flower of eternal hope.

Now, gotta go put fresh water in the birdbath.

Posted by: slyness | March 21, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wildflowers (especially real ones, not out of the can) are sometimes a gamble. My beach sunflowers flourish, then eventually all die at once. I'm waiting to see if this morning's rain will bring seedlings.

Beach heliotrope (flowers arranged in little white scorpion tails) quickly migrated across the yard to oak leaf mulch in partial shade. Not behaving like a beach plant, is it?

Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) pops up here and there. Can't make it do anything.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 21, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I've been vowing to go to the woods for shade-loving decoratives. Now that the bridge across the creek is awry, I should either make a real trek of it and cross the creek by scrambling w/tools and a bag in hand, or else find another spot to forage in.

The BPH begins at 6 here. Bailey has demurred by reason of feeling poorly, which I have verified through keen observation. Several surprise guests may show up, however.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Wilbrod, that bunny letter opener was great, and all too practical. Given Beatrice's prediliction for chewing on paper it just might work. Of course, she's easily half again the size of that bunny. I've been letting her out a lot recently and she's become very playful. RD, watch out. Beatrice ate through my laptop power cord with one chomp shortly after we got her. Didn't, alas, seem to faze her but it sure did for the power cord. Given the emergency shipping order for its replacement, Ivansdad remarks that she is sure one expensive rabbit.

LostinThought, I admire you doubly. First for a fine rant, and second for an even finer rant apology. Nicely done.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 21, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that's the way it is with bunnies and babies. It isn't the base price that gets ya. It's all those accessories and incidentals.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 21, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

Waiting for the baked ziti to finish, and watching the 12 Hours of Sebring, where the EuroDiesels are dominating overall - Peugeot up front, then Audi, Audi, Peugeot. The new twin turbo gasoline V8 Acuras are suffering some teething troubles, along with a bit of a lack of pace...

LiT, I'm relieved to know that it wasn't anything I Boodled. I said I'd do your floor, and I'll stick to my word on that, right down to the toothbrush. Wallboard I can do and while I can't speak for RD, though I believe some of that red wine may be an effective lure.

Radz, I am jealous of your chance to watch a Soyuz launch. Very cool.

More later -- there's the timer...


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

You and the others should live Boodle the first NC BPH, Jumper. Have a great evening!

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse


Ziti would be enough to entice me to watch twelve hours of racing. Not that I was invited, but feel free to fax me some leftovers. My son is back in Atlanta. The break wasn't nearly long enough for my wife, but I imagine in future years my son may find more entertaining places to go.

For those of you that don't get the dead trees edition, Joel's paean to bluebells was part of a group of articles about springtime in DC. Another very good one was Steve Pearlstein's somewhat bittersweet memories of family bicycle outings in the U.S. National Arboretum.

I've never been there and now I think I should.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 21, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I've been lurking but consumed by my Mac meltdown. I am online and all but have no word processing software. Apparently, if I want to reload my old stuff, it will wipe out all the newer stuff on my new harddrive. I guess I'll be buying a new package.

LiT, that was a great rant and an even greater apology.

Glad you all down in D.C. are having spring, with flowers and stuff, it's still damn cold around these parts. We have little green leaves from the daffodils coming up but still a long way from flowers.

A good day, balanced well. Spent the morning spring cleaning and the afternoon making chocolate chip cookies with granddaughter #2.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 21, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you must take in the National Arboretum. It's one of those places that no one seems to go to, yet always surprises. I can't wait to go when the Azaleas are in full bloom. And if you like Bonsai trees, they have a wonderful collection.

Posted by: Radz | March 21, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Radz, sounds like a great trip to Russia. You'll have to tell us all about it.

DC in the springtime is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The azaleas, the cherry trees, the dogwoods, the bluebells, the tulips. Dumbarton Oaks, Montrose Park are so gorgeous in the spring.

Starting to look like spring here in Seattle, but still cold.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 21, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

BPH was great. TBG should have brought tequila. Son of TBG brought a friend, and my sister also showed up with her friend, whose son is a firefighter. Alas, Slyness not there. Also surprise guest Earl recently from Russia could not make it. Jack is a gentleman and a scholar. All online behavior was limited to checking into the basketball game. And I forgot my doggie bag of fajita leftovers. Argh! I believe a good time was had by all.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 21, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The natives are restless in ol' Mount Royal, home of the habit taunts.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 21, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Hello boodle from St. Paul, where I hope the 3 judge panel is actively working on deciding the senate race for us. Now Coleman's lawyers claim their strategy in the contest was all about the apppeal. What? I say. Does this mean Coleman is going to appeal based on incompetence of counsel? Ivansmom, a sane opinion please.

It was a delightful 60+ here today, with a moments on our west facing balcony of 70. The first sign of spring in the park across the street is the steady stream of weddings. I guess if you don't have time to schedule 2 years in advance you are stuck with not a hint of green and the chance that your outdoor wedding could be snowed out.

The neighborhood is crawling with WCHA hockey fans. They spend a lot more money than RNC delegates.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Evening all
I can finally say that and it isn't really early morning.Watched the Terps game at a friends and *thud* we got thumped by Memphis.They were much taller,faster and it just seeemed they couldn't miss.

I am happy to say and on Kit that my Blue belles,are just peeping up from under the earth.

Went out to grill a little while ago and when I took off the grill cover,out jumped a possum,scared the heck out of me and he just hung around while I cooked dinner.

I am glad all had a good time at the Carolina BPH.

LiT,no apology needed,we all love you and we know there is always a need to rant.i have the beauty of living in the middle of nowehre,so I can just go out and scream when needed.I wonder what I will do when I move back to the city....well....probably rant......I must admitt,both the rant and the apology were beautifully written.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The on-kit comment I tried to post yesterday.

Bluebells do well here and I have moved some from the forest to the margins near Chez Frostbitten. They are much later here than in DC and will finish at just about the time that hostas leaf out to fill in the gaps in the shade border.

I am really looking forward to seeing the rhododendrons planted last year flower. They were done already when purchased, but set buds quite nicely and were protected by snow for our coldest weather. I wouldn't worry about them at all except that Mr. F tramped over them with his snowshoes. That he still lives is a testament to my incredible forbearance.

We probably have another month before we see the first of the spring ephemerals. Bloodwort comes first and I hope I've accumulated enough leaf litter in their bed to make them truly happy to colonize among the ferns. On a rainy day the fiddleheads and moss fluoresce just so against the grey green bloodwort leaves. Makes flowers seem so incidental.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear the possum wasn't grilled.

I've been offered a slew of red raspberry canes, free for the digging. I'm planning on getting them this week. I'll be in VA with TBG in about 2 weeks and we'll also be in gwe's area. Anyone who wants me to dig some for them and bring them, not a problem. They're heavy-bearing in July with a lighter crop in September.

I got a path cleared in the garage today, set up a little freezer and found some handy items I'd been missing. This almost never happens.

LiT, I admire your ability to speak out.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 21, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

A pome:

A Color of the Sky

Tony Hoagland

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.
I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.
Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.
Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.
Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.
What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;
overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,
dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,
so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, usually when they say their strategy was all about the appeal it is a thinly disguised excuse for the fact they lost. They're suggesting (a) they were either building in or taking advantage of trial error which should be corrected on appeal; or (b) they made an excellent and thorough trial record in which the errors will be immediately obvious to the appellate court. This is often not the case. When a defendant relies on ineffective assistance of trial counsel the counsel usually doesn't brag about it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 21, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

What a great poem! Thanks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 21, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Ah, bluebells. A fleeting joy, surely, and one of the charms in the Eastern hardwood forest.

Grading papers; fighting a cold. But, I love the soft air that is weaving itself even on the chill warp leavings of winter.

Sorry, Terps; enjoy the therapy bath and may some kind person rub your sore limbs with linament. And, read your assigned text and draft your essays for Monday will soon be upon you.

Blooming: Topalino and Ice Follies daffies; the Helebore leaves are burned, which is odd; Lady's Mantle pushing up those lily-pond leaves; spears of day lilies; reaching twinlets of clematis; and a surfeit of Nigella, so much so that I am thinning them, with some to transplant and others for the compost pile....snow drops up and gone; wish I had planted snowflake, but I never think of this in the fall.

Charlottie BPH: I hope Jack shared doggie pix. And, is Jumper a bunny or not? I always think of him as part Thumper and part-hare.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 21, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Lovely, Frosti, and here is William Carlos Williams in return:

Spring and All
by William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

(He likely wrote about Patterson, NJ)

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 21, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

A nice treat, thanks CqP.

Ivansmom-my thoughts as well about the thinly veiled excuse for losing.

The St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team is going to give away a bobble head doll at their opening game, on May 23rd, with Coleman's face on one side and Franken's on the other. I guess they're assuming things will still be in limbo at that point.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

The NCBPH was a good time. I arrived home to some hungry dogs, and am finished with the evening's chores. We have new neighbours across the street. I noticed, as I fed the dogs, that they prefer to barbecue on the front porch. The latter is made entirely of wood, either loblolly or red pine. The species is irrelavant. About six years ago, a similar house up the road from us caught fire, was fully involved in five minutes and burned to the ground in forty five minutes or so. I think our neighbours need to be a little smarter about their outdoor cooking habits.

Posted by: -jack- | March 21, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear that the NC BPH went so well, Jumper.

yellojkt, I'm glad some nice baked ziti could lure you over for 12 hours of watching racing on TV. I suppose the wine, beer, and Girl Scout cookies are bonuses, as is the NCAA Men's basketball. Consider yourself faxed some nice cheesy ziti (one of the kids commented on how cheesy it was, and I suggested that it reflected my sense of humor).

Radz, the National Arboretum is quite nice, but if you're a DC local, don't overlook Brookside Gardens in Wheaton Regional Park. I grew up in Wheaton and went there all the time (free and close to home is *always* good). Pleasant nature hiking in the surrounding woods, too.

There's a little bit of extra peace in the Boodle tonight, and I appreciate that.

And, no, I didn't pick MD over Memphis


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Radz -- I know the Arboretum well. Used to walk or bike in this refuge at least three times per week. Now? Four or five times a year. Fern Valley is underrated and full of daffies. I once landed a canoe at the base of the Asian Gardens. Paddled from Bladensburg to the Arboretum. Lovely but glad that a friend came to pick up the canoe. Reading tide tables on the Anacostia is essential.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 21, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams. Time to double and triple check with Mr. F that he has not forgotten to turn off the 0430 alarm.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 21, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Possum the other white meat......

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 21, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Lovely poem, Frostbitten. I've never heard of Tony Hoagland-- thanks!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

One more spring poem, this an old one, by me:


After her long and dreaming sleep she rises,
Stretches and dresses, preens herself, and yawns,
And into the last of winter strews surprises,
Bright crocuses like Easter Eggs, on lawns.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 21, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I meant to add, LiT, that I suspect that the WaPo's insurance on the Boodle is pretty much just collision.


Posted by: -bc- | March 21, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing, Nellie.

Lovely image, and I was missing crocuses already... sigh.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been ignoring you guys, I've just been, you know, not paying any attention. All day. Slept much of the morning, then finished the first Foundation novel. Don't think I'll be reading any others -- it just doesn't do it for me. Stapledon's Star-Maker appeals to me more for covering the broad expanse of time. Then waffles for brunch. Spent the afternoon doing laundry and cleaning the house. Went out to dinner (Indian) with the Science Grandpa and wife, then came home to get the report on the big trip to Tanzania. Now it's time for bed. Tomorrow: trip to New York for "Shrek, the Musical!" with ScienceKid#1.

Yellojkt, there's still time for you to catch "Annie, Get Your Gun" at River Hill High School, Sunday matinee performance.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 21, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

*laughing* Thanks gentlemangwe.

Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

My favorite is the third in the triology, SciTim, although the novel-length sequels are fun for me, as I like Asimov.

I agree that the first one isn't amazingly significant.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 21, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I read the Foundation trilogy a looong time ago. I had a hard time getting through the first book because I had to formulate pronunciations for all of the names Asimov included in the work. After that, I began to enjoy the story. I imagined that kind of trading going on in Star Wars.

Something bluesy... Bob Margolin covers this, and if you close your eyes, it sounds like the real deal:

Posted by: -jack- | March 21, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Hope you didn't hurt your leg too badly, SciTim. A teammate of mine trashed my knee during practice in the men's league. Riding a bike has been out of the question ever since. There are still plenty of ways to have fun.

Posted by: -jack- | March 21, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I had problem with an earlier post. Just testing with this post.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 21, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | March 21, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Ahh it worked.

I like blue flowers but we rarely see blue flowers here.

My nephew is getting married in a couple of months. He and his fiance joined a package thing that takes them to Taiwan to take early wedding pictures among cherry blosooms. Actually that's the main reason why couples join the tour - take pictures among cherry blosooms.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 21, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki. Am in M'sia recuperating from having half my brain being cough out. Much better now.

Posted by: rainforest1 | March 21, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Let us look after you, rainforest. We'll tuck you in and bring you tea and honey.

Posted by: Yoki | March 22, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

A good argument is presented here that discourages feeding down on the food chain.

This next link encouraged me to look at the labels on fish packaging when I buy fish. The only fish that are native to our side of the border in our grocer's cooler are farm raised catfish. They're probably not real clean either. The latest worst case estimates that 75% of the world's fisheries will collapse by 2060 or so. The expense of harvesting fish will exceed the payoff at market, as we've collectively harvested the most fecund individuals that replenish populations depleted by overfishing.

Posted by: -jack- | March 22, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

This is the complete series. Spooky.

Posted by: -jack- | March 22, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Boodle hogging. Glad to hear that your testing results were in your favour, Yoki.

For you, rainforest...half a cup of rock and'll cure what ails you, assuming you take the old timers at their word...

Posted by: -jack- | March 22, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

yo, jack. Thanks.

Posted by: Yoki | March 22, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: seasea1 | March 22, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

and this pleases my black Irish heart. Many thanks.

Posted by: Yoki | March 22, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

I can eat locally caught fish, Jack, but due to pollution there's only so much fish you should eat per week.

While I do like my fish once a week at least, I now get much of my omega-3 acid fix from walnuts-- love 'em.

I agree that we shouldn't be feeding livestock fish meal, even if it means that omega-3 acid enriched eggs now exist...

Tilipia, carp, and catfish are omnivorous and can be maintained on a vegetarian diet; salmon and tuna cannot.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 22, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Just watched Ali and why Will Smith didn't win the oscar that year is beyond me, an excellent performance.

off to bed boodle...goodnight

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 22, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, it WAS a nice saturday-- lots of walking done today!

I also posted new pictures of my handsome self on, but was too pooped to write much.

Spring makes me feverish, you know.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 22, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps you could walk here someday Wilbrod

Nice to see the AT has gone I really need a passport.....

goodnight really this time

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 22, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

ooops sorry Wilbrodog....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 22, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Not alone, GWE... there are bears and mountain lions and tiger tabbies out there!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 22, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | March 22, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - blizzards this late in the year? Or maybe I'm just cold-region ignorant. Stay warm!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | March 22, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy Shrek, SciTim. Green is the color to be on Broadway. Wicked, Young Frankenstein, Shrek, Nicky from Avenue Q, the list goes on.

Here is what I do with too much time on my hands:

I should go to bed.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 22, 2009 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Paging the home page copy desk --

"British Teality TV Star Jade Goody Dies"

And yes, I've seen the Opinions list... *L*

There you go again, Yoki, showing off with the snow... :-P

Glad to hear the NCBPH went well (I'm sure the non-BPHers were in fine fettle following the Tar Heels' victory), and what about a DC one for mlwjaw's visit?

Still quite chilly this morning, but I seem to be my old self, so the jog is on!

*wondering-when-I'll-get-the-lawnmower-to-the-blade-sharpening-guy-and-considering-tacking-up-more-chicken-wire-under-the-porch-to-disourage-bird-nesting Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 22, 2009 5:27 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Thanks a bunch, Wheezy. I hope your daughter enjoys her trip.

Slyness, glad you're back, and had fun.

Lostinthought, the rant was clear, and the apology, just beautiful.

Scotty, it's cold here this morning, yet none of the white stuff, just frost. I haven't walked in weeks because of the rain, but so ready to get back into it.

Mudge, Martooni, Yoki, and all of you here, enjoy your Sunday, and if at all possible, hope you can make it to church. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 22, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

90 minutes later, and it's still "Teality"...

*quietly sobbing*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 22, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Yay! They fixed it!!!!! *Snoopy dances* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 22, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 22, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

*Tim, enjoy New York, sir. I hope that leg holds up for you. And your daughter.

I've never been a huge fan of Stapleton (I find his prose eyelid-droopingly turgid, even for the time), either Last and First Men or Starmaker, though I have to agree with you on prefering Starmaker for that huge scope. This is why I like Stephen Baxter's novels, particularly the Xeelee and Evolution/Time's Children sequences.
Huge ideas and scope, but somewhat more personal than even Clarke.

Foundation, I liked all of the first trilogy. How can you not help butlike the Mule (I always wondered if he's a decendent of our formerly Lonely one.)?

Anyway, have a great day, all, and for you Mid-Atlantic folks, enjoy what promises to be beautiful weather (for those enduring blizzards, let me fax you a box o' warm sunshine.).


Posted by: -bc- | March 22, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Just noticed that Gene's story on the children left in the cars was published in the Toronto Star today - glad to see such a good article getting noticed. I do not recall seeing anyone of his other work in that paper.

Busy weekend here, visiting relatives in from the west, they came to one of the kids hockey games yesterday and then we had an enjoyable supper at home and a delightful visit, off for a family gathering later today.

This week I begin doing yard clean up/perk up for some friends who are in the process of selling there house, a chance to play in the dirt - Yea.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 22, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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