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Spare Me Your Natterings

[Bulletin: Looking mighty equinoctial out there. We're in the countdown, less than 24 hours until the astronomical start of spring. This means a massive wardrobe change. Out: Dark clothes, bulky sweaters, woolly garments. In: Nudity. Wearing nothing but a bow tie while sprinting through the neighbors' flowerbeds. Retrieving acorns buried in November. Howling at the moon, or at least hissing at it, while roasting fresh roadkill (squirrel, skunk, something unidentifable but furry and now very flat) on a spit over a fire fueled entirely by my unsold books. You know: Spring stuff. Bring it on!]

Michael Calderone at Politico had a piece a couple of days ago about liberal pundits and think-tankers and academics, led by blogger Ezra Klein, who communicate with one another on a private, off-the-record listserve called JournoList. Much fuss ensued. Some folks fear a vast left-wing conspiracy. And there were accusations of clubbiness, of going against the spirit of the Web. Here's Mickey Kaus:

"I always thought one of the big ideas of the Web was that, to the maximum extent possible, these deliberations and revisions and improvements could now take place in public"

Somehow I missed that big-ideas-of-the-Web memo. Remind me, Mickey, why I would want (no, demand!) to read someone else's preliminary "deliberations." If this listserve turns out to be a shadow government, that's one thing, but it sounds like it's mostly blogger-types chatting with one another.

Blogworld doesn't need more raw copy, more e-mails masquerading as opinion columns. Blogworld is crammed to the rafters with blather. Secretly -- don't tell anyone -- I read a lot of blogs at work, and in general wish they were better, more thoughtful, with less of the "No, YOU'RE the giant arsehole" stuff. Blogworld is overrun with people who have never learned the beauty of the unpublished thought. I get tired of the gut reactions, the knee-jerk responses, the instantaneous neurological twitches, and what I believe are technically known among scientists as the mind-farts. Why oh why can't we have a better blogosphere?

I vote for more polished prose emerging from thorough research. Good writers (and good thinkers) rely on revision as an essential element of the enterprise. In fact, I like Slate in particular because that stuff has actually been edited, revised, trimmed, copy edited, and all that jazz. It's filtered. Filters are good.

I'll make an exception in all this for Mickey Kaus himself, whose blog has a kind of scary-smart, Inside Mickey's Brain quality. Kausfiles, for all its ellipsis-mania, compulsive linkiness and waterbug attention span, has a long-term coherence going back to when Mickey started blogging in the 1950s.

But many, if not most, bloggers would benefit from greater experimentation with revision, and might do well to resort a bit more often to that timeless communication technique known as silence.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 19, 2009; 8:48 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Perils of Sanctimony
Next: Bluebell Season


And not just bloggers. More silence is called for in business meetings, casual conversations, and at the movies.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

But that doesn't apply to people who post here right? Cause if I have to start, you know, thinking before I hit these keys (and on rare occasions actually strike the ones I intend) I will end up completely paralyzed.

Okay then. With the clear understanding that we are talking about other folks, I agree. Blogs that are just rantings and regurgitated information are of no value. Nor are blogs that simply tell you what you want to hear.

And lacking market forces (in which I still believe) to wean out the good from the bad, the number of these free-association blogs will increase over time. To update Andy Warhol, someday everyone will have a blog and they will all say nothing.

But, I believe, there is hope. The hope is that people will eventually understand this. People will eventually understand that just because you see words on a glowing screen doesn't mean the words are important.

The value of professional, original, reliable, and informed news and interpretation will again become apparent .

You know, that stuff what they have in newspapers.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - Alas, it appears that no meeting where I work is complete until each and every person has been given the opportunity to repeat exactly the same point.

This is why I usually spend many of them thinking of bunnies.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Slate is very good. And this morning they have a video of a turtle.

We need more sites like Slate. Even if turtles are not involved.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Your end of boodle timing remains impeccable. I read every word of that article at the breakfast table and didn't miss a thing. In fact it confirms a thesis I made ineloquently a few days ago: most of the people still on board at AIG are not the ones that were defrauding widows and orphans, kicking people out of their houses, and selling puppies to Chinese restaurants. They are hard working Americans like you or me making the best of a very bad situation.

Yes, everybody at AIG got a retention bonus. I doubt the secretaries woulld characterize theirs as 'massive'. Not everybody got the six figure numbers that management thought some of the BSDs were entitled to.

Everybody at my firm got a bonus last year. I'm straight salary and its part of the expected package. When our firm hit hard times (before I worked here) in the dot-com bust, the partners took cuts in their bonuses so that there was enough money to give to the valued employees. Personal performance and company performance aren't always directly correlated.

Just because the guys at the top ran AIG into the ground that doesn't mean the rank and file weren't doing their job. I'm not defending financial sector salaries in general or AIG in particular, but the article was an attempt to put a human face on a lot people that are subject to pointless villification. The guy in the article claims they were thrown under the bus. Admittedly a bus falling off a cliff after his boss cut the brakes, but he wasn't the driver at the time.

This argument that all the employees of any firm that took gummint bail-out money should now wear hairshirts and be forced to eat at soup kitchens is vindictive and wrong sighted. It's the same mentality that forces federal employees to pay for their own coffee.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

kausfiles is delightfully non-linear. But incoherence shouldn't be mistaken for profundity. Except in my case.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Mickey takes on Princeton eating clubs:

"It's nice to eat dinner with a friend at Princeton. But when large, exclusive eating clubs form and come to provide the "only decent, attractive, and convivial accomodations available to a Princeton undergraduate," there's a problem. "

I smell feud.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

One of the other problems, though, is that on the internet most sites make money from multiple page views. That means it is in the best interest to keep the same eyeballs coming back many times during the day. This is fundamentally different than print, where it benefits the Washington Post nothing at all if I pick up my newspaper over and over again.

The business model drives internet sites to be constantly updating themselves. Eyes will only return if new things are there. (How frequently would any of us check out the Achenblog if it weren’t for the boodle?)

Alas, this business model doesn’t reward *quality,* just quantity. It means the internet is full of the journalistic equivalent of Taco Bell.

Okay. Enough nattering from me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse






Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I've been permutatin' and combinatin' my five thoughts in TOTALLY new ways for years...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse



What were we talking about again?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Padouk writes: 'But that doesn't apply to people who post here right? Cause if I have to start, you know, thinking before I hit these keys (and on rare occasions actually strike the ones I intend) I will end up completely paralyzed.'

No and yes: No, it doesn't apply, because boodling is understood to be different from kitting. When, for example, yellojkt blogs he crafts his words more carefully than when he boodles (right???).

But yes: Boodling on the A-blog is famous for its literate quality, don't you think? Like, globally renowned?

Posted by: joelache | March 19, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

let the madness begin!!!!

everyone have their brackets filled out?

Anyone pick Gonzaga for the final four?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 19, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The Zags were a fun team when they used to be Cinderellas, but now they are habitual under-achievers.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, the natterings nabobs of negatativisim rise once again.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 19, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

SCC: One too many "t's".

Posted by: ebtnut | March 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Considering the wireless nature of the Boodle these days, we're galactically renowned at this point.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, Boss. For example, I've been working on my Hottest Couple In Comics post for months doing meticulous daily research to document all the innuendo on the comics page.

Plus as blog author I have the ability to correct all my typos post facto, a luxury no boodler has.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The Princeton eating club setup seemed sort of snobbish when I was figuring out what colleges to apply to. Didn't apply, which didn't matter because I would never, ever have been admitted.

Having been something of an editor, I like reading edited stuff.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 19, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Just say "NO" to negativism, that's my motto.

I put down my pitchfork. Mine was silver-plated, anyway, and I thought it was awfully inappropriate. I'm pretty sure one or two of those bonus-receivers are scoundrels, but the rest likely are not. And I don't know which is which, so I will just quit worrying about them.

I did make a quick funny here

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 19, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Nudity? Howling at the moon?

I'm all over that, as a semi-pro gladiator who suffers from lycanthropy, y'know?

They're great stress relievers for me in these troubled times.

So pass the EV olive oil and remember to unlock the back door on full moon nights.

It's true that they're great stress relievers, but they're rough on furiniture especially in the springtime (it's time to claim territory, y'know). Thank goodness for Craigslist.

And Resolve carpet cleaner.

I looking at the above, perhaps I'm all over it, but upon reflection, it's also all over *me.*

Speaking of reflection and the Blogosphere, something I tell people frequently - do you want it fast, or do you want it good?

Large-scale Internet success seems to be more about the speed that thought and information are conveyed, rather than the seemingly archaic notion of thoughfully considered prose (hello, YouTube).

Thinking, editing, etc., these things take time and resources that may not be available to a guy sitting in front of his Dell at 3 AM wearing nothing but three days' beard, Wizard of Oz boxer shorts, and a fine patina consisting of nacho cheese Dorito crumbs, Diet Monster Energy drink and Stella Artois beer.


Posted by: -bc- | March 19, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

In keeping with looking to spring and summer and skimpier clothing, seems NJ is contemplating a Brazilian ban - the waxing - not the people. This is the kind of important news you only notice online - not sure I would pay attention in a dead tree version.

On a spring note planted some seedlings today and purchased a few summer bulbs, still sunny here but temps closer to normal as opposed to the warmth of the last couple day.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Boodling exception Joel. Otherwise I would have taken the kit as a personal eviction notice.

Other places where more Silence would be much appreciated: buses and the waiting area at airport gates. Lady, I do not want to know the medical condition of your mother, sister or friends nor if you had slept with the groom in the week before his wedding to your girlfriend. Thank you very much.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Breaking news on MSNBC: Head of Citigroup (Vikram Pandit) to spend millions to build a new office for himself. Another John Thain? Bloomberg has the print version of the story...

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on new offices for Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants, after the U.S. government injected $45 billion of cash into the bank.

Affidavits filed with New York’s Department of Buildings show Citigroup expects to pay at least $3.2 million for basic construction such as wall removal, plumbing and fire safety. By the time architect’s fees and expenses such as furniture are added, the tally for the offices at the bank’s Park Avenue headquarters will be at least three times as high, according to a person familiar with the project who declined to be identified because he’s not authorized to comment. Citigroup said the project will help it save money over time.

Pandit, criticized by lawmakers over Citigroup’s use of U.S. bailout capital, canceled an order for a company jet in January and told Congress on Feb. 11 that, “I get the new reality and I’ll make sure Citi gets it as well.” Of the biggest U.S. banks that received federal aid, only Citigroup has turned to the government three times for rescue. The company, once the biggest U.S. bank by assets and market value, has agreed to limit perks and restrict executive pay.

Posted by: laloomis | March 19, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Now we know how much a brazillion is: fifty to sixty bucks.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Is the NJ Board of Hairstyling and Cosmetology hiring enforcement officers? I've got experience.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to hear about her mother's medical condition either, Shriek. But the part about her sleeping with the groom before he married her girlfriend might be kinda interesting.

DMD, how come Canucki newspapers have all the interesting stuff about New Jersey and other U.S. states? (I have self-censored the 37 other remarks I had about that story.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Primarily including the one Shriek just beat me to, by a hair.

So to speak.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Well Mudge other than hockey not a lot to write about here, we must live vicariously through the lives of others in more exciting places. :-)

After all the doom and gloom economic news lately feels good to laugh, Shriek thank you - and a big thank you to NJ as well.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

When I used to post to my blog (it's been gathering dust for a long time at this point) I did try to keep the posts somewhat coherent. It was time-consuming, and realistically, I just don't have time for it. I kept reading "how to blog" advice that said, "Don't overthink it; the beauty of blogging is its spontaneity, blah, blah, blah..." That confused me. If I take the time to improve my writing from draft quality to the earnest mediocrity that represents my best efforts, I'm doing it at the expense of my real-world life AND the standards I'm using aren't the official internet standards, anyway.

I appreciate yearnings and exhortations in support of excellence wherever I encounter them (e.g., "Why oh why can't we have a better blogosphere?"), so: thanks, Joel.

I had a vision that you, Professor Achenbach, in one of the possible future versions of the universe may be the true successor to John McPhee, literally. I think you are highly qualified to teach and inspire young people to excellence because of your personality as much as your skills. I bet your student evaluations were great when you taught at Georgetown, and I think you should keep doing that and eventually you can move to Princeton, get a job at your alma mater . . . would that mean free tuition for the kids? Hmm, this is sounding better all the time.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 19, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I, too, am resisting the urge to wax poetic.


Posted by: -bc- | March 19, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You seem to have plucked that one out of nowhere, Mudge.

Says the nattering notary of non sequitors.

Posted by: engelmann | March 19, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I can see this Boodle will need some serious trimming soon.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if New Jersey would change its state motto, nickname or flag?

(No, I'm not going to finish that thought.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I say we've breached the lower limits of decency.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I think New Jersey should be concerned about the law of untended consequences.

Posted by: engelmann | March 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

*Looking sternly over the top of my half-glasses at some Boodlers* You know who you are.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I say we have not yet begun to breach!

(apologies to JPJ) :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Yoki, call it a case of spring fever!

To Joel's point on my blog I post mainly photos, thus saving me from having to write anything relevant, poignant or smart sounding - I am trying to decrease the amount of blurred or underexposed photos though.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

dmd sed "underexposed"...

*hehehehehehehehehehe* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

OK now I'm rolling my eyes.
And groining.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

*biting my tongue*

*hehehehehehehe* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Who's up for a road trip to Jersey for the hearings on that bill?

Posted by: Raysmom | March 19, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Isn't waxing already illegal in Mianus?

Posted by: Raysmom | March 19, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Psst...Scotty. Prepare to be jealous. Raysdad scored tickets to the Frozen Four.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 19, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Trust me Mudge, her account was regretfully short on details yet painfully long on existential faux-guilt.

I'd like to see the hair-splitting regulation permitting bikini cut yet forbidding Amazonian clearcutting.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

*jealousy mode engaged*

*outer-ear steam vents opened*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

*trying EVER so hard not to have dear Yoki peer sternly over her half-glasses at me again*

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

No comment.



Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It's always refreshing to drop in the boodle for a swim-by.

I haven't yet decided who the most offensive of boodlers, curmudgeon, martooni, or laloomis?

Lunchtime! Chomp!

Anybody got floss?

Posted by: Mako2 | March 19, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

natter natter natter, he can't hit...

Oops, again, never mind

Meanwhile I've been looking everywhere for something I once ready about Natasha and her advice to a felllow actress on set in a movie they worked on together, and either I've lost my marbles and have her confused with someone else or...

I've always thought of her as a great actress, but this advice proved for certain she was also a lovely person

Third time today I'm the verge of damp cheeks

Posted by: omnigood | March 19, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Faxing mako2 some floss from NJ.
Slightly used.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

financial tip: Invest a few bucks in a company that manufactures ski helmuts.

Posted by: Mako2 | March 19, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Slightly used floss? Nata problem. I'll gurgle with some of this here salt water.

Posted by: Mako2 | March 19, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I would say that New Jersey floss is pretty salty already.

And maybe now I'm getting too salty too.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I'm sorry I belted you, Eddy. I thought you were talking aboout my Mom.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I saw that article and wished they'd just put up a bunch of cubes instead of new offices, but they are cramming more than 1 floor of execs into 1 floor, all approved prior to meltdown and bailout.

Mudge, mudge, mudge. Look at the reports again--bonuses start at $1K, and I'll assure you that's what the secretarial and possibly IT staff is getting. My place of employment had a good year, you know the hours I work, and as a certified very high achiever, I got, ta-da, a generous 2% with a 1% raise. My boss kept saying he wished he could show me how good this was.

I'd trade it for no weekends and the ability to go home at night like other people do. Or the 9-10% you think we should be restricted to.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I see the Beaver Cleaver Ban caught your attention.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Citigroup was melting down last summer (June) but just wasn't admitting it.

This New Jersey, where the leading candidate for governor, a Republican, doesn't read much of anything either?

Speaking with WNYC's Brian Lehrer, [Chris] Christie said that he "would be reluctant to accept those portions of the money" if there were "strings attached from Washington D.C." He complained that oversight from the Obama administration on how certain stimulus funds are spent might "tie my hands." Pressed on what portions of the bill would do this, Christie admitted he didn't know. He hadn't read it (or even about it, apparently).

Posted by: laloomis | March 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Memorable quote, Fahrenheit 9/11:

[to Michael Moore, explaining how Congress could pass the Patriot Act without reading it]

John Conyers: Sit down, my son. We don't read most of the bills.

Posted by: laloomis | March 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

$165 million worth of $1k bonus to the support people, dbG?

I have no objection whatsoever to any $1k bonuses they may have handed out. Zero objection. Entirely reasonable. But somehow I don't think that's what people are steamed about.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

oh, my...

Posted by: LALurker | March 19, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Also, that doesn't square with two other statements made in the story or elsewhere that

(1) "a lot of employees" (don't know who/how) many have [paraphrasing] "given up their salaries and are working almost entirely for the bonus money only."

(2) that the bonuses are *so* important that the people who are being asked to return 50% of them will do so--but only along with their resignations. (The inference being that the amount of the bonus money was sufficiently large that giving back half of it was a major big deal. I can understand being irked at being asked to give back half of a thousand or two or three gard, or whatever, which really is basically chump change. But that clearly isn't what Obama and the Congress and everybody is upset about.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

So, pretty soon we'll need a lot of degrees in order to blog, and content should be edited before hitting the submit button? And something "important" to say, right?

Leaves me out, big time.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 19, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

You're going to make me go look it up?

Didn't a significant portion of that $165 million go to a small percentage of people?

Where I am a senior technology engineer, there are at least 8 layers of management between me and the CEO. 4 layers between me and the CIO. My guess is my boss got maybe twice the bonus we did, and it so it goes up the line.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I wrangled a shark
for you.
It was distasteful.
In many ways.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 19, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to step away from the keyboard in a minute, but if I'd received an $18K bonus and was asked to return half of it, under the same circumstances--not as one of the people who caused the problem, but as one of the people who's put in mega-hours before and after the meltdown, I'd resign too.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

And I believe I know who mako2 is.

I won't tell because I don't want to answer the doorbell and be chomped by a land shark.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Harriet Miers?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, mudge, Bill Kristol agrees with you:

///What’s more -- AIG says it won't be able to retain talented staff "if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury.” Sure. Those employees would be snapped up -- there's a boom market right now for derivatives traders! And certainly no one else in the U.S. has had his compensation "subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment" by their employers -- no else in the country has had to take pay cuts, forego promised bonuses, and the like!///

He sees righteous indignation over the excesses of capitalism as a great wedge issue against the current administration. There is something duplicitous about his position that I can't quite put my finger on but there is the faintest whiff of insincerity mixed with sulfur.

Of course it could all be sour grapes since Billy K. was recently cut loose by the Times for performance related issues.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Screw William Kristol. E.J. Dionne agrees with me. I can live quite comfortably with that.

And I sure as hell don't remotely agree with "righteous indignation over the excesses of capitalism as a great wedge issue against the current administration."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Correct! She's got a lot of time on her hands, I hear.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I am sooooooooooo laughing at the teaser hed: "Pope Wrong on Condoms." I think I first saw a variation on that argument sometime around 1953.

And McCain and Lieberman have an op-ed about Afghanistan, but I just can't bring myself to click ion the link, much less read it. Every time I think of Lieberman any more I just hear that Droopy Dawg voice in my head and can't take him seriously.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the idea that back-pedalling is close enough to apologizing that you don't actually have to apologize. Seems to be a prevalent strategy these days. A simple "I'm sorry" goes an awful long way.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ah the good old days when, in the face of mounting losses in the mortgage business, the 7 big trading firms of Wall Street could give away 122 billions (47% of net revenues!) in bonuses and only draw a yawn from the public. The money shredding machine was slowly getting into gear but its creator knew that they better do their harvest while pickings were still good. This was in January 08, eons ago.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Congress agrees with me, too, 328-93.

Now *that's* worrisome!

I'm actually not crazy about the Tax-'em-to-Death strategy.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday's details today!
"AIG's assertion that it had no choice but to make multi-million dollar bonus payments was undercut this afternoon by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who revealed new details about the now-infamous pay packages.

Cuomo reveals that 73 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more, with one recipient getting a bonus of more than $6.4 million."

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 19, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

... are we still discussing blogs here?... Double Dutch was never my forté!... the boodle is very much DD if one is not keeping up... hope you are all well and getting away from the keyboard to enjoy the spring season :):):)... went to a Maple Syrup festival yesterday... with a glorious 14 degrees C. So Canadian eh?

Posted by: MissToronto | March 19, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Canadian maple syrup?

Excuse me...

*suppressing a chortle and hiding under my desk* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

You didn't miss much, Miss Toronto (but nice to have you back). We were just waxing poetic about trade relations with a major South American nation.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

shrieking... just buzzing by to say that while I don't really want to hear about Mom's medical conditions, I strain to hear better the confessions of sleeping with the groom the week before the wedding.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 19, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

DNA-girl! I must admit my interest was peeked. I am a low sort.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd be worried about going to New Jersey for an illicit wax and getting bushwhacked.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

From wiki "Canada makes more than 80 percent of the world's maple syrup, producing about 7 million US gallons (26,000 m3) in 2005. The vast majority of this comes from Quebec: the province is by far the world's largest producer, with about 75 percent of the world production (6.515 million US gallons/24,660 cubic meters in 2005)"

On a personal note, I might add that the only pure strands of sugar maple (acer saccharum), the specie giving the clearest and best syrup are found around my home town of Québec City. My mother is a maple syrup goddess; her sugar syrup pie, pudding and cake are out of this world.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, (article linked - Maple Gold) you so deserve this, 80% of worlds Maple Syrup from Quebec, but Ontario produces some as well.

This festival Miss Toronto?

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Quantity is one thing, shriek, but the Mom-n-Pop maple houses in ME, NH and VT bow to no one on quality. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If they want to tax the crap out of somebody, they should go after the tabacco companies.
If my grill burns my house down I don't yell at the nice lady who took my order on the phone (within 20 minutes and recieve a handy fire extinguisher), I go and pop George Foreman one in the mouth. It's all aboout acountabliity.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 19, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Butter tarts.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, the mere *mention* of something called "sugar syrup pie" has sent my diabetes into Level 4 arrest. E'en as we speak a team of medics is desperately resuscitating my blood sugar monitor, whose battery began shooting sparks into the air, and an emergency call has been placed to try and track down Wilford Brimley.

Try to give me a little warning next time, please.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Boko, you're not helping.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 19, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

That HuffPo article has 81 PAGES of comments.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some buttery tart threw maple syrup at you!

Posted by: yellojkt | March 19, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Whatever do you mean, Mudge? It was a simple recommendation.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, on a high school french trip to Quebec City we went to a small place outside St. Anne for homemade Tortierre (sp) and homemade donuts which were dipped in maple syrup and served still warm - one of the best meals I have eaten, right up there with the Beef Bourgonion (sp) we had at Ancien Canadian. I remember the food well, the french sadly I do not. Watch the sunrise from the promenade in front of the Chateau Laurier one morning - stunning.

My Dad used to get 1 gallon jugs of Maple Syrup from Quebec, pour some on Vanilla Ice Cream with dried currents - Yum.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Darn you Miss TO! I have maple products on my mind, the p0rn of diabetics.

An uncle of mine has a decent maple stand in Lotbinière. We have been there a few times when I was a kid and the Fungi, age 4 months, had his first taste of syrup (from his grand ma) there. My uncle uses traditional pails for collection, it's a hobby for him, not a business so there is no tube in the maple strand.

In order of evaporation from the evaporator (universally called a Champion, from the most popular brand):
-maple sap (at your intestinal risk and peril but interesting nonetheless)
- réduit (reduced), a half-strength syrup that may be further disinfected by the addition of gin. Refreshing.
- syrup, the basic product of the industry
- tire sur la neige/taffy on snow, a concentrated syrup poured on snow to harden
- sucre mou/soft sugar, a concentrated syrup beaten to a soft golden syrup/air emulsion. It's an unstable emulsion that will return to its syrupy consistency given time: it's a local product. Great as a spread on bread, even better with heavy cream added. Better yet if the cream had been ladled off the farm's milk holding tank earlier in the day.
- tire/taffy, a very thick syrup that is semi-solid. The globs of stuff are eaten with a stick or a spoon. Can only be made with clear syrup as darker syrups with a sappy taste get very bitter with a strong aftertaste by this stage.
- sucre dur/ hard sugar, very thick syrup that is beaten so that the crystallization is very fine and the warm paste can be molded into hard bars, lumps or fanciful candy. Grated finely it replaces sugar in any recipe. It has been the basic sugar for rural people in New France/Lower Canada/Quebec for a long time.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Huffpo ought to charge a penny for each comment.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 19, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism unite!

What, I got nothing.

Other to say than if ever politican, banker, and money "wizard" slept with the groom before the wedding-- condom-free-- is that such a shock?

I want a knitting kit.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 19, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I know Mudge and dmd.

Freshly fried hot doughnuts dipped in maple syrup. Fat and sugar.

Eggs boiled in maple syrup. Mop up syrup with toast of farm bread. Cholesterol, carb and sugar.

Farm white bread with soft sugar and cream. Carbs, sugar and fat.

All good.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Eggs boiled in maple syrup?

SD, if it wasn't your mother we're talking about, let me tell you I was quite transfixed by the idea of a maple syrup goddess.

Posted by: engelmann | March 19, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

You have the hots for Aunt Jemina, SoC?

It's about time she got her due....

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 19, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Say what?


Wiki says:

"Kaus first wrote Slate's "Chatterbox" column in 1997 but started Kausfiles in 1999 as a private blog[9]. It was perhaps the second major political blog in the United States (after Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler[10])."

Not 1950'S.

It would have been on the ENIAC in binary.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | March 19, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, folks.

bc, reporting live from the Cornerstone (formerly the 'vous, or Rendezvous) in College Park, MD.

MD beat Cal in the first round of the Men's NCAA basketball tourney, and boy, was it ever loudy (loud and rowdy) here.
Also, young. Very scary young.

Anyway, a good time was had by all, although Butler's loss ruined my perfect brackets to this point (yes, I know it's still very early).

Now, dinner.
Although, apparently, beer has carbohydrates.

Maple syrup! Yum.


Posted by: -bc- | March 19, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

This is way off topic, but - Yikes - cage matches in a Dallas High School - and the Admin knew. I am at a loss for words

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I was 34 years old and eating New Year's Dinner when I discovered that that tiny, bluish/pink, Scots woman that I had always known as Aunt Daisy was, in fact, my Aunt Gemima.
Thank god I had just swallowed, my BIL wasn't so lucky.

So that's why the ould ones called her Jimmy.
Live and learn.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I'm with you, Joel, which is why the Achenblog is the only one I read regularly. I dip into Boodler blogs, and occasionally one of you points me somewhere trustworthy (that Ouillete woman, or however she's called). I like ideas crafted thoroughly and expressed well; this is true whether the topic is serious or silly but perhaps even more important for humor.

Many interesting things developing in this Boodle but shrieking denizen's maple syrup goddess, paean to the product, and glossary got me. There is no truly fresh maple syrup to be had for thousands of miles, and you torture me. I still remember the first time I had real maple syrup candy made the same season as the syrup was - what? acquired? tapped? persuaded out of the tree?

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 19, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

had to do a little highway driving... just back in... glad the maple syrup porn is keeping you all entertained... gastronomically speaking of course!!!!... back to skipping along...

Posted by: MissToronto | March 19, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Is it safe to come back out?

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

This is perhaps tangentially related to the Kit. I received a splendid little book today called "Law School 2.0, Legal Education for a Digital Age", by a professor named Thomson. One advantage of this adjunct gig is that publishing houses send you books. I've just dipped into this one, which I believe will wind up proposing a revision in legal education using technological and informational advances in much the same way as Web 2.0 refers to Web technologies supporting user participation and content creation. I was astonished, at a recent legal education seminar, to discover that I was one of the few people in the room who'd ever heard of "Web 2.0" or had any idea what it might be. The astonishment came from my notorious cluelessness in the face of technology. Taking this as a good thing, I decided to credit Ivansdad and the Boodle. We may not have talked about Web 2.0 explicitly, but among you I've learned to Pay Attention to Things.

I look forward to sharing some of the comments in the book with my students. I've already dipped into his comments about Millenials, which amount to a recommendation that rather than complain about them, we should get over it, accept their characteristics, and learn how to teach them (and, possibly, affect some behavior which doesn't play well in the work world). This makes sense to me. At that same seminar one of the very few truly young lawyers told the presenter it had never occurred to her that older attorneys in her office thought it rude when she texted or took calls on her cellphone while they talked to her. She immediately turned off her phone for the rest of the class.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 19, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

But that still sounds, what, disingenuous, to me. I think they *do* know it is discourteous, they just also know that all their coevals are equally so and don't mind receiving such treatment in return.

My young ladies are the same age or a little younger than even the most newly-fledged lawyer, and they were certainly taught that one does not act distracted in company, whether by technology or anything else.

And so, I think it is our fault, if young 'uns can't ignore the siren call of a ringing phone or buzzing message indicator. *We* must have started sending the message very early that work and other calls on our time and attention were more important than sitting and having conversation with real people that we care about, one way or another.

But, yay Ivansmom! You got through to one person. Like the sparrow holding up its little legs. One does what one can.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

On my way to bed, but I've never heard "Like the sparrow holding up its little legs." Charming, but . . . what does it mean?

I have a vision of a Rockette Sparrow.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, charming. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | March 19, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

It is from a Persian folk-tale about collective responsibility.

"A priest was walking along the road one day when he saw a small brown bird lying at the curb. Concerned for its welfare, he stopped and spoke to it.

"What is your trouble, friend?"

"None," said the sparrow, as it slowly raised up its little legs and held its feet to the heavens. "Just, I have heard that the sky will fall today, and I shall hold it up to keep the city safe."

"But," said the priest, "good friend, your tiny legs can never hold up the whole sky!"

"One does what one can," replied the bird.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Yup, pretty charming!

Posted by: bobsewell | March 19, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

And so, futility is good, why?

I'll never get this ddep stuff.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 19, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm off the maple sugar high. I just called my mother; she's going to her sister's sugarbush party this weekend. Traditions are holding up pretty well out there. One of my uncle's son operates the "cabane à sucre" now, of course. Too bad it's 250 miles away.

Being distracted by electronic gizmos is not only a question of age of course, remember Hizzonor Giuliani picking up a phone call on the hustings? Respect for the audience has something to do with it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki, what a charming little story. How sweet!

So, did you see the two other names for cats (always in a pair for greatest effect) I came up with?

If only we could get Spring without the pollen. . . . .I know that my eyes would be ever so pleased. Itchy and running and added to that, staring at a computer screen for a good portion of the day. And yet, just a mere glance at a daffodil can send me into raptures, even as I'm longing for the equivalent of windshield wipers for my eyes.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | March 19, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

More proof Obama reads the Boodle: NY Times says they're putting in a veggie garden. Mr. Stripey goes to Washington.

Posted by: engelmann | March 19, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Stripey should hold out for an Ambassadorship, myself.

Ivansmom - Cell phones are banned where I work. This has some advantages.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

My cousin and her husband tapped their trees last week. Sap's running pretty good, except for today when we didn't climb above freezing. Call me spoiled, but I've always taken maple syrup for granted-and was aghast the first time I saw the price of the good stuff. No one in our family had bought any for a couple generations. Just one tip, while boiling the sap in a big kettle over an open fire, don't look away for even a second.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 19, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I did, dear friend, but I still think Arbitrary and Capricious are *the best names... ever!*

Pairs are great, aren't they? Gerald Durrell (Jersey Zoo) as a child adopted two feral pups off the streets of a Greek island, and his much older, more literary brother (the great English novelist Laurence Durrell, author of the Alexandria Quartet, as well as the hilarious Esprit de Corps) suggested they be named Widdle and Puke.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Serendipity-boodle event. I saw that Boodler-bc would be at the Vous (as in Ronde-) (back boodle a bit). I was about to leave for my bike constitutional. I changed course and dropped in at bc in said location. Had a brief BPH. BC was with the most excellent Mr. DR.B. They were in the post-lude of the Terp's b-ball game.

Then, I hopped on my bike to continue up near Moose's way in North College Park. Saw more beaver sign. And, many maples not yet furzed out in green.

SD, next year, send me some of the snow-candy grade maple syrup. I loved doing that in Montana, long ago and far away.

Two cat names:

Claude de Pussy (ballet studio cat)

Claudius the Club-footed (and he really was a club-foot cat)

And this one for a male Siamese:

Mr. Blue Creepers.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 19, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The Siamese Blue Max takes umbrage.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

We like mineral or metallurgical phase phase names for cats and dogs, although the call name gets shortened.
Chrysotile (Chryso the liquid cat)
Perlite (same)
Stibnite (Stib)
Anthracite (Antrax the Ancient Black Lab)

I hoped to name the VLP Lafite, and lost; Croquemitaine (Croc) it is.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

And I forgot
Boson who became Mockmock; and
Igor who became Peasoup (he fell in it).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse


Help me please, understand the charm of the Siamese. I am cat-challenged to begin with. Fearful, but I am better. Sort of. However, a blue pt. male Siamese -- Big Daddio -- jumped on my nine year old back. He leapt from one of those carpeted kitty-cat apartment things....scared the mitochondria out of me.

SD -- fab names.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 19, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Went to soccer this evening. Had fun for about 15 minutes and then... I felt a sharp bang in my left calf, as if someone had thrown a rock that bounced (hard!) off my leg. I even turned to look for the rock. Then I tried to take a step, and fell down in preference to the feeling that my calf muscle was tearing in two if I had tried to stay up.

I am now self-medicating with ibuprofen and beer. Starting to feel better. If this is what a charlie-horse feels like (I wouldn't know; I have never had one) then I suddenly realize I should feel much more sympathy for people who have 'em. I am fine, so long as I don't try to walk. I'm walking like my left leg is a prosthetic, unless I forget and try to push off from my left foot. Then, my leg reminds me that it's still there.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 19, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

CP, we must have been separated at birth. I was always a bit cat-phobic, until I met my first Siamese (and he scared the wrap out of me!, at first). And then I observed.

They are beautiful of course, in a sort of old way. This is not charming if you are frightened.

And then I observed more closely. They are completely foolish! Regal-looking clowns. So funny, even into old age they play and play. They turn their heads upside-down and become all googly-eyed.

And then, they behave like dogs. I've had three Siams in my life, and each of them will run (on heavy paws) to come on command, and they *love* the people they love, they give you their whole hearts.

Their weird little skinny rat-tails took me a long time to get over (still don't really *love* the whippy rat-tail!) but in themselves, they are just goofy 12-year-olds who hope, but fail, to hold onto their dignity.

They make me laugh, because they are Just Like Me! We try to be all sophisticated and clever and beautiful, and then Cousin Clem comes out.

But the really charming thing about them is, they are expressive of their feelings. If you offend them, they will give you the cold shoulder. If they are happy to see you, they will *fling* themselves on you, and yowl with joy.

I just love them. I treat them like dogs. And they treat me like a cat. And all is well.

Even a Siamese is just a Moggy.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, Tim, not sure what that is. A charlie horse is a sudden cramp in the calf muscle that won't go away...although it usually does in a few minutes. Hurts like h e l l. Mr seasea gets these while sleeping sometimes, or as he's waking up and stretching. So it doesn't sound like a charlie horse to me.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 19, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

CqP, Yoki will surely excoriate me for saying it but you are justified to be afraid of Siamese cats.
They have very little going on for them. They are stupid and, most of the time, mean. See Get Fuzzy. The choice of a siamese cat wasn't random.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm in so much trouble.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

You are *sunk,* shriek.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my. Competing cax-perts. Either Daddio was attacking me (SD) or was loving me fully furredly (Yoki). I am confused. But a cozy and calm 12 lb poodle is on my lap, snoring. Tis good.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 19, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I've never known a Siamese cat, but my brother and his wife had the closely-related Himalayan cat as a pet for years. Wonderful charming animal with many of the traits Yoki mentions. Except, of course, this cat also had an overwhelming desire for the taste of human ankle flesh.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I would just like to add, I have never met a mean Siamese. All the ones I know are the gentlest, sweetest, funniest kitties I know.

And now I leave this. As I gather there are two kinds of people...

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Xactly RD Padouk. As an innocent and fragile 5'10" 170lbs teenager I was attacked from behind by an Himalayan cat. The stupid thing draw blood from an elbow. Seriously, the bone was showing.

Intelligent pets are overrated though. Satchel's a genius compared to the VLP. That dog is lovely but darn it, it's the stoopidest dog I've known.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 19, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Yoki. I've never had a Siamese, but they are sooooo beautiful, and I've always heard they're smart. I think it's the Persians that are not so smart.

I can see where having a cat jump on you unexpectedly would be scary, but it's not behavior they usually engage in. My best cat would wait at the bottom of the stairs and pounce on my feet - like Hobbes - but I think he did that because of my high startle reflex (even when I knew he'd be there), and because I laughed.

But yes, definitely 2 kinds of people, and we probably don't want to get into that here...

Posted by: seasea1 | March 19, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I was joking about the Himalaya cat. She was sweet. She just liked to playfully go after ankles. No blood involved. A charming, charming animal.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 19, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that Richard C. Holbrooke, former U.N. ambassador, sat on AIG's board from 2001 until just last summer, when he said "I didn’t feel I could continue to give it the time it deserved." Holbrooke now at Hillary's State Department, currently serving as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Posted by: laloomis | March 19, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I see three people:

cat variation: Siamese+ or Siamese-

Make that four: Himalayan+ or Himalyan-

Common ground: furry friends.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 19, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

CP, my mother loved Siamese cats above all other pets, and we had three of them when I was very young. The first/oldest was Ming (hence my "p0rn name, Ming Wyoming).

In addition to what Yoki and Shriek said, often times Siamese can be pretty neurotic, and yes, sometimes pretty mean/nasty if you get a crazy one. But not all of them are crazy, and as Yoki said, can be quite affectionate as well. Unlike most other cats, a Siamese will also "talk" to you in a kind of drawn-out yowl. Ming "talked" all the time, more so than our two successor Siamese. And if they are in another room and "talking," they can sound like a baby crying, which is spooky and can scare the crap out of you unless you know it's them.

Ming was also extremely cross-eyed, which was quite common almost to the point of being "normal" back in the 1950s and 60s; I understand the cross-eye has been largely bred out of them now. But in those days my father would sit in his chair watching (our huge, 4-inch-screen Zenith) TV with the cat sitting on the floor staring at him. And he'd stare back at Ming. And after about two minutes of them staring each other down, my father would say, "You know, you are one cross-eyed sonofab1tch." And Ming would get offended and walk off.

But I think the larger answer to your question is just one of aesthetics, the same way some peopleprefer greyhound dogs, or terriers, or labs, or whatever. Very often, the distinctive coloring of the various Siamese species is the attraction. I always thought they were quite pretty, with the blackish face, ears and legs, and the creamy white torso.

Yoki doesn't like their characteristic long, thin "rat" tails, but those tails are quite articulate and expressive in how they hold them and flaunt them around. Siamese use their tales the way Mae West used her boa. Cats always seem to try to maintain their aloofness and dignity, which dogs virtually never aspire to (and good for them), and of all cat species, the Siamese is about as regal and "snooty" and stuck-up as it is possible to get. Offend a Siamese and it will turn and walk away from you with the most disdainful flick of the tail you've ever seen.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 19, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I have had many charley horses in my life, either from sports or pregnancy - although painful usually doesn't last that long and can be walked off.

I would suggest you might want to see a doctor to make sure you didn't pull a ligament/muscle.

Hubby is currently hobbling around with a hairline fracture in his ankle after taking a hockey puck to his skate - witnesses claim the pop sound it make when it hit was quite loud and frightening.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 19, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, talk to your doctor!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 19, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Richard Holbrooke Eddie's Father?

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Very, very unfortunate President Obama's remark's about Special Olympics during his guest appearance on Jay Leno tonight. For those of you who, like me, caught Obama's town hall this afternoon in Los Angeles, you'll remember for a long time the second questioner, who made a special plea, sitting down, because of an ADA exception, about improving the the role of the disabled within society.

Posted by: laloomis | March 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

The art of the tail
Is also known to certain dogs
But manners forbid--

(who has also turned a disdainful tail on people at times).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 19, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that's a great bird story. Years ago I stopped trying to change the world all at once and figured I'd try it bit by bit. Not everyone can be President or the Pope, but we can all touch someone else's life. It seems to work out. We do what we can. If I can impart a little sanity to my students along with the assigned topic, it's a good day.

I ban cellphones in my classroom too. They are banned from our Federal courthouse completely, and a good thing too. Twittering and Googling jurors are a real problem.

About those Siamese: I don't think there are two kinds of people. I see people with varying experiences, all equally valid for those people.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 19, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

There are pet people and no pet people. Everything else is variation on a theme.

Mr. F has given all the frostcats nicknames, subverting my carefully crafted scheme to not have any cutesy mundane names. So when I am out of earshot we apparently have Girly, Sweetie, Bubba, and Sniper 6. I suppose you can guess which one is a total menace to ankles.

I never thought we'd be so long without a dog (2 years this month) but I'm not sure I'll ever be ready.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 19, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

May I put forth one of the best cat names, designed by me. And it really just came to me --- he was a very large, very long haired black cat and we named him "Christofur."

Posted by: nellie4 | March 19, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, and the paired name would be Lucyfur. Or Luciefur for SD, when he branches out from mineral names.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 19, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama was right, they do have bowling at the Special Olympics. I didn't know that.

I like this quote:

"I try to bowl 140..but I couldn't do it so I just tried my best...that was for a good effort," said Williams.

And that's the key to bowling-- enjoy it and you always do well no matter what the score is.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 19, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

And this why I love the Boodle so!

Good night, Boodle dear.

Posted by: Yoki | March 19, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh CquaP, I think Lucyfur is better!

Posted by: nellie4 | March 19, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I think this would be the perfect opportunity for Obama to give a publicity boost to Special Olympics' Unified Sports program
they'd probably want him on a basketball team rather than bowling though.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 19, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

There was a great story on ABC news tonight about some students in Pomona, CA:
"Young Students' Great Expectations"
It's hard to find - have to click on the "+"

Posted by: seasea1 | March 19, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

The BMW art cars are coming to Manhattan. I saw these at the BMW factory in Greenville during a tour of the plant. Very cool, and fast.

Posted by: -jack- | March 19, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay. Me again.'s the deal. I know you know I'm talking to you. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about. You wanna walk past me like I didn't speak? When you know I was right? You could have emailed have my address. You many ills in this world would be healed *without an ugly scar* if people just owned up to what came out of their mouth, said they were sorry, they didn't mean to say that. (I know I wouldn't be going after half of everything my husband has and then some if there'd been an even half-hearted apology from time to time. My guess is your familial relationships would have benefited from the occasional "I'm sorry" too.) You're supposed to be the ever-so-wise one...act that way.

Aren't you even half-way concerned that you let that thought of yours hang out there? Without revision? Wow. Maybe it's that you don't think you need to say I'm sorry. Fine. Say F you, you flipping wench, I'm not apologizing for anything. But don't just flippin move on like you didn't hear me call you out of bounds. You demand your pound of flesh anytime you deem there's been an injustice. Not much credence if you don't walk the walk. Shoot...if it's that you want to pretend like I'm not somehow your peer, whether due to age or sex or gosh knows what, fine. That reflects on you, not me. If even the supposedly reasonable adults need umpires and refs, if we can't just flippin police ourselves, this world is going to he11 in a handbasket faster than a turkey buzzard on a field mouse.

I don't know if I should chalk your behavior up to you being you, you being under the weather, or you getting worse with age. But you know I don't walk away from this stuff (see previous posts aimed southwest). Don't want me playing mommy? Don't act like a child.

This rant brought to you courtesy of Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon.

One last know how I've been known to say even an editor needs an editor? An editor is needed most when the umbrage meter is in the red zone. Even the neophyte you think I am knows that. My editor, however, doesn't work at this hour.


Posted by: LostInThought | March 20, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Did you see the 'Daily Show'?
Stewart should get a grip on himself. Ya'd think he was talking to Johnny Winter.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Geesh LiT, that was some rant,where can i get me some of that Cab Sav? How ya been lady?

Evening all.I tried to post from work a couple of times,but it always got eaten then it was back to work,get me this get me that.A real needy group tonight.

I was GREEN WITH ENVY of bc and the fact that he got to watch the whole game and in that venue,must have been fun.Happy we won and are onto round Two.Go Turtles!!!

Saw a train on my way home heading west just as I crossed the potomac, we ended up in the small town nearby some 10-12 minutes later almost insinct,it was way cool.

POW right in the Kisser!! eh LiT?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Gosh! EYE feel uncomfortable.

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

How can I help Yoki?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 20, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Let's hold hands and skip a little equinox dance around the fire, gwe!

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

I got confused by LiT's rant-- I had to go back to the last kit and saw her post in the boodle-- and it was the last one.

There's just a chance Mudge didn't see what she took umbrage at-- i.e. lambasting bonuses for the support staff (which dbg also took umbrage at).

That was kinda crass. Just because they tossed a few bucks to the plebes doesn't mean the bonuses aren't really going to the upper management and such.

Overall, I think my instinct to stay off the boodle today and last night more or less was right.

The less I know about AIG, the happier I will be.

I think I must find a bowling lane soon, I'm in a mood to see if I can beat Obama at bowling.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Get your Goddess of Spring outfit out, Yoki!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 20, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm already wearing it, Wilbrod. I am the Mayfly, no wait, the May Queen!

Posted by: Yoki | March 20, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

"if people just owned up to what came out of their mouth, said they were sorry, they didn't mean to say that"


Posted by: Boko999 | March 20, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 2:37 AM | Report abuse

That last bit o' floss
went a bit too far, din' it?
I meant every word;
Cannot cover that up--oops :-)
How 'bout ten lashes in floss?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 20, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse

That was lovely Jumper.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 20, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

And on kit, too!

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 20, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Al!

I don't know if any of you enjoy Eric Cantor's babbling brain bursts as much as I, but here is a bit of a segment from MSNBC

Olbermann's segment shows tape of Eric Cantor getting it up the you-know-what by Lawrence O'Donnell who is a frequent guest.

I have often wondered what sort of training folks go through to be a nattering naybob blabbering head. That video was great!

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Is LiT done yet? *peeking out from behind the doorjamb* :-)

Bravo, Mr. Pearlstein, bravo...

When I saw the votes on the "bonus tax" bill, I really wanted to say, "Nose, you can bid adieu to Face." *shrug*

*wondering-why-Fridays-are-so-staff-free-around-here-so-often-but-oh-well-where's-the-Diet-Pepsi Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

LiT, I am so so sorry.
Please accept my apologies, ma'am.

[bc, thinking furiously]

Please tell me -- where do I send flowers and precious stones and metals, and/or hand-scrub floors (I'll even use a toothbrush in the corners).


Posted by: -bc- | March 20, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

News Flash! The Franken/Coleman trial is finished. Final arguments have been made and all that remains is the verdict. After this, all that may remain is the Supreme Court and American Idol.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

To remain on topic, I would like to pronounce that "flower beds are not safe."

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and SciTim, I dun theenk that was a charley horse. Hie thee to a practitioner of the medical arts forthwith, yea verily!

psssst, bc -- It's always a good idea to pre-emptively apologize, early and often, but I think LiT was addressing our blue-bottomed friend.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Kinsley's got a point too...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Did someone say "scapegoat?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 20, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Not good, but morning.

Yeah, the Special Olympics comment was probably better left unsaid, but I am beginning to understand that Obama's sense of humor has a sharp edge to it. This is not uncommon in people his age, (or any age actually) and certainly gives fodder for those inclined to dislike him. Yet, as in all situations like this, reading to much into his attempt at humor is silly.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

RD, don't you think that, in general, folks who are humorists provide us with some really funny material that "really" is the residue of many failed attempts.

Those words will not come out of Obama's mouth again. (unless in proper context)

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Lost in thought, wow, what a mouth full! And then some. You want an apology, and you want it now. Okay.

As for the President's remark concerning Special Olympics, I think he spoke too soon. He didn't think before making the remark. And that's the case a lot of times when referring to people that have disabilities. I believe it is an opportunity for the President to shine more light on the problems affecting this population(I am a member), such as finding jobs, mainstreaming, and the list goes on. I pretty sure the President regrets the remark, but he can turn it around by putting issues that affect disable folks at the top of his agenda. When times are good disable folks are left out, but when times get bad, they're not even on the radar.

Mudge, you know we love you, help us out.

As for the President going on Leno's show, I don't have a problem with it. On Good Morning America, Sawyer had Carville and Bush's former press secretary on discussing the merits of doing the show. The former press secretary said that Bush inherited a recession, and I thought, I don't remember that. I thought Bush inherited a surplus and gave it back. Someone correct me if I'm wrong?

I know I might not be around, but I sure hope someone is that remembers this stuff the way it happened, because Republicans are putting a spin out of He!! on all of this.

As for the young folks and the technology, my daughter can't do anything without a cell phone. If I try to have a conversation with her, I'm also having it with the person she's talking to. I think it's beyond rude.

Science Tim, see a doctor. And soon.

Slyness, Yoki, Scotty, Martooni, and all the gang. Have a wonderful day. *waving*

I love cats. My neighbor had two cats, and both of them died last year. She literally got sick, she missed her cats so much.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 20, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodlers!

Boodle-South patrol confirming northward movement of the Sum. The Aster is about to reach the Tropic of Capricorn. A slight drop in temperature has been detected here.

Taking emergency measures and getting extra blanket.


Posted by: Braguine | March 20, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, RT. Especially edgy humor. By definition, it is close to the edge. And Obama clearly likes edgy humor. Of course, so do I.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 20, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

It's officially Springtime and a Friday to boot! (Even though it was -10C this morning...) What's not to like?

I was holding my tongue firmly in cheek Mudge and Yoki. I've known a couple of crazy, funny, talking Siamese cats which weren't violent. The Himalayan that bit me, known as the Prince of Ambush, was some piece of work though. It was "protecting" its mistress against guys, the jealous pr1ck.

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

Anyone find the new kit yet?

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse


That Dana P. thing that all ex-Bushies are claiming... Clinton left Bush with a recession, is a bit of a stretch, but a downturn was expected since, AS WE ALSO KNOW, Clinton caused a nice long run for the economy.

I am one who would have suggested at the time, that having both Congress and the White House in the hands of the Republicans and the lobbyists would cause a run on the middle class (as I did, at the time)...

Ultimately, we got what we have today.

If I am remembering correctly, the Bush administration took office and promptly went on VA-CA. ... that was until 9/11 when the outcome of the "missed memo" took place.

By the way, the economic shock that took place after 9/11 was very severe. Except for real estate, we were really reeling after that one. Now, we don't have real estate to prop up individuals and businesses.

I am looking at all the small individually owned shops in my town (burb of DC) going under and think that this is really the result of too many bad times and not enough good times ... in a row.

All rainy day funds are gone. Those babies are very long gone.

At the same time, as a windy economic tea leaf reader, I have this funny sense that we are possibly ... possibly ... seeing a bit of a slowing in the economy's down-slide. We should see some inflation hitting us, possibly severe.

Inflation is rarely good for folks on limited or fixed income, but does have a possible positive side in that housing prices will rise and take the pressure off of secured loans and credit lines.

I am wondering if we are seeing a bit of an economic deceleration of the "plummet" or possibly a lull. A few economic numbers are stabilizing--most importantly in the construction industry. There is that old thing called pent up demand.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 20, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, I went first I was so excited to be on kit I posted before notifying of the new kit.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 20, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Obviously I am too subtle in my new kit announcements. All caps from now on.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 20, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

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