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Updike's Ultimate Page

Updike is still filing copy from beyond the grave, this time a sequence of poems written in the final months of his life. He was not ready to go, not happy about it at all, ransacking his memory for graceful-death tips from departed friends and family. He was a young 76. Wryly he quotes a medical description of pneumonia as a killer of those under two and "very old (over 75)." He has kind, desperate words for his wife ("her body is the only locus where my desolation bumps against its end"), and old friends from his hometown of Shillington, Pa. ("Perhaps we meet our heaven at the start and not the end of life").

He ruminates on the role of writing in his life. Of the modest facts of his childhood, written many times, he says, "The fragments in their jiggled scope collide to form more sacred windows."

And you know he went out with a pen (or did he write poetry with a pencil?) in his hand:

"I see clear through to the ultimate page,
the silence I dared break for my small time.
No piece was easy, but each fell finished,
in its shroud of print, into a book-shaped hole.

Be with me, words, a little longer; you
have given me my quitclaim in the sun,
sealed shut my adolescent wounds, made light
of grownup troubles, turned to my advantage
what in most lives would be pure deficit,
and formed, of those I loved, more solid ghosts."


On the off chance you missed it, here's a column I wrote on Updike a while back.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 12, 2009; 8:04 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cosmic Thoughts Roundup
Next: Jon Stewart Thwaps Jim Cramer



Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

You know, thanks to the learned advice of the boodle, I am a born-again Updike fan. Well, at least his short stories. For even when I find the characters and situations unpleasant, I am overwhelmed with the clarity and intensity of his words.

So it doesn't surprise me that he is no slouch at poetry. And reading poetry is always a great way to start the day.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 12, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

sd-in exchange for your gracious announcement of the new kit. Will try to warm the horrific cold before it can head your way.

I fear the last piece of writing they'll find upon my death is an unfinished grant proposal. If there is any justice, they'll note the proposal as contributing to my demise.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Comment for Shriek from last boodle, didn't you here the PM the other day - happy days - all is well - Canada is #1.

Great rant this morning, also understood the Feds had been trying to tie strings to the funds for Universities - telling them where to spend the money instead of the schools wasting it fixing leaky roofs or some such sillyness.

I posted the link to some of the scientist doing research at the medical research facilities in TO - occurred to me that some may be lost with the changes Obama made but it is quite the network do I do not believe it will lose too many.

Quick question for Frosti if you happened to see the video from the Niagara incident I posted it showed the helicopter pilot (private citizen) assisting with the rescue, it was extremely windy yesterday and I was surprised he could fly at all (protected from the winds in the gorge?). Impressed the heck out of me - but just flying helicopters pretty much accomplishes that - thoughts/insight.

Now to read the kit and then go paint.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 12, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The boodle is a collection of thought strings, knitted together from our lives, and occasionaly interupted by a new kit. With that in mind, I'd like to continue the various threads.

Wheezy, I had a friend who beat the credit card companies at their own game. Like many folks, he would get tons of offers of new cards, usualy with low rates. When the intro period was over, he'd cancel the card and dump the balance into another new card. Rinse, repeat.

Also for Wheez: One positive benefit of not having another driver (and a young one, to boot) in the family is the savings on your car insurance rate. Unless of course, the point was to get her to drive so she can go to work, and pay own own dang insurance. Recalling the discussion yesterday about teaching kids to be writers, the tougher the driving test, the better the driver. Or, so it would seem.

Better go to part II.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the paper copy of the New Yorker to show up. Probably late next week--magazine delivery to our isolated rural community is increasingly sluggish. Still, it seems unfair to read Updike's poems via the New Yorker's electronic edition.

The newspaper business continues to implode. The Miami Herald is shedding some 175 staff and renting out a floor of its headquarters. Everyone else faces furlough.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 12, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

part II

I gotta thank Mudge for helping me out this morning, again from the last kit. He and I have many of the same medical issues. I've been suffering from those ulcers as well, but didn't know what they were casused by. I just assumed that since they started after my bypass surgery, they were something that I was just stuck with. My doctor just shrugged her shoulders with ignorance about them. Ha, I can't wait to go back and tell her that one of my imaginary friends also have these. I'll be boodling from the looney bin in no time flat.

Frosti, while you're scrambling together grant proposals, would you mind asking for some slop from the big trough for a permanent BPH. And some new furniture for the bunker would be nice.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

dmd--it didn't look like he was having any trouble with the wind. Beyond the protection of the gorge, to a point it's the gust spread more than steady wind speed that will toss a helicopter around. Also, at that point in the video he's close enough to the water to be in a "ground effect" hover which is very stable. No doubt the pilot is very skilled. I still can't believe the guy survived.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morning ye Boodlers!

Reading the Kit and the Boodle, I get confused as to where I am. I need to look outside to remind me of my location.

From today's news, the only thing that seems to operate well in the U.S. is the Israely lobby, which very cleverly and effectively bumped Freeman aside.

Obama and Congress seem paralized while the U.S. bus is going over the cliff.

In Chile, the gummint continues its prudent policies and is using its huge currency reserves to ease the impact of an almost stagnant economy. Unemployment benefits been upped. Exports are down 40%. Nevertheless, the balance of payments still favors Chile. Foreign tourism is down 20% but locals have traveled domestically more than ever before

In the last but hottest days of summer icecream shops are doing a roaring business.

Economists here predict a world-wide economic recovery in about two years.


Posted by: Braguine | March 12, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I did here the guy was transferred to a larger hospital near me, and is in critical condition - I think the same hospital that treated a woman earlier this winter who was discoved just before Christmas after being lost in a storm for two days - she survived because she was huddled in a snowbank. Hope he is able to recover.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 12, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Brag, please remind me, where in Chile are you?

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

one word song titles?

The first two are for Mudge
The third one is just because I can

Alice Peacock

Tori Amos (reminds me of Kate Bush with this one)

Posted by: omnigood | March 12, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Don- worthy causes indeed, but I'm going to lay off asking for travel $ for a while, much to the dismay of JW Marriott

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Brag, I love the idea of hot summer days, and icecream after our last few days weather.

Frosti, dig out the long johns again. It is going to be that bad.

I've often thought driver testers fail people not so because we did too many things wrong, but that too many of us are a little too cocky or too chicken when we are behind the wheel. And I sometimes wonder if road testing wouldn't be a smart idea once every 5 years or so. Might help us weed out some of the litle bad habits that creep in.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 12, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse,_Chile

Posted by: omnigood | March 12, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Brag's in Santiago I believe Don.

Frosti, the temperature is riding a roller coaster. Today's cold (Mr. Garage Door is outside installing my new door, he must have very cold hands) but the weekend may be nice and warm.

The Falls guy's a tough bird, there are a number of those around. One man survived 9 days in the Rockies wilderness recently. His wife died after 7; I bet those 2 days alone with her corpse will be with him for some times.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I've fallen behind again
and can't catch up

Posted by: omnigood | March 12, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. I am still catching up from yesterday but wanted to note how proud I am to have inspired bh72 to those fine conclusions regarding the perfidy and general untrustworthiness of trees. That may have been my most exciting vicarious accomplishment yesterday.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 12, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Chile may have a chance to become the nuevo California. LAN Chilean Airlines has direct service from Santiago de Chile to Auckland and Sydney. Hmm.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 12, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The elusive Texas truffle:

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse


I am in Santiago--the barrio Providencia to be exact.

In front of my building there is a plaza. Yesterday there was an organ player selling balloons to kids. Sadly sans parrot to pick rolled slips of paper with one's fortune written on them.

I also visited the Writers Society. The gummint subsidizes it so that writers have a nice, comfy mansion where to meet.

Posted by: Braguine | March 12, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Good karma required for this, a helicopter has gone down off Newfoundland (on route to an offshore platform). My dad took that ride several times for work at Hibernia - thought he mentioned they wore survival suits but can remember.

Add SCC my previous post hear, not looking for anymore typos - to embarrassed already - I am blaming paint fumes ;-)

Also shout out to science whoever invented the pink ceiling paint - that dries white - brilliant.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 12, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

My long conference nightmare is over... :-)

Now what'd I miss, anyway?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if anybody has linked to this very good article on newspapers' decline:

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Much karma to the copter crew.

And a lot of *SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH* over this:

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The graphic with that article Yoki points out is fascinating, if depressing.

So NYT is a "National Paper" and the WaPo is not? Well, I guess when you are the NYT you think so.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 12, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Post would argue that point, RD_P, since it doesn't make hard copies available outside its immediately market.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't? I didn't realize that. My libel of the NYT is retracted. Because I know you don't want to insult folks from New York.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 12, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

They've got guys.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Joel: "He was not ready to go, not happy about it at all, ransacking his memory for graceful-death tips from departed friends and family."

Just last night, I was reading about a man, about Updike's age, who *was* ready to go. His wife had lost her mental faculties and had been removed from him. He had tried to care for her to the best of his ability.

But he had become blind, having lost most of the sight in both eyes. He had lost his hearing, every sound a dull rushing noise at the back of his head. He could no longer listen to audio books. His life had been built around words, writing, reading, the sea.

Exactly one week after having lunch on a replica of a Gloucester fishing boat, the Spirit of Massachusetts, and regaling tourists and crew with stories from his past--a reporter from Barnstable had heard his yarns and asked who he was; "I'm nobody, son," he replied--he took a taxi cab to the beach. He probably stuck the change from the taxi fare into his pocket, waited a bit, and walked into the ocean.

He is family, he was Robert Warren Hatch Sr., his story told by Sarah Messer, who grew up in the Hatch house in Marshfield, Mass.--the first time the dwelling was passed to individuals, her parents, who were not Hatches. She now teaches college in North Carolina; it took her six years to write this story--combining her family's story with the Hatch saga.

The house is a house of my family members, too, though not direct antecedents; the book is "Red House: Being a Mostly Accurate Account of New England's Oldest Continuously Lived-in House."

His son, Richard Warren Hatch Jr., graduated from Punahou on Oahu, and died in his sleep last July at age 85.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

RD_P has his legions of fans, however...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

He certainly does.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Just went over the limit on links. And I knew better, from the wisdom of the boodle.

What are the national papers? I come up with NYT, WSJ, USA Today, and Chrtian Science Monitor. Who am I leaving out?

part I of original:
A while back, contemplating diving in to the world of the near-infinite
number of food blogs, I felt overwhelmed. Who has the time? And yet even
after taking the plunge, I have quickly and easily garnered four favorites.

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

Pshaw. You guys.

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

I think it is fair to say, though, that the Washington Post has a national influence. If not international. Things appearing in the WaPo certainly made an impact on me years before I moved to this coast. And the internet, devilish instrument of corruption it may be, has certainly increased the presence of the paper. (If, sadly, not its bottom line.)

Heck, just look at the boodle. As it has often been said, the sun never sets on the Achenblog.

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

I am a RDP fan, but I occasionally let him pick up the bar tab.


Posted by: -bc- | March 12, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse


Breaking news on CNN: "Space station crew climbing into escape module to wait out passing space debris."

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

And I occasionally let bc pick up the tab. I'm very kind that way.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 12, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh wow, Scottynuke. That's scary.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 12, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The debris was expected to pass the Space Station at 12:37 pm, according to Florida Today. Looks as though everything must be OK.

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

CNN says they've been given the all clear.

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

"The newspaper business continues to implode. The Miami Herald is shedding some 175 staff and renting out a floor of its headquarters. Everyone else faces furlough."

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties

Hello all,
Here in Charlotte, the Observer is also shedding more jobs (I've heard up to 50 here in the newsroom), reduced pay and furloughs.

What I wanna know is who the suits expect to put out (a quality) newspaper?!


Posted by: BaileyReynolds | March 12, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I linked to that NYT article about newspapers
last night at 11:22. I guess no one noticed it because it was too late at night for such a serious thought-provoking topic.

I read late at night because, like so many other people my age, I can't sleep. Is it the economy, existential angst, simple biology or personal stuff? I don't know, but I do know that I could sleep like a baby all morning long if I let myself. But I don't; I don't want to be on the night shift for the rest of my life!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 12, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The Newsprint Fairy, of course... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all
Scotty i really liked the story about snow shoeing.Thanks,way back when I was a younger more fit lad I tried that with my brothers.We tried in the Shenandoah National park back in the 70's when we used to get snow.
On one trip we rode plastic sleds down the trail from the hawksbill summit to the cabin we were staying in,talk a bout a wild ride.

I think it was the winter of 77 and it was the coldest weather Temp I remember -14.That was the last time I remember the chesapeake bay froze solid.

Is the space debris from us? man made?

How about the national inquirer as a national newspaper?

Colder in west by god today

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Didn't mean to claim any credit were it isn't due, rickoshea. Sorry I missed your post.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Now, Yoki, you KNOW I wasn't complaining about you. I'm complaining that I haven't slept, except in bits and pieces, in DAYS!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 12, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Hope it's YOU putting out that paper, Bailey.

The other two favorite food blogs:

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

That is really bad, rick! I know how it goes, I'm terrible at sleeping (as my Boodling late and early will attest). Don't know what the solution might be.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Less stress, Yoki. I was having insomnia last week from stress, now I'm sleeping it all out.

A heavy-carbo dinner can increase body temperature, which might make falling asleep harder.

Also, a heavy-fat meal can also reset circadian rhythms.

And there's that caffeine habit, and hormonal stuff, and so on. It's a pain.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 12, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Here is a link to Shenandoah National Park if anyone is interested.

Rickoshea,maybe a shot of something before bedtime? you know with DST in place Maggie,sleeping later is ok,cause you still have that extra hour in the evening to get things done.
Me working the evening shift has really put me into the sleeping late thing.I used to be such a morning person,but 2 years of working late just changes my internal clock I guess.

What is it about Mom's? Just talked to mine and she just says all the right things to make you feel good.I Love you always does it for me.

Well off to work.

Hope everyone has a Great Day!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 12, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your support, Jumper. Me, too! ;)

Posted by: BaileyReynolds | March 12, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I take a melatonin a couple of times per week to keep the bedtime normal. No hangover, and it's supposedly good for the blood pressure and lately been getting some evidence as anticarcinogenic. The same research indicated going to bed and sleeping in complete darkness has the effect of ramping up natural melatonin also. And I always thought those eyeshade masks (for "beauty sleep") were an affectation. Not so, I guess. The same articles mentioned that teenagers need it dark to sleep well also.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Journalists of the future--adapting to a changing marketplace based on advances in communications technology:

So [Gretchen] Mahan is pursuing a new field of study — convergence media. What's that? Think newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, photography and online journalism rolled into one. ...

Most J-schools still offer traditional sequences, but some are placing print and broadcast students in one classroom and showing them how to work together. That's one picture of convergence media, a blending of news-gathering disciplines. ...

Today's reporters are developing multimedia skills on the fly. Tomorrow's reporters will develop them in the classroom — or on their own. ...

There will always be a need for gathering and disseminating news. And that's why Gretchen Mahan is diversifying her skills. She may not get rich. But if she can write, blog, take photos, shoot video, broadcast and podcast — she may land a job.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse


Check out these guys:

I use Dr. Marc Raphaelson

Judging by all the locations they have, tons of folks in Washington don't sleep well.

Nighty - night. Sleep tight, ..... you know the rest. :-)

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse


I put the boddle to sleep.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, Don. I'll keep you company. This story is spooky. We have huge tracts of land in our neck of the woods, although it's not likely that people from the coast will be rushing to move here anytime soon.,0,2405277.story

Posted by: -jack- | March 12, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Melatonin, eh? I'll have to check that out. I really hate checking out the digital clock by my bedside hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute *all**night**long*. And then the next day, I'm all discombobulated (a word I simply *adore*).

Well, I've figured out over time that the first sign of Spring is not a robin. Nope -- it's a sneeze, followed by more of 'em and coughing and eyes watering and itching and nose snorffling. I love Spring, even if I choke on it, and I never had allergies growing up. I understand that living in this permutation of a swamp will do that to ya. And it's done it to me, alas.

I'm working on a software maintenance agreement now, and just took a boodle-break to see how my imaginary friends (and, um, others) are doing. I might just have to get back to it now.

Toodley-doodley-boodley all.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | March 12, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse


What a day. (Useless and non-productively speaking.)

My dr. appt. was for 8 a.m. Got there at 7:50, door was locked. At 7:55 front office peeps arrived and let me in. Sat in waiting room until 8:45, when nurse came and took me in to an exam room, got my weight and BP. And then I sat.

About 9:30 a nurse came by and said they didn't know where the doc was, but they were expecting him soon. (I'm just telling ya what she said.)
At 9:50 I told the receptionist I'd be "back in a minute," got into my truck, drove a mile to the local 7_11, got a cup of coffee and a hot dog (breakfast), and went back to the exam room.

The doc arrived at 10:15. He lives in Virginia and the beltway over there was completely shut down for a few hours for some accident scene investigation.

Infection #11 is official, and includes a tetch of localized cellutis (my fourth, two majors and two minors). Probably a staph or a streppy type, non-hospital-related (and so probably not MRSA; had that bad boy once before). My half-dollar-size ulcer has been joined by a pal, 1 inch by 3 inches, approx.

I may need the services of CP to describe the lovely shades of color on my lower leg. Cellulitis produces its own lovely red hue, which I think rightfully deserves it own name and lipstick shade. Kind of a subdued coral crimson color. Very nice. Kinda country, actually, tending toward barn doo red.

I shall spare delicate sensibilities and not describe other colors or their genesis and condition. It's all pretty yucky.

Don, don't mess with this stuff; it can get serious.

So now I am on two antibiotics, bactrim, and something called "omnicef." No, omni, it isn't related to you, so far as I know. Fortunately, Giant supermarket is running a free antibiotics promotion, and the bactrim was free, and the omnicapsule was 10 bucks (after insurance). (If it was related to you, omni, they'd have named it Yuenglingomycin.)


Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 12, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse


Was it Will Rogers who said, "Invest in land. They're not making any more of it."

This also reminds me of the plot of one of the Superman movies. Lex Luthor bought up all the desert, and was going to blow up the San Andreas fault and cause Ca. to slip into the sea. Wonder how a techtonic plate slip the size of the one that caused the Indonesian tsunami would jiggle out the sea level.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a Charlotte BPH is shaping up.

Just got off Wikipedia, a little side project of no great import except to some local artists. After working on another project there which I'd rather not name. Many would thank me, though!

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Updike also gets a mention today in the sentencing of terrorist helper Momin Khawaja today (at para. 37):

"In my view, Momin Khawaja’s offenses, the circumstances in which they
were committed and his personal circumstances do not warrant his being sentenced to life imprisonment. I appreciate that there will be those who argue that I have been reading too much ‘John Updike,’ but that is my view. In my opinion, lesser and fixed terms of imprisonment are required here."

Posted by: engelmann | March 12, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

That 3:31 link is eye-opening. Notice how the article said the reports left out all possibilities of Greenland and Antarctica losing ice into the oceans? Ruh roh. I hope we start thinking about changes to Federal coastal flood insurance.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

A hot dog for breakfast, Mudge? Oooo, I just love those Jalapeño stuff rascals that are baked in their own bread dough. But they are sooo bad for us. When I huff and puff my guts out at the gym, or run my butt off for hours on end, only to ruin all that effort with one of those, I really hate myself. But, sometimes, I do it anyway.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 12, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Even BMD-mixes are special. But Yoki already knew that.

Wow, the BPH locations are starting to pile up. We're also planning one @ gwe's place.

Posted by: -dbG- | March 12, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Infections. Yuck. Now it looks like hog farms provide the ideal mixing environment for bacteria:

Posted by: -jack- | March 12, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

duh. Here's the link:

Posted by: -jack- | March 12, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The doc also gave me a form for some blood work. Apparently I have to give 47 viles of the stuff because he's checking every system and gland I have for secretions previously unknown to science. And he wants me to start taking chromium and zinc. I think he wants me galvanized and then chrome-plated, and made into a hood ornament.

So I took the form to Lab Corp., where the lady told me I had an outstanding balance of $1,666 and that I had to pay it today before they could do my new lab work. I both laughed and said things like, "No way," "you gotta be kidding," and "ain'tgonna happen." Turns out the last time I had lab work done, they didn't charge my insurance correctly. So she called the accounting dept. somewhere in North Carolina. After 20 minutes on hold, she conferred with the acct. lady, and then put me on the line. Turns out they had plugged in the wrong ID number last time (typo or transposed number or something, I dunno and don't care; it wasn't my mistake). So I said well, re-apply. Seems they can't--the account had been turned over to collections. Seems EYE have to be the one to call the collection agency to tell them there's been a mistake. Oh, believe me, that's gonna be a fun conversation.

Saturday morning I'm taking my lab sheet to Qwest.

Don, no jalapenoes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 12, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Well Jack, hog farms *smell* as if they provide the ideal mixing environment for bacteria.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 12, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

On Space Junk and Space Station: The debris in question is in a very elliptical orbit with a low perigee (closest approach to Earth) so it was hard to track. The close approach to Earth keeps perturbing the track so it is difficult to predict its future path with any accuracy. Intially, it was deemed not a problem, but as the track assessment improved, we grew more concerned. By the time we knew it could be a problem, it was too late to plan and execute a burn to move the Station away from the potential conjunction. We have plans for that and the crew closed hatches in the Station and entered the Soyuz in case they needed to escape. Fortunately, no impact ocurred. Because the debris is so hard to track, not sure we'll be able to accurately assess how close it got. All in a days work in space.

Posted by: Radz | March 12, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

And I thought I had doctor problems. Cheez. BTW, Mudge, watch out about 24 hours after you begin the zinc supplements. And send them a bill for your time spent fixing their insurance malfeasance. Use the word "malfeasance" a lot. Maybe even "punitive damages."

I thought I was looking forwards to the day I'd get a "quad core" board and build my next computer with it. Now I'm having second thoughts. My system already has three little cooling fans in it, and if I get a "quad core" I'm afraid I'm looking at maybe seven little fans all operating in the guts of my machine. My quiet office will start to sound like a wind tunnel, and woe unto me if one or more starts groaning. Like I finally figured out which one in there now is making all the racket. The new power supply, of course. $#&*

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Radz, if they can pick up the object (not as small as we all originally reported) on radar again, won't they be able to do a little math, look at the last radar hit (I'm told about 10 hours before the conjunction) and figure out fairly precisely how far from the ISS it passed?

Posted by: joelache | March 12, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I wonder why this story hasn't hit the national news. Joel you should do an in depth investigation. A golf ball size something for space drilled a car near Redding CA. Experts have had half if it for about a week and haven't identified it. Look at that hole through the windshield.

Posted by: bh72 | March 12, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"Orsot, who said Lang's insurance won't cover the damage to the SUV, said he hopes they can find such a buyer if it turns out to be a meteorite."

Hmmm... I've never checked my insurance for meteorite coverage. If it's not typically covered, it seems that a meteorite damage rider would be a pretty safe money-maker for the insurance companies. If the big one comes down, I doubt that claims from direct hits will be the biggest concern of the insurance companies.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 12, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I'll note that the possible meteorite car strike was only a dozen or so miles from Loomis Corners!

Posted by: bobsewell | March 12, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it came from the Russian / Iridium smashup. Class it as "uninsured driver?" That might get it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

It's definitely time to mosey to the fridge and see how the barley grew. I hope someone can join me.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 12, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

bob, there's quite a mountain range between Arcata-Eureka and Redding, including the Trinity Alps, but still a little too close for comfort, especially if I were still living there or for folks presently affiliated with Humboldt State. The photog did a great job in capturing the hole in the windshield, though. I'd prefer to think it was a meteorite rather than space junk.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Charlotte BPH! West by god BPH! This really is a moveable feast.

I'll have barley in the form of uisce beatha, Jumper

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

The Christian Science Monitor is discontinuing dead tree editions, so scratch that one from the list.

My HP quadcore is whisper quiet, but I have no idea how many fans it has inside. It's much quieter than the gamer case computer it replaced.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, bob, I think the scarier story out of California today is its now double-digit employment rate--in that category, as reported by AP today, are also Rhode Island, Michigan, and South Carolina.

Article in our local paper yesterday about high-end homes facing higher rates of foreclosure:

Bexar County's rising foreclosure postings have snagged a new group of people: the well-to-do.

Most foreclosures happen with homes valued below $200,000 — the most popular price point in the San Antonio area. But the biggest percentage increases in postings this year are happening at expensive price points, according to data from the Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service Inc.

Foreclosure postings on homes priced under $200,000 rose 22 percent in the first quarter, compared with the same time period last year.

But postings for homes priced in the $200,000s rose 65 percent. Postings for homes valued between $300,000 and $499,999 rose 71 percent.

And postings on homes priced higher than $1 million rose 40 percent, according to Foreclosure Listing Service.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Of course, some of these San Antonio homes were built by speculators or those hoping for a quick profit by flipping the home. Contrast this with the Hatch/Holbrook home in Marshfield, Mass., my first blog post this a.m. under this Kit, where the same home stayed in the same family for about 300 years.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I hope that everyone will take the time to read the Kristof oped piece that Jack linked to at 4: something

I don't want to be all alone tonight all night long worrying about it!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 12, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll read it later, ro'shea (insomnia joke!)

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm ashamed of myself for posting this. It's WAY too snarky.

Bristol and Levi Break Up, She Gives Back Baby
March 12, 2009 by Mike Licht

Bristol and Levi Break Up, She Gives Back Baby

Okay, we’re not sure about that last part, but Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are breakng up. The story is on all the official GOP media outlets: Fox News, Star magazine, People, Us Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Perez Hilton, The Hollywood Gossip, Celebrity Bride Guide, TMZ, The Insider, E! OnLine, and Access Hollywood.

A spokesman for Ms. Palin’s mother, Governor Sarah Palin, declined comment; her father Todd is said to be in seclusion, cleaning firearms. Spurned Baby-Daddy and fiance Levi Johnston is just chillin.‘ Mr. Johnston’s mother, accused drug dealer Sherry Johnston, must also have an opinion, but she ain’t snitchin.’

There is no truth to the rumor that Bristol is giving her baby to Angelina Jolie. We know this because we just made that up. Reports that Octo-Mom is caring for the Palin-Johnston baby, Tripp, are likewise unfounded.

Our thoughts are with both families on this trying day. We hope the Palins can make some time to meet with their spiritual advisor, Reverend Limbaugh.

(from )

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 12, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Good satire is ALWAYS snarky, MaggieO'D...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Alice Peacock videos. I had never heard of her before. The Tori Amos clip was good as well, but she is a taste I have already acquired.

The Kristof article is alarming but sadly not surprising.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

loomis - While I certainly agree that the unemployment trend is much more worrisome than the occasional sky bomb, you're drastically mistaken in your geography.

The only relief features between Frances St. in Cottonwood (about 12 miles south and a bit east of Redding, just off Gas Pipe Rd, a little more than a mile west of I-5) and Loomis Corners (about three miles east of Redding) are the Sacramento River, its low-relief valley, and the tail end of a ridge near Cottonwood that's about 200 feet tall.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 12, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Ooops!- I guess it's "Gas Point" Rd.

But darn it, I know full well that there's a gas pipe there. I used to go dirt biking in the area.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 12, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Pi Day canceled at Harvard because of lack of faculty support:

Sad, just sad.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Had a busy day, and a busy evening, now I'm watching the Men's ACC Basketball tourney (BTW, congrats on the big win earlier in the day, yellokjt).

Right now my Terps are in a see-saw battle with NC State, pretty good stuff.

One has to wonder if any of the debris that passed near the ISS or hit that vehicle was related to the Iridium/Cosmos satelite smash-up from about six weeks ago.


Posted by: -bc- | March 12, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

bc - according to this the debris was not from the smash up:

And although I am eager for Radz's definitive answer, I think it is clear that what Joel suggested in his 5:13 is true. I just wonder if anyone bothered to do this once the immediate danger had passed.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 12, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Joel cranked out a story about the near miss:
Or near hit.

Posted by: seasea | March 12, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

good to see the Terps win,hopefully they can do the same tomorrow.

So,is there anything going on for PI day around here?I had so much fun the past couple of years.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 12, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

That is too bad about Pi Day. I guess we're not having a wild celebration on the Boodle either. Everyone, eat some pie Saturday.

Posted by: seasea | March 12, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Did you guys linking to the hog story *have* to do it today --- when three sweet little pork chops were what was out for dinner.?
I overcooked them to the point of charcoalitude.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 12, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, then, let us cook up a Pi day pastry! I had a good time hosting it a couple of years ago. I can't do that this year, for any number of reasons. Let me consider...

Terps are terrapins, right? Which are turtles? And so basketball?

This makes perfect sense! Not.

I'm getting really good at sports. I know that Giants and Bengals are futbol. And that Flames and Habs are hockey. Now those Oilers? Nobody knows what they are. And the rinks? Janitors?

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I know that one Yoki, Edmonton Oilers are a hockey team.There used to be a football team in the NFL, the Houston Oilers,but they moved to Tennessee and became the Titans.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 12, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Saw this story which is nice in such hard times.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 12, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

so, gwe, that is just like the Montreal Expos baseball team moving to Washington, DC and becoming the Nationals? And they still suck? Garry! Garry!

And the Quebec Nordique moved someplace where they became water-birds?

Man, sports is confusing.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Turtle pie. Yummo!

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could call in dead to work in the AM. But, since I can't, I will boodle for bit:

Yoki -- yes. yes. Turtles are a kind of reptile that is more water-loving than their cousins the tortoises. Terrapins are a kind of turtle that are bigger than most pond turtles and tend to have an estuarine or coastal water habitat. Terrapins are NOT sea turtles. Now, more Mid Atlantic detail: the diamondback terrapin lives in our beloved Chesapeake Bay watershed (broader range, actually, from Florida to Cape Cod). This diamondback terrapin is a turtle: Malaclemys terrapin. Terrapin is an indian word -- Potomac and Susquhanna tribes -- meaning
shelled creature with legs in brackish water good for eating. (so it goes)

Now, on to Terps -- a sport abbreviation for the University of Maryland, College Park Fighting Terrapins. Before 1920 or so, we were known as the Old Liners. This is a Civil War and earlier reference to the Mason-Dixon line which divides the North from the South. Maryland is bi-polar about being South or North. To me -- and our prairie Northland ways -- MD IS SOUTHERN. Slyness and etc, and Cassandra, too, might politely disagree.

Any way, Curly Bird, the first really effective yet corrupt Pres. of UMCP picked the mascot himself. He did not like the Old Liner name. Curly Bird played football back in the day when we were the Maryland Agriculture College. Curly Bird also built the house I live in now. His former Manse is on the hill in my neighborhood. I bike past it, sputtering, every day. He built these houses and "forced" in a Chicago-democrat way, faculty and staff to take a mortgage with him or his cronies.

I have a piece of drapery in my house that Mrs. Curly Byrd loved, apparently. Piece of bark cloth from the fifties. Covers a pillow.

Go TERPS. However, I am proud of the coaching ethos of the basketball team. I feel concern for the players, but cannot fully support the shenanigans and foolery in the program. Other Terps? Fabulous scholar-athlete culture, one to be rather proud of
most days.
We could have a TERP roll call here:

CqP -- teaching Terps since 1988 or so, but must admit I was a BRONCO out west, NCAA track team, etc.

Kim has Terpitude. Bc as well.


Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 12, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Mea Culpa times seven

I am NOT proud of the hoops coaching ethos on campus.

NOT proud
NOT proud
NOT proud

I do, however, really like my barkcloth pillow cover, beloved by the late Mrs. Curly Bryd, aka Mrs. Terrapin (a nick name she came to love).

Tired and now to catch zzzzzz but, likely awake ala RickoShea's tale of nighttime woe. Me too. However, I do lay there and rejoice at 1) being alive and 2) lying still and not in the saltmines or doing laundry duty. I admit to in the summer, going out with a flashlight and looking at my flowers....but I am crazy a bit that way. Some ladies are cat people...others, well, flower-mad....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 12, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

That is a good story, Wilbrod. People at my very large corporation tried suggesting such things, all for naught. I think many of us would have foregone raises, taken unpaid leave, etc to decrease or eliminate layoffs. We may have grumbled a bit, but still. The mucky-mucks said such ideas were considered, but in the end, they went for layoffs. They know how to do that...all their systems are set up for it. Sigh. I'm getting layed off, but today I got a raise. It's absurd.

Posted by: seasea | March 12, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Great Description CP and I even learned something about my beloved turtles.

Also Yoki,someone recently came up with the slogan" fear the turtle" and it has stuck in recent years. Some young girl from Maryland I do believe.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 12, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

But my big thing is, shouldn't they be the Tarps? All blue and useful and everything?

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- Sweet suffering Cheeses! 3lue is a color not named in Terp Territory. Tis the color of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins and the team of devils from D^ke.

Be careful, you are slinging salt into GWE's eyes.

My department developed a website with pale blue pages. We are some trouble with the design and branding police on campus. Our colors come from the Maryland flag: yellow and black and red and white -- nicer than it sounds. All from the Calvert Family (Lords and Ladies of the Baltimore desmense in merry ole England....Yoki -- we connect now to Canadia this, must sign off....

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | March 12, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorry! sorry! 'Twas a Canadian joke, and inappropriate!

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Fear the Turtle?

I do.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Yoki-I've tried, without success, to find a video of one of my favorite Hawaiian singers doing what I consider his best song "Blue Tarpo'lin"

If the paradise blues gets the better of me
I'll find a new way to set myself free
'Cause in my hometown I can't afford a home
And it's no surprise that I'm not alone
From the trees I'm gonna hang me a blue tarp roof
Twenty by ten, guaranteed waterproof
I put up no walls and I don't need a door
Sand between my toes makes a real good floor
Blue tarp affordable home
In my blue tarpo'lin affordable home
Blue tarp affordable home
In my blue tarpo'lin affordable home

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

frosti, you rawk.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Cue the Blue Tarp Camper commercial:

Posted by: seasea | March 12, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

seasea-sending that link to the frostsisters!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Embarrassingly, I don't recall seeing a terrapin in the wild. Not enough time spent among the mangroves. They really are coastal critters.

As a product of blue state universities north and south of Maryland, not to mention having spent part of a summer at the Blue Hen University....

I assume Curly Byrd was from the famous Byrd family of Virginia?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 12, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Calling in dead to work tomorrow, CqP? What's the matter?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 12, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

See, "fear the tarps" just doesn't make it. It'd be like, "Go, Mighty Fighting Dropcloths!"

See? Nuthin'.

So who else watched the "ER" reunion show? Quite a cast. And what a surprise: at the very end, George Clooney winds up in bed with Julianne Margolies. *sigh*

Wish I could call in dead tomorrow, too, CP. Been feeling quesy/sicky all afternoon and evening, probably from the antibiotics.

Bob Ryan is talking about snow flakes in the morning. So much for those lovely, deceptive 70-degree days.

Today was dottir#3's birthday-- she's 26. Just the other day she says she found a gray hair. I laughed and laughed. Probably should have been more sympathetic, I suppose.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 12, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Jon Stewart just asked Jim Cramer why the financial networks couldn't investigate Wall Street skullduggery. Cramer is really squirming.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

This is Jon Stewart's finest hour.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 12, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads-up, I caught it just now. "Market for cocaine and hookers." LOL.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 12, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

well, Stewart just cleaned Cramer's clock.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | March 12, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, what an awful day you had, except for the dot's birthday. Hope you feel better, and emerge victorious from the collection agency shenanigans.

I'm getting ready to settle in for ER. Jon Stewart has been great, look forward to seeing him tonight.

Posted by: seasea | March 12, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I'm diggin' the ACC Basketball Tourney talk.

Yoki, I should add that it is a tradition in my house - and many others, I'm sure - where Girl Scout Cookies are consumed during the course of the various college basketball tournaments.

One of the symptoms of March Madness is Thin Mint Fever. (Sorry, Mudge).

Thanks for the link to Joel's piece in tomorrow's paper, seasea. For years, we've heard that eventually the Earth will have rings like Saturn, Neptune and, er, Uranus. Interestingly, ours may be as much an orbital human junkyard as anything. I wonder what alien races will think of us when the only man-made objects visible from other planets will be our trash pile(visualizing that sequence from Wall*e again).

I wonder if it will be a fitting monument for humanity.

On a completely different note, my olde German sedan hit 200,000 miles this evening. In fact, it's parked with exactly that on the odometer.


Posted by: -bc- | March 12, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

SU is on the cusp of one of those conjunction things, after being up by 8 just a few moments ago. Oy.

Charlotte BPH. Cool.

The Kristof article makes me wonder why there aren't more mindful rules regarding hog and poultry farms. As I understand it, some of the most potent viruses mix and mutate among swine and poultry, particularly in areas where swine and birds have a common water supply and feeding area. Mega farms just don't seem to be the answer. Hurricane Floyd dumped enough precipitation in NC to cause improperly constructed hog waste lagoons to rupture, releasing millions of gallons of contaminated goo into the Cape Fear watershed. I wonder if the fauna have recovered. IIRC, the oysters, already in danger of collapse were stressed nearly to the breaking point.

Posted by: -jack- | March 12, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

bc, excellent.

Posted by: Yoki | March 12, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

J, M, and J. I just started to type overtime. SU drained a trey. Dude. My bro used to play golf with Boeheim long ago and far away. The game was closest to the pin. Crap. The officials just waved it off. Stinkin' instant replay. Reminds me of the role of IR in the Olympics. Some things just aren't sacred anymore.

Posted by: -jack- | March 12, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Catching a shortened version of this story on the 10 p.m. TV news: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is rejecting part of the stimulus money for the state, the $555 million targeted to pay for the expansion of unemployment benefits. Locally, San Antonio has a jobless rate of more than six percent (6.7, IIRC), the highest level since 2003. Texas lawmakers, primarily Democrats but also some Republicans, are unhappy with Perry's decision. Our paper late this evening has a version of the story courtesy of the Houston Chron:

There are problems locally for the stimulus money for highway construction for lanes that would connect two heavily used, intersecting freeways, a story published Friday. As the Express-News article pointed out, toll opponents in general object to the large share of the projects funded by the stimulus bill that are toll-related, saying it amounts to paying twice for the same road — first with taxpayer-financed stimulus funds and second with state tolls. In short: tax me once, burden's on me; tax me twice, shame on y'all.

Now there is a potential lawsuit over environmental concerns for the massive interchange system planned for the city's outer freeway loop and U.S. 281, as reported for tomorrow's paper. If the local transportation authority were forced to conduct environmental assessments, it claims the study could cause a three-year delay in construction, causing federal stimulus funds to be forfeited for this project.

In my opinion, if Texas were looking to the 21st century, it would have completed an adequate environmental impact assessment long ago and built something far more suitable about a decade ago than what currently exists. Texas does just about everything on the cheap. What is so laughable is that the outer freeway loop is only two lanes wide, while some stretches of the access roads that parallel it are three lanes wide, so that quite often, it's faster to travel next to the freeway rather than on it.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Frosty's right about Stewart's finest hour. EVERYBODY is gonna be talking about that show in the morning.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 12, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

They are not waiting til morning to talk Mudge, and yes it was great.

Posted by: dmd2 | March 12, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Since the omnibus spending bil passed with millions appropriated for Iowa to study how to prevent swine odor, at least the future swine s**t that may get into a watershed won't smell. It may still nearly kill bunches of oysters, but odorlessly.

Posted by: laloomis | March 12, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

If Jon Stewart is going after financial folks, why not put Suze Orman in his guest chair. At one point, on CNN, IIRC, she said that she thought the market would go to 8000, but would bottom out at 7500. I think she revised her forcast to cover this oh-oh!

Posted by: laloomis | March 13, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

DOT. And I haven't any nails to bite.

Posted by: -jack- | March 13, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

CP - I had a swirly head moment there when I read your 10:13 about pride in the Terps hoops ethos...but equilibrium was regained with your following post. The hubby and son are tried and true (tried is the operative word) Terps fans. I like to enter into, just so far, their fandom.

I had to laugh recently when my son yelled at his father after a recent Terps game, "I never should have become a fan of your teams!" We left MD for the Tidewater area when my son was 4. There are no local teams here and it is a military town so every team from every league of every sport is represented here, but he stuck with the Redskins and the Terps. It hasn't been easy for the kid. He's going to Tech in the fall, I think he may be in a quandary! Have a quandary? It's late, I'm not sure which is correct.

maggie's sleep problems have surfaced here lately. I don't know what it is, but I don't like it. I hope I don't have to get used to it. I'm going to check into the melatonin angle.

bobsewell sighting! Yea!

Posted by: Kim1 | March 13, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams, I hope. I think this insomnia thing must be rather easily transmitted between imaginary friends.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 13, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Texas' practice of buying expressway rights of way, then building access roads and actual expressway piecemeal seems rather unique. I recall what is now I-410 to Lackland and the distant Brooks being that way when I was a kid. In places, a two-lane road with vast space set aside for three more two-lanes.

You can still see this sort of pattern when landing at Houston Intercontinental Airport.

Florida never seems to buy right-of-way until it's already been developed. [Exhibit 1: link from Pineda Causeway to I-95 in Melbourne. The eventual need for the link was obvious twenty years ago.]

Florida, by contrast, has made the consruction of limited-access highways nearly impossible by requiring compensation to landowners as if they're being deprived of immensely valuable commercial frontage.

Palm Beach County somehow got out from under that regime, probably because large developers generally don't want strip development. They want arterial streets faced by walls, broken occasionally by lavishly-landscaped entries to gated communities.

So...anyone from Texas who thinks the local highways inferior needs to come to Florida to see real inferiority.

Looks like a race between governors Perry and Sanford to see who can offer the least in the way of unemployement benefits. Surely Mississippi's in the competition, too?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 13, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse,2933,505167,00.html

Paranoid Russian says space junk plot

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 13, 2009 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Part 1 of the Stewart/Cramer smack-down:
So far very funny.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 13, 2009 5:27 AM | Report abuse

That was just the intro, here is the main interview:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 13, 2009 5:35 AM | Report abuse

Holy mackerel. I went to bed with less than a minute to go in the third OT, convinced the Orangemen would come up short. Wrong.

I'm off to rev up the engines for dawn patrol. The props go counter clockwise, right?

Posted by: -jack- | March 13, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Jack! Don't spin the props counter-clockwise!! Jack! Ja--

Poor Jack. *sigh*

'Morning, Boodle. Well, I can finally see the home page and op-eds, and what do I find? Gerson (moron) and the Hammer (even worse). Gene Robinson's column was OK, though.

Way down in the Talk and On Faith tabs somebody named Robert Parham has a good column on rightwing Christian hypocrisy about Rush Limbaugh, but I can understand if you are totally burned out on all matters Limbaugh. God knows I am.

Got a little wet snow falling just south of here, but just a very light drizzle here. Wish I could just crawl back in bed, but can't. I tell ya, if it wasn't for slyness and her superb victualing of the Ready Room I don't know how I'd make it through the mornings. slyness, do you ever do creamed dried beef?

yello and Jack are up; Cassandra, Scotty, Brag, you out there? Yoki and Ro'shea, you guys out there? Or did you finally get to sleep?

OK, Dawn Patrol. Time to pull the chocks and get airborne.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | March 13, 2009 6:17 AM | Report abuse

My momma didn't teach me creamed dried beef, Mudge, but if you can find a recipe I'll try. Not today, though. Glad you like my ham biscuits, and hope you're feeling better this morning. At least it's Friday!

Still dark, and rain in the area this morning. It will be a good day to ride the exercycle instead of taking a walk. I weeded the periwinkle yesterday so I'm stiff and sore but the exercise will help.

CqP, Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line, I'll call it Southern. The real definition, though, is where iced tea comes sweetened: NC, SC, GA, northern FL. Around here, I have to specify unsweet tea, so that I can use Splenda. I'd be diabetic in a heartbeat if I drank sweet tea.

Kim, in this family of divided loyalties, we depend on our mothers' carefully instilled good manners to get us through the ACC tournament. It is a fraught weekend.

Go Heels! (Says the 49ers alumna.)

Posted by: slyness | March 13, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The sweet tea line runs from somewhere just north of Richmond down to the Myrtle Beach shore.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 13, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Soft snowflakes falling here, too, 'mudge. Birds busily gathered 'round the feeder....acting like a blizzard is coming....silly things.

Nice to see Brag here.


Posted by: VintageLady | March 13, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!

A nice low-key Dawn Patrol was followed up with the stunning revelation that the office is rather short-staffed. All this slack is getting pretty heavy... *SIGH*

And I think no one should dare breathe "overtime" near Boeheim OR Calhoun for the foreseeable future... *L*

*trying-like-mad-to-grow-a-third-arm-for-all-this-extra-work Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 13, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Quick drive by on my way to town for a meeting. It's official, yesterday was the coldest March 12th on record in Minnesota. Well then, I feel better now know that it was a record and all.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 13, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

SCC- knowING (I think the ing was still a bit stiff from yesterday)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 13, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Happy Friday the 13th everyone. Didn't we just do this?

Great story by Joel on the near miss in space. Or, as the late George Carlin would insist it be called, the near hit.

Last day of my class. Last day of free lunch. Last day, of, you know, free coffee.

Wait. I just need a moment.

Well, hope everyone has a great morning.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 13, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle dear. Al!

Where is russianthistle?

Another busy day au bureau de Yoki, but filled with good meetings and a small amount of reporting, perfect for a Friday. Sadly, not casual day for me.

I couldn't even read those columns this morning. Sounds as though they called up Rove and asked what they should say. Grrr.

OK, let's do it. Have a good day.

Posted by: Yoki | March 13, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, Friday the 13th... That explains the short-staffing.

And the prevalence of rabbits' feet I saw during Dawn Patrol.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 13, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, who/what is/are Boeheim and Calhoun? Me no capice.

Forget what I said about no snow in Waldorf. We had it when I drove to the bus stop. Nothing here in town...yet.

Kurtz's column this morning leads with the Stewart/Cramer smackdown, but Howie left out some of Stewart's best lines. I think the one that rocked Cramer on his heels was when Cramer was jabbering about the entertainment value of his show and presenting business news, and Stewart said, very seriously, "It's not a game." Meaning: you guys effed up a lot of lives here (to put it mildly).

And a second roundhouse came when Cramer was sort of apologising for his own show, and Stewart said something like, "To quote Carly Simon, it ain't about you." Meaning, who cares about your show; the entire economy has collapsed and you're jabbering about your popularity.

Yanno, we haven't had virtual lunch in a while, and we haven't been to TBG's club in a while, either. So Imprposing we rendezvous at TBG's club, say, about 11:45? and the menu will be something simple: choice of grilled cheese or BLT sandwich and a nice hot cuppa tomato soup (choice of soad crackers or oyster crackers). Iced tea (unsweetened, of course) or other beverage of choice. Dessert: a scoop of lemon sorbet and two brown-edge wafers.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 13, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

SCC: For those of you who are space key fetishists, as well as punctuation obsessives, "Imprposing" translates into "I'm proposing" in native English.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 13, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I'm shocked you don't recognize the coaches of two top-flight college basketball teams, Syracuse and Connecticut, respectively.

*faxin' 'Mudge's fax some anti-March Madness software so he won't be subject to bracketology spam* :-)

And why not a BELT for lunch, I ask you?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 13, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Today's "Non Sequitor" may be enjoyed by boodlers, sciencey and non-sciencey types alike:

Go back a few days for the lead-in. Or not.


Posted by: DLDx | March 13, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

*dusting myself off* I'll never spin the props that way again. I would think that the SU and UConn hoosters will sleep in today. A friendly wager, gwe?

Posted by: -jack- | March 13, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

SCC: hoopsters. I"m a geek.

Posted by: -jack- | March 13, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, March Madness is one of the very, very few debilitating psychopathological conditions my gene pool has managed not to pass on to me.

BELT + bacon, lettuce, tomato and ... eel? endive? echinodermata? eggplant? something frenchified beginning with "eau de..."? (Or "Ewww, duh,").

Cuz if the E is for "egg," the answer is a clear and emphatic no. No egg on a BLT. It totally transforms it from a pleasant, light luncheon sandwich to a cholesterol-laden breakfast sandwich. So no. No BELTs.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 13, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Doonesbury has been twittering on journalism lately.

(..whatever the heck twittering is--- sounds like a bunch of birdbrains gossiping to me.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 13, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Silly, silly 'Mudge...

Bacon Explosion, Lettuce and Tomato...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 13, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

English muffins, eclair? Edam? Escargot?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 13, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Richard Thompson has some good points about dead-tree editions..

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 13, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

To answer CqP's Terapin roll call: My older daughter is a '99 grad. Nobody in our family is a much of a fanatic about any kind of sports. Except that my wife has the hots for the 'skins. I just think it's the tight pants.

Trouble is, *I* tried parad'n around in a pair of those strechy runnin' skivies, and got nutin.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | March 13, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Drive by HI to everyone ... also Aloha to folks in HI.

Did someone mention bacon?

I am partially addicted to the Bacon, Blue Cheese and Chicken Sandwich at Safeway (believe it or not) Cheap and good!

I also know that the Nth one is free!!!

Is it true that there is an elite group of govt scientists that report only to Science Tim who have cart Blanche to do anything and everything that he orders and have no line of command back to NSF or any other agency?

In a sense, a ultra covert Science Group???

Sy Hirsh said something...

Posted by: russianthistle | March 13, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I believe one *tweets* on Twitter.

My college student daughter, she with several blogs and Web site maintenance, had never heard of it until I asked her about it several weeks ago. Score one for the old dad.


Posted by: DLDx | March 13, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Wow. The front page eds have upgraded Kurtz's column on the smackdown to the No. 2 story!! (I probably don't disagree, although something like that piece so high is mighty unusual.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | March 13, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

New Kit. But I can't see the vid from here.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

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