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Captain Rescued by Navy

Via Reuters, CNN is reporting that the captain of the Maersk Alabama is free, three pirates dead, one pirate captured.

From AP:

'The district commissioner of the central Mudug region said talks went on all day Saturday, with clan elders from his area talking by satellite telephone and through a translator with Americans, but collapsed late Saturday night.

'"The negotiations between the elders and American officials have broken down. The reason is American officials wanted to arrest the pirates in Puntland and elders refused the arrest of the pirates," said the commissioner, Abdi Aziz Aw Yusuf. He said he organized initial contacts between the elders and the Americans.

'Two other Somalis, one involved in the negotiations and another in contact with the pirates, also said the talks collapsed because of the U.S. insistence that the pirates be arrested and brought to justice.'


I hope everyone is having a great Easter Sunday. I looked for bluebells this morning, found a few, plus some other wildflowers that of course I couldn't identify. The one problem with nature walks, I find, is that they expose one's ignorance. I can barely identify a pine tree.

Meanwhile, in golfing news....

I'm definitely pulling for the 48-year-old in The Masters. Guys my age, we can still bring it. We only look, sound, and feel decrepit.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 12, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
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This is good news. I hate hostage situations...great that this turned out well for us.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 12, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Yay! This is great.

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

A wonderful Easter Sunday for Capt. Phillips' family, and bravo to the folks that freed him (I'm sure we'll hear more about *that* soon).

It's a beautiful day out there, folks, and I hope you're all enjoying it.


Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Double-yay on a job well done by the Navy!

Very busy (unexpectedly) Easter Sunday here, but bc and I feel it's time to suggest...

An STBPH for May 9th! For those not keeping track, the new "Star Trek" debuts on May 8th, and this would seem to be a totally worthy event for a BPH. The Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park is a likely candidate for an afternoon matinee, followed by the usual tomfoolery at a nearby eating establishement.

What say ye? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 12, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Happy Easter to one and all! I'm sure the newly rescued Captain's family is finding this to be a red letter day.

I am readying for Easter brunch with the Alohaparents. Will be baking up a ham later today for the rest of the Aloha clan.

The STBPH sounds fabulous. Wish I had a teleporter to get there on the 9th.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | April 12, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased, of course, that the Captain has been rescued, but saddened at the loss of life. This is not only because death is, you know, bad, but also because I fear possible retribution against American shipping.

Scottynuke - Am looking forward to the film! My only concern is that whenever I see Young Spock I still think of Skylar from "Heroes."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

That is fantastic news that the Captain has been rescued - a big salute to those involved.

Hopeful for a similar happy ending for a young girl who went missing on Thursday. Apparently abducted while walking home from school, she lives in the town where my Dad was born, it is a pretty sleepy little town where events like this are far from people's minds. Just eight years old.

Beautiful sunny day here, a little cool but very enjoyable.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 12, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

OK, that decides it! I'll be there on the 9th.

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

An STBPH? Count me in.

Lots of interesting things to think about regarding the rescue of Capt. Phillips, and I wonder what kind of op-ed stuff we're likely to be seeing. Some possibles:

* Obama gave the OK to use force to rescue Phillips. Will the GOP/right wing give him props (which he deserves)?? (Probably not.)

* One reason so few American ships have been involved with pirates, etc., is horrifyingly simple: we have so few ships. The American merchant fleet has been shrinking over the years to the point that it hardly exists--we're about 4 per cent of the world's shipping. So all the problems with pirates, either off the coast of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden, as well as in the East Indies, have all been with other nations' ships. And so the pirates really aren't our (America's) problem at all. Several other countries have been patrolling, but there has been no overall coordination, and no overall leadership. And *we* haven't been leading, because basically it ain't our problem. Whether we will somehow be drawn into it further is anybody's guess.

* Is our merchant service large enough? (No.)

* Little known fact: our merchant service is divided into two parts: the "regular" merchant marine as you think of it, with about 470 ships total (which isn't many, and which is down from a couple thousand during WWII)s than 300 cargo ships, less than 100 tankers, and about 75 cruise ships; and the second part, the Military Sealift Command, which is branch of the Navy but which is crewed not by Navy personnel, but by civilians, i.e., merchant marine. The Sealift Command has about 120 ships, and supposedly 100 in reserve. You may not know it, but the famous U.S. hospital ships such as the USNS Hope and USNS Comfort are crewed by civilian merchant seamen (hospital staff aboard, on the other hand, are usually or mostly Navy). All Sealift Command ships have the prefix USNS, not USS, because they are *not* commissioned ships; rather, they are described as being "in service," because they are crewed by civilians. (To my mind this is a distinction without a difference, since these ships respond to and are subject to Navy orders, etc. They are kind of like the civilian contractors in Iraq who are performing what used to be military jobs: convoying supplies, etc.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 12, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, I wouldn't be too worried about retaliation against American ships, because we have so few of them in the area. Almost all are foreign-flag ships.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 12, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for channeling Hax, ftb! Basically, they do the best they can with her demands to keep her quiet. She's always looked for extra attention, and received it (although her older sibs are 5-6 years older and her younger one is 6 years younger, so she's had a chance at every position).

Everything was fine today and after dinner her mom asked me to divide up leftovers, so I think we're okay.

There's nothing wrong with wanting more, but not always at the expense of others, I think.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 12, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Back from my sojourn west. Nice to run away from home from time to time (clears the head), but also good to be home.

Mudge, you say it's not our problem. My guess is Capt. Phillips would strongly disagree. Besides, unfettered access to global shipping/trade routes is in everyone's interest, no? Trickle down effect and all. About our lack of involvement/leadership...Great is the power of the country who controls the sea (or something like that).

Posted by: LostInThought | April 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Good point Mudge. Add thanks for the insights on the merchant service. Fascinating stuff.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Great post, 'mudge.

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but so great -- if you have a dog, or a computer.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 12, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Famous/infamous merchant mariners (not counting me):

John Paul Jones
Richard Henry Dana
Herman Melville
Perry Smith (killer from "In Cold Blood," see Capote, Truman)
Jack London
Alan Ginsberg
Woodie Guthrie (father of Arlo, mentor/inspiration of Bob Dylan)
Haskell Wexler, cinematographer (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, American Graffiti, The Thomas Crown Affair, In the Heat of the Night, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and shipmate and biographer of Woodie Guthrie
Ralph Ellison
Jack Kerouac
Dave Van Ronk
Nathaniel Bowditch
Carroll O'Connor (Archie Bunker)
James Garner
Peter Falk
Clint Walker (Cheyenne, Dirty Dozen)
Jack Lord (Steve McGarrett)
Donn Pearce, of Philly suburb of Croydon, who after serving in merchant marine became a safecracker, served two years in jail and Florida, and wrote "Cool Hand Luke."
Denver Pyles

Non-famous merchant mariners:
my Uncle Pete, torpedoed twice in WWI (survived both)
my great grandfather, drowned at sea in the collision of the Saginaw off Norfolk

Famous fictional merchant mariners:

Capt. Queeg, (pre-WWII before USS Caine)
Ishmael, Ahab, Queequeg, Flask, Stubb, Starbuck et al., of the Pequod
The Skipper, Gilligan's Island (pre-Minnow)
Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale (pre-WWII)
Tom Wingfield, after Glass Menagerie
Capt. Morton, pre-WWII (Mister Roberts)
Capt. Merrill Stubing, Isaac, Doc, Gopher, Julie, et al.
Capt. Wolf Larsen, master of the Ghost

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 12, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Can I add to the non-famous merchant mariners my FIL and his father, elder served in Boar, WWI and WWII on the ships - last as a captain, younger just WWII - lots of stories including being torpedoed.

There is a monument to the Canadian Merchant marine in my town, listing the boats and those that were sunk - in our case the merchant marine where a huge part of our Navy in WWII.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 12, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Bowditch was certainly a merchantile captain, but I didn't know we had a merchant marine back then.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I saw Steve McGarrett on your list, and right away my mind started playing the sound track. Sometimes I'm awed by the cool tricks my mind has up it's sleeve. (Huh?) Thanks for being the impetus to that one. (Yes, I'm easily amused today.)

Posted by: LostInThought | April 12, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article here on what some local churches are doing for their communities for Easter:

Posted by: seasea1 | April 12, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

So, the Red Wings lose two in a row to Chicago, the Pistons are highly unlikely to get past the first round of playoffs, Tiger Woods, inching ever so closely to the lead, implodes with a bogey on 17 and utterly forgets what sport he's playing on 18 (Michelson pretty much the same), I couldn't stand to see the Wings play (if that's what it can be called) today and I just got tired of watching golf.

Yeah, it's a long, run-on sentence, but that's the way it is.

Don't know if I can make the STBPH, but I'll see what's going on in my life closer in to the date.

I finished up the tax stuff (sign, date, write check(s) with SSN, telephone number and place of future headstone), paid some more bills, got the ledger all filled out to date and put together the package of Eva Cassidy CDs for my friend in Stockholm. I thought it would be handy-dandy to get a Customs form off the USPS web site to fill in online and print off -- um, but no. So I had to fill one out by hand.

A busy, yet somehow not busy enough, day.

Cy'all during the week, eh?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 12, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Great. Now I'm gonna be thinking "Book 'em Dano" and worrying about the evil Wo Fat all evening.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 12, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

rd, i hope the response will be the opposite - leaving u.s. ships alone.

Posted by: LALurker | April 12, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I like how we get a hint as to who Woody Guthrie was, but one isn't necessary for McGarrett. It's understood that *everyone* knows who McGarrett was.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 12, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Good news about the captain. Thanks for the merchant marine info, Mudge. Not everyone knew Woody was in the Merchant Marine - yet another colorful chapter in his life. Not famous Merchant Mariners: my uncle Earl, in the 1950s. I think his son went into the business too, thirty years later.

A nice Easter repast was had by all; we had a lot of people, all of whom ate really more than they should have, and the food table looked almost as if we hadn't eaten at all. Lots of leftovers. The gathering broke up earlier than usual, I think because we were all tired and it is still very wet, sometimes raining.

Speaking of leftovers, dbG, you were correct. First, as you brought the pierogi and made extra on purpose, you were entitled to distribute them. Second, you were asked by the host family to help pack up. Third, your matter-of-fact division sent a tactful messaage without being hurtful or singling anyone out, or suggesting anyone might think of behaving badly. It is telling to me that, after your division, nobody offered to give up their share so one person could have extra, and the hostess was pleased. Nice job.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 12, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Three-way playoff in the Masters. I think Kenny Perry's nerves got a bit frayed on 17 & 18.

Glad all went well with you, Ivansmom. And leftovers, too. That's so nice to have around when you don't really want to cook anything.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 12, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse mean Popeye wasn't fictional?

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | April 12, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I am so confused. Do we watch the Masters or the World Curling finals - Canada v Scotland?

We've had company eats for a couple of days now and one more to go. I'm not sure how much more food I can handle, but come Monday its going to be nice to have some chicken soup for a change.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 12, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Happy Easter, everybody--

I was up soon after Cassandra this morning so I could go jogging and still be ready to leave for the sunrise service at 6:20. The service was conducted by the Lost and Found Church, an all-volunteer congregation that includes a good number of homeless/formerly homeless and addicts in recovery and otherwise. It was an emotional event in a beautiful setting, the sun coming up behind the Hillsboro Lighthouse and Inlet.

I came home for breakfast and a late-morning nap. Very blissful.

This is my first time at the computer today. My email included this new Jimmy Buffett song which is kind of a six-minute Key West vacation via YouTube:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 12, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Cabrera

Posted by: dmd2 | April 12, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Easter Seder has been eaten. All are full. Dessert will come later. The risotto went well, Yoki (although I could not resist the urge to modify a little, here and there).

Popeye is not on the fictional list?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 12, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, kb, for the vacation in the Keys. It's a dark and stormy afternoon here.

We had a simple repast of baked ham, asparagus, and baked potatoes. I ate too much. And there's cake for dessert.

Planted lettuce and spinach and sugar snap peas in the ground yesterday, and started some squash, morning glories and moonflowers inside.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 12, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

dmd, my list was strictly Americans, but I don't see why we couldn't sneak a few Canadians aboard. Always glad to have them/you.

Wilbrod, the merchant marine wasn't a formal organization, so Nate Bowditch qualifies. However, upon reflection, I'm now re-thinking John Paul Jones due to nationality issues.

Padouk, I'm watching "Quantum of Solace." Bond's flying a DC-3 in it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 12, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course Popeye was real. As real as Sherlock Holmes, for goodness sakes. Don't you guys know anything?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 12, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Well at least one ship he captained was US owned - I believe this ship was involved in the war - lent to us? It is not listed on the monument in town as it was not a Canadian ship.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 12, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

For fictional merchant marines, add Benjamin Button.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 12, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, I would be disappointed if you had *not* modified. If you had not, you would not be a real cook. Which you are.

Posted by: Yoki | April 12, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody, I hope a delightful Easter/Passover has been had by all. We left from church and went to my brother's for the afternoon. It was good to see the family, and *we* had pierogis made by my sister-in-law. I made cheese straws and pineapple au gratin. A pleasant day.

Seen in the back window of a spiffy red MiniCooper on I-85: ACTUAL SIZE

Mr. T and I howled.

We didn't see the news about the end of the hostage situation till we got home. I'm glad it's over, and he's safe.

For some reason I didn't sleep well last night, so I will turn in early tonight. Could it have been all the cake-and-ice-cream from a birthday party? Surely not!

Posted by: slyness | April 12, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

A culinary note: the orange salad (oranges, black olive puree with olive oil, thyme and fennel) was in the category of "interesting". One taster described it as "confused". About half of it got eaten, or at least tasted, but it was just a little odd. I'm glad I made it once but may never feel compelled to do so again, despite the ease of preparation.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 12, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame you.

It sounds like it could easily get too salty, depending on the olive brand used.

Something like vegan caviar...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 12, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Shhhhh. Frostcat #4, who is usually so aloof that some people think she doesn't exist, has settled in next to me for a nap. I must still smell of bacon from brunch.

Like Mudge I wonder how the pirate response and hostage rescue will be spun by conservatives. I'm surprised Michele Bachman hasn't had a press conference yet, Easter or no.

Speaking of the "one L" Michele-an analysis of unequal treatment of her and "two L" Michelle O. on the sleeveless front

And, I want to read "The Spirit Level" by two UK public health researchers. It received some play in the latest issue of Newsweek and a commentary was posted on 3QD with the headline "A Theory of Everything, Well of a Different Kind." Everything being social ills, and inequality being the cause.
Here's a review
A bit-
"The authors point out that the life-diminishing results of valuing growth above equality in rich societies can be seen all around us. Inequality causes shorter, unhealthier and unhappier lives; it increases the rate of teenage pregnancy, violence, obesity, imprisonment and addiction; it destroys relationships between individuals born in the same society but into different classes; and its function as a driver of consumption depletes the planet's resources."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 12, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Checking in after a fine Easter dinner.

Congrats to Angel Cabrera on playing some fine golf, and having nerves of steel. Didn't get rattled when thing looked like they were going cattywumpus, and doffed his hat when Lady Luck smiled on him.

I suspect that the US will be drawn into a role of police activities on the high seas, now that the pirates have - foolishly, IMO - drawn the American public's attention to the problems. Perhaps the President will draw some relations between the global economy, the threats to international shipping, and work to restore America's position internationally by focusing military attention on piracy. I 'spect we'll see more of that, and wonder if the Russians -and, perhaps, to a lesser extent, the Chinese - didn't miss an opportunity to foster international goodwill by using their military powers to address piracy in the waters off of Africa. Now that the Obama Administration has their toes in the water there, as it were, I imagine that they are fielding calls from other countries seeking help with current and future piratical activities...

STBPH - I'm there, obviously, since S'nuke and I conjured the idea over dinner last night. Several decent places nearby for post-movie shenannigans, and if it is playing at the Uptown, a reasonably central location.

Be there -- Aloha!


Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Cabrera and Scotland....Who'd a thunk it.

I've been reading How the Scots Invented the Modern World. I'm thinking they have a lot to answer for.

Gotta go. Kerric just pulled up for dinner. Andybody want a steak and some seriously fine Italian bread.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 12, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Happy Ishtar to all!

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 12, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Howdy All and Happy Easter
We had a grand time at Mom's.I got there last night to help with setup and while pulling the table apart to add leaves,it came completely apart.Mom walked around the block,said a few hail Mary's,I swore a little and was able to get it back together before she got back....whew....swaring does help sometimes.

Easter was great,lasagna and ham as the main entrees.We also celebrated 2 birthdays and instead of gifts,we were to write a poem.I wrote about how getting older is really cool.After dessert my birthday bro broke out his guitar and we all sang. There are not too many easter songs to sing,so we did classic folk songs,the beatles and some Chritmas songs.
Anyone know of any Easter songs besides Peter Cottontail?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 12, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

We watched a lot of the coverage of the Captain’s rescue this afternoon including the press conferences by the Presidents of both Mass Maritime and the shipping company. I was struck by how well spoken they were and how lacking in bombast, theatrics and speculation their comments were. Then it dawned on me that these men are not politicians or talking heads and didn’t feel the need to embellish what was already a dramatic enough story. It was refreshing. I loved the part where the Mass Maritime president was being interviewed by someone from CNN outside by their training ship when the ship’s horn blew four times in a row with just enough time between each for the president to mention “that’s for the captain, that’s for the navy, “ etc. It was hilarious. I’m very proud of our Maritime Academy.

Very good golf today. Exciting finish, just goes to show that things can change very quickly as I thought Cabrera was toast after his drive into the trees.

Feeling a bit better but am going to call the doctor in the morning. Darn it, really dislike calling in sick. Glad to see that everyone had a good Easter.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 12, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I was rooting for Perry and felt bad for him, but was happy with Cabrera. I liked the efficiency with which he took just the time he needed to read the shot and then walked up and whacked the ball. He had a great attitude and he just kept on playing.

Posted by: woofin | April 12, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I hate to disappoint you all, but Easter is next week. I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful Palm Sunday today.

Daughter and I had a great time in New York. Glad to be home and now I'm ready to hit the sack. I have my former boss staying with us this week. She was laid off a week after I was and still is looking for full-time work. She lives outside the DC area and is here to work a freelance job in the city.

We love having her here... always nice to have good company in the house. And she came loaded down with food and other gifts, so what's not to like?

Hope y'all have a great week. I'll be looking forward to Friday when Son of G comes home for a short visit to celebrate what he's calling Greaster with the whole family... the big fat Greek Easter lamb dinner at my sister's house on Sunday.

Posted by: TBG- | April 12, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else have an ad for "New Hyundai's" on this page?

New Hyundai's what?

Posted by: TBG- | April 12, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

In the Scottish department, another book is "Crowded with genius: the Scottish Englightemnent: Edinburgh's moment of the mind" by James Buchan (HarperCollins 2003). Just to have had James Hutton (who sort of invented geological time) would have exceeded the town's quota for brilliance. Adam Smith, Walter Scot, and the magnificent New Town are lagniappe.

I assume there's a rule that food aid from the US has to be delivered by US ships.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 12, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Nope tbg,they are selling toyota's on my page.

Greaster sounds like a lot of fun,it also sounds like 50's flick movie with motorcycles and leather jackets.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 12, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

gwe, I'm an old Catholic boy, but even I know "Old Rugged Cross." Seems pretty Eastery, y'know? I suppose a good case could be made for "Purple Haze," especially after I've eaten my dozenth Cadbury Creme Egg. [Please note that the song "Always Look at the Bright Side of Life" was not mentioned during the constuction of this comment, as it may be considered inappropriate by some. Thank you.]

TBG, thanks for that Greaster reminder. And save me some of that delicious lamb, please.

Oh, isn't that Hyundai's new Apostrophe?
I see that it's so great that it's there even when it shouldn't be.


Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

bc, the Boy was whistling "always look on the bright side of life" as we left church today. I hummed along.

The VeggieTales had a song about "I want a bunny", something like that, about eating a chocolate Easter bunny. It was very catchy, bluesy. "Don't want no [blank], don't want no [blank], just want a knife and fork and my bunny." Something like that, with various things in the blanks. Apparently in one verse the singer said he didn't want his dad and mommy, all he wanted was the bunny - and parents complained that the song encouraged disrespect, so they changed it. Feh. I'm told you have to look at garage sales, etc. for videotapes with the original lyrics.

This bunny is headed to bed. I appear to be getting the cold-like thing in which my family has rejoiced for the last two weeks. I flatly refuse, however, to acquire the attendant bronchitis.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 12, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

christos anesti! oh, wait...

lol, tbg, greaster indeed. glad you had fun in nyc.

gwe, can't really help you out unless you want to go religious. here's a tune cootie for the protestants out there:

every morning is easter morning from now on...

Posted by: LALurker | April 12, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "on," not "at."

Sheesh, I can't even do *that* right.


Posted by: -bc- | April 12, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Easter Parade!
In your Easter bonnet
With all the frills upon it

We had a nice rainbow here to end the day.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 13, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Sounds great folks,but i was really happy doing the old folk tunes and beatles tunes.

I guess someone needs to write a few Easter tunes.......

Goodnight all

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 13, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

So glad to hear that the Captain was rescued and unharmed. It was worrying when you heard that a French hostage was killed when the French troops tried to rescue them from their yacht. There are about 200 people still being held hostage by the pirates. Let’s hope they'll be able to return home safe.

Some sources said the rescue was a Seals operation and others said it was a Navy rescue. I guess these are not glory seeking men. They don’t really care who the papers give credit to as long as they did a good job and their superiors know it. I’m sure the Seals are like the SAS who avoid photographers like plague.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 13, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

EYE have written an Easter Anthem, Just in time for Greek Orthodox Easter. Eh Hemm! So this is for TBG and gwe:

Easter Song

Love in Spring and all the Peeps,
Love love love love,
All the Peeps that I love,
Love me.

Peeps and people, real peeple
And sunshine in the sky.

Love, to know that this is good,
Love love love love
And all the Peeps that I love,
Love me.

Peeps and people, real peeple
And sunshine in the sky.

So raise the Peeps above your head,
And tell me what you love,
‘cause all the people that I love
Love me.

And sunshine in the sky.

Posted by: Yoki | April 13, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

While in Italy we noticed that they had a far more relaxed attitude to many things including pet ownership. Many, many dogs did not have leashes or collars and just lolled around all day where ever they were most comfortable. One had found his way into a very shady part of the Pompeii ruins right on the tour path. (Photo forthcoming)

Finally the leader of the other student group asked why he didn't see as many cats running loose. In full deadpan mode, the Italian guide said "There are no stray cats because they go to the restaurants and get served as rabbit. If you order rabbit and do no see the head, you have been served a cat."

At least I assume she was joking. One motel we stayed at had a rather full rabbit hutch right at the front entrance. We had veal that night.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2009 5:30 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Not a lot to report, and not much on the op-ed page.


Today in Nautical and Aviation History

April 13, 1970: “Ah, Houston, we’ve got a problem.” With those laconic words from astronaut Capt. Jim Lovell (U.S. Navy Test Pilot School Class 20, 1958, winner of the school’s outstanding student award), NASA learns of an oxygen tank explosion aboard Apollo 13, endangering Lovell and astronauts Fred Haise and Jack “Rusty” Swigert on their way to the moon. The world holds its breath for four days as they manage to return to earth using their lunar module Aquarius as a “lifeboat.”

Gotta run.

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

Good morning, already.

In the college touring business, I ended up with a sophomore dorm room facing a cow pasture and a vast stadium.

That was the remotest of all dorms, Ultima Thule in a treeless stretch of the valley where the January gales were enhanced by blocky modern architecture.

The following year's dorm room overlooked a quaint Colonial quadrangle from the 1920s and was wedged between the library and the gym.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 13, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Joel, we took your advice and went to Bull Run Regional Park yesterday afternoon for the Virginia Bluebell walking tour. First time ever for us. The bluebells and spring beauties were just about everywhere beside the trails (muddy trails in some places) and the creek banks, just so fresh and pretty. Six guides split the crowd into about a dozen each, our guide was the manager of the pool, but a nice young man who knew the trails and some of the plants well.

I haven't read boodle coments on the Captain yet, but I think he should receive a civilian Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as the pilot who recently saved his passengers and plane.

After I read the boodle, will go on our neighborhood Difficult Run trail to see if there are any bluebells there; there might be....we have wild violets growing in one or two flower beds....and in the grass.

Posted by: VintageLady | April 13, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of aviation, Joel has figured out how hummingbirds steer.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Al, you too, wherever you are!

Ah, detail: what interested me about the captain's rescue was that the three pirates holding him were shot in the head by Navy snipers. Now that's efficiency AND effectiveness.

The loss of life saddens me, but the snipers did the right thing, considering the pirates were threatening the captain. I suppose they had no idea that could be done. I wonder if it will have an impact on other pirates' operations.

Posted by: slyness | April 13, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

One bluebell emerging in my back year, near two twining "Cupani" sweet peas. Such peas are often folly in our hot climate, but such is the gardeners'lives.

Love the history lessons. Easter Monday used to be a very big day at the Zoo for many African American families. The tradition continues and I wish I could wander those paths and see the marvelous Easter Continued finery.

I found a thimble-sized hummingbird nest a few years ago; looked a bit like a beehive hair piece from the underside.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 13, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Considering both vessels were bobbing in the ocean, the snipers' work was amazing, even at "close" range.

*off-to-Boston-(hi-Sneaks)-for-some-training-all-week-but-will-Boodle-when-possible Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.

It is a beautiful crisp clear day around here. Perfect weather to retreat into a darkened room and look at pretty glowing screens.

Yes, I am *most* delusional today.

Must be all the dark chocolate still coursing through my veins.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I'm recovering from a roasted lamb Easter dinner at the MiL. The lamb was good but there was just too much food.
It's been quite cold, sunny but cold. The flowers are taking a break. They'll be back.
I know it's a week early TBG but we couldn't wait. The post-doc fellow I worked with at Carleton U. was in the Coptic Church. He got teased mercilessly that they couldn't do AANYTING on time.

I'm also recovering from a laptop meltdown. I'm using the basement's clunker I was supposed to replace last year, or the year before even. Darn it's slow.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 13, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Also, I do not think it a fair statement to equate being 48 with feeling decrepit. I often feel decrepit and am only 47.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

LALurker hopes that the pirates will leave US boats and ships alone. I don't think so. The semi-succesfull operation the French conducted Friday was their seventh armed intervention, most of them ending with some pirate fatalities and destroyed boat(s). And yet they attacked the lone, slow, old sailboat flying the French flag. They are like predators looking for the week member of the herd.
The skipper of that boat was delusional. A French frigate intercepted him and tried to talk some sense into him earlier in the week. (Vous êtes cinglé ou quoi?/ Are you effing mad?). He kept on going, on the basis that it was a small boat in a big ocean. A small boat with your wife and child onboard, you effing maroon.

Many merchant sailors may now be afraid, after the numerous French intervention, the Chinese botched retaliation (they sunk an honest fishing vessel) and this US operation that the attack will get violent from the get-go. Somalia needs to be a working country again.

Other totally non-famous merchant mariners: my great-grandfather and his brothers, my grandfather and his brother (both WWI veteran as well, in the trenches) and my own father.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 13, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

A quote from Ethan Bronner's story on Amos Oz at the NY Times this morning:

...Being an Israeli at 70, he noted, is like being an American who is 250 years old. He was there for his country’s birth 61 years ago.

“I saw the Boston Tea Party with my own eyes,” he said with a twinkle. “I personally knew George Washington and Abraham Lincoln."
Seems a bit Achenbachian. This week, Jefferson is the ex-president you'd want to have known, though I doubt that his experience with suppressing piracy is of much use to Obama.

Recent news stories on Monticello and Jefferson's private retreat, "Poplar Forest" led me to think of how alien Virginia of the early Republic is to us. Jefferson's main house had some features intended for comfort and practicality, but the grand dome, columns, vast lawn, and whatnot make it distinctly monumental and public. Jefferson might as well have added a grand staircase.

Monticello had a very large slave community, which seems out of keeping with Jefferson's egalitarian ideas.

How did ex-president Monroe get by with such a modest little house nearby?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 13, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Sarasota Herald-Tribune has a story on the Redneck Yacht Club. $30 admission to drive your 4X4 in the mud. Only in Charlotte County.

More seriously, a UF wildlife ecology student died while participating a university-sponsored educational program in Namibia. Although wildlife types and botanists tend to think the wild is a bit safer than civilization, there are real risks. A beach north of us has a tiny bronze plaque honoring a University of Central Florida student who was working on sea turtles.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 13, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

When I was in high school in Florida, the 4x4 drivers showed up a half hour early to go mudbogging on the football practice field before class.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, always happy to add a few more non-famous MMs to the list. Curious that we both had great-grandfathers in the MM. Mine died rather ingloiously. According to family legend, he was very tall (a gene he seems not to have passed on down the line) and being very tall was picked to serve in the bodyguard of the King of Sweden (tall bodyguards block shots better than short ones), and apparently the king himself was tall. At some point, my GG decided to become a merchant seaman, and came to America to do so. I have no clue what the time span was in either event (how long he was in the Swedish army/bodyguard, nor how long he was in the merchant marine). But at some point he got married, and had a son (my grandfather). When my grandfather was 10, my GG was aboard a sailing ship heading outbound from Norfolk. He fell from a yardarm of the ship onto the deck, and broke both legs. They put his legs in casts and transferred him to an in-bound steamship, the liner Saginaw. The Saginaw was headed into Norfolk in a dense fog when she rammed (or was rammed by) another ship. The Saginaw was sinking, and they put everyone in lifeboats. They put my GG in a lifeboat (with his legs still in heavy plaster casts) with some other passengers, apparently women. While lowering the lifeboat, one chainfall broke, and the lifeboat dumped everyone into the water. You can imagine what happened to a man with both legs in casts. Apparently a lot of the women from the lifeboat (I think 21 people) drowned.

I have a copy of the front page of the New York Times that reports all this. When I researched this, my grandfather was in his late 70s or early 80s. I'm sure he knew when he was 10 years old what had happened, but had long since forgotten. I got a very sketchy version from my father, and did the research, and found the Times article on the sinking, made a copy, and gave it to my grandparents.

By complete coincidence, on Saturday I was going through a box of old papers and stuff, and found two sheets of paper on which someone (not me) had drawn up several parts of my family tree. I guess at some point I muts have seen them, but was unaware of them when I found them. I suppose I should formally write them up and pass them down to the kids and grandkids. It only goes back to the GG peeps and disappears in the Old Countries (Sweden, Norway and Germany) at that generation.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

April 13 birthdays:
Thomas Jefferson
Ma Frostbitten

Good morning boodle! Traveling about MN today and tomorrow, then to Atlanta on Wed. Have a good week all,and Al too.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 13, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Pretty good story Mudge. My GG and G died in their beds but I think one brother of the GG died at sea. They were sailing goëlettes from Quebec city to the Caraïbs. Mostly dried fish and wood in one direction and sugar&molasses in the other. Reports of other cane sugar-based liquid goods being unloaded en-route are most likely unfounded. But they reportedly made a mean punch at Christmas.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 13, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Say, Mudge, shipmate,

Thanks for the honorable mention of my employer, Military Sealift Command. I'll buy you a drink at the next BPH.

I'm glad for the good ink that the Mass. Maritime Academy is getting lately. There is also that modest little establishment on Long Island sound known as the United States Merchant Marine Academy. I hear that it's grads make some passable merchant mariners. And Navy Officers. And Coast Guard Officers. And Marines. And Army Officers. (A '06 grad was killed in Afganastan a couple of weeks ago, btw.)

And boodlers.

Gotta run. Needless to say, my black helicopter peeps have been a tad busy these days.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | April 13, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

My son went to a Scouting weekend at the USMMA and enjoyed. A guy we know had a son graduate from their and was very impressed by the place. Maybe Joel needs to add it to the college tour.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but this is gonna be a long, sad one.

Holy crow. They ought to formally name today, April 13, as “Massacre Day.” Listen to this:
1873: The Colfax Massacre: [Wikipedia description] “In the wake of a contested election for Governor and local offices, whites armed with rifles and a small cannon overpowered freedmen and state militia (also black) trying to control the [Grant Parish] courthouse.[1][2] White Republican officeholders were not attacked. Most of the freedmen were killed after they surrendered, and nearly 50 were killed later that night after having been held as prisoners for several hours. Estimates of the dead varied. A military report to Congress in 1875, identified the deaths of three white men and 105 black men by name, and also noted that 15-20 bodies of unidentified black men were recovered from the Red River. A state historical marker from 1950 noted fatalities as three whites and 150 blacks.

1919: [Wikipedia]: The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, alternatively known as the Amritsar Massacre, was named after the Jallianwala Bagh (Garden) in the northern Indian city of Amritsar where, on April 13, 1919, British Indian Army soldiers under the command of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on an unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing lasted about 10 minutes and 1650 rounds were fired, or 33 rounds per soldier. Official British Raj sources placed the fatalities at 379. According to private sources there were over 1000 deaths, with more than 2000 wounded. Civil Surgeon Dr. Smith indicated that there were 1,526 casualties.
1943: Katyn Forest Massacre announced: “The Katyn massacre, also known as the Katyn Forest massacre …, was a mass murder of thousands of Polish military officers, policemen, intellectuals and civilian prisoners of war by Soviet NKVD, based on a proposal from Lavrentiy Beria to execute all members of the Polish Officer Corps dated March 5 1940. This official document was then approved (signed) by the entire Soviet Politburo including Stalin and Beria. The number of victims is estimated at about 22,000, the most commonly cited number is 21,768. The victims were murdered in the Katyn forest in Russia, the Kalinin (Tver) and Kharkov prisons and elsewhere. About 8,000 were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, the rest being Poles arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents, gendarmes, saboteurs, landowners, factory owners, lawyers, priests, and officials." Since Poland's conscription system required every unexempted university graduate to become a reserve officer, the Soviets were able to round up much of the Polish intelligentsia, and the Jewish, Ukrainian, Georgian and Belarusian intelligentsia of Polish citizenship.

more, unfortunately

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Just backboodling and saw Yoki's Most Excellent Easter Poem.

Peeps always make life better. They are amusing and most entertaining to put in a microwave oven. Talented individuals can make clever dioramas from them.

And I have heard tell that some people actually eat them.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse


Originally, "Katyn massacre" referred to the massacre at Katyn Forest, near the villages of Katyn and Gnezdovo (ca. 19 km west of Smolensk, Russia), of Polish military officers in the Kozelsk prisoner-of-war camp. It now is applied to the simultaneous executions of prisoners of war from geographically distant Starobelsk and Ostashkov camps, and the executions of political prisoners from West Belarus and West Ukraine, shot on Stalin's orders at Katyn Forest, at the NKVD (the Soviet secret police) headquarters in Smolensk, at a Smolensk slaughterhouse, and at prisons in Kalinin…, Kharkov, Moscow, and other Soviet cities. Nazi Germany announced the discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest [on April 13] 1943.
1945: The Gardelegen Massacre: “On April 13, 1945, German SS and Luftwaffe troops, retreating from the Allied advance, murdered 1016 political and military prisoners near the German town of Gardelegen. The crime was discovered two days later by F Company, 2d Battalion, 405th Regiment, U.S. 102nd Infantry Division.
Discovery of the massacre seems to be by chance. Consensus is that American Lieutenant Emerson Hunt, a liaison officer between Ozark HQ and the 701st Tank Battalion, was captured by German forces on April 14, 1945. Lt. Hunt bluffed the German forces defending the town of Gardelegen into believing that American tanks were approaching the city, leading the German commander to surrender to American forces. The Americans arrived at the site before the Germans had time to bury all of the bodies.
owing the U.S. Army's crossing of the Rhine River and push into Germany, the SS camp administration at Dora-Mittelbau ordered the evacuation of prisoners from the main camp and a number of its affiliated subcamps on April 3 and 4th. The goal was to transport the inmates by train or by foot to the concentration camps in Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen, or Neuengamme. Within days, some 4,000 prisoners from Dora-Mittelbau, its satellite camps, and a Neuengamme subcamp arrived in the Gardelegen area, where they had to dismount from the freight cars because the trains could not advance any further due to air raid damage to the rail lines. Greatly outnumbered by the prisoners, the SS guards began recruiting auxiliary forces from the local fire department, the air force, the aged home guard, the Hitler Youth, and other organizations to watch over the inmates. On April 13th, more than a thousand prisoners, many of them sick and too weak to march any further, were taken from the town of Gardelegen to a large barn on the Isenschnibbe estate and forced inside the building. The assembled guards then barricaded the doors and set fire to gasoline-soaked straw.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse


As the heat and flames expanded within the building, prisoners sought to escape the conflagration by digging under the barn's walls. They were killed by the guards. The next day, the SS and local auxiliaries returned to dispose of the evidence of their crime. They planned to incinerate what remained of the bodies and the barn, and kill any survivors of the blaze. The swift advance of the 102nd Infantry Division (United States), however, prevented the SS and its accomplices from completely carrying out this plan.
On April 14th, the 102nd entered Gardelegen and, the following day, discovered the atrocity. They found the corpses of 1,016 prisoners in the still-smoldering barn and nearby trenches, where the SS had the charred remains dumped. They also interviewed several of the prisoners who had managed to escape the fire and the shootings. Within days, U.S. Army Signal Corps photographers arrived to document the Nazi crime and by April 19, 1945, the story of the Gardelegen massacre began appearing in the western press. On that day, both the New York Times and The Washington Post ran stories on the massacre, quoting one American soldier who stated:
I never was so sure before of exactly what I was fighting for. Before this you would have said those stories were propaganda, but now you know they weren't. There are the bodies and all those guys are dead.
On April 21, 1945, the local commander of the 102nd ordered between 200 and 300 men from the town of Gardelegen to give the murdered prisoners a proper burial. Over the next few days, the German civilians exhumed 586 bodies from the trenches and recovered 430 bodies from the barn, placing each in an individual grave. On April 25, the 102nd carried out a ceremony to honor the dead and erected a memorial tablet to the victims, which stated that the townspeople of Gardelegen are charged with the responsibility that the “graves are forever kept as green as the memory of these unfortunates will be kept in the hearts of freedom-loving men everywhere.” Also on April 25, Colonel George Lynch addressed German civilians at Gardelegen with the following statement:
The German people have been told that stories of German atrocites were Allied propaganda. Here, you can see for yourself. Some will say that the Nazis were responsible for this crime. Others will point to the Gestapo. The responsibility rests with neither -- it is the responsibility of the German people....Your so-called Master Race has demonstrated that it is master only of crime, cruelty and sadism. you have lost the respect of the civilized world.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing those stories Mudge. As well as those reminders of massacres past.

The privilege of having a beating heart is something we take for granted far too often.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse


1948: Th Hadassah medical convoy massacre: “The Hadassah medical convoy massacre took place on April 13, 1948, when a convoy, escorted by Haganah militia, bringing medical and fortification supplies and personnel to Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus was ambushed by Arab forces.[1] Seventy-nine Jewish residents of Mandate Palestine, mostly doctors and nurses, were killed in the attack.
In 1948, following the UN Partition Plan and anticipating Israel's declaration of independence, access to Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus, Jerusalem was blocked by the Arabs. The only access was via a narrow road, a mile and a half long passing through the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. On March 2, the operator at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem received a phone call from an Arab caller who warned that the hospital would be blown up within 90 minutes. Nothing happened that day, but the intentions of the Arabs were made clear. At a press conference on March 17, the leader of the Arab forces in Jerusalem, Abdul Kader Husseini, threatened that Hadassah Hospital and Hebrew University would be captured or destroyed "if the Jews continued to use them as bases for attacks". Arab sniper fire on vehicles moving along the access route became a regular occurrence, and road mines were laid. The Red Cross had offered to put Mount Scopus under its flag on condition that the area be demilitarized, but the Haganah declined the proposal. When food and supplies at the hospital begun to dwindle, a large convoy carrying doctors and supplies set out for the besieged hospital. The British commander of Jerusalem assured the Jews that the road was safe. For the past month, a tacit truce had been in place and the passage of convoys had taken place without serious incident.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse


On April 13, a convoy of two Haganah escort cars, two ambulances and two buses set off for the hospital in the early morning. At approximately 9:45, the leading vehicle was hit by a mine and the convoy came under attack by Arab forces spraying machine gun fire. British forces were slow to come to the convoy's assistance. One of the first men on the scene was Major Jack Churchill, who offered to evacuate members of the convoy in an APC. His offer was refused in the belief that the Haganah would come to their aid. When no relief arrived, Churchill and his 12 men provided what cover fire they could against hundreds of Arabs. The Army unit tried to arrange a cease fire between 11 and noon and left the scene at [2 p.m.] returning at [3 p.m.] with heavier weapons. It was then that the first of the buses was set on fire. Dr Chaim Yassky was mortally wounded trying to escape from it. At [5 p.m.] the Army 'laid down smoke' and began retrieving the survivors, by which time one bus was burnt out and a second on fire. Following the massacre, Churchill oversaw the evacuation of 700 patients and staff from the hospital. The attack was in retaliation for the Deir Yassin massacre. Two Irgun fighters injured at Deir Yassin were among the patients being transported in the convoy.
Seventy-nine Jews were killed by gunfire during the fighting or were burnt when several vehicles were set alight. Twenty of them were women. Among the dead were Dr. Chaim Yassky, director of the hospital and Dr. Moshe Ben-David, slated to head the new medical school, (which was eventually established by the Hebrew University in the 1950s).
The bodies were so badly burned that only 31 were identified. The unidentified remains were buried in a mass grave in Sanhedria Cemetery. Twenty-two victims were declared missing. The family of one victim says it has evidence that some of the dead were buried in a Muslim cemetery near the Lion's Gate. For many years the number of casualties was thought to be 78, but recently it was confirmed that there were 79.
One British soldier died in the attack.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Of all historical villians I have ever read about, Beria sickens me most.

Okay, I need to go get some happy thoughts going.

Peeps. Sugary Peeps.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

6 and last:

1975: “The Bus Massacre” (also known as the Ain El Remmaneh incident or Massacre) is commonly presented as the spark that set off the Lebanese Civil War. On April 13, 1975, in the Christian Ain El Remmaneh section of East Beirut, unidentified gunmen opened fire on members of the Kataeb Party (Phalange) in a drive-by shooting as they left a church ceremony. Pierre Gemayel, leader of the Kataeb Party and one of the most powerful men in Maronite Lebanon, was present for the family baptism. Four of the members were killed; the attack was believed to have been an attempt on the life of Gemayel, who blamed it on Palestinians. Hours later, Gemayel's supporters retaliated by killing 26 members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) traveling on a bus through Ain El Remmaneh on the way to the Palestinian refugee camp Tel el-Zaatar after attending a PFLP-GC conference.
As news of the murders spread, armed clashes between Palestinian militias and the Phalange erupted throughout the city. Soon Lebanese National Movement militias entered the battle alongside the Palestinians. Numerous ceasefires and political talks proved fruitless. Sporadic violence grew into a civil war in which 80,000 people were killed during the following year and a half.

[all per Wikipedia]


Kinda makes ya wonder about the human race sometimes.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

FYI, both the President and Vice President either ARE here in our building, or will be here momentarily. Lotsa stuff blocked off. It'll be on the news at noon, according to scuttlebutt. Don't know the purpose of the visit.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Love the pome, Yoki. Very sorry to have rained on it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Walking their puppies, maybe, Mudge?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

scuttlebutt is a great word.

Posted by: LALurker | April 13, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Could be, Wilbrod. Tell Wilbrodog to watch the noon news.

I admit to not being very knowledgable about dog breeds, but how come I never in my life heard of a "Portugeuse water dog" until a few weeks ago?

Yes, scuttlebutt really is a great word, LAL. Do you know it's origins? It is a bucket of drinking water that is usually kept near the "scuttle" (i.e., the stairwell, to you landlubbers). Thus it is the gossip sailors exchange while standing around the nautical equivalent of the office water cooler.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was a medical condition sailors got...

*off-to-the-airport Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

*shaking my head* The "On Faith" section features this headline: "Pope Should Apologize to Witches."

There's no enough trouble in the world; somebody's gotta think of new ones.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Thanks for the history, Mudge. I'm glad I didn't read it earlier, or my Current Events Moment in class probably would have been about massacres. As it was I recommended to them Peeps in the microwave, armed with tiny wooden toothpick swords, for 10 seconds or less - always remembering that the microwave is not a toy.

I was not feeling well enough to give them a Moment with sustained independent thought (that's why I prepare all classes in advance and write detailed notes). Afterwards ipikced up the Boy, who suffered a slight relapse, and we both came home. Soon I'm going back to bed. If I'm going to have a cold I want to have it and get it over with. Succumb to the illness.

If we're well enough this afternoon: Peeps Jousting.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 13, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I am so charmed by the idea of the Pope apologizing to witches that I don't want to know any more. It might ruin the story.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 13, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Pope Benedict (to witches): Hey, ya know, like, um, well, gee. Ah, ya know. *Sorry,* dudes. And, ya know, like, it was a long time ago?

Witches (to Pope Benedict): Hey, dude, forget it, man. Byegones, ya know? Just don't let it happen again, 'kay?

Question for witches: who in what Protestant denomination will/should apologize for Salem witch burnings/drownings? (Or doesn't it Mather?)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I only heard about Portuguese water dogs a few years ago myself. They're cousins to poodles, a bit smaller than standard poodles and they don't get that stupid haircut. I've seen a couple since I heard of the breed.

They're a relatively rare breed, and they're inbred as a result-- which makes them fairly ideal for some genetic studies of hereditary diseases and skeletal growth.

They're more solidly built for their size than poodles so can be mistaken for small labradoodles. Just a shaggy, shaggy dog.

Because their coat never stops growing, like poodles, they need regular grooming and haircuts. This might increase their hypoallergenic factor, I think-- more so than the non-shed coat.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

PWDs remain working dogs at core, and have been used for service work, including hearing alert work.

I admit, they'd be on my list of purebred dog breeds to look at, (along with poodles) for my next dog, except for that professional grooming issue.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

By the way, when I say working dogs, I mean those dogs really are not going to be low-maintenance dogs. They'll be in your face, they'll be cooking up trouble, and so forth if not trained and paid attention to.

It's an interesting choice for a first-time dog owning family, but with professional training and expert advice, they should do well. Look for Bo to know how to play basketball someday.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Wait just a minute--
"Next dog?!" Thou shalt own no dogs
Other than me, Wilbrod!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Wilbrod, Wilbrod. I was just about to caution you about discussing the en ee echs tee space dee oh gee in case someone was lurking, but I see it's too late now. Good luck patching up *this* one!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Yea, it would be like when your wife starts referring to you as her first husband.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - Peep jousting is a sacred and ancient tradition dating back hundreds of weeks. It is rich in chivalrous splendor. Ah, the glorious carnage.

Just don't leave them in too long or they might ignite. Which would be entirely too much glorious carnage.

Speaking of Peeps, check out the "Peeps in Space" bit over at Twisted Physics.

Man, them Peeps have all the fun.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 13, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

*Laughing* Just so, RD_Padouk, just so.

The thing about working dogs is, if you give them enough training and exercise and a job to do, they are content and will be calm and quiet when they aren't working. The Bernese in my life have always been delighted to lie in a pile under my desk while I am working, provided they got the right sort of attention at regular intervals.

Posted by: Yoki | April 13, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

My comment posted at the pirate/rescue story:
Note to pirates: Ha ha! You fools! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against the U.S. Navy when death is on the line, and you're in a small unpowered boat hundreds of miles from shore! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

Posted by: bobsewell | April 13, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Ran into a few PWDs at border collie camp a few years ago (cue for everyone but the dog peeps to laugh). :-) Nice enough, reasonable size.

While most breeds have a rescue in almost every state, there are almost no PWD rescues, which does speak to how rare they are.

It's probably a good thing they didn't get a labradoodle; puppies could be very easily reproduced for quick sale to trendy consumers! Also, not all labradoodles are hypoallergenic. Apparently the first cross of lab/poodle yields a higher percentage than crossing crosses.

Given how much my labs shed, a non-shedding labradoodle is an interesting idea. They're just so funny looking though!

Posted by: -dbG- | April 13, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

As someone who has some interest in aerodynamics, I thought Joel's article about flight characteristing and manuverability of high wingbeat/sec. animals was quite interesting, and did a good job - as usual - of making complex science understandable to non-specialists.

Like me.

I'm glad we didn't get into tip vortices, wake modifiers and dynamic aerodynamic centers of pressure and thrust vectors in relation to changes in centers of gravity.

Speaking of which -- have a good flight, Scottynuke.

I saw President O was down at the DOT doing a presser to note the 2,000th road project paid for by The Package. Hopefully, someone will ask him if there's some way to manage the construction on I 270-N so that it does not take 40 minutes to drive the 4 miles between Rts 109 and 80 between 10 PM and 4 AM.


Posted by: -bc- | April 13, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "characteristics," oy.


Posted by: -bc- | April 13, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey all, dealing with my shedding dog currently - while he never has a non shedding period during the year some times are worse than others - right now he is losing vast quantities of fur that is attached to all surfaces in our house.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 13, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

My neighbors lost their dog this past week to an illness.They seemed so distraught and i really wanted to do something for them.I thought I may put together a photo album for them,since he spent a lot of time with me when they were away.
Do you think that is a good idea,or will it just bring up more sadness about their loss?

dbG,did you have any luck transplanting those bluebells? I know it has been cold,but was just wondering.

Off to work

Have a Great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 13, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Joseph Conrad

Posted by: Boko999 | April 13, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

A photo album or memory book or collage would be a great idea. I have a picture of my late dog as the wallpaper on my laptop. I enjoy the memories.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

gwe, I am sure that gift would be most appreciated, I only have a few pictures of previous dogs I have had - wish I had more.

Such a thoughtful gesture.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 13, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

He's Polish ( or maybe English), boko. I thought of him. And I considered I'd have to add a bunch of his characters to the fictional list, including Lord Jim, Marlowe (my second fav Conradian), Capt, McWhirr (my first fav), the N-word of the Narcissus, the Secret Sharer (Leggatt) and his nameless captain (who I always like to think is Marlowe).

I suppose I should add Billy Budd and dear old Capt. Vere to the list.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Good idea, Grenvy.

To balance the massacre-sequence, I offer this from

Today in Canada:

Montreal Quebec - Montreal fans welcome Pete Rose in his first game as an Expo; he hits a double - his 4,000th career hit - against his former teammates, the Philadelphia Phillies; only National League player to reach this milestone since Ty Cobb got 4,109 total hits with American League teams Detroit and Philadelphia.

Baseball, the invention of, redeems us slightly I would think. That and boxed sets of Fawlty Towers.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 13, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

...and if I open it up to international, Boko, then the list gets REALLY long...and must include a lot of pirates as well.

Of course, I *could* (and should) add the name of Richard Phillips to the list.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

...and Joseph Hazelwood of the Exxon Valdez.

Some guy named Twain.

Both Adam Troy *and* his real-life counterpart, Gardner McKay. (C'mon, you *know* you wanna ask, doncha?)

Gideon Patch (Gary Cooper)

About five roles all played by John Wayne.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, FYI, Tom Wingfield was just for CP and Yoki.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'll bite -- who the heck is Adam Troy?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Merchant marines in my in-laws, Mudge, circa the time and place you speak of. Ethnic Swedes living in Helskini, working on Baltic ships. Several families emigrated to Superior, WI, where the Lake felt cold and dreary...just like the Baltic. This would have been before WWI and then another family between WWI and WWII.

No sailors in my family; landlocked dairy farmers and cobblers (leather, not peach) on one side. However, the other side grew barley for two distilleries, with a little flax rotated through the fields. Before that, this family lived on the North Sea facing Scotland and Norway, at the Devil's Causeway and near Dunluce Castle.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 13, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, M, for the 'maginary sailor man. We must, now, memorize this poem for recitation:

Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry. 1920.

Robert Louis Stevenson. 1850–1894

15. Requiem

UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me: 5
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 13, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Most excellent, CP.

SciTim, Adam Troy was the captain of the Tiki, a barkentine sailing from island to island and having various and sundry adventures in the TV series "Adventures in Paradise." Hate to say it, but probably before your time (1959-62). I loved that show, even though Gardner McKay had all the acting chops of, say, Tab Hunter. The show was created by James Michener.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Our family's last known merchant mariner (at least, last known to me) was a Dutch captain, about 300 years ago now -- I don't have any detailed lineage information, but I have his handmade bed, carved from spars and passed down to the eldest boy in each generation. Mightily uncomfortable, promotes terrible back pain. I last slept in that bed a quarter-century ago. It's in my mother's attic. It was reputedly 250 years old when it was given to me in 1970, so it's actually more like only 289 years old, assuming the 250 number is valid (which I doubt).

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

And, now we will sing, lead by soprano-in-residence Ivansmon:

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Known as the Navy Hymn, the Marines claim this too; British Navy, also; what about Canoucki Sailors?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 13, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Ah, man. Dammit, dammit, dammit. Just heard that legendary Philadelphia Phillies Harry Callas just died a few minutes ago at Nationals Park about 500 yards from here, where the Phillies are about to play the Nats in five minutes.

We heard ambulances a few minutes ago and didn't think anything of it.

[Expletive.] [Several expletives.]

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but Mudge, did he not go in the most perfect of places?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 13, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, 300 years probably is old enough for carbon-dating to be reasonably valid, of order 5% of a half-life. Should have lost about 3.4% of its initial inventory of 14C by now.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC: legendary announcer.


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he did, CP. Thank you for that. Yes, Harry wouldn't have had it any other way. Me, either.

scc: Kalas.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Kalas also did the voice-over narration for NFL Films following the death of the even-more-legendary Philly announcer John Facenda in 1975. So all you football fans know his voice, although you might not know it.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

New Kit.

Race you all over there.

Posted by: omnigood | April 13, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

A friend of mine just suggested Kalas died when he saw the price of the food at the stadium.

Kalas was 73. But yes, it could have been either the food or the prices.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I knew there was a reason I like you. It is Gardner McKay! I had such a total crush on him during Adventures in Paradise days. Not only was he a very (very) handsome man, he had that Old English Sheepdog that I wanted, a convertible, and he lived and sailed in Tahiti.

In real life he was a very accomplished man. See his Wiki entry...

Posted by: rickoshea0 | April 13, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse


A little known additional verse to the Hymn "Eternal Father" was composed by Winifred McLintock. It goes:

Lord, stand beside the men who sail
Our merchant ships in storm and gail.
In peace and war, their watch they keep,
On every sea, on Thy vast deep.
Be with them, Lord, by night and day.
For Merchant Mariners, we pray.

She was the wife of Kings Points' Superintendant when I was a wet-behind-the-ears midshipman there. I was part of the choir that sang that verse for the first time in public. (That was so long ago, my seamanship instructor sailed as second mate on Noah's Ark.)

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | April 13, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Don! You were a middie at King's Point? I never knew!

And you sang that verse; how kewl!

The second mate on the ark? You mean Old Man Jehosapeth? Yeah, he was a pain in tuchis, that one. Made me re-tie the sheepshank about 12 times until I got it. (And believe me, the sheepshank came in handy on that old tub. All-time stinkiest ship I ever sailed on.)

You and I musta crossed paths a dozen times over the centuries, Don.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Maggie, you like me for more than just my recollection of Gardner McKay, you know you do.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 13, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Love this Doonesbury

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

**For sale: Used Deaf Gnome
Five years' supply of dog food
Or best steak offer. **


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 13, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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