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Obama's Tax Return

Three things jump out from the Obama tax return: First, he doesn't write off hardly anything on his Schedule C income. Very conservative approach. Were I his accountant I would tell him to write off every cup of coffee he's ever paid for while pondering the audacity of hope. It's the coffee that GIVES you the hope. Thus a business expense.

Second -- see page 35 -- they were plunking down huge money for school tuition. Like, $47,488 for the two kids. Try the public schools why don't you!!!

Third, the Obamas give a lot of money to lots of different, but pretty conventional organizations, with an emphasis on churches, help for the homeless, and medical research. Not exactly a radical agenda. Where's the love for the American Socialist Party? Heck, they don't even give to the ACLU. How will Rush et al explain this?

Some of the charities listed:

CARE (25K!)
United Negro College Fund (ditto)
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
National MS Society
New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Citizens United for Research In Epilepsy
American Red Cross

Note that they gave 5K to the United Way in Galveston, presumably after the hurricane.

What's "Book Worm Angels"?

Hmmm....They give only $1,000 to Columbia on, what, his 25th reunion year?? That's when you're supposed to donate an entire gymnasium!

And, um, zilch for Princeton.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 15, 2009; 5:29 PM ET
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Next: Those Torture Memos


So at least Sidwell Friend's isn't coming as a big sticker shock to them.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

2.6 mill gross? He's going to get walloped when that new socialist tax increase kicks in. I'm surprised he's not at one of those teabagging parties with Glen Hannity.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but if the coffee is expensed as a means of gaining hope, then you have to pay capital gains tax on any increases in hope.

Also, audacity was de-listed as a claimable disability during the Reagan administration.

yellojkt, LOL

Posted by: engelmann | April 15, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to announce publicly that Ivansdad is my hero, as he has once again completed this year's taxes successfully. I have no objection to paying taxes, you understand, and we don't try to weasel out of them. I just object to the process by which one pays taxes - doing the math, filling out the forms. This year's were slightly more complicated than usual (alas, no money back), and every year is slightly more complicated than I'd like it to be.

Years of experience from my single days taught me that it is sheer folly for me to prepare our tax returns - that is, and have anything but a faint hope that they are accurate. Perhaps I'm being harsh on myself, but I prefer to think of it as embracing my limitations.

So I lavish admiration and respect on Ivansdad. At one point he worked for the IRS; he understands them in a way I, who actually took and passed a class on tax law, never will.

Props to the Obamas for their charitable donations. Way to lead by example.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

What, nothing for Hamas or The Muslim Brotherhood or the Communist Party?

I regret that I know enough about this to make a deduction, but I'm pretty sure the Bookworm Angels have something to do with Oprah Winfrey. Isn't her charity work all about the Angel Network? And it sort of makes sense, since she is Chicago-based. But I'm still sorry I know that.

Posted by: Yoki | April 15, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Wrote on the last kit re good ol' American food before I saw there was a new kit.

Won't bother reposting; it's too lovely outside not to go enjoy a little more blue sky before sunset.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 15, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

But I will go back and look, since I did too.

Posted by: Yoki | April 15, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you vastly underestimate the capability of Rush and his ilk to spin things.

For example, I am sure he would claim that the American Red Cross, by opposing torture, has effectively opposed efforts by the Bush Administration to keep us safe from terrorists.

It scares me that, with enough reflux control, I can think like Limbaugh.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 15, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

My mother wasn't a bad cook, just an unimaginative one. She had very well-defined ideas about what a balanced meal was. Having a HomeEc degree from UMass (Class of '62) will do that to you. We dreaded my dad going TDY because that meant she fed us liver because we growing boys needed the iron. And my siblings and I have never forgiven her for her wheat germ for breakfast fad.

In her defense, Friday was pizza night. She also would prepare and freeze uncooked manicottis for me to cook since I got home from high school at 1 pm with no lunch.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 15, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Funny, RD_Padouk. The peril of imagination. You have my sympathy.

Posted by: Yoki | April 15, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Props to everyone who did their taxes or supported those who did. The post office lines were really long today (I just passed them on my way to the dropoff slots), you'd think the Philly PO would extend their hours a little, but . . .

I'm too tired to go to bed and too aware of how I'll feel at midnight if I don't. 'Night, Boodle. Off to contemplate my retirement plans, which include winning the lottery.

One of the library books I got out last week had a lottery ticket in it from a previous reader. If I turn it in, it's worth a $3 prize. Now if I bought another 3 tickets with that, sounds lucky to me.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 15, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I've never found anything as intriguing as a lottery ticket in a library book. My retirement plan is to win the lottery, but I suppose I'd have to buy tickets to have a chance of it happening. Of course, at this point, I'm involuntarily retired, which would be fine if my house was paid off...Have to see how long I can stretch out this last big earnings year...

Posted by: seasea1 | April 15, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey, dbG! I thought about winning the lottery as the centerpiece of my retirement plans. That,though, would require actually buying a ticket, which means going into the gas station/convenience store [all of which, for both Conoco and Shell, are Circle K, what a monopoly] which I only do to buy the Sunday paper, when I forget to buy a lottery ticket.

Anyway, I think the odds are better that the Boy will become fabulously wealthy. Marginally.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Off-Kit, but I must share this, from Ralph of Diceto (dean of St. Paul's Cathedral from 1180 until about 1201), who wrote "Images of History" about the early Plantaganet reign, describing the sudden end of a period of drought: "You ought to be reminded that something or other, suddenly, unhoped for and unusual, will perhaps happen to you in your time."

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

That's a great quote. May have to put that on the wall.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 15, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Okay, this sentence bothers me:

"First, he doesn't write off hardly anything on his Schedule C income."

I'm seeing a double negative. Has that rule also changed in the forty-five years since I learned it in elementary school?

Mudge? CqP? I hate to criticize the boss, bothers me.

Posted by: slyness | April 15, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

It is fine, slyness. Joel might have written 'He writes almost nothing off" but it wouldn't be of a voice with the rest of the bit, and there is nothing inherently inconsistent in sentence structure.

Joel is more relaxed about this than either you or I, because he's a pro.

Posted by: Yoki | April 15, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

In 2002, the year before Obama launched his U.S. Senate campaign, the couple reported income of $259,394 and $1,050 in deductions for gifts to charity, below the national average of $1,872.
Obama bought his mansion for $1.650 million dollars. The sales price was $1.950 million and the owner/seller required that his empty lot adjacent also be purchased simultaneously for $625 thousand dollars.
Sen. Obama had a good friend that helped him buy his mansion by buying the lot next door for full price at the same time Obama negotiated a $300 thousand dollar reduction on the mansion. After the sales closed, the good friend who was also his largest contributor over the years ($250 thousand) sold Obama 10 feet from the lot to enhance Obama's property size and did so even though Obama's friends lot could no longer qualify as a buildable lot. This very good friend then erected an expensive iron fence between the lot and Obama's mansion and sold his empty lot to another friend at a loss.
Who was Obama's good friend? None other than A. Rezko who had built failed public housing some in Obama's own district and was indicted and convicted of 16 counts of corruption involving Blagovich and whose sentence has been delayed pending his testimony in the Blago case.
Rezko's wife was the name on the lot and borrowed the money to buy it as Rezko was already under FBI investigation and had no funds to buy nor need for the empty lot. She had an income of $37 thousand a year.
Northern Trust was the lender to Obama.

Posted by: mharwick | April 15, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Tee hee... I read that last sentence, Yoki, as "Joel is more relaxed about this than either you or I, because he's a guy."

Posted by: -TBG- | April 15, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Good quote, Ivansmom. Keeps life interesting. Even though there are days when nothing helps except getting in my car and turning up the music full blast. Na ne na na, na ne na na, hey hey hey, good bye.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 15, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki. Joel has a way of making the written word sound so alive, so like the spoken word, and that's what he's doing here. That sentence jarred this English major's sensibility. Of course, my sensibility is early 19th century, but we all know that.

Posted by: slyness | April 15, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Count your blessings, slyness. A 19th century sensibility is still more comfortable than a 14th century one. Believeth me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 15, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom wrote:
"You ought to be reminded that something or other, suddenly, unhoped for and unusual, will perhaps happen to you in your time.

Last year about this time we flat broke and considering going homeless. My wife has a 1/3 interest in some valuable property in the San Francisco bay area but her older sisters refused to sell and would not allow her to take a loan against.

Then out of the blue our tax account called and said we were getting a $10,000+ federal refund. And we hadn't any employment income the whole year. I had considered doing our own taxes since our only income was drawing down the 401K. But the wiley tax accountant found a little known law passed last year that allowed clawback of 'excess' ATM tax in prior years, like in year 2000. Now this year he has found the law has been amended to allow even more clawback to the tune of $30,000.

Suddenly, unhoped for and unusual and unbelievable.

Posted by: bh72 | April 15, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Thou knowest I believe ye, Mudge. I do indeed.

Posted by: slyness | April 15, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

The story of Susan Boyle is an article on the front page. Kinda unbelievable (not necessarily in a bad way).

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 15, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, bh72 (sorry, I forgot what I think of as your "name"). Thanks for sharing that.

Now I have to shoehorn the Boy into bed. Vaya con queso, all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 15, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Yoki's description of "typical" cooking 40 or 50 years ago (or longer) is exactly right. My father used to describe how his mother's (my grandmother's) cooking was not only bland, but boring and tasteless, too: meat (usually beef, sometimes pork) usually boiled, boiled potatoes, and a green vegatable (you guessed it: boiled). Still, I doubt either he or my grandfather ever said a word.

My mother's cooking was much better, by orders of maganitude, yet I have to confess it fell within pretty predictable parameters, though I can't say I have any serious objection to them. Monday to Friday was usually some sort of meat, some sort of starch, some sort of green vegatable, but often enough there was some variety. We ate spaghetti and meatballs pretty often (one of my father's favorites, and mine), occasionally lasagna or a parmigan.

But like Yoki said, back in the 50s and 60s (and possibly into the 70s) there were very, very few ethnic restaurants. In Philly, up through the time I graduated from college, there were exactly three types of ethnic food: Italian, French and Chinese (and you can make a good argument neither of those was really very 'ethnic" at all). There was also a small enclave of Greek restaurants, but they were never "destination" places but rather just neighborhood places. Nobody ever said, "Hey, let's go out to the Greek place tonight."

Sometime in the 60s, there was a Lebanese guy who started a restaurant in South Philly called the Middle east; his name was Jim Tayoun, and he was a colorful guy who became a city councilman and I think ran for mayor once or twice. I only ever ate in his place one time in my life (didn't care for it), but that was the end-all and be-all of ethnic food in Philly in those days. My best friend Nick (who is Greek, and who's father once owned a Greek restaurant, shades of TBG's family), took me to a Greek place one time.

If there were other kinds of ethnic or even American regional restaurants around, I was then and am even now unaware of them. Japanese: zero. Thai: zero. Any other variant of mediterranean/middle eastern except Tayoun's place: zero.
BBQ or rib places: zero. Western/southwestern places: zero. Mexican: zero.
That's just how it was.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 15, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Howdy boodle. Mr. F and I used to do our taxes together, and it was a great bonding experience for the first few years of our marriage. He has done them solo, with the assistance of Turbo Tax, for the last few years and I mostly just make sure all the documents are in order before he gets started.

Anecdotal evidence of a turn around, or that the apocalypse is near, you be the judge. Last week we closed on a refi of the Hip Urban Loft at 3.65% (15 year mortgage) and 0 points. The bank (actually credit union) waived a bunch of fees too so the lower payments will give us a break even point just 10 months down the road. The really exciting part is that it appraised at more than we paid for it! Not much, but we weren't looking to "take any cash out." Speaking of that, I hate the phrase. People think they are pumping cash out of their houses, but they're just borrowing more money-often for things they want and should save for, not need an can justify debt for.

In Atlanta, just around the corner from Yello's alma mater. Tea party nuts on the subway far outnumbered by robotics peeps, who despite youth and odd temporary hair colors appear far saner, and smarter.

Toodles and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 15, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Holy moly, 'mudge, now I feel old. Was it really 40 or 50 years ago? That la cuisine was full of ennui?

Posted by: Yoki | April 15, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Comparing deductions for gifts to charity for this year's president and vice-president with last year's supports the recent study that conservatives are more charitable with their money than liberals. Why is that?

Posted by: Ashland | April 16, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Greyed ground beef beef in a white gravy with mashed potatoes and creamed corn was my Dad's favouite dish. Canned peas if he was feeling adventurous. The next day was begun with a bowl of Cream 'o Wheat.
My uncle told me that my Dad's messmates in The RCAF were in awe of him.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 16, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I can take the greyed ground beef beef in a white gravy with mashed potatoes but nix in the creamed corn. I would have gave 20 bucks for some of that when camping out at 11,000 feet in the kootnies a few years ago looking for that B&C mule tail buck.

Posted by: bh72 | April 16, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

o' o' course.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 16, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Darn how I love the Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Boko

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

In the early 70s, Maggi noodles came to our town (no sure how long it’s been around). It’s a brand of instant noodle manufactured by Nestle. When my sister and I reached home from rubber tapping, we would each cook a pack of Maggi noodles for late morning snack while waiting for the latex to set. This went on for a couple of years. Nowadays, I would only eat instant noodles if I’m starving, and there’s nothing else to eat.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 16, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

The last time I did my taxes was in the early 1990s when I was living in Calif. I didn’t mind paying taxes because I used the facilities. What I did mind was paying social security. They said I could get it back when I leave the country, but they made it very complicated, so I said forget it.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 16, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

rainforest! Too funny.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Those Maggi noodles sound like Japanese quick-cook ramen noodles. Real ramen helps make Tokyo an affordable place to visit.


George Will this morning flubbed an opportunity to wonder why Americans have perhaps the world's best access to quality clothing but work at being slobs. Except in white-collar nooks and crannies. I detect social class.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 16, 2009 4:20 AM | Report abuse

Yes, DotC, Maggi noodles are ramen noodles. Those of us who are used to the Maggi condiments think Maggi’s nicer. Ramen …. blech

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 16, 2009 5:22 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. When I went outside at 5:30 to take my daughter to the bus stop, I was greeted by the sound of a zillion birds chirping their tiny brains out. Could this portend a change in the weather? It is supposed to be sunny and warmer today, giving the Dawn patrol a chance to dry out our poor, sodden canvas-covered aircraft after three or four days of wet.

Read G. Will this morning. What an idiot. Read Milbank's account of the Tea Parties. What maroons.

OK, a long one this morning (including a reference to the ancestor of the Dawn Patrol:

Today in Naval and Aviation History

April 16, 1867: Aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright, older brother of Orville, is born in Millville, Indiana. He died of typhoid fever in 1912.

1915: Lt. Patrick N. Bellinger, Naval Aviator No. 8, pilots a Curtis AB-2 flying boat as it is successfully catapulted off a barge at the Washington Navy Yard. The catapult was designed by Naval Constructor Holden C. Richardson. The Navy concludes there just might be something to this notion of slinging aircraft into the air off of ships.

1916: Birth of the Lafayette Escadrille: Although the U.S. still proclaims neutrality at this point in World War I, seven American pilots form the Escadrille Americain, a volunteer unit attached to the French air service. After German propaganda and protests, the unit changes its name to something that sounds more French and much less American. James Hall and Charles Nordhoff, future co-authors of the novel "Mutiny on the Bounty," are among the 38 Americans who eventually serve in the squadron.

1945: Destroyer USS Laffey (DD 724) earns the nickname “the ship that wouldn’t die” when she is hit by no less than six Kamikaze aircraft as well as two bombs, off Okinawa. Now a National Historic Landmark, she is berthed today at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum near Charleston, S.C., the only surviving destroyer from World War II.

1946: America’s space program begins as Dr. Werner von Braun and other German rocket scientists working for the U.S. Army launch the first captured German V-2 rocket imported from Peenemunde, at the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse


1947: Kids cut school to go watch local firemen fight the fire burning on the French freighter SS Grandcamp (formerly the American Liberty ship SS Benjamin R. Curtis), loaded with peanuts, sisal twine, machinery and 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, at the wharf in Texas City, Texas, on Galveston Bay. At 9:12 a.m. she blew, ultimately killing at least 581 (including every single city fireman), injuring 3,500, leveling most of the town, and setting massive fires and secondary explosions in the adjacent ships, oil refineries and chemical plants. The explosion was heard 150 miles away, and the ship’s 2-ton anchor was found a mile and a half away. The explosion destroyed 1,000 buildings, and sent a 35-foot tsunami 100 miles down the bay. It also spawned the country's first class action suit, with 8,500 victims suing the U.S. government. They lost.


Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

G'morning! Hey, Cassandra, I hope you're doing well this morning! Looks to be a nice day in the Carolinas.

I hadn't heard that story about the Texas City disaster, Mudge. Wow. Of course, all I've read about it focused on the emergency response, not how the disaster occurred.

Another busy day in store. Might as well get started, I suppose.

Posted by: slyness | April 16, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, Boodle!

Still warn during the day here, but at night temperare drops t0 about 48 F.

Zoom, zoom.

Posted by: Braguine | April 16, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Good to see you up and about Brag, in Peru? Is that right?

dbG, the Pineapple Sage is not a plant that I am familiar with, so will be sure to try it this year, for the butterflys. Sounds good enough to eat. :-)

Mudge's meat and vegies were mostly boiled....mine were mostly fried, back in the day. I still fry okra and eggplant sometimes, and of course yellow/green tomatoes.

RE contributions to charitiable orgs.: most of us give to a few, drawing a line to include the ones that are the most important to us, knowing that the others are just as important to someone else. Also echo Ivansmom...Obamas are generous, a good thing. Funny about the Princeton thing, tho; that may change as their girls get older.

Today is a clean cool crystal gift, and I will open the door to it, shortly.

Posted by: VintageLady | April 16, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Joel,

In answer to your question in your Blog about our President's charitable contributions, Book Worm Angels, to which he and Mrs. Obama are donors, is a children's literacy organization whose mission is to promote development of recreational reading habits beyond the classroom among students pre-kindergarten through 8th grade in underperforming schools. We accomplish our mission through a program that encourages parents to read with their children, supplemented by in-classroom lending libraries we provide. To date, we've set up libraries in 174 public elementary schools in 4 cities serving over 95,000 at-risk children.

We couldn't be more grateful to the President and Mrs. Obama, and all the others who have provided support, and our thanks to you for mentioning us.

In case you wnt to know more, here's our website --

Posted by: mban1 | April 16, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

My father was raised by a woman who assigned food to specific days of the week. She was very rigid about this, and my father inherited this rigidity. He would complain bitterly if my mother served anything "weird." Despite this, my mother started preparing unusual foods sometime in the 1970s. You know like, spaghetti instead of mostaccioli. (Baby steps.)

Although I do not know this to be true, I suspect that my mother's blossoming sense of independence was manifested first in the kitchen.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 16, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey, mban, thanks for stopping by and telling us about your outfit. Good luck with your program.

Padouk, now that I think about it, I suppose we assigned certain foods to certain days, too, when I was a kid. Saturday nights was always the one "informal" night of the week, and we often had hamburgers (a treat), which were not otherwise considered a serious dinner food. Ditto Sloppy Joes. And if Saturday was informal, then Sunday was the really formal day. My grandparents were often there, so we ate in the formal dining room rather than around the kitchen table as most nights. My mother used the best china and silverware that was off limits the rest of the week. There were linen napkins instead of paper, and not one but usually two veggies (plus the potatoes, of course). The main entree would be a roast, sometimes a standing rib roast, or just a regular roast of some sort, or a pork roast, maybe a whole roast chicken once in a while. Also, there would be biscuits, which we seldom had during the week.

Being Sunday, there were some families who their big meal at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and had what amounts to "lunch" at 7 or 8 Sunday night. But we were the more traditional type, though we'd eat abiout 5 p.m. on Sundays instead of about 6 p.m. as on weeknights (dictated approximately by the time my parents got home from work, nothing else).

Even though we weren't Catholic (although when I was 16 my father converted to Catholicism, for reasons too long to go into), Friday night was fish night, even if it was just Mrs. Paul's fish sticks.

Monday night was often Shepard's Pie (a.k.a. Cottage Pie) night, solely because that's what we did with Sunday's leftover roast beef: ground it up and made Cottage Pie. (Which we loved. And I still make it today, and my kids love it and often request it as a "winter" dish.)

Absent Sunday leftovers, Monday became Chicken Night, only because we'd probably had beef the day before, and we tried not to have beef two days in a row.

You'll find this hard to believe, but I never had chili before I was in my 20s or maybe even 30s. It simply didn't exist as a dish on anyone's radar. They never served it in school, and it wasn't in any restaurants that I was ever aware of, not in the Philadelphia region anyway. omni, dbG, will you confirm this? No chili, no Tex-Mex of any kind? Never ate a taco, or a tortilla. I may not have even known what they were.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Had great fun last night with the wall-eyed poof John Cleese. *l* A packed, standing- and sitting-room-only house for Cleese at Trinity University. The day for big crowds in Alamo City yesterday at two venues--turned on FOX at 4 p.m. to see Beck packed 'em in at the Alamo, too.

More later.

Posted by: laloomis | April 16, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I think that is often the case, that people exercise independence in the realm over which they have most control, first.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Wall-eyed poof?
To the best of my knowledge John Cleese still has two regular eyes and likes to boink ladies. Maybe you saw Marty Feldman. Was there a funny smell?

Posted by: Boko999 | April 16, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

James Hamilton, an Economist at UCSD, presented the observation taken from Robert Gordon of Northwestern and referenced by the Wall Street Journal at RGE Monitor (url below)

Hamilton quotes:

"There's growing evidence supporting the optimists' view, and I am surprised at that," said Robert J. Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University and a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research committee that is the official arbiter of when recessions begin and end. "I was sort of in the pessimists' camp until I started looking at things."

He points to one indicator in particular with a remarkable track record: the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits. In past recessions, it has hit its peak about four weeks before the economy hit a trough and began to grow again. As of right now, the four-week average of new claims hit its peak of 650,000 in the week ended March 14. Based on the model, "if there's no further rise, we're looking at a trough coming in April or May," he said, which is far earlier than most forecasts currently anticipate."

Hamilton follows up with this:

I was curious to take a look at the pattern that Gordon identified. The graph below plots 4-week averages of the initial unemployment claims going back to 1967, with vertical lines drawn at the first week of the month in which the NBER eventually declared that a recovery from the recession began. Gordon's relation is indeed pretty striking-- in each of the last six recessions, the recovery began within 8 weeks of the peak in new unemployment claims.

There are charts at the url, if you are interested.


Of course, are the first time claims numbers really dropping? We can hope.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I've been absent from the boodle, and it's good to be back. Slyness, it is cold here, and breezy. It's trying hard to be spring, but winter keeps pulling it back. Yet it is a beautiful day.

Did any of you guys hear the lady sing from Scotland. I saw it on television, but could not hear her voice. From the expressions on the faces of the people in the audience, I got the impression that her voice really did sound like an angel.

The radio ministry came up for funding again, and some in the church don't want to continue it. We're still doing it, but there is growing opposition. It's an outreach ministry that is done by our associate pastors, and I only come in to give them a break. I believe it to be a worthy cause, but I'm only one.

Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, Mudge, and everyone here, alway good to talk with you. Have a very good day, the best day. *waving*

Slyness, I keep seeing myself on Independence Blvd. in your fair city, and I don't know why. It's an image that will not go away.

As for the kit, I'm sure there is someone out there that will find something wrong with the President's tax return, and his contributions to charity simply because of who he is, and because of their intense dislike of him. And if that doesn't work, there's always the option of telling a lie. Just throw something out there, and see what sticks. My personal opinion is that we need to try to heal our economy and get the country back on track. Help people find jobs, and move our people and our country toward the future, making a better life for all. Of course, I'm an antique, and some of my brain cells are dead, so what do I know?

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 16, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I have wondered why, when there were demonstrations against the war in Iraq that were joined by 10 times or more folks than at the the tea parties, Fox couldn't find any time to show the video or give it a hearing?

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Check out James Lileks' "Gallery of Regretable Foods" for disgusting foods of the Days of Yore, complete with very funny commentary.

Posted by: KBoom | April 16, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Ohmygosh, Cassandra, Independence Boulevard? That's a nightmare, not a dream! True story: when I took drivers ed, forty years ago this spring, our final day in the car we drove from the school, on the east side, to the center city and back, on Independence. It took an entire class period for two novices, one driving to and the other back, and was a baptism by fire. That road has been the one to avoid as long as I can remember.

Posted by: slyness | April 16, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

My childhood diet (probably about 10 years behind you) was much like yours Mudge, except the whole beef thing. The only beef we had was ground (read: cheap), even though we did have venison in the winter. (I didn't have a real steak until my late 20s). Another difference was boiling...we didn't boil anything except macaroni (our catch-all name for pastas, from rigatoni to pastini to gnocchis). There was a lot of trout, because it came out of the river for free. Wednesday *and* Friday was fish day (my mother was old school Catholic), and Sunday dinners were at 1.

I remember being horribly embarrassed that my sandwich for school lunch had homemade bread...I so wanted Wonder bread like all the other kids. Silly me.

Even though I lived close to Cap Hill (as the crow flies - could see the cupola from my bedroom window), the city was light years away. We had one restaurant, an Italian place, run by a Greek family. The drug store had a lunch counter (turkey on Thursdays). We went out to eat once a year (Hot Shoppes in the next town) whenever someone made First Communion or some other sacrament. We didn't even think about ordering for ourselves.

I don't think it's all that different for my kids. We eat at home, on a somewhat-set schedule, with something of a fixed menu (still fish on Fridays, even if it isn't Lent). Things 1 and 2 didn't have much steak growing up (too expensive, and not really what they wanted anyway). We eat a lot of Italian foods most non-Italians wouldn't have even heard of without Giada (try explaining osso buco to doesn't sound appetizing).

Looking back, I think we were lucky. Family was together at least twice a day (breakfast and dinner), and we didn't know we were poor.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 16, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse


What a bunch of laughs!!!!

Thanks for the lead. Here for others is a favorite page:


Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

If RGE Monitor (Nouriel Roubini's Website of Doom) is posting a bit of pre-dawn hopefulness, maybe we can play Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" and enjoy some leftover Peeps at the end.

Back to ramen: Real ramen in Tokyo (specifically the area around the Akasaka subway station) can run $5-8 and is real comfort food. I'd happily try to get a job with 7-11 if they committed to making their US stores more like the Japanese ones. 7-11 was originally based in Dallas, but their expansion into Japan was wildly successful, so it's now a thriving Japanese company.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 16, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Today's stop on Yellojkt's Photographic Tour of Italy is Florence.

Florence is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe but it's hard to photograph because everything is so big and so close. We went up to the Piazzele Michelangelo overlooking Florence and I took enough pictures to stitch together a 20,000 pixel wide panorama of Florence and the accompanying countryside.

That link only shows the thumbnail. To see the full 8MB file, you have to click on the all-sizes icon and then select original.

A little more viewer friendly is the 7,000 pixel wide cropped and reduced version which shows just Florence itself including the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, the Duomo and Santa Croce church.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning y'all.

I notice that the Right is all huffy over DHS's report on potential right-wing terrorism. Have they forgotten that the worst homegrown terrorist attack was by right-wing extremists against a US gummint building? Oklahoma City hasn't. Believe me, it can happen here, it has, and there's no reason to think it won't again. I say good for DHS for tracking all potential terror threats.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 16, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Casandra, here's Susan Boyle on YouTube, hope you have earphones so that you can hear her with your computer. She is a "Tiger"!!!>

Posted by: VintageLady | April 16, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

SCC need to get rid of the >

Posted by: VintageLady | April 16, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

LiT, your mentioning that "going out to dinner" meant the Hot Shoppes reminds me that we did just about the same thing: "going out" meant a family-style diner or a mom-and-pop storefront restaurant of some sort. My father spend his career in the trucking industry (on the management side), but he knew every truckstop dinner within 300 miles. His mantra (which I believe to this day) is that truckers know good food and good prices, and that if you saw a roadside restaurant with a bunch of trucks parked outside, that was a good place to eat. We had three or four such places with a dozen or so miles of our house, and if we "went out" to a restaurant on a Saturday night, that's where we went. A lot of these places were either similiar to, or were in fact, those kinds of railroad car diners such the Silver Diner here in Rcokville (Silver Spring?), and as seen on Guy Fieri's TV show, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." And as some of you may (or may not) know, New Jersey has more of these kinds of diners than any other state, having more than 600 of them. And as TBG might know, a lot of them are/were owned and operated by Greeks.

(You can tell if the owners are Greeks the very first split-nanosecond you walk in the door: if the first thing you see are several tall displays loaded with cakes, pies and pastries, and if you see even more pastries displayed across from the register, in two, three, four counters, and piled on top of those counters and displays, well then you are in a Greek-owned diner, and about to enter pastry heaven, viz. the Four Seasons on Van Dorn Street in Alexandria.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

If you're talking Greek Diners, the original Double T in Catonsville fits the bill perfectly. Giant display cases of pastries? Check. Overstuffed menu with every conceivable comfort food? Check. Overly hirsute lady manning the check-out booth? Check.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The Amphora Restaurant

Centerpiece of Vienna, VA for close to 40 years. I have never been disappointed with their food/bakery. Open 24 hours per day, breakfast anytime.

Posted by: VintageLady | April 16, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all--

Slyness, you are right about the "hardly." Of course there is the whole "grammar is descriptive, not prescriptive" argument, under which nothing is incorrect. But if we're going with the ol' boodle motto, "We have standards--they're low, but we have them..." then the sentence would need to be "he writes off hardly anything" or "he writes off almost nothing" or something else entirely different. "Not hardly" doesn't cut it.

[Of course, I side with the majority in this forum, sharing the sentiment that Officially, Joel Can Do No Wrong.]

My personal motto these days has been "Unemployed doesn't mean unproductive." I'm almost finished knitting a baby blanket for a friend whose baby is due next month. This morning I finally figured out how to stream video from the internet to my television, for the benefit of my husband, who doesn't like to watch videos on the computer--now he'll be able to take advantage of the fare on YouTube. (Russell Brand! is my latest enthusiasm--I'd post links, but he's mostly Not Safe for Work) I've also just about finished reorganizing all the stuff we had in storage, and my long-neglected files--all my papers are organized and stored in their proper places now.

And now, I'm off to meet my husband for a walk on the beach--"to the lighthouse and back," he says.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 16, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I saw two does on my way to the grocery store. They looked to be running scared, not liking all these big metal things that go faster than they can run. My area of town is pretty built up, but they weren't far from the creek bottom, which is undeveloped and hospitable to deer and other wildlife. I hope they get back into the brush where they can't be hit by cars.

My mother grew up on a farm, so we had a pretty varied menu at home. I was grown, though, before I had fresh broccoli; Mom always had frozen. Even though Mom grew up churning butter, she always bought margarine. It was cheaper, and at the time supposed to be better for you. We had the normal beef/ham/chicken rotation. Chicken was generally fried, beef was roast, and ham was sliced. Mom's spaghetti was always my favorite.

We didn't go out much, but we had the requisite Greek restaurant about five blocks from home. (I got to take TBG there before the owners retired and closed it.) And we loved the local barbeque place, although it wasn't close. For special meals like birthdays, the Dogwood Room at the airport was the best place in town. That wasn't close to home either.

Posted by: slyness | April 16, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

KB!! Lovely lighthouse, I'm sure. They are all lovely to me.

One more restaurant web site from Vienna and then I'll quit. This is not greek but it is a locally loved family dive, right in the heart of the town, on Maple Ave. Last time I was there, owners still did not give luncheon checks, just go to the cashier and tell her/him what you ate and pay for it.,794990.html

Posted by: VintageLady | April 16, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of margerine, slyness, us older folk may remember that the earlier name for margerine was "oleomargarine," often shortened to just "oleo." My grandmother always called it, "the oleo," even in sentences that didn't need the article "the" in front, such as "This recipes calls for two tablespoons of the oleo."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse


May granny too, on "the oleo." Thought it was Irish artifact. Funny, actually, that we thought it was spelled "old Leo" meaning that it was invented by Leo somebody. And, what did that little blue bonneted girl have to do with anything?: "everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it."

We had tons of beef because people paid us in food, for my dad's medical care: sides of beef, including tongue, brains, etc. The expensive treats for us were fresh plums and peaches, season permitting and trucked in from CA. I did not eat tacos until nearly 19. However, I did eat frog legs and crawdads, which can be interpreted as a Frenchi-fied or New Orleans delicacy. Simple camping food for us; and, I did not appreciate fresh pan-fried trout. Frog legs taste like chicken drum sticks (tiny, tiny, tiny chicken legs....).

I ate grape leaves (dolmas) before I had the tacos, though. We moved next door to an Armenian family in Central California who owned a deli. So, from Armeninian rather than Greek hands, on the day we drove into town hot and dusty from Winnemuca, Nevada.

While we are talking Greek food, we must invoke this beloved son of Grecian DC:

George Pelecanosm wikified here

His books are good, but they will make you crave good diner food.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 16, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I worked for several years in an office building where getting bombed was unlikely, but possible. There were odd things like the other tenant's director's office getting lasered. The front entrance grew better-fortified during that time and security checks went from non-existent to fussy.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 16, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

My mother remembers when margarine was white and came with a small piece of food coloring you had to mix it with to make it look buttery yellow.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Funny you guys would talk about dining patterns. Eating rituals. My father was a breakfast ritual person.

I am really glad that my parents spared me the liver experience. To this day, I still enjoy an occasional meal of my "substitution" of beans and franks.

Beans and franks were my original personal exploration into "taking it up a notch." I learned that you could toss in a bit of the stuff that would be in the fridge door and make for a more interesting experience.

My liberation really started when I started asking my mom for Two (2) salads. It was the 60's or 70's salad experience. Nothing more than a small plate of iceberg lettuce and a piece of cucumber, an olive from the can, maybe a bit of onion and a slice of tomato. By high school, it worsened into antipasti and salad nicoise.

Dinner leftovers would end up in salads. Then fresh vegetables would disappear and get grilled in something called EVOO.

After all these years, nothing much has changed. I just finished my breakfast of farmers market sourced baby greens and radishes from Cinda; Kalamata olives, sliced green tomato, marinated mushrooms and red pepper from Jason the Pickle guy; and tuna along with a few store items and a bit of pasta and pink beans (legumes) dressed with my own Parmesan/pepper/mustard vinaigrette.

Odd breakfast, eh?

Two days ago, it was pancetta in olive oil and finished with some farm sourced vinegar and then mixed quickly with Beet Greens and some brased celery and carrots. I ate it warm from the pan. Guess that isn't your basic bacon and eggs.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

My kind of breakfast, Weed!

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Weed, you don't know how I'm laughing at "you could toss in a bit of the stuff that would be in the fridge door..."

Whyenever I make baked beans (and a lot of other things, come to that), I open the fridge door and start adding in a bit of this or that-- a tablespoon of mustard, a jolt of ketchup, maybe some BBQ sauce if there is any (my kids drink it, I think, because there is NEVER any in the fridge), a shot of A-1 and/or worcestershire sauce, etc. If my wife happens to be watching she always rolls her eyes and warns me not to go "crazy." In our house we call these "Dad's b@st@rdized baked beans."

Whilst cooking other items, I have been known to open the fridge or the seasonings cabinet (or both), and just kind of stare, pondering what's available and what "might" go into this or that dish. The fridge door is especially interesting, because you never know what's going to strike your fancy on any given day. Hmmm. A smidge of horseradish? A couple of drops of Philippine hot sauce? A tablespoon of orange marmalada (especially good in some chicken-and-rice-a-roni dishes)? A half cup of wine?

One never knows what will wind up in the pot.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, coming from my neck of the woods, how does one avoid Independence? I'm not familiar with Old Monroe Road, and doesn't it at some point flow into Highway 74? And I laughed when I read your post because it is a nightmare.

Sounds like good eats to me, LiT. When we were children, we didn't go out to eat. My mother cooked at home for every meal. We got the occasional ice cream cone or some treat like that. And as for steak, I remember one time my mother took us to a cook out, and a friend had given her some beautiful steaks that she cooked and served to me and my sisters. The people at the cook out thought she was fixing them for the adults there, but she told them they were for the girls. Everyone was looking at us because these steaks were really big, and we were so shy we could hardly eat them. We told mother to put them up for us, we would eat them later. She knew we would not eat them all, but she wanted us to know that we, her girls, deserved the best.

When I think about how my mother, a single parent struggled to raise me and my sisters, cleaning people's houses, walking to work in the rain, and still holding her head up high, I can't help but love her, and thank God for her.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 16, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki... we used to joke about Legumes here. Now, there are one of the items that are making more appearances in my diet. Legumes and cabbage are forcing me to do more stir fry.

Yoki, a sweet and sour spicy beef and cabbage with snow peas. Make it with Bean curd and garlic paste ... MMMMMmmm.

Now that's breakfast.

My favorite recent discovery is ginger in a tube. We have garlic in a jar. I also will treat myself to tomato paste in a tube. (Anchovies in a tube is also so much better than in a can or jar)... of course, I know that "NO ANCHOVIES" is a common refrain that I hear.

For me, I'm fine with anchovies, capers, olive oil, parmesan, red pepper flakes and maybe a couple of salami slivers sauteed before tossing in some pasta.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I often hear the "no anchovies" plaint, too. My solution is to nod or say, "Oh, OK,"...and add them later anyway when nobody's looking. People in my family have no clue about a few of the things they've eaten and not known were there.

My son won't eat eggs, or eat anything made with wine. Heh heh heh. OK, whatever you say, son.

I suppose there may be some ethical dimension to this deceit.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, so true!!!! certain pasta dishes that the kids ate had anchovies in them, without their knowledge. My daughter freaked when we were cooking together when she was 12. I told her that, if you stir the sauce, the anchovies disappear. She stirred.

Not having anchovies in the pantry right now is a sure sacrifice reflecting my personal economic condition.

One recent Christmas, my daughter bought me anchovies. That was love.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Today's tune cootie, for Ivansmom:

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

From everyone stories' I gather that my mother's excellent cooking saved me from some truly terrible stuff. But the selection of produce was really awful in those days. I remember sad, drooping, lonely broccoli or cauliflowers resting on the "fresh" shelf, surrounded by pallets of potatoes, carrots, cabbage and turnips.

We didn't eat in restaurant often; mostly when we were on the road.

Weed, the toothpaste compartment in my fridge's door contains tubes of anchovies, Harissa and triple tomato concentrate. I could use horseradish in tubes but they insist on jars that are too big for my occasional use of the stuff. This compartment is where the capers and olive oil-packed anchovies are as well, but they aren't in tubes.

Mudge, my daughters won't eat mushrooms in any form, if they see them. This is why dried porcini were invented.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I remember that Texas City explosion. Not exactly the explosion. My parents were driving our 1937 chevy from northern california back to our grandparents in kansas. We had stopped for the night on the third or fourth day at a motel somewhere in wyoming and while checking out the office looked at a life magazine with pictures of the aftermath. I still have a vivid picture burned in my memory of naked bodies draped over some sort metal work. This may also have been the first time I had ever seen a life magazine.

Posted by: bh72 | April 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I remember my mom calling it "oleomargarine" too. I can hear her voice, even, which makes me a bit melancholic -- at the near end of next month, she'll have been gone 14 years. Still seems like yesterday.

Weed, your breakfast items are making my stomach growl. And, I'm one of those anchovy afficianadoes, too. Yumsers. And all those strong herbs and spices -- especially from the hot pepper family -- just heaven. I once bought some hot sauce for a friend called "Scorned Woman" -- man, *that* was good.

I'm truly impressed, although not surprised, by the Obama family's choice of charities and the amount of contributions.

And, Ivansmom, you are so right about the "right" not paying attention to their own contributions to terrorism. What Timothy McVeigh did and his and his comrades' reasons for doing it, *should* (if they have brains) shut them up. I mean, tiny children were murdered in that episode, but I guess that doesn't mean anything to these idjuts. It was for a good cause. Maybe the squealing we hear from the right-wingers is merely acknowledgment that terrorism happens on their side of the fence, as well.


Cassandra -- I loved your story about your mother. It was so endearing, and I'm sure you think of your mother the same way I think about mine. Missing them greatly, but always with love.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I've got tubes of lemongrass and cilantro. I've heard about these tubes of tomato paste, but have never seen any in the store. I've taken to freezing tablespoon dollops of tomato paste, and putting the frozen lozenges in a zip-lock in the freezer, for those days you need a wee bit but don't want to open a whole can. I've learned that a tablespoon of it can be used to advantage in all sorts of mixtures where you don't expect it, gravies and such.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

And I think this one for CP, and any other of the Irish persuasion:

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Capers, anchovies, horseradish, English mustard, fresh herbs, garlic, shallots, sambal olek... it's all good.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, I do prefer freshly minced ginger. I just always found that, when I cleaned the fridge, I would find loads of dead half-used ginger.

Another item that bit the budget dust... cheese. I am lucky to have a small salumeria near my house where, on occasion, I will treat myself to a bit of good cheese like their Asiago. I used to always have feta and goat cheese available, but no more. Let's hope things keep improving!

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Comparing deductions for gifts to charity for this year's president and vice-president with last year's supports the recent study that conservatives are more charitable with their money than liberals. Why is that?

Posted by: Ashland | April 16, 2009 12:01 AM

If I had to guess, I would say it's because 'liberals' donate significant time to their causes, which can't be deducted. I'd be interested to know if anyone has studied the question, other than to find correlative data.

Posted by: 99thfakeid | April 16, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

*surfacing-during-a-break-in-a-very-interesting-class Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Sambel Olek. Oh yes. On noodles. Makes me drool like Homer Simpson.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 16, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

You, sir, are no Homer Simpson.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I figured I could snag John Cleese's autograph at the reception following Cleese's talk at Trinity University last night. Which of my books about Britain would be the best one to hold Cleese's signature, considering that the subject of his talk was creativity? I rapidly settled on Peter Ackroyd's "Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination," with Ackroyd's autograph within.

When I presented the title page to Cleese, his eyes narrowed and he peered at it. I explained my rationale for picking this particular volume. I said that I regretted that Cleeses' name was not among the luminaries included in Ackroyd's work: Wulfstan, Thomas Bacon, Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and ending with painter David Hockney. Cleese said he would be "DE-lighted" to autograph my book, then roared back his head in laughter, saying that Ackroyd at one time had given him one of the worst reviews of his career, calling him "a wall-eyed poof."

Interestingly, Cleese added a plus sign:

Peter Ackroyd


John Cleese

When Cleese clasped me and my husband for the photo, I realized that I had not stood that close to someone of his height and build since my college boyfriend. There was such a mad scramble for seats when the auditorium doors opened at 6:45 p.m. From our perch in the nosebleed section, one could easily see that Cleese's long legs stretched on and on...forever. Up close and in person, he cuts quite an imposing figure.


Posted by: laloomis | April 16, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Seeing Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show last night was a real treat:

No, I didn't know who she was before last night, either. I really do get the news from Jon Stewart these days...

Posted by: seasea1 | April 16, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the music, Mudge. The lineup of musicians with Springsteen was excellent.

Thanks also for your Florence pictures, yello. They're great.

I finally found tomato paste in a tube. Our local mediterranean store stocks it, along with pesto in a tube and homemade jarred tahini.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 16, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey, 99th and Ashland, compare the total incomes of this president and vice president against the last pair, and let me know what you find. Then take the charitable donations as a percentage of the total, and let me know what you find.

Biting the budget dust: cheese and fish, both. What happened? They both used to be reasonably cheap, once upon a time. Now fish is more expensive than beef. Catfish is 5 bucks a pound? Used to be you couldn't give it away. Swiss cheese 8 or 9 bucks a pound? The swiss is twice as expansive as the ham it's sitting on in my ham-and-swiss-on-rye.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge. Reminds me of this anti war tune from Down Under:

Eric Bogle's "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"

YJ -- dairygal comment on white v. yellow butter. Winter butter, when cows are fed a uniform grain diet, was also white. Some dairies used carrot water to color the butter that sunny pat yellow.

Summer butter, based on graze patterns, yielded a yellower yellow. But real butter is never as golden as margarine or butter-like spreads.

Nowadays, the carefully controlled diet means that butter color is uniform across the seasons. Most dairy cows live in pens in CA. No range time now for Bossie and Bessie and Flossie and Maye.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

EVOO? How boring. I prefer mine rode hard & put up wet! Adds character to any dish.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 16, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Cassandra! The only good thing about Old Monroe Road is that it isn't a truck route. Lots of traffic on it, though. That's the way to the Thirddottir's house and my favorite twin boys, so I know it well.

My mother put oleo on her shopping list, I think she just didn't want to write margarine out. And I just looked: on the recipe for cheesestraws she wrote out for me, she wrote oleo.

I'm grateful she never forced liver on me. She had compassion about some things like that. She once told me she vowed her children would never have to take cod liver oil like she and her siblings were forced to. And we didn't.

Posted by: slyness | April 16, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Say, CqP, as a dairy gal perhaps you can answer this for me: what is the orange color in cheap cheddar cheese? And regardless of its source, what made people think it should be that color? Is there a real difference between orange cheddar and white cheddar (other than the fact that only the white cheddar, and only certain examples of that, provides a religious experience in the eating)?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Cleese has been on the lecture circuit for some time speaking about the subject of creativity for. Here's a write-up about Cleese from the January 2003 Los Angles Times:

As the Los Angeles article calls out, Cleese is interested in research by the late Donald MacKinnon, a World War II spymaster and UC Berkeley psychologist who studied creativity in architects, among others. Cleese spoke of MacKinnon's research results last night among the most creative architects--particularly the need for playfulness and the importance of not getting rattled when resolutions to challenges are not immediate during the creative process.

Cleese's presentation was a bit of self-promotion, too, Cleese often mentioning concepts in the book by Guy Claxton, "Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less," for which Cleese wrote the introduction. Cleese apparently was using this book as his point of reference for his presentation last November in Antwerp at the World Creativity Forum.

Cleese has been involved with a video production company for some years and Claxton and Cleese planned to make a video about "Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind" until the money ran out.

Cleese said creative partnershipss are best done with only one or two others. He currently is collaborating on two separate scripts. He did mention that the film "A Fish Called Wanda" went through 13 drafts before the script was finalized.

I thought I heard a whisper from possibly his agent at the reception that Cleese has more speaking engagements on this tour.

The truly best part of the night was the audience Q&A with Cleese because it was less canned.


Posted by: laloomis | April 16, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The Pogues also have a stirring version of "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda".

Everything I know about margarine I learned in Constitutional Law. One of the seminal cases on division of powers is a case called the Margarine Reference dealing with whether a dairy products act (which, interesting, refers to both margarine and oleomargarine [and also butterine, whatever that is]). Anyway, there appears to have been a restriction on butter coloured margarine, probably due to the efforts of Big Milk.

Posted by: engelmann | April 16, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Joan Baez's version is very good, too:

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

In hockey news (I know, you are all hanging on my every word!), a consortium of, get this, Celine Dion, Stephen Bronfman (Seagram's scion) and Pierre Karl Péladeau (big media guy) are bidding for the purchase of the Habs. That is just never going to work out; they may be the three biggest egos in Quebec, and are bound to clash.

The Flames play in Chicago tonight. I wonder if it is to their advantage that Mike Keenan used to coach the Blackhawks?

John Madden retiring. Wow. I've always thought he was, like, perennial.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

If it's food, I have stories...

My uncle married a woman who cooked the same meals on each weeknight. He thought this was near insanity, but she would not budge. They divorced.

In Wisconsin it was illegal to color margarine yellow. The Dairy State.

I never had a "steak" until I left home. Too expensive. My mother was thrifty and we ate quite well. But no steaks. I recall when pizza came to our family. Frugal, we ate out very seldom; mostly on vacations. Homemade pizza came in a box, in a kit. One would add goodies such as onion, sausage, etc. We quickly became enamored of pizza. My mother worked off and on, and decided Sunday nights were her day off. She inaugurated "cook your own meal" Sunday nights but always was helpful and asked during the week so we had supplies to make this work for everyone. We often chose the pizza kits and made pizzas.

Tacos also came in a kit when they were first mass-marketed to the U.S. She provided lettuce, tomato, cheese. Tacos became my favorite exotic dinner. It wasn't common to find Taco Bells until sometime around my college years, and even then they were not everywhere like now.

My father was an agricultural chemist. He had seen the writing on the wall and knew farming would be tougher and tougher so he majored in chemistry instead of agriculture. This served him pretty well in a career working for big agribusiness / fertilizer corporations. He always grew vegetables, even in suburbia before gardening was cool. I recall a bearing peach tree we had near Chicago. I remember my frugal mother gathering the awful crabapples which she magically turned into a decent crabapple jelly.

In Florida, she once shelled the meat from an entire bucket full of coquinas. It took all afternoon. She made a delicious chowder, and announced she would NEVER. DO. THIS. AGAIN.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 16, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I grew up eating margarine, and calling it "butter". I still do - I put "butter" on the shopping list when what I mean is Blue Bonnet (which used to be cheap, but no longer is). And butter always looks too white for me. My mom was a Home Ec teacher, who served the fairly predictable meals of the 50s and 60s. She made chili - when I was a kid, I would not eat the beans, now I prefer them.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 16, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse


That neon color is from combinations of annatto and carotene. Looks a great deal like the powder in boxed mac and sprinkle cheeeezzzzzzeeeeee.

Nowadays, I expect these coloring agents are concocted through a Better Cooking through Chemistry Routine.

My dairy days are long ago and far away; besides I as an in-law cousin and was not in the biz deeply. However, I recall a huge vat of carrots cooked down for no other reason that to color the cheese products all year AND in winter, the butter. Orange cheese sold better than pale primose yellow real cheddar. Chedder in the bluff? Buff? The carrot residue was fed back to the cows. Eventually the dairy could only sell milk and cottage cheese, as they ran up against BIG MILK. Big milk worked much like the chicken distributors: farmers would sign on as Meadow Gold dairies, to sell to the BIG CREAMERY. My dairy, the Ayrshire Dairy of GF, MT, held out for a long time.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 16, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

From the Q&A:

Who are the American comedians whom you most admire? What is the state of American film comedy these days?

Cleese say the two American comedians he most admires are John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. He said that Will Ferrel could have a good body of work, except that Farrell does too many bad comedies for the fast, quick buck. Cleese thinks that comedic American film is in a sad, deplorable state. He talked about meeting with producers at Disney who knew nothing about either acting or directing.

The proudest accomplishment of his career?

Having a wooly lemur named after him--Avahi cleesei.

Cleese said that he had never visited San Antonio before, the city of the Alamo, "America's first spectacular military defeat."

Cleese absolutely beamed when he mentioned that the Brits held the White House during the War of 1812. Cleese didn't mention that Brits torched it in 1814.

And there was tea served at the reception--an American peach tea.

Posted by: laloomis | April 16, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember this myself, but Mom remembers when you bought (oleo)margarine in a plastic bag and it was white. Inside the bag was a little capsule with yellow dye. You were to pop the capsule inside the bag and knead until the yellow color was even, then use.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 16, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Bob, your oils, not withstanding, EVOO was a big improvement over Wesson in the pantry. One might as well use an auto lubricant.

Your approach to oils are like mine to vinegar. I have many and they are basic and good. I don't really like flavored ones, however. Too much work to track the flavors and compensate.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 16, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I hear you, Thistle. I have some raspberry flavored vinegar that's pushing five years old. I suppose I could have sprinkled some on my Waldorf salad yesterday. Not that it would have improved it; it was already very good.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 16, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Dave's comment about quality clothing spurred me to Wikipedia on Linen, in dramatic decline, and which among other things also tells me,
"In the Jewish religion, the only law concerning which fabrics may be interwoven together in clothing is one which concerns the mixture of linen and wool. This mixture is called shaatnez and is clearly restricted in Deuteronomy 22:11 "Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together" and Leviticus 19:19, "'...neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together.'" There is no explanation for this in the Torah itself and is categorized as a type of law known as chukim, a statute beyond man's ability to comprehend"

I liked your Cleese report, Laloo.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 16, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Howdy all
Sunny and warmer here in west by god today.All the critters are running around happily.In the yard so far today,deer,squirrels,chipmunk and a few Piliated woodpeckers.

Tuesday on my way to work,I saw a large Bald eagle sitting in a tree.I wish I had a camera to snap a few pictures.

CP,my mom used to sing Waltzing Matilda to me when I was a baby,so that songs holds dear to my heart.I am afraid to watch the video for fear of falling asleep on the computer.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 16, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon all, just a quick drive by as I switch from working on the back gardens to the front gardens (cultivating, top dressing).

Gorgeous day here, cloudless sky, winds are calm, temps mid fifties - no jacket or sweater required when you are working.

Quickly scanned the posts about foods growing up - our food menu was basic and on a fairly regular schedule, bland food, meat, potatoes (always unless we had pasta), occasional fish (which I refused to eat), veggies and ice berg lettuce salad. After we left the house mom began to experiment more and the meals improved.

Dessert on the other hand was wonderful at our house, home baked pies, tarts, pudding, cookies.

Don't remember margarine growing up at least until I was a late teenager, Dad grew up on a dairy farm and was strongly biased towards butter.

Enjoy you day all hope it is equally as nice wherever you are.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Until last year provincial regulations mandated that margarine (same root as margaret: the pearly appearance of the fat gave it its name) had to be either way lighter than butter or way oranger than butter. Most company choose the light option.Now they can do what they want.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

My mother used to explain that the yellow dye was to avoid confusing margarine with butter at the grocery store, so I do suspect that Big Milk was behind that requirement.

Friday was pizza night. For many years we went to a local place call Alberto's in Hampton. It's no longer there and was a karate studio when I did the boyhood home tour several years ago.

In later years my mother would bake pizza at home complete with scratch made dough. It was very good.

Tacos were also common, but she didn't put seasoning in the beef or put out taco sauce because that was too spicy for our juvenile tastebuds.

For parties she would make nachos which were individual appetizers with a small slice of cheese and a single jalapeno slice put on each chip before baking. Us kids would scrape the pepper off before eating it. It was very different from the piled plate of goo that is now considered nachos.

Just recently I saw a food show that tracked down the original restaurant in Mexico that invented nachos and that is exactly how they were made. It was invented in the late 50s for military service wives that wanted a snack. Since I was born in 1964 at an Air Force base in Texas, it all came together. My New England mother made the real authentic thing.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I grew up on margarine and now use butter. My dad bought Miracle Whip and I now use Hellman's real Mayo. In general, if there were a cheaper vegetable oil based alternative to a real food, that's what we ate. Except for peanut butter. My dad eats peanut butter toast every morning for breakfast so we always had plenty of name creamy brand peanut butter on hand.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I am now a professional writer. Google tells me I have earned $1.68 for ad clicks on my website. For me this is akin to framing the first dollar I ever made. And worth as much.

When I went to college I was just as skinny as high school. But I began having extra bread and real butter in the the cafeteria. With running and weightlifting, and my normal teenaged American high-protein diet, this was sufficient to tip the scales and I began to add muscle to my frame. A friend back home was doing the same work but eschewing the butter, and remaining skinny. I kept advising the same, but he refused to believe that butter could lead to muscle. Not directly, I admitted, but it will fill the gap. No dice. He remained skinny and I bulked up nicely.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 16, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Caption to picture of Susan Boyle in Jeanne McManus' article: "Susan Boyle, who's performance on the television show "Britain's Got Talent" wowed the judges, gives the thumbs up at her home in Blackburn, Scotland, Thursday. (Andrew Milligan - AP)"

So: she is performance, is she?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there. In the eighteen months that the Dowd Report has been in operation it has made a total of $44.26. However, the fine print says that Google doesn't cut checks smaller than one hundred bucks, so I am at least another year out on seeing any improvement to my cash flow.

That is based on an average 56 page impressions a day for about eight cents a day. I imagine a big name writer like Joel could do two or three orders of magnitude more traffic and see the money really roll in.

I'm still way short of my financial goal of buying one highly-caffeinated over-priced milk shake a week from my endeavours, but I can always hope.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | April 16, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The cheese is coloured because the customers want it coloured. Lots of customers are put off by seasonal or regional variations. A lttle annetto in the butter or a little more of the same in the cheese makes things equal all year. Even most of white cheddar's colour is controlled. A good dose of the universal white pigment is added, Ti dioxide, to keep it equally white all year long.

With the cows mostly kept inside and fed on grain these days there probably seasonal variations now but we got used to the standard colours. With the size of the dairies these days every single liter of milk contains molecules of fat from a thousand cows, another equilizer. Same thing for those huge meat processing plant, every single patty they produce comes from 20 different cows coming from five different countries.
When I was a kid we got our milk, for a few years anyway, from a guy doing the deliveries for a single farm owned by the Seminary of Diocese of Quebec, of all things. I liked both summer and winter milk but dreaded the spring transition milk. I found the first milk produced from grazing cows tasted real icky, but I was the only one of 5 kids finding it so. It had a strange blue-ish tinge to it as well.

Big Milk was behind the various colouring ordinances. Looks like Big Edible Oil (Small Safflower, Big Soya and Huge Corn) beat the living snot out of Big Milk in recent years.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if I can hit all Mudge's questions. I remember going to a German restaurant in Fox Chase, great food. While they're closed now, there's another not far away. Chili? Not until college in the broadest sense, not until I lived in Cincinnati for great Chili (there, I said it!)

I didn't have Mex or Tex/Mex until I was in college, we never ate out until I was in college. My oldest sister used to make the hamburger in white gravy thing. I had a craving for it a month or so ago, but I really didn't like it any better than I did when I was younger.

I think microwaves have given us quick reheat options that greatly improve some leftovers from the on-stove reheating possibilities--mashed potatoes, many veggies, etc.

Couple of times a week we'd have breakfast for dinner, pancakes with swiss cheese on top, hash browns. Other than that, casseroles, hotdogs, many things, actually, that I rarely eat now. Everything then was probably cheap, quick and easy to cook. Now? Not good enough.

RT, around here you can buy packages with little frozen cubes (1/2" square or so) of garlic, ginger, and various herbs. Very convenient.

Ivansmom, let me know if you need some supplies sent. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | April 16, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"Heck, they don't even give to the ACLU."

Donations to the ACLU are not tax-deductible. Neither are gifts to any other organization that engages in political advocacy. Such contributions normally would not be listed on tax returns.

Posted by: eahjd | April 16, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick drive-by "hello" and "peace out" while I wolf down some lunch (now wolfed).

So there you go. "Hello!" and "Peace out..."


Posted by: martooni | April 16, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Modest clarification -- donations to the ACLU are not tax-deductible, but donations to the ACLU Foundation of America and to local chapters of the ACLU *are* deductible. Those units provide the actual services of the ACLU to the populace, rather than lobbying.

I am struck by the irony that businesses that lobby government in order to cadge a bit of filthy lucre are able to deduct the cost of lobbying (aka "influence-buying") as a cost of business, but citizens who donate to causes that lobby government in order to cadge a more complete observance of our Constitutional rights are not able to deduct the donation as a cost of freedom. I guess I wouldn't want the political-action lobbying to be deductible, because the eligibility for tax-exempt status would become a political control lever. Clearly, the only way to resolve the irony is for no form of lobbying to be tax-deductible. Makes sense to me. However, I cannot imagine that the powerful lobbyist lobby, comprising the former colleagues of current office-holders, could ever stand for such a thing.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The lobbyist lobby! My day is complete.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 16, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The *powerful* lobbyist lobby.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It's real:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Big day for Witch no. 1, the orthodontist decided her teeth are straight enough and removed all wires, pulleys, blocks, levers and other hardware holding her teeth together.
After 4 and a half years, it's not a minute too soon she says.
Maybe, just maybe, I won't be given the Evil Eye when I serve radicchio or frisée aux lardons anymore.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Frizzy ax lardons?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

There was plenty of money to be made in newspaper Joel. Look at Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn's summer home garden.

It really is a fantastic garden.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, my hearing's starting to go,

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | April 16, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh. My. Goodness. I had figured they would try to avoid a perceptible presence as an actual distinct lobby. I thought it would just be a groundswell of complaints from friends and former colleagues that could keep Congress from acting against the interests of lobbyists as a group.

Hard to imagine a more-reviled organization than a Lobbyists' Lobby. Perhaps Tobacco Producers for More Baby Death, or NAMBLA.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Skip the egg and replace the bacon with the much less salty 'lard fumé' and you have Frisée aux lardons.

It's, famously, thanks to Claire Brétécher, not a meal you order on a first date. Messy.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Messy can be quite fine on some subsequent dates, though.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The infamous hakapik lobby comes to mind Science Tim.
"Hakapik, the axe that dispatches a baby seal faster than a .308Win 180gr. bullet"

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, (leaving out easy targets like lawyers) there's:

or, more locally -

Posted by: bobsewell | April 16, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ha Ha! yoki. That is the point of Bretécher's infamous cartoon. The woman eating the barely wilted (tombée) frisée is making all kinds of crunching noises, is getting oily around the mouth, smacks her lips, gets some frisée stuck in her teeth and licks bits of lardons around her mouth in the first eight frames of the page. Then declares to her long-term boyfriend, in the last frame: "I do not order frisée aux lardons on a first date".

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Gack! When I see the typos in my Cleese report, I am mortified...Los Angeles, woolly, Will Ferrell. This is a morning when the peepers just wouldn't open and coffee definitely wasn't doing the trick. So very exhausted! I went back to bed after breakfast and didn't really get up until 10:30 a.m., and then was still not "with it."

I did check Jennet Conant's book "The Irregulars" about WWI spy and children's author Roald Dahl to see if Donald MacKinnon, the spy mentioned by Cleese who went on after WWII to study the creativity of architects, was in "The Irregulars," but could find no mention in Conant's latest literary effort. Had not heard of MacKinnon until last night.

I failed to mention that Cleese stands a handsome and slim 6'4". Cleese mentioned that he went to Cambridge intent on studying scince, but switched to law, until he became involved with a theatrical troupe on campus. He thinks schools leach creativity from kids by the time they're leaving elementary school.

Perhaps the oddest question last night came from a student, a young male, who said that he was struggling with a choice of his life's path. He couldn't make up his mind whether to provide comfort to others through comedy or religion. You can imagine what Cleese's answer was--and he was quite kind in his reply. He spoke earlier about how organized religion hates mystics--because they're so darn unpredictable.

Me? I would have liked to know what types of scripts Cleese's currently working on.

It was nice that my husband was able to work from home yesterday. He didn't have to fight traffic to get home from the data center. We just had to fight the traffic to get to the event. We arrived so early and were slightly hungry, so we, by serendipity, stopped at the historic Olmos Pharmacy with its well-known '50s soda fountain for an old-time chocolate malt. A midweek date for us. How rare is that? I'm on a "vacation mentality" roll today--would like to see tonight last year's foreign film Oscar winner, the French film "The Class."

Next week winds up the spring lecture series at Trinity with a talk Tuesday night by 2007 Nobel prize co-winner in economics Princetonian Eric S. Maskin. Wish it were 2008's Krugman. Cleese was introduced as serving in some sort of adjunct professor capacity at Cornell.

Posted by: laloomis | April 16, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Despite my father growing up on a cattle farm in Kansas that raised registered black angus breeding stock (Dan had the Kansas state champion steer and Grandfather the state champion bull in 1929), I never enjoyed a good rare T-bone beef steak until I was a junior in college at a engineers club meeting at the Red Lion in Fresno. My folks moved to California in 1940 when I was three for Dad to work as a carpenter on the Shasta Dam power house construction (that job lasted five years.) Steak was considered too expensive and my father required all meat be fried to the consistency of shoe leather. That with flour gravy on boiled potatoes with maybe canned green beans or beets was dinner five days a week (Dad often said a baked potato with the skin on was the height of laziness.) Meat when I old enough to remember was black tail venison. We had a sixteen cubic foot chest freezer and Dad butchered the deer and it was froze into meal size packages. Every spring we would get 100 baby chicks through the mail (the post office was full of peeps when the chicks came in. The chicks were all supposed to be rooster fryers but we usually got 10 - 12 pullets that keep us in eggs. We raised the chickens in a ‘battery’ (a tight raised pen for 100 chickens under some lights and feed lots of mash so they grew up fast. When they got up to frying size, My Mom and I would snag out five a day. I chopped off the heads and put one at time in a big funnel until the stopped flopping and were pretty well bleed out. Them Mom dipped then a bucket of boiling water and stripped the feathers and cleaned them. Mom was raised on a wheat farm near Salina, Kansas and knew her way around a butcher knife (she also worked awhile at the Brookville hotel out on old Highway 40 cooking chicken) by the end of the afternoon five chickens would all be disjointed, wrapped and in the freezer.

Our meal schedule never varied. Fried venison and boiled potatoes five days a week, cut-up leftover fried potatoes with boiled wieners on Saturday and the best fried chicken I have ever enjoyed with whipped potatoes and chicken gravy on Sunday. I, being the oldest always got the wishbone breast piece. But best of all Mom was an excellent baker so we had apple or lemon meringue pie or cake with almost every meal.

My brothers and I played catch with those packs of white oleo until the turned yellow.

Posted by: bh72 | April 16, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

We had steak, but it was a sign of thrift rather than luxury. Every year my folks would buy a side of beef, butchered and packaged, freeze it, and we'd eat from it all year. That meant a few steaks and a whole lot of chuck roast and ground beef, done in hamburger patties or spaghetti sauce.

We also had fried chicken. I can't ever remember my mother roasting a chicken and, oddly, I don't know whether she bought packaged chicken meat or whole chickens to cut up. These days I cannot bring myself to buy packaged chicken pieces unless they're on sale - not when whole chickens are astonishingly cheaper and just as easy to navigate.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 16, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Transcript to a Kids in the Hall skit I recalled on this issue of this discussion about changing food tastes:

"In the beginning, there was Miracle Whip. One kind of cheese, and fish came in sticks. Bread was white, and milk was homo. Our condiments were mustard, relish, and ketchup. Our spices were salt, pepper, and paprika. These were our sacraments.

Garlic was ethnic. Mysterious. Something out of the Arabian Nights. And then one day it happened. Food exploded. People, yeah, people put down their Alan's Apple Juice and share of pudding, picked up a bowl of tofu, slathered it with President's Choice spicy Thai sauce, yeah, and washed it all down with a mango-guava seltzer."

Later: "I think it all started with marble cheese".

Posted by: engelmann | April 16, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

And that is just what I remember happening! I loved The Kids in the Hall.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

To further my tale of childhood deprivation, we too were never allowed steak when eating out. Once a year, usually near our birthday, our parents would take us to the Colonnade Seafood Restaurant on Bayshore Boulevard overlooking Tampa Bay which, depending on which way the wind is blowing, can have a truly evil dead fish smell from the red tide and general pollution. We would be allowed to have the lobster (or sea cockroach as my son calls them) but not the surf and turf.

And lest you get the wrong idea about this being too fancy-schmancy, the Colonnade is a down-home seafood place with paper place mats and napkins. No linens for us. Just look at the place:

The sympathy I'm going to elicit from my eventual therapist when I tell the tales of my childhood suffering will be unparalleled in the annals of psychotherapy. I'd be surprised if they don't name a new syndrome after me.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

engelmann, that description fits perfectly for my southern ont suburban upbringing. Note the paprika we had as a spice was the bland paprika providing more colour than flavour - and did it have a purpose other than to be sprinkled on top of deviled eggs?

Smiling at the PC sauce line, PC sauces now take up almost an entire aisle in the grocery store.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 16, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

When I was a little kid, my parents were in straightened circumstances (5 kids by the age of 26 will do that to a family!), and so we ate all the standard 60s North American awful fare.

But then, when I was 9, we moved to Europe, and my gastronomic education and obsession began the very first day. As a corporate expat executive, my Dad made decent money, and we ate out a lot. We landed in Zurich late in on the first evening, and went straight to bed. In the morning, my Dad had asked the hotel to bring breakfast up. Freshly-baked rolls (with a crust, and a crumb!), unsalted fresh butter, honey, cafe au lait, black cherry jam. I went into some sort of trance and stuffed and stuffed and stuffed. Lunch was a roll with good brown mustard and silky smoked ham. Dinner was leek soup followed by a veal stew with mushrooms and wine/cream sauce, homemade egg noodles and what the French call haricots verts. Leeks? Veal?! Wine Sauce?!

I haven't woken from that trance yet. Though I have learned to savour, not stuff.

My Mum was and is an excellent plain cook, and my Dad was a sort of rare but amazing fancy cook, but it really was those three years in Switzerland and travel and eating that turned me into a devoted follower of all things culinary.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Another highlight from those long-ago days. Once we were established in our apartment, my brothers and I used to go play on the mountain most every day, and discovered a wild strawberry patch. In late fall/early summer, we would play and play, and then pick wild strawberries, and return to the village to be well and thoroughly bathed, and then have a supper of muesli, strawberries and yogurt in our pyjamas, and then be put to bed in the last rays of the sun. Good times.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Yoki is Heidi? :-) Sorry couldn't resist.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 16, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Yoki was Heidi. I even wore pinafores (truly). Now Yoki is the Canadian, Caucasian, much fatter Yoko Ono.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that sounds great. Did you ever see the tv show "George"? A family in Switzerland with a St. Bernard. On Sat. mornings after Prof. Kitzul.

My own example of food changes that always comes to mind is pasta. I don't think I ever tried any type BUT spaghetti (pronounced spasgetti of course) or macaroni until my 20s. Now penne, rotini and fettucine are much more common.

Posted by: engelmann | April 16, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Wrong. Just wrong. It is pronounced 'pusgetti.'

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh Yoki, wild strawberries! Food of the gods! They grew along the road at my mother's place in the country, and we sallied forth to battle poison ivy and ticks to find them. Around here, they bear in mid-May, so both were real hazards.

Homemade wild strawberry ice cream. The simplest things are always The Best.

Posted by: slyness | April 16, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

We had wild strawberries as well, growing on the edge of the forest in the park down the road. On a bluff overlooking the Bay with its lovely view of the twin steel plants - not the majestic views Yoki was privledged to but the berries certainly tasted great.

Very frenvious Yoki.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 16, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Our culinary awakening was being transferred to the Philippines. Our live-in maid was well-versed in all the American food but we alternated with the local dishes and chicken adobo quickly became our favorite. That was the first time I saw soy sauce in the gallon sized jerry can.

The downside is that you can get quite a sugar addiction in a country where the water isn't safe to drink and Coke is about a dime a bottle

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Ma Frostbitten and Frostdaddy both left home to join the army right after high school and their adventurous spirits drove them to repudiate much of what they'd grown up eating. Rare steak on the grill was our favorite Frostdaddy prepared meal, so different from the fried shoe leather served at the grandparents' houses. I'm sure they did untold psychic damage in other areas, but food was not one of them. Ma Frostbitten always insisted that we try any new food presented, but "trying" need only be a small bite not a full serving. Frostdaddy introduced us to Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai food and French cuisine via Vietnam. I was very sad to see "our" Chinese restaurant in Newport News closed a few years ago. (but not before I was able to take frostson there)

Very busy day in Atlanta, where the robotics peeps seem to have enjoyed our presentation "Robots in the Middle of Nowhere" (about building competition teams in very rural areas-we even had some attendees from towns under 1,000). Really enjoyed back boodling through the personal food histories.

Yello-the Collonade was set to close to make way for a new condo tower while Mr. F was at MacDill. Tampa real estate went south before that happened. I'm sure it is unchanged from your childhood, though the smell on Bayshore is better.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 16, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Nope. It's bisgeddy. Clearly.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 16, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you are close but so wrong.


Really, now that we are done with that, we can consider this odd one:


and this one

peabut putter

(seven kids means that the cutie words are coined fast and furiously)

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 16, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

A famous story in my family is about my niece ridiculing her brother for saying "buhsgetti" when everyone knew it was "Puhsgetti!"

Growing up, we ate typical American fare, but sprinkled, of course, with Greek food and lots of flavorful spices. I married a guy whose family thought salt and pepper were spices, but he's learned now.

Our favorite dish as kids was Dolmades, cooked stuffed grape leaves with avgolemono sauce (known as just "lemono" in our house).

Glad my work week is over (but I still LOVE my job); tomorrow I'm free, free, free. Only have to get the lamb to make the Easter soup for Sunday. Cook and die the eggs. Oh.. yeah.. Son of G flies in tomorrow night for the weekend! YAY.

Posted by: TBG- | April 16, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

With the greatest respect for Boodlers Canuckistani and Murican, the word is "bisketty".

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 16, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

You're not over with Easter yet eh? Orthodox and Copts are so slow. I discovered greek salad and souflakis at about 18 years old and never recovered.

How about SPAGATT? We had kids from the summer camp who would insist on not getting the (fairly decent) tomato/meat sauce on their pasta but ketchup. And ketchup wasn't starting with an h. Yikes.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 16, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

We may be slow, shriek, but we're not stupid... who gets to buy the half-price Easter candy *before* Easter?

Posted by: TBG- | April 16, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I figured you might be familiar with the place. As for steak, next time I'm in Tampa, I'm going to see if Berns still has the red velvet on the walls.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, that would be where the psychic damage was done. There were no such things as "cute" pronunciations in Ma Frostbitten's home. There was correct usage, or usage swiftly corrected. I often think she was a mind reader and could tell if you weren't picturing the silent h in your head while saying spaghetti.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 16, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Spaghetti funny. As Italian as my upbringing was, we didn't have anything called spaghetti. If it was some sort of long noodle, it was fettucine, linguine, capellini, etc., but no spaghetti (I'm pretty sure 'spaghetti' is American.) Also, using a spoon to twist it onto your fork is considered to be very...hoping not to offend anyone...provincial.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 16, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Good Southern cooking in my family, as my dad's mother supported the family by keeping a boarding house and providing lunch meals for the workers in the area. I think about my grandmother every time I pass the Holiday Inn at North College and East Sixth, where her boarding house was located.

This meant that my dad had definite standards as to what decent food was. Good thing my mom was able to meet those standards. Mom always said she couldn't make stewed apples as well as Granny, because Granny wasn't familiar with the concept of calories and was lavish in her use of butter and sugar.

Mr. T and I have done out part to stimulate the economy tonight. We have purchased, at Sears online, a 7 cubic foot freezer that fits the small space we have, to replace the one that was part of his dowry and is 21 years old.

Posted by: slyness | April 16, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh frosti! I know this. We not only were required to say "ArCtic" (when every other Canadian of self-respect says "artic" - and also we said Duct-tape instead of ducktape) but we were, on pain of a painful death from my nurse mother, to use correct anatomical terms for parts of the body, and it's exudations.

We weren't fun people to know. But we are excessively well-spoken!

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Did you talk like that off-ten, Yoki?

Posted by: TBG- | April 16, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Correct pronunciation was a necessity for me as an OCD sort of child. If nothing else, it helped me cope with the conflict between my mother's Rochester, NY accent and my local relatives' scattered Indiana regional accents. After we arrived in Maryland (when I was 10) I remember it occurred to me some time in 7th grade that I pronounced 20 as "chwunny." That's when I started a program of diction self-imprrovement that continues to irritate others and leaves me obsessing over pronunciation and intonation until this very moment. And this moment. And this moment. Annnnd... yes, this moment, too. And so on.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

OK out of curiosity Yoki - how did you have to pronouce Lieutenant?

I clearly remember my grandmother tapping my hand none to gently when I was 4 - I was not holding my fork correctly. Proper table manners where what I remember most, to this date I can eat and clean all meat off ribs with a knife and fork, twirl pasta without a spoon.

I think a few more grammar/pronunciation corrections would have helped as well :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | April 16, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I believe I have previously mentioned the culinary horrors to which I was subjected as a child. Each week, my father brought home from the lab a giant horrific bug, equipped with two claws -- one for gripping, one for crushing. The bug descended into the pot and bubbled there, filling the house with its noxious buggy odor. As my family atavistically rent the bugger (you might call it) limb from limb from limb from limb (it had a superfluity of them, you see), I dined well upon my two flat and tasteless hamburgers from Burger Chef, with an order of fries.

Eventually, of course, Indianapolis became a more cosmopolitan city. A Taco Bell opened up in the last year before we left. I believe they sold a taco burger. Good stuff.

And of course, there was the incident with the can of spinach. But that was self-inflicted.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 16, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse


We, too, with the science-perfect words for all items and actions. But the food pronunciations were too powerful and many to resist. 7 children in 8.5 years (one set of twins).

More foodie words: In Montana most people said balonEya for bologna....and LiT, please forgive, Eyetalian.

Chili was chunks of meat, NOT with beans; ranch beans was a separate dish. And, hamburger in chili? No way no how. That would be a sloppy joe, yes, but not chili. I fear even introducing this inflammatory topic but, there ain't no tomato sauce in chili nor in bbq.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 16, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this is great.

TBG, I say Ofen, because that is the English (and therefore definitive) pronunciation. Also, Cawm, not Ca-l-m.

dmd, I have have my hand tapped (pronounced 'slapped') many a time. I can eat with the Queen! I remember the first time I went out with a group of friends as a tween, and had to observe the way they picked up hamburgers and ribs with their hands, and *ate with their hands* before I could do it. So liberating to do so! Now, of course, I am a complete bear-type animal. Except when I dine with His Excellency, and then it all comes back to me. Leftenant, of course.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Reely? We called it Balonie.

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

slyness, you may want to avert your eyes, but I found this Austen-related article enjoyable:

My mom made a good, simple spaghetti with meatballs that was my favorite dish. I am proud to say I twirl my spaghetti on a fork, no spoon required. Lots of Eye-talians in western PA (no, we didn't pronounce it that way, but everyone around us did). I also come from the nit-picky grammarian style of family.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 16, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

My mother insisted that we pronounce 'aunt' as 'awnt' rather than as the insect.

See Tim, another childhood ruined by be forced to eat oversized aquatic insects.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 16, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

No preblem CqP. Seasea, I've got family out that way. I've heard Eye-talians my whole life, but never from a relative. I think I've become immune to offense on that one. (Word to the wise: I still take great offense at the other word. Bring a gun to a knife fight kind of offense.)

Proper usage of the english language was required unless you wanted that thwack on the hand or at the base of the skull. But it still doesn't change the fact that I think 'kick-a$$' is an excellent adjective for a pair of shoes.

I carry the torch in my own way...T2 thinks one of the mantras of her childhood was "there's specificity in language honey. Say what you mean." And I've caught myself explaining to DC that she's angry, not mad. Mad is either totally crazy nuts live in an asylum, unless she's a dog, at which point, we'd shoot her. (Obviously, no mother of the year award that day either.)

Goodnight all. Thanks for the laughs today.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 16, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC: problem, and anything/everything else. Goodnight again.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 16, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

*whispering softly, "Biskeddy, biskeddy, I know it's biskeddy,* as he drifts off to sleep*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 16, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Did I hear Indianapolis?

Back after wife Becky is cancer free?

Yeah bsby!

Bill Everything

Posted by: rarrensen | April 16, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

That is the bestest news Bill E in Indy. With meatballs on top with shaved reggio parma sprinkled liberally.

What a way to end the day!

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 16, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Now, this is grand good tidings, bill everything. So glad to see you, and with such good news. Wife Becky gets huzzahs!

Posted by: Yoki | April 16, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

bill everything, I was wondering how you all were doing. Great to hear from you, great news!

Posted by: seasea1 | April 16, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Busy week. took my dot's to see the Dead on sunday in Greensboro. Sold out show, tons of people, lots of fun. The bus ploy didn't work, but we all had a good time Dot # 2 took pictures for her Scrapbook of Rightousness. Included was a shot of her with a dancing bear. The Twelve Tribes were there, too. They drove their won bus from New Hampshire. Monday, the heavy stuff began. I've been toting around this lump on my neck. It comes and goes, and has been rather pronounced the past six months or so. Had a CT scan done, and found out that it's a cyst. They also found some flotsam in my lungs, for which I have the privilege of another scan this morning. If it's what I think it is, these nodules appeared before as a result of testing positive for all the TB skin tests some years ago. they did a chest xray and found some scarring in the upper lobe of the left lung. We shall see. After the scan, a trip to the ENT specialist for the lump remedy. I'm hoping for a magic wand. As the song says, I need a miracle every day.

Posted by: -jack- | April 17, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Our jack.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Evening all
Jack,sounds like a normal everyday dead show to me.Glad it was enjoyed.I really hope they tour this summer,would love to see them in some outdoor venue in the woods,Maybe MPP as i have seen many a dead show there.

When I was 3 I fell and busted out my 2 front teeth,it was the first thing I really remember in my life,well they were out till my adult teeth grew in.I could never say spaghetti,it always came out as bugehetti.

Beautiful star field tonight,stopped for a few minutes to enjoy it.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 17, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh, jack, hope it all turns out ok. Let us know how you're doing.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 17, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Great news, bill everything! Good to see you on the boodle.

All the best to you, Jack.

When I was about 10, I felt a lump near my ear. I saw a doctor at a gov’t clinic. He didn’t say what it was and just gave me some stinky cod liver oil. I saw him 2 weeks later and went home with the same amount of cod liver oil. After I finished the stinky oil, my father reminded me to go back to the doctor. I came back from the clinic with some more stinky oil. After 4 consultations, I wised up and refused to go. After a few years, the lump went away.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 17, 2009 2:27 AM | Report abuse

How cool... I won't go into detail about *why* I woke up at 2am, but I turned on the TV (a program on PBS about Appalachia) and who do I see? Joel.

I was thinking "hey... I know that dude. I even talked to him on the phone once."

He's everywhere, I tell ya. Like Elvis. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | April 17, 2009 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Hi Martooni. Joel on TV? Wow, he’s more famous now.

Talking about food, I think the Malays make the best sambal. A good sambal would have dried chilli, fresh chilli, dried prawns, shallots, garlic, and tamarind paste. All these to be made into a paste using mortar and pestle not food processor. And then fried for a few minutes in oil.

Our anchovies come either loose or in a packet. They are salted and dried usually 1”-1 ½”. I like them best deep fried eaten with sambal and rice.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 17, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

*for some reason visualizing an anchovy chili debate ensuing*

Early to bed, insomniac in the wee hours.

Bill everything, great news and glad to hear from you again.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 17, 2009 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Prayin' for a miracle.

I Joel had been on the tube, I would have set the DVR. He needs to keep us better informed.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 17, 2009 5:35 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. My grandsons are coming this weekend! I'm picking them up this afternoon, going to meet their mom halfway. It's been so long since they've been here. I hope we enjoy one another.

Forgot to thank you, Vintage Lady, for the link.
And Ivansmom, the whole chicken is much better in every way.

Yoki, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, Mudge, and all the gang, I made the Dawn Patrol, at last. Have a fantastic day, everyone. *waving*

Loomis, is it possible to get an update on the "S" word coming from your great state? Will the folks there be gearing up for war next?

Got to go, will be tracking to that laundry room this morning. Only one machine working. Life is grand, is it not?

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 17, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot...

Jack, just say a small prayer, and leave it to Him that has all things in his hand. I will too.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 17, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Funny, but not funny explanation of the TeaBag situation from yesterday's Countdown

It's something that ran through the Hillary folks, the birthers, and now into the TeaBag FOX explosion.

It's even in the S word that Cassandra mentioned. AND, its really hard to stuff back in the bottle once you pull it out.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra.

I've got coffee brewing and some cheese and fruit and good bread in the Ready Room.

Have a wonderful day. Casual Friday, don't you know.

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Heavens! I meant to be done with the boodle by now! Oh well, at least it's Friday. But so much news overnight! Glad to have you back, bill, and to know that all is well. Jack, blessings on you today. Excising a cyst shouldn't be a big ordeal.

Another busy day ahead, I'm not getting everything done but it's okay. At least for this week.

Tonight is barbeque in Mr. T's little community back home. With nice weather, it will be a pleasant outing. It's the best barbeque I've ever had, and that's saying something.

Posted by: slyness | April 17, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Had a mini BPH here last night. We met Scotty for dinner. We were hoping that bc, who was also in the neighborhood, would join us but he was too tired from college touring with his daughter. As we sat waiting for our food, bc suddenly appeared. He had managed to find us knowing only that Scotty liked Irish pubs and we were, in fact, in one. I personally think that Boodlers have a sixth sense, something like GPS, which allows them to locate each other in distant cities. bc couldn’t stay for dinner, but we had a very funny short visit. It was great fun to see some imaginary friends and share some laughs.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 17, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Jack, best thoughts going your way.

bill e, glad to see your post.

OK that just strained my undercaffinated brain. Going to be warm today, near 68 - about 45 already, moving slowly after yesterdays work but need to finish today.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 17, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Just a bit about newspapers...

Rachel and Ben.

There is a segway to the Joel on TeeVee story.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

Feeling iconoclastic I broke out the Hawaiian shirts this morning. Okay, I'm a little chilly, but I look good. Or at least, well, iconoclastic.

jack - Let me add my good wishes.

Got a huge amount to do today, so it's back to being sequestered away in the Laboratory of Darkness.

Which, given the shirt, is probably just as well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 17, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

New kit coming in a bit....I'm on the road in some Country Best Days Western Suites and Courtyard by Marriott place, right on a freeway, in Ohio, I think.

Posted by: joelache | April 17, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Joel, do some FREE fiber grazing!!!

How's the hot coffee?

Here you go:

Get in trouble with the folks at the next table at the breakfast nook.

(Red State Update on Tea Parties)

Posted by: russianthistle | April 17, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

It's going to be a nice pleasant spring day in the other capital, just before two days of rain...
I broke out the short sleeve shirt but I'm not ready to go Hawaiian yet. Soon.

Good luck Jack.

Irish pubs and colleges in Boston? Who would have thunk!

I'm not brave enough for the Krauthamster today but Kinsley is funny and right on the money.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 17, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Seasea, I read that article on Austen. I'll pass on that particular fan fiction, but I've read others. My favorite is a trio that does Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's point of view. Delightful!

Posted by: slyness | April 17, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: Yoki | April 17, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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