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Charge Them, and They Will Pay

Newspapers have to start charging online. Maybe magazines too. It's all about timing and the Sherman Act. And I guess what they call the Prisoner's Dilemma, no? There's short-term advantage in letting the other guy go first. But the best results come from collaboration (but not collusion, naturally!).

I don't doubt that there were good reasons for giving away content for free back in the mid-1990s. But there's something twisted about a business model that won't let people pay, even if they want to. Here's former newsman Michael Connelly in an interview with the Nieman people [via Romenesko]:

I would pay up in a heartbeat (and then write it off as a business expense.) I no longer live in L.A. but I write about it. So I need to know what is happening there. I read the L.A. Times everyday but haven't paid for it in five years. The L.A. Times website is my homepage, the first thing I see when I go online. So I guess that makes me part of the problem. But it's not my choice. The Times made the choice. I would gladly pay but I've never been asked.

The Internet isn't actually free. I pay for it every month via my Comcast account, where broadband Internet is bundled with phone and cable TV service.

The New Yorker has a long piece [behind its firewall], by the always excellent Lawrence Wright, on Mexican zillionaire Carlos Slim, who owns a big chunk of The New York Times. There's a cringe-inducing quote from Tom Friedman about how he gets to jet around without anyone questioning his expense account, but never mind that: Friedman predicts such an extreme shakeout of the news business that there will be few survivors: "It's going to be us and the BBC and the Wall Street Journal and not a lot more." (He should have added my paper, for a variety of reasons, but mainly because this is a town where lots of people still want to buy, and actually like to read, the print newspaper). But if he's right, and much of the industry is in a death-spiral, then maybe this is the moment when the executives should take the plunge and dare to ask the customers to pay for what they've been getting online for free. What's the alternative?

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 29, 2009; 8:24 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Terrorists to Obtain Flying Monkeys?
Next: Ad Astra


The alternative is sending the glowing flying monkeys to readers' doorsteps, tin cups in hand.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah, death spiral, all that. But hold up a minute. We've got to re-visit the last Boodle for a second. Frosty, one is not allowed to sleep naked in Minnesota?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think the glowing flying delivery monkeys are good, but you need the right approach. I recommend the flying monkeys deliver the paper edition to every single house, for free. For a fee, however, they will wear diapers.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 29, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm still paying for my paper edition, but have an inordinately long vacation hold going on and am donating those papers to the Newspapers for Education program.

Well... I'm sure they're not getting *those* papers, but at least someone is getting a newspaper to read instead of piling up at the end of my driveway.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Nieman people are the Harvard people/group with which Froomkin is aligned.

Best quick and dirty quote from the Connelly interview, interesting that Texas-Book-Festival-guest Connelly writes of newspapers' demise in his latest fiction "Scarecrow":

"Google doesn’t kill newspapers. People kill newspapers."

My attention is, by necessity, drawn to other places today--a natural history museum in Martinsville, Virginia, for starters, or else I'd wax a few words on this topic and definitely wax about Arax.
Business first, Boodle later.

Posted by: laloomis | May 29, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Unlimited dial-up takes in $120/yr. WaPo could start that, or even reduce the price to install software to keep the WaPo the homepage. It's a start. Hey, AOL is for sale...
Sales should be more aggressive at grocery stores. There are all these dumb magazines in the checkout line, but no newspapers. Ones sees them for sale on the way out of the store when it's too late to make a sale, usually.

Sci Tim motivated me to find out where uranium comes from:

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Mudge- it was one of those oft cited and perhaps already repealed laws that people laugh at, like not being able to drive red cars on Lake Street in Minneapolis (anti-cruising measure). The state legislature is working on scrubbing the books of these little gems and the League of Minnesota Cities in its usual "good government" way is encouraging cities to systematically purge their ordinances of the dumber stuff.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I will gladly pay for additional on-line content, like these blogs and "live Q&A" and whatnot. I am a little nervous about paying again for the same material I get in print form, so I hope the pricing model gives us subscribers a bit of a break.

And I agree that the business needs to move away from the free model in a coordinated way. Not coordinated pricing, which would truly be collusion, but a coordinated agreement that online content truly adds value and is worthy of renumeration.

If it is any consolation, according to a book I once read about "The Weather Channel" (Look, I was in a weird place back then) a similar thing happened in the nascent years of cable television. And that worked out pretty well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

You people who could read the dead tree edition WaPo, but don't, make me cry. But, subscribing and giving it away makes sense-if sense can be made.

Our county paper, which publishes twice a week, is part of a small regional chain. Lay offs and furloughs announced two weeks ago. The weekly published in the "town" (pop 246) to our north folded last year. A new paper, totally ad supported has taken its place; I get it free in the mail. It's basically nonprofit. The publishers are doing it as a public service, and hobby, and as long as they can cover their costs (no salaries) they will continue. The outpouring of public support was pretty amazing. Many local businesses are advertising with them knowing it doesn't really make economic sense for the number of eyeballs they're reaching.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I sense a win-win here. Charge the delivery subscription price for all. As a print subscriber, one gets the virtual WaPo for free.

Locals can keep or donate the paper edition. For non-locals like me, the paper edition goes to Newspapers for Education, helping to raise a new generation of readers.

Posted by: -dbG- | May 29, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with you, RDP. Online content (like this blessed blog) which does not appear in the print edition adds value and should be in the priced model. I do not want, however (echoing others here), to be expected to pay twice, as I also subscribe to the print edition (which I tend to read in the evening). Furthermore, I expect the cost of online to be "reasonable" (however that may be defined, as we say in the legal biz).

But then again, I am all in favor of the "a la carte" approach to cable television (which is unlikely to occur in my lifetime) -- and if that can be effectuated anyway, let's have the a la carte approach to online news content. Like, I don't want to have to pay to read Krauthammer or Will (well, truth be told, I don't read them anyway).

Just putting in my two cents worth, adjusted for inflation.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 29, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

WaPo powers that be- I would pay for a subscription to the WaPo site. However, be careful about how onerous the sign-in system is. You really need a "logged in until you log out" type deal. I won't belabor the sign in to comment stupidity, when I already see "hello frostbitten1" at the top of the page. (Cursing at local newspaper I subscribe to that makes its web site all but unusable even for registered users.)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

And, so, while I was pounding on the keyboard both frosti and dbG came up with outstanding suggestions.

Huzzahs to both!

On another note -- to dmd: I've been invited to the Orioles-Tigers game on Sunday at Camden Yards (a perfectly lovely stadium). The Orioles thumped the Tigers yesterday (do I hear you cheering?). But Sunday is supposed to be a simply gorgeous day -- not too hot and without a raindrop or humidity drop in sight. And, I'll be home well in time to watch hockey in the evening.

Which reminds me -- are the commissioners of the NHL really more stupid than I have ever given them credit for? The first two games *back-to-back*???? And only a handful of days after one of the teams (mine) plays 5 hard-fought games? Are they really in a hurry to get this over with, so that they can watch the NBA finals without anyone bothering them? Cripes!

*expletive* (more than one)

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 29, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing how many real estate sites will make you sign in to see a listing. I understand the idea of gathering marketing info, but to not show a potential buyer a listing without gathering a name and email address is just plain silly.

I thought the objective was to sell the house, not gather names.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you, RD. I subscribe to the paper and enjoy it a lot more than I enjoy reading articles on-line. It's also the only real way the Post gets money from me. I've had the paper delivered every day since we moved here in 1960. I even got it when I was in college. I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for the .com specialties, but I should received credit for subscribing to the paper paper, so to speak.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The St. Petersburg Times seems to be suffering along with the rest, but the internet has probably increased its visibility, compared to the age of print, when the Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel attempted distribution throughout the Florida peninsula.

The new version of the New York Times Reader seems good enough to justify a $3.50/week subscription (or something close to that). Chuck the Monday-Friday print subscription for over $7.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 29, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

On AOL revenues and upcoming sale. Don't forget the recent penalties for fudging ad revenues, covered elsewhere.

Which reminds me that the Publisher of a newspaper I heard about didn't even know what "the Google" was in 2004. But that has nothing to do with the current problem. Right?

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

And it is nearly impossible to get off a Realtor's mailing list once you are on.

And for people interested in even more manscape snickering innuendo and ridiculous metaphors, there is this Gawker post with comments:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I know what you mean, TBG. I went on a site to buy a new (used) vehicle, and they wouldn't let me search by price. They made me pick what year and model of car I "wanted" and then had to go to a slow-loading new page. Some people just don't get it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Well, as someone "separated from employment" at the moment, I won't be able to justify paying to read online...unless it's ridiculously cheap, like $5 per year. I still think the thing to do would be to bundle online newspapers with Comcast and other huge Internet providers. But I suppose you'd have to convince the behemoths it was worth their while.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 29, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I will not pretend to know anything about the viability of the business model, but I'd be on the waiting list for the new Kindle if the coverage map extended to Our Fair City (30 miles out of range, rats!) and I could get the WaPo print edition delivered to it in time for my morning coffee. Heck, I'd renew my long lapsed subscription to the New Yorker if I didn't have to have it sitting in the magazine bin reproaching me for not reading it cover to cover.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

TBG, the objective of any real estate Web site isn't to "sell a house"; it is to sell a house FROM/THROUGH ME, the realtor whose site you are visiting. Hence the desire to record your name and info, not to collect names in general (who cares?) but to get credit as the agent-of-record for that sale, i.e. the agent who gets paid.

The agent in question whose site you've visited has invested a certain amount of money in putting together that site and listing; why should he/she then just give it (the information) away for free?

See, this is the poisonous fruit of the Internet tree, the notion that information should be free. But somehow the people who do the work deserve to get paid.

If you are on Sally Jones' Web site and Sally is the listing agent, Sally's doing her job and deserves to get paid for her work. If you sign in on that Web site, Sally has documentation that you found the house through her Web site. If you are seriously interested in the house, by rights you ought to be "her" customer, and she should get credit (i.e., paid) for the eventual sale. But you then go to realtor John Doe and say you want to look at and maybe buy Sally's listing, then you become John Doe's client, not Sally's. And if you buy the house, Sally now has to split her commission with John Doe (who has, effectively, done nothing to earn his 50%), whereas if you'd just gone to Sally directly, she'd get 100% of her commission share, not 50%. Unless she has that all-important documentation that shows you went to her site first before you went to John Doe.

In which case John Doe doesn't get 50% of the sale, he only gets a "referral," which may be only 15 or 20% of the fee, not 50%.

Of course, there are lots of wrinkles and exceptions to all this, but that's the basic thread of it. Sally put the listing on the Web, and she deserves to get paid for her work and investment.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-that all makes sense, if you are finding the home through a particular realtor's web site.

However, with and other sites that aggregate thousands of listings there is no sense in requiring registration except to be able to monetize the lists it generates. Since we never work with a buyer's agent, when we buy a home the listing agent gets our $ when we buy a house regardless of how we found it. I know our willingness to deal with a dozen different agents if we want to see a dozen different houses is unusual, and ticks off a lot of agents, but it has served us well. (I should note that does not require registration if you don't want to use the saved searches and other registration only features)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I grew up the daughter of a real estate man and fully understand how that system works. Sometimes my dad would help family friends buy and sell houses and would return his portion of the commission to them.

Before "buying agents" became popular, a very close friend called to ask him to help with a home purchase. But the friend had already talked with the selling Realtor, so Dad said "I'll help, but won't be taking any commission... that's not right."

I don't mind giving my name to make sure a Realtor gets proper credit for the sale. But my name, address, email address and phone number just to see the picture of a house?

Can you imagine if Amazon made you do that to see the details of a book? How would you feel if you were the author?

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Somehow the print media need to figure out how to bill the content aggregators, like Google, for using what they labored to produce. They need a lot more compensation than the pittence from advertisers for driving more "eyeballs" to the site.

Anyway, am signing off to head to the country house. Am working at the winery tomorrow--always fun to serve to a receptive audience. TTFN

Posted by: Raysmom | May 29, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

scc-one of those "when we buy"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

That's true, Frosty. Which is why a lot of realtors hate

And yes, working with a dozen different agents to look at a dozen houses really does tick off the agents, big time. My wife once had a client who did that (and who happened to be a friend and colleague of mine, which made it even worse). I don't know why you believe this tactic served you well, but if you believe that, so be it. But I can tell you for a fact that when an agent suddenly understands you are using this tactic, the agent immediately ceases to be useful, and think to him/herself, well, screw this customer. I'm not lifting a finger further because an hour from now he/she will be talking to someone else.

Why should the realtor help you if he/she knows you're just gonna screw her(him)? Which you have done. If you contacted 12 realtors, you've wasted the time and effort of 11 of them. And there's 11 realtors walking around who tell each other and anybody who will listen that the Frosties are bad clients.

Now, if you want to interview a couple of realtors just to find someone you think is smart, savy, knowledgeable, compatible, somebody you'd like to work with, etc., that's different.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-would be interested in your, and your wife's, perspectives on the shake out in the realty business the current market has created. Since we buy and sell a bit more frequently than your average family, yet less often than real estate speculators, I am happy to see the part-timers and others who jumped in when houses were selling themselves jump back out. I would never consider selling a house without a professional agent. Perhaps we're over confident, but we've never seen much value in a buyer's agency relationship.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different... a musical about California Prop 8...

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-how does it screw the listing agent if they list it, I look at it, and they don't have to share the commission with anyone else? I'm not asking them to show me anything they haven't listed.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

But a book is 20 bucks, TBG, and a house is $300,000. And looking at a picture of a book isn't the same as looking at a picture of a house. Amazon doesn't just show you a picture; it gives you a ton of information and you can click a button and buy it on the spot. And there's no human agent involved as middleman trying to wangle a commission. Big, big difference.

But in general I agree that giving somebody your name/address/e-mail URL just so you can get on their mailing list sucks. I often refuse to do it, too.

But I'm just generally sympathetic to the notion of people getting paid (fairly) for their work, whether it's writing or commission sales. And I'm not generally sympathetic to the notion of people being asked to give away their work for free.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Now, if you want to interview a couple of realtors just to find someone you think is smart, savy, knowledgeable, compatible, somebody you'd like to work with, etc., that's different." Couldn't agree with you more on the selling end.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't the listing agent make commission even if I never meet her? If I look at the picture of her listed house online and then call my agent and ask to see it, how is that changed if I don't leave my name?

Does that mean if I look at a house online and ask my agent to show it to me, my agent doesnt' get any commission because I gave my name to the listing agent before I could see the pictures to know if I am interested?

That doesn't seem right.

The agent who has listed the house and set up the ad is going to get the same commission if I give my name or not, isn't she, just because she has the listing?

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

While we're on this topic, I'd like to note that the lowest form of realtor is the one who chases listings, then just waits for other agents to bring in the buyers. I know our aversion to using a buyers' agent can inadvertently reward these leeches, but they are easy to spot and would never get our listing when we sell.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Because if there's a second agent involved, the listing agent has to split the commission with them, 50-50. If you just go directly to the listing agent and buy from them, they get %100.

We could be talking about a difference of a couple of thousand bucks, so yes, it is a big deal to them. On a $300,000 house, the difference would be about $4,500. In other words, the listing agent would get about $9,000 if you bought directly from him/her, but only about $4,500 if you brought in a second agent (who would become the default buyer's agent).

There are a lot of variables in these figures, but that's about how the "average" sale works, assuming a typical 6% commission.

Now, of the 11 agents you worked with before going to the 12th one. The 12th one now gets the $4,500, but any one of the previous 11 were cut out of the possibility, for no particular good reason. In theory the first of the 12 you contacted "should" have been your agent all along.

Had you bought from the 12th agent the house that first agent showed you, there would have been a helluva fight behind the scenes over who got the commission. You yourself may never have been privy to the fight, but Agent #1 (and his/her company) may have gone to the state real estate commission and filed a grievance. All else being equal, Agent #1 would have won the grievance and recovered his/her part of the commission.

Happens all the time. (My wife served on a grievance committee for several years. I could tell you stories.... well, actuially, I couldn't.)

Generally and legally speaking, if you buy a house from Agent X that you were previously shown or significantly told about by Agent Y, Agent Y is entitled to 50% of the sale.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 29, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I have to chime in on frosti's side here. I would never in my wildest dreams consider hiring a buyer's agent in a market with which I was reasonably familiar. As a time saver on a short-notice move to a new city, quite possibly.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the listing agent always gets half the sale, no matter what. The only question is who gets the other half. If you go directly to the listing agent, he/she gets both ends of the deal. If you go to a different agent, and that agent shows you the lister's house, they split 50-50. Which is normal, probably the majority of all sales.

But no, the lister is NOT going to get the same commission either way. If you go directly to the lister, they get 100%, not 50%.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers, and I thought the most complicated part of selling a house was just keeping the bathrooms clean.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you are right that generally speaking, if you are familiar with the market and reasonably confident about house sales, there is no good reason to specifically hire a buyer's agent. You can get a New Homes Guide or other info, and drive around the neighborhood, and look and buy whatever you want.

But do you guys realize that if you hire a buyer's agent that YOU aren't paying for him/her? The seller is. And it makes no difference to the bottom line of the sale, for anybody, including you.

Do you also realize that if you walk into any real estate office and get assigned an agent and then say, "Please show me some houses?" that that agent has just become your buyer's agent for every single house in the territory except the handful of listings that agent himself/herself has? In other words, you probably don't know you've hired a buyer's agent, but you have. You walk into a real estate company and get an agent, you've just got yourself a buyer's agent.

(You aren't obligated to keep him/her, and you aren't obligated to sign anything, and if you don't like him/her you can switch to a new/different one. But don't delude yourself into thinking you haven't "hired" a buyer's agent.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

As the buyer of a property, everybody's commission (and the funding for the seller's next house) is all coming out of my pocket anyway. No big deal. I just know that I can research properties and deal with selling agents pretty capably, so can't see much point in hiring someone to do it for me. Unless I was in a hurry, in which case I might hire any number of them at negotiated fees. As long as everybody's being up front, any number of arrangements are possible and honorable.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

You can pretend that the seller is covering someone's fee, but only with money provided by the buyer.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Frosti is saying that she always goes to the listing agent. So whoever makes the sale gets the full commission. She's not asking one agent to show another's house.

In my example, if I am moving to another city and have a buyer's agent (probably the only reason I'd have one) and I see a house I like online, I'm going to have my buyer's agent show it to me. If I have to give the lister my name just to see the picture and that means my buyer's agent loses her commission, there's something wrong there, don't you think?

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, in my experience, they make you sign that you've just taken them on as a buyer's agent. No more not knowing.

The buyer isn't really paying the price either. That number is played around with by the sellers and their agent when they decided how much to put the house on the market for. I have also had those numbers come up as a negotiation point at closings.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 29, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, not the buyer, the seller.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 29, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

But if the listing seller makes the full commission just because you gave your name to see the picture, isn't that like using no buyer's agent?

If I look at 12 houses online I'm using 12 agents. The one whose house I buy is the only one making money.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Generally and legally speaking, if you buy a house from Agent X that you were previously shown or significantly told about by Agent Y, Agent Y is entitled to 50% of the sale." And I have no quarrel with that Mudge, nor would I contact Agent X if Agent Y had done either of those things for me. However, after buying 8 houses and doing 2 custom builds, we have had that situation happen exactly once-and we were happy to work with the agent who steered us to the house. Perhaps our buying style is so out of the norm for most realtors that with that one exception they haven't been particularly helpful on the buying end.

Really, we're looking for someone who can build great relationships with buyers-when we sell.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

LiT, no one can "make" you sign anything. But yes, if an agent is going to schlep you around town, yes, they do ask you to sign the agreement, and probably you should. And if in the course of events you discover you don't like/trust/want this agent, you can revoke the agreement and get a new agent. If you wind up buying a house the first agent showed you, though, there are going to be behind-the-scenes repercussions about who gets what.

And you are right that the buyer isn't paying for the commission, the seller is. It is built into the price of the house and the buyer has almost nothing to say about it. The commission structure (whether 5%, 6% (standard), 7%, whatever, is built into the listing agreement long before any buyer comes looking. It is a contract between the seller and the listing agent/company only, and the buyer has nothing to do with it, despite what Bob says. If the commission structure is going to be negotiated, it will be between the seller and the listing agent/company only. You, the buyer, cannot go in and start dictating or deciding what the commission is going to be and who gets what parts. (In 99 percent of the cases.)

I didn't interpret Frosty's remarks that way, TBG, but if she's saying she always goes directly to the listing agent, that's OK. But what she seems to have said is she works with a dozen agents and ticks them off. She wouldn't be ticking anybody off if she wasn't doing something "atypical." She admits she is.

There are in fact a few good reasons to have a buyer's agent. As TBG suggests, long-distance sales are one. Any time a sale is likely to be complicated, or with lots of problems and wrinkles and negotiations and back-and-forth is another. These usually (but not always) apply to older homes, not brand new, which tend to be more straight-forward.

What is important to remember is that the listing agent works FOR THE SELLER, not you (the buyer). So if you walk in the door and deal only with the listing agent, you are working with someone who has the seller's interest at heart, not yours. If the listing agent AND the seller are both competent and ethical, it's no problem. Note well the caveats. So do you want someone on YOUR side looking out for you? (And at no cost to you?) Or not. Your call.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, Mudge... but with that same caveat about honesty and ethics, a Buyer's Agent is also working for the seller.

No way around that. You just have to assume that he or she is honest and ethical and really does have the buyer's best interest at heart. But she's being paid by the seller. Always.

This is what I learned living with and around a real estate broker for 49 years.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Home sellers pay for commissions like Wal-Mart pays for shopping carts. With money provided by buyers.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I know they can't make you sign, but you can't make them show you inside the house. I believe in my current jurisdiction, they can't show you inside the house until that's been signed. And, in my experience at a closing that wasn't going so well and they knew I'd walk away, the commission was discussed and re-negotiated. Everyone had their own agendas/needs for the deal to go through, and how they worked that out made no difference to me. I didn't steer during that part of the journey, but the car was definitely going to come to a complete stop if they didn't work something out where my price changed.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 29, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I liked the "prisoners' dilemma" insight.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

So, *I* would be happy to pay for the WaPo to stay on-line. I'd even consider allowing for a 6% commission to go to Joel for his part in getting me to close the deal.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 29, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone ever used their Post Points for anything?

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout them Nats???

*ducking under my desk before the T-storms arrive*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I've heard that a guy up in Silver Spring (or maybe it was Reston) did once, but that could just be one of those urban myths.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Nationals do not actually exist, ScottyNuke.

The apparitions alleged to haunt that big stadium-like structure are the result of a powerful psychologically active food additive designed to induce hellish hallucinations. (I hear the Trilateral commision is behind it all.)

Just ignore these nightmarish images. Pay no attention to those demonic creatures called "closers." Do not allow stories of the "bullpen" to keep you up at night.

It's all just a bad, bad, bad, bad dream.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I had an answer for TBG, but chose to retract it for reasons of taste.

No, really. It's the truth.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 29, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm preparing to drop a story bomb. It's very tongue-in-cheek but could be misinterpreted if it got into the wrong hands.

Warmest Regards,


Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Radar maps seems to show them about 45 feet north of yuou, Scotty. One big ugly looking lump in particular.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

RD_P, I TOLD you to stick to the half-smokes, but no, you had to get Dippin' Dots. Those things are just wrong...

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

That was me, 'Mudge... I like to go on the roof and watch.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

RD, Scotty - I loved the last line of Boswell's column on Manny Acta:

"Let's put it as Manny might. If they do not perform better in their chosen profession in the reasonably near future, they may not have Manny Acta -- who will probably be a fine manager somewhere someday -- to shield them from their sins indefinitely."

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, given that even warm summer nights can be as low as 50 F or lower in Minnesota...

Sleeping naked in Minnesota is "at your own risk."

If you woke up at night due to a fire in -40 F degrees, you could burn to death trying to get long johns, pants, mukluks, parkas, earmuffs, etc. on.

Makes sense to at least save yourself one item of clothing on the way out.

Or if a bear breaks in...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Bob S., I sometimes wonder why the Nats were lucky enough to have Acta. A cool hand on the tiller is priceless when the ship's heading into the teeth of the storm.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I really probably ought not to tell you guys this, but real estate agents have a saying, which is "Buyers are liars." They don't trust you any more than you trust them.

Just saying.

I suspect that in the grand scheme of things, if there was any qay to quantify it, there are probably about the same percentage of "bad"/disreputable real estate agents as there are "bad"/difficult/insane customers.

The really good agents can usually tell within two or three agents which customers are going to be OK to work with, and which ones are hinky or otherwise difficult. So keep in mind, they tend to treat you accordingly.

On a few occasions my wife has actually "fired" customers, terminated working with them. It happens.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Dropping story bomb now.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

SCC: within two or three minutes

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

From Kurtz's column, quoting Dahlia Lithwick in Slate (I bring it here for discussion, because we can be sure there will be no well-reasoned debate in the direct comments to Kurtz's column):

"The real problem for Sotomayor's opponents is that anyone who has closely read her opinions won't find much to build a case on."

So, why does she have these opponents in the Senate, if there is nothing to oppose? Because they feel a reflexive need to oppose everything. The quintessence of being The Party Of No.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 29, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Was Fisher pushed or did he jump?

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

So true, SciTim...

Cow Town.. I'm waiting...

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

We're going to run out of curmudgeons soon. We're up to 6 today, I see.

I'm with ya, Mudge. I know that the vast majority of real estate agents are good and fair and honest. They have to be to make a living at it. Just like any profession, really.

Still waiting, jp...

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It's being reviewed by the Boss. Or the Wurty Durd Filter.


Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, frosti can speak for herself, but for the record, I read her initial post the same way that TBG did -- just contacting the listing agent for each house, and only that house.

But now I'm confused. Are you saying that the total commission is always the same, and the only question is how many ways it's split? (And if so, could that vary by state?) Because when we sold J's house last year, the buyer kinda low-balled us on the offer, but we accepted it, in part because he wasn't using a buyer's agent (just working with our agent, the listing agent), so it was as if he had offered a few thousand more -- no commission for a buyer's agent was coming out of the money he paid before it came to us. Our agent was a good friend of ours; I can't imaging she would have misled us about that reasoning.

Posted by: -bia- | May 29, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC: imagine

Posted by: -bia- | May 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

If you submitted and it said it was being reviewed that means it is gone. You'll have to shorten it and send it in sections.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Phil Spector was sentenced to a 19 years to life term. He'll be 86 when he has his first parole hearing.

Posted by: -jack- | May 29, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she was such a good friend that she only took 50% of the commission and passed the rest on to us, even though she would have been entitled to 100%? If so, wow.

Posted by: -bia- | May 29, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

bia - That sort of thing is typically negotiated, but when there's only one agent involved, they often receive less than the full amount that two agents would have received.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The Dealer

Chapter One

Mike Camden stood in front of his Chrysler dealership, hands on his hips, and slowly shook his head as he surveyed the rows of unsold cars. About twenty yards away, one of his salesmen was gently encouraging a skittish young couple to take a test drive a grey Sebring. His remaining sales staff - who was left?, he tried to remember - were loitering in the showroom, drinking coffee and trading jokes. Part of a huge canvas banner announcing a sales campaign had become unfastened from the front of the store and was flapping in the morning breeze. Just great, thought Camden, what else can go wrong. The flapping sound was a grim accompanyment to the spectacle of rows of new cars and scarcely any humans in sight, and it seemed to mock him.

Camden was turning to head back to the showroom when he glimpsed two black SUV's entering the lot from the empty street. Escalades, he thought, figures. The vehicles pulled into the aisle in front of the showroom, which would have blocked traffic if there were any. Two men wearing dark suits and sunglasses stepped out from the first Escalade. The driver strode to Mike Camden and then stopped an arm's length away; the other leaned against the Escalade with his arms folded.

"Michael Camden?" The driver queried in a husky monotone.

- continued -

Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

The Dealer

Chapter Two

"That's me," Camden said. He squinted in the morning sun and licked his lips. "What can I do for you?"

"We're with the United States Treasury, Mr. Camden," the driver replied, displaying an open wallet with a gold shield. "I'm sorry, but we need to have the keys to your store."

"You're shutting me down," Camden said. It wasn't a question. He knew the answer.

"Yes, I'm afraid so," the Treasury driver said, expressionless.

"I get it," said Camden, "you think I'm a Republican. Well, let me tell you. I've been selling cars for 28 years, and I've been a Democrat for 30!"

"Really," muttered the man leaning against the Escalade. "So, tell us, who was John Kerry's running mate in the 2004 presidential election?"

"Uh, John Edwards," replied Camden, secretly relieved to have remembered.

"Very good. Now, what is the cornerstone feature of the Democratic Comprehensive Immigration Policy," stated the man leaning against the Escalade.

"Uh, you mean..." Camden trailed off.

"I mean, what was one of the main things they wanted to accomplish with their Comprehensive Immigration Policy?" barked the leaning Treasury man.

"Oh, uh. Amnesty?" With this Camden squared his shoulders. He knew he was right.

"No, Mr. Camden." This time the driver spoke. His voice was flat. "The Democratic party hasn't proposed a Comprehensive Immigration Policy. That was the Bush Administration. And the Democrats certainly wouldn't use the word 'amnesty'."

"Well, listen," Camden said, his temper piqued, "I've been a member of the Democrat Party for 30 years!"

The Treasury man leaning against the Escalade, took off his sunglasses and began polishing them with a handkerchief. "Just keep digging," he muttered ironically.

" 'Democrat' Party, you said," said the driver, with feigned astonishment. "No Democrat calls his own party the 'Democrat' Party."

The two men stared at each other for a long minute. Camden was at a particular disadvantage since he wasn't wearing sunglasses.

- continued -

Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

bia.. She probably gave you the half that she would have given to another agent. That's what my dad did for his daughters and also for other close family friends. But like I said before, not if anyone'd already talked to another agent about the house.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

OK, thanks, Bob. That makes sense. I'm sure J understood what was going on -- I was only on the edge of the process at the time, since it wasn't actually my house.

Posted by: -bia- | May 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The Dealer

Chapter Three

"All right. Whatever." Camden spat onto the asphalt.

"We'll need your keys, Mr. Camden," the Treasury driver reminded him.

"Yeah, right. So, what am I supposed to do to feed myself?"

"I'm glad you asked," replied the Treasury driver. He reached into his suit jacket and produced a thick envelope. He handed to Camden. "This is a franchise agreement for another brand of vehicles."

"What? Ford?" Camden almost spat again.

"Segway," replied the Treasury driver.

"You want me to sell...Segways?" cried Camden, incredulous.

"They're energy efficient," declared the man leaning against the Escalade.

"They're the vehicle of the future," added the driver.

"Better yet," said the leaning Treasury man, "the newest models are made of recycled materials."

"Recycled? What are they made from? queried Camden.

"Chryslers," replied the driver, "they used to be Chryslers."

Respectfully Submitted,


Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

And thanks TBG, too.

Posted by: -bia- | May 29, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Mudge wrote-"But what she seems to have said is she works with a dozen agents and ticks them off. She wouldn't be ticking anybody off if she wasn't doing something "atypical." She admits she is."

I said they get ticked off, not that I do anything to deserve it. I think the problem is a. they don't trust others in their own profession not to screw them out of a commission and b. they are used to the model where we tell them what we're looking for and they find it. Mr. F and I have never worked that way, even before the Internet.

I should also have defined "work with" when talking about agents. We don't do the spend a whole day looking at houses with an agent deal-"work with" could be a brief phone conversation that goes nowhere. St. Paul was strange for us, because I actually got inside 24 properties, with 4 different agents. I usually won't look at more than 4-5. But, those were 24 properties in 4 buildings. No agent had to even go outside between properties and 2 spent all of an hour with us. Of the other two we bought from one, and the other will no doubt be our selling agent (and is someone we have already had occasion to recommend to others). One of the two whose listings did not make the cut for Mr. F to see (he saw 6 units in 3 buildings), wrote a snarly and not even thinly veiled blog entry about how out-of-towners need a buyers' agent to protect them. Please, the HOA in the building she showed us is so far in arrears on their bills the AC was cut off last summer plus the commercial property on the first floor is in foreclosure. Info readily available if you look for it. Would she have found this for us if we'd signed a buyers' agency agreement? I'm not sure, but if she didn't the "duties" required of her would certainly have protected her from any action by us blaming her for letting us make a bad deal.

Well, I'm sorry to have dragged the boodle through that when we started with how people who put effort into their profession (realtors and journalists) shouldn't have to give their work away just because people expect the Internet to be free. With which I heartily agree, however, I still won't register on a realty site if it's required-and if I can't see the house I can't buy it. After all, someone is going to make their share of the 6-7%, and the good ones deserve every dime of it. How they divide it up though is their profession's problem, not mine. Contraction of the real estate profession, to what is probably an entirely more reasonable post-bubble level, is not as grave a danger to democracy as the loss of great newspapers.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Classic, Cow Town! BRAVO!

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Say your house was listed for $100k. If a 'buyers agent' (and there really is no such thing no matter what form you sign) came in with a full price offer, each agency would would get $3000 and your actual realtor would get half that. After commission, you would net $94k.

But say the agent had a client that wanted to buy it but not at your price and made an offer to you for 10% less. The sale price would be $94k and you would get $84.6k net. However, the agency would keep all 6% and the listing agent would earn $,2700 instead of $1,500. By costing you $9,400, the agent made an extra $1,200 or 80% more than if an outside agent was involved.

An unethical realtor would never even present the full price offer and instead only show you the inhouse deal. For this reason, I would look suspiciously at any offer from within the same firm. But I have only bought two houses in my life so I'm probably talking out of my @ss and know nothing about how the real world works.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Good story, Cow Town.

Posted by: -bia- | May 29, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Last one, I promise.

"All buyers are liars" made me smile Mudge. I've been a seller often enough to see it up close and personal, and am not even offended by it as a buyer.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

bia: "Are you saying that the total commission is always the same, and the only question is how many ways it's split?"

Basically, yes.

When the seller contacts a listing agent, one of the first things they do (and they do a lot) is decide the commission. In Maryland it is typically 6 percent, but in some parts of the country it is "typically" 5 percent, and maybe in a few places as much as 7 percent, but that's pretty rare. But there are no rules or laws on this; it is just what the traffic will be and the general customry practice in a region.

Sometime the seller will haggle and try to get the realtor to take only, say, 5 percent. Each company (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Long and Foster, whoever). I've heard of cases where the seller has said, "I'm only gonna give 4 percent, take it or leave it." And sometimes the company takes it, and sometimes they say "Thanks but no thanks" and walk away.

Some company's have their own internal policy about how low an agent can go to accept without checking with the boss. I think my wife's company allows agents to go to 5 percent if they really think they have to, without checking. If the seller insistes upon going below 5 percent, my wife has to get permission from her boss to agree, and it is usually rejected.

But let's not get too far into exceptions and oddball cases; let's stick with the "typical" routine, uncomplcated deal.

Having established that the total commission is 6 percent (or whatever), it is usually a basic four-way split: one quarter to the listing agent, one quarter to the listing agent's company; one quarter to the buyer's agent, one quarter to the buyer's agent's company.

So in a "typical" $300,000 deal with a 6% comm., the listing agent Sally Smith is going to get one-quarter, or $4,500; her company (Century 21 or whomever) is going to get $4,500, the buyer's agent, John Doe, is gonna get $4,500, and John's company, Long and Foster, is going to get $4,500.

(So if you think Sally Smith is going to earn all 100% or $18,000 off this sale, she's not, by a long shot.)

Now, if there's only just the one agent and one company, yes, the commission is still $18,000 no matter what, and Sally gets $9,000 and Century 21 gets $9,000.

So yes, Sally would much rather sell her very own listing to you directly, and she'd prefer you didn't already have an agent. So would her company, for the same reason: half the pie instead of a quarter.

The general principle still holds, though: half to the seller's side, half to the buyer's side.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the only time I ever had any real problems with an agent was the guy who was buying my then-girlfriend's father's house. He tried to get a little shady at the end, but that's a different story. The deal perfectly illustrated my point that sellers don't pay for anything, it's all coming out of the buyer's pocket.

He was buying the house for himself, and my girlfriend (we were both real estate appraisers) was representing her father. At one point the buyer started making noises about how much his commission ought to be, and my girlfriend and I just started laughing, which he found disconcerting. I told him that he was welcome to give himself a 50% commission and charge us every fee associated with the sale, if that made him happy. The final sale price would be adjusted accordingly. He eventually got the point that the seller was going to end up with a specific amount of money, no matter how he chose to structure the deal. Things went more smoothly after that.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

You rmath confuses me, yello. I don't see how offering 10% less than $100K equals $94K. I think you are trying to illustrate some form of shenanigans, but the explication is not clear to me.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 29, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

It's good someone figured out a lot of people want a roof on their vehicle. Now if we can get them to put a roof (and doors and a heater) on this, I'd like it better than a Segway.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Some variations: the "better" more-experienced agents often get a higher cut from their own companies, so instead of a 50-50 split with Century 21, Sally may have a deal where she goes 60-40, or 70-30, for instance. Some of the really top-notch people might split as high as 90-10 or 95-5 with their companies, but when they do this, they invariably pay pretty big desk/office fees to the company to offset it. So for example Real Estate Company Walker and Stalker might say to its agent, OK, we'll agree to a 95-5 split with you, but you're going to pay us $3,000 a month to use our name, office space, phones, fax, MRIS, assorted listing services, etc.

In other words, Walker and Stalker is agreeing to a flat $36,000 annual guarenteed income from Sally, in exchange for giving Sally 95% of whatever she brings in. If Sally has a spectacular year, W&S only makes $36K plus only 5% of Sally's haul.

As things are at the moment, though, Sally is currently starving to death and paying W&S $36,000 a year for the privilege. If she's smart and W&S will let her, she can give up the 95-5 deal and go back to being an "ordinary" agent with a 50-50 split, but at least she won't owe them the $3,000-a-month desk fee.

But let's say Sally sells the $300k house with the 6% commission, and John Doe (a 50-50 split guy) is the buyer's agent. Sally gets 95% of $9,000, W&S gets only 5% of the $9,000 (but also gets $3,000 a month from Sally, separate from this deal). John gets his $4,500, and Long & Foster (or whoever), gets $4,500.

However, Walker & Stalker can now add the $300k figure to its sales proaganda, and when W&S says it sold $50 million in real estate this year, Sally's $300k deal is part of that number. Forget about the 5% factor. Far as they are concerned, they sold a $300k house, period.

Meanwhile, Sally brags she sold $8 million this year, the $300k is part of her number. Forget about commissions and percentages and splits; she sold $8 million in real estate, gets the big plaque and bragging rights, etc.

Now ReMax is entirely different from all the other real estate companies, so none of this applies to any ReMax agent or Remax deal.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Or this beauty.

Why GM or especially Harley can't get their act together, I have no idea.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Or Sally can get her broker's license and keep all of her portion.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-since you didn't mention it I'd like to say that agents are self-employed. When their income goes to a 50-50 split of nothing they don't even qualify for unemployment.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, bravo!

(all the real estate talk makes my head spin and my stomach churn)

Posted by: seasea1 | May 29, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, Tim. I got my numbers confused. Here's the better break down:

Full price offer with outside buyer:

Sale price: $100,000
Commission: $6,000
Seller's agent cut: $1500
Buyer's agent cut: $1500
Net to seller: $94,000

In-house offer:

Sale price: $90,000
Commission: $5,400
Agent's take: $2,700
Net to seller: $84,600

Winners and losers:
Buyer: Saves $10,000 (10%)
Agent: Makes extra $1,200 (+80%)
Seller: Loses $9,400 (-10%)

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, Frosty, you cleared that up. Yes, by "worked with" an agent, I assumed you meant the typical arrangement: meeting with the agent, getting "qualified" (discussing how much you want to spend, your income, ability to pay the mortgage, etc.), discussing what kind of house you want and where, and then spending large amounts of time driving around and looking at houses. At least, that's what realtors think of as "working with" a client. Calling somebody up on the phone and talking for 10 minutes isn't really "working with them" in a meaningfull sense.

Every realtor has horror stories about spending days and weeks and hundreds of gallons of gas and buying lunches for a client, and schlepping them all over creation, only to get totally screwed a few weeks later.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yello, that's still crazy. Can't/won't happen. There is no such thing as an "in-house offer."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I thought that the Manny Acta was a no-no involving the crossing of state lines...

Posted by: rickoshea0 | May 29, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I like Vancouver. Strange Canadians on the street actually return my half smiles.
Also, I ate at a Tim Hortons. Is my life complete?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | May 29, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Hard to say, DNA_girl. Have you ever made love in a canoe?

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

*snort* Twice.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Snorted twice. Not...oh, never mind.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Ever roller-bladed through Central Park?

Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey! That reminds me of a joke from Haute Maine -- Heard Jeff Healey tell it once...

How is American beer like making love in a canoe?

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

How is it?

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Raining and thunder and lightning here. Stay out of canoes for a while.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

They're both f-ing close to water!

*hiding under my desk as the tomatoes fly*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 29, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Tastes great, less filling?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-your 3:47 is why it's so difficult for us to come to a meeting of the minds with real estate agents. As buyers we really don't need or want the full service bit. Show us a house, write up the offer, present it, and take your commission-we won't even try to negotiate it down. I always say it, they never believe it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Is it Poetry Friday? I found this through Rachel Maddow's Twitter...

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Both are better with pretzels? No, that's not right.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Oy Jean-Pierre!
fivethirtyeeight had a statfest recently on that propaganda piece. It turns out almost all car dealers, still open or closing, are Republican. Hence the Republican lean in the closing stores.

Here is a Canadian Tricycle we see on the road occasionnally. It looks good.

Under a canoe: *tick mark*.
In a canoe: I would not recommend it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | May 29, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Something about Clydesdales? No, no, no.

Paddles! No, don't go there...

Milwaukee famous...nope.

*discarding about six other ideas...*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I need a couple hours rest between beers? No, that can't be right.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry if I have my terminology mixed up. It's exactly the situation bia described. A buyer approaching the listing agent with no other agency involved. They have an incentive to take a lower price from that buyer rather than one from a rival firm.

As I said, I don't know jack about real estate. I was just crunching a hypothetical example. Stephen Levitt wrote a chapter in Freakonomics about how realtors homes stay on the market longer than homes of clients. It's all about maximizing their return, not the sellers. Clearly there is a lot of psychology involved as well.

That said, I have bought a house twice and sold one once. The first purchase was a nightmare because I was a first time buyer and got shuffled around through a lot of part-timers, incompetents, and one personal friend (my former scoutmaster) that tried to steer me to a listing of his that didn't match anything I wanted. Can't blame him for trying, but he got really upset when I bought through a different agent who was competent and thorough and found the house that matched perfectly the criteria and price range I had told the other half dozen agents.

I used that person to sell the house two years later and they got me a far better price than I expected.

My last house I worked with the lady that had found me the rental unit I had been in. We looked at perhaps a dozen houses with a very specific list of features: size, location, etc. She found a unit that had been on the market with a motivated seller and we got a great price.

Realtors are a very valuable service and earn every penny of their fee. Particularly when they have to deal with a-holes like me.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It's possible barley.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 29, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse


**double snort**

I think the joke predates Jeff Healey.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, shrieking_denizen. Yes, I'm aware of the "Anti-Republican Conspiracy Scam." That's why it was such a good subject for parody.

I read in another blog that the reason few Democratic car dealers were closed down is because they sell Toyotas!


Posted by: jp1954 | May 29, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, EYE am laughing at the real punch line.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

A) It's called fraud and you lose your license. (You have to submit the contract to the accounting department, which sees what you've done, goes bat-s--- crazy, and turns you in and you get fired before sundown.)

B) Why would one have an incentive to take a lesser price? Lesser price equals lesser commission. You've got the $2,700 figure wrong.

C) Failure to disclose both offers to the seller is illegal.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Think ahead, Mudge. Think of heads.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Skate in Central park--check.
Drink American beer--check.
Do it with a pretzel--check.
Do it like a pretzel in a canoe--on the bucket list.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | May 29, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

That's the very first thing I rejected, Wilbrod. Too easy, crosses the line.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

When we sold the old place we first "fired", i.e.did not renew the contract of the first realtor we had by mutual agreement. It wasn't his patch, he wasn't bringing in the right buyers, and very few of them, and he knew it. It was a mutual mistake and a mutual divorce.
We then signed with a father-son team that seemed to be doing well in the brand-new subdivision we were in. The young guy was OK but the father was an obnoxious paternalistic guy who was giving the creeps to Mrs. D. Junior noted that the temperature of the room was dropping 10 degrees when Dad was around. He also knew Mrs. D was bringing half the bread into the family. And so we lost the old man quickly.
First lesson: the guy was listening to us.
When it came to shopping for a house he was showing us all the wrong places. Because we were moving out of a "starter home" he was offering us the next step up while we were looking 2-3 steps ahead (we bought something costing more than twice what we sold, our revenues having changed significantly). Then he noticed we could spend 15-20 minutes leafing his multiple listing book without speaking to him. He left us the book for a weekend and in return we gave him a list of 12 properties we were interested in. He quickly dismissed some that he knew had "serious" issues and suggested a few more that were exctly along the lines of what we were looking for, including the one we finally bought. I don't know how much he made but it was more about being a good listener than a pushy salesman (like his maroon of a father).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | May 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse


A) Huh? The agency makes more money that way. Why would they complain? Particularly if they were never aware of a higher offer.

B) What is the right number in that situation? Is it less than $1500?

C) Yes. I said it would be unethical. A realtor is legally bound to present all offers. Where it gets gray is if the full price offer has not been formally presented but the broker feels it is imminent. He/she could press the seller to accept a pending offer that results in a higher commission before the full price offer can be made.

Since I am not a Realtor, here is the opinion of one:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Just this hour Mr. F was offered, and accepted, a position at MacDill AFB. Report date and details to be negotiated. We are pleased, though not looking forward to getting back into the air travel grind.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, fb. At least you know the area.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It's not personal, Mudge. Not like we're talking about copy editors or anything.


Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks yello. Another good point is we won't be buying a new house.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, frosti! I'm glad you are pleased. Does this mean he is retiring?

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yep, TBG. Mr. F is going to be a Mr. Because he has to retire I am sure there will be some jumping through administrative hoops ahead that will make life interesting for a few months.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Frosti -- forgive my ignorance, but where is MacDill AFB?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 29, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Ah, never mind. I just Googled it.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 29, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Tampa Fl, I believe.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | May 29, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I think MacDill is the kind of pickle they use at McDonald's... but I'm not really sure.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I trust there are no laws prohibiting sleeping nekkid in Florida.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I do think there are laws against sleeping while all buttered up with melted butter or olive oil in Florida.

Tempts the gators, you see...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

And then you have to scamper or be scampi...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 29, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Wheeee! I'm off work for a week (well, except for working on Sunday and a conference call on Monday and a meeting on Tuesday...).

#21 arrives next Thursday for a long weekend visit, and I have a bunch of stuff planned for the other days.

I'm so happy I could just glow in the dark.

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

#21! Yikes! Have a great week off.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 29, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Hahahaha. #1 that should be!

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Just when you think Google Maps has found everything already:

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

No, no. It's the gators that get the oil and butter. And preferably deep fried. But you did cause a tune cootie:

Nibblin' on spongecake
Watchin' the sun bake
All of those tourists covered with oil
Strummin' my six-string
On my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp, they're beginning to boil

I have many fond memories of my three stays in the Tampa area. Just not enough to have kept me there.

I lost all respect for Tom Clancy when he called it Fort MacDill. What a maroon.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Apologizing in advance...a DC story.

So DC comes into the kitchen and says 'whatcha doing?' I said 'in about 3 minutes, I'm going to turn the fish over.' Her head pivots around just shy of pulling a Linda Blair, her eyes get about this big, and with a huge grin says 'really!?! where's the net?'

I meant the fish that's for dinner. She thought I meant Goldie 1 and 2 would be swimming upside down.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 29, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

No need to apologize; who doesn't love a DC story?

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Dammit. Obama went out to lunch again... to the Five Guys across the street from my office. He took Brian Williams and his NBC film crew with him, and paid for their lunches, 80 bucks worth. (He had the cash on him, too.)

I never knew. Couldn't see down the street from my window. No sirens or anything, so no way to know he was there. Sat at my desk and ate my brown-bag ham and cheese on rye. Coulda had a burger with The Man. And Brian.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 29, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Aw, poor mudge. Hey, Yoki -- have a great time with #1 (or, well, #21 *grin*).

I am so done for the week.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 29, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

But please tell me he didn't order his burger medium-well. The fancy mustard I get, but the medium-well is just, well, wrong.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 29, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Finally caught up, Congratulations Mr. F.

Yoki have a wonderful week off and a great visit with #1,

Funny, funny, funny ftb, my husband is a life long O's fan he would be so frenvious of your trip to Camden Yards. How big a fan - somewhere on VHS is a video of the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrigs record - the tape used was the video from our wedding - fortunately for him we had two wedding videos.

Tonight we were out shopping - my husband and I each getting new blackberries, after which we took younger child shoe shopping for summer shoes - after much discussion - she wanted shimmery silver dress shoes, um no - she then spotted some black boots, mid calf and requested them - um no too hot in the summer.

The reply - but I want to be goth this summer - after my husband and I stopped laughing we suggested she might want to wait for winter to go goth as it is too hot in the summer dress in goth wear.

Now I have to go figure out how to work the new phone - the girl at the store confused us both when she told us we could BBM for free to each other.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 29, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

dmd... tell your husband that my sister had her wedding reception ten years ago at Camden Yards. It was GREAT! Ribs and BBQ and other fabulous food... great band and lots of dancing! The party room overlooks the field, but there was no game that night.

Since this was a second wedding for both of them it was more about having fun and less about formality.

Posted by: TBG- | May 29, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Ahem. The Reliable Source item says the President had jalapeno on his burger. Wow. That's a condiment I had never considered for a burger.

Has anybody else enjoyed Doonesbury this week as much as I have? Hilarious meta-comic, every one of them.

Mr. T and I drove up Hwy 1 this afternoon to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific. Unfortunately, there was much fog so we didn't see much beauty. We managed to find our way back on the back roads where it was not foggy, but the sign said the grade was 18% That appeared to be true. Now waiting to meet up with friends for Chinese for supper.

Posted by: slyness | May 29, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"... she told us we could BBM for free ..."

My, how times change. When I was a young lad spending time in exotic locales, there was ALWAYS an extra charge for certain services.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I've considered ordering in other ways at 5 Guys but I always get the same thing-Little burger with cheese, mushrooms, fried onions, jalapenos and an order of regular fries to share with Mr. F. What else did the prez have on his?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

FYI, yello, if you Google "Fort MacDill" with quotes around it, you get 160 hits, the gist of which are that Fort MacDill is the informal nickname of the two Army headquarters based inside the larger MacDill AFB complex. One is CENTCOM, Central Command, Gen. Petraus's outfit, the unit with jurisdiction over the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. The other is SOCOM, Special Operations Command, one of Clancy's great loves.

Army installations are typically and traditionally named "forts" or "fortress," Fort Ord, Fort Benning, Bent's Fort, Fortress Monroe, Fort McNair right here, etc. I would speculate the Army folks at MacDill decided to follow this tradition by calling their compound Fort MacDill and/or Fort MacDill AFB. Whether they did it to tweak the AF flyboys, or simply as a matter of their own pride I can't say -- maybe it was some of each.

It would appear that Clancy did his homework so well he knew the special "insider" nickname of CENTCOM and SOCOM.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 29, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Five Guys only cooks their hamburgers well done. I never went to one before they started franchising them aggressively. In my opinion, their fries are usually better than their burgers. And they are very generous when they serve you fries.

Posted by: -pj- | May 29, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I don't know where you are, but if you drove over the Oakville Grade from Glen Ellen to Yountville, you are a better man than I am. Scariest road I have ever been on.

Posted by: nellie4 | May 29, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

They are insanely generous with their fries. I was in line behind three guys (Young guys. Large guys. Hungry guys.) who each ordered large burgers with the works and large fries. Rookie mistake! They were a bit taken aback when they got their food. They quickly realized that they weren't THAT young, large, & hungry.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

nellie - Awww, the only problem with the Oakville Grade is the incessant noise from the black helicopters!


Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

But which of us is, reely?

Posted by: Yoki | May 29, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

How true, Yoki.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

It probably won't shock anyone to find out that the Nationals lost 4-5 to the Phillies. On the other hand, this one wasn't really the bullpen's fault. The Phil's were held scoreless after the fourth inning.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 29, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

MacDill was created as MacDill Field in 1941 and became MacDill Air Force Base in 1945 when the Air Force was made a separate service. While the tip of the Tampa peninsula was used for military purposes going as far back as Teddy Roosevelt's deployment with the Rough Riders, it wasn't owned by the military until 1939, so it was never a 'fort'. Nor have I ever heard of anyone in the military ever refer to it as a fort instead of a base.

My father was assigned to the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force from 1980 until 1983 when it became CENTCOM. Since it was a 'joint' task force it was a inter-branch command. My dad's immediate supervisor was an admiral whom he played tennis with on a regular basis. His friends teased him about whether he was ever going to rejoin the Air Force.

Tom Clancy wrote 'Clear and Present Danger' in 1989 just before Gulf War I and Norman Schwarzkopf brought the area to national prominence.

While your theory about 'Fort MacDill' is plausible, none of the 65 unique (your count includes duplicates) sites (one of which is me b1tching about this same topic here back in October and another one is the verbatim rant on my blog) that Google finds would support the nickname theory. Several are reposts of a Guardian article by Suzanne Goldenberg from 2006. Most of them oxymoronically and redundantly call it Fort MacDill Air Force Base. A vast majority of these are news stories and press releases from sources such as Time and CNN as well as chat forums and other unofficial sources that only refer to the place parenthetically.

None of the sites refers to the CENTCOM and or SOCOM complex as a separate informal "Fort MacDill" within the base itself. A Google search for "MacDill Air Force Base" (in quotes as well) results in over 175,000 hits. Using Occam's Razor, the far more likely explanation is that the references to 'Fort MacDill' by Clancy and others is the result of sloppy fact checking and lazy copy-editing by those that assume that any military organization run by an Army general must be on a fort.

Feel free to prove me wrong. I readily admit to my errors.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 29, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I like all my meat well done...but especially since the E coli incidents out here, I would urge you to have burgers done at least medium well. It's just not worth a taking chance on. E coli is more of a concern with ground meat than a steak, since the contamination can wind up in the middle. Believe me, burgers have never been quite the same after going through this.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 29, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

I hadn't read the Kit or Boodle today, and just spent the past hour and a half just catching up.

I want to comment on so many things (real estate agents, contracts, fish stories, etc.), but I'm tired and just drank a I-don't-know-how-many glasses of Bailey's (neat), so I think I'll reel off to bed soon.

But I will repeat my long-held belief that the whole idea of newspapers as they exist now (online or dead tree) isn't going to hold up in the long run (enjoy it while you can, folks), and that a business model of journalism and content syndication will emerge, with all kinds of tiered deals being struck 'twixt syndicators (who provide the original content, pay the writers, cover the expenses of their reporting and provide editorial and distribution functions) and aggergators (Google, etc/) and and other sites who sell add space without the expense of developing the content creation functions,. Some deals may be for the whole line of a syndicate's content, others for specific news and special reporting (say, sports, science, or national politics), others for specific columns and writers (say, "Why Things Used to Be").

Ultimately, we readers may end up paying for online content as part of a package with other stuff a la cable TV, or getting it free after it's been sitting around for awhile.

I think that the very nature of internet protocols such as HTML/HTTP/XML, etc. make it really tough to protect content and keep it from being copied around the Internet quickly.

More later; perhaps more cogently and concisely.


Posted by: -bc- | May 29, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

No one at MacDill, or anywhere in SOF as far as I'm aware (in 20 years of association with same) has ever nicknamed the SOCOM and CENTCOM complexes at MacDill "Ft. MacDill." Real insiders used to call CENTCOM "sadcom" for the truly sad demeanor of those assigned there because SOCOM had all the money and CENTCOM was operating on fumes early in the GWOT. Even that has fallen by the wayside as CENTCOM builds a mondo HQ.

Here's the official history of MacDill

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 29, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Caught up! Been in staff training for two days straight with weak coffee and strong conversations.

Yoki, enjoy.

FB, good but confusing...where will you live?

Mudge, thank you for Realty 101.

Very humid today and the hair is shifting into the summer McFizzy-do. Little doggy is refreshed with a bath and smells like "Sea Breeze" by Suave. I shall dream of the shore. GNightAl.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | May 30, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Nellie, Timber Cove to Cazadero. It wasn't a bad ride, although the road was not in the best shape in some places. Mr. T and I do backroads. The worst was taking a wrong turn in Pikes Peak National Forest in late January. That one scared me, but normally I can handle gravel, steep grades, and bad pavement.

Posted by: slyness | May 30, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: libing0755 | May 30, 2009 3:21 AM | Report abuse


Oooookay, I'm inclined to call blogspam and throw the Zapper at the 3:21, but whadda I know?

After being stuck on the Sunset Patrol for three hours by a fallen tree on the runway, I'm short on material. Glad you snorted, Yoki. :-)

And Midnight MIGHT be coming home this weekend! *feline Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 30, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Not much today:

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

May 30, 1945: Class 0a, a class of 14 pilots and engineers, graduates from the Flight Test Pilots Training Program, each receiving a diploma, a handshake and a slide rule from Capt. A. D. Storrs, Naval Air Test Center commander at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland -- the first Navy test pilot school. Since then, the Test Pilot School at Pax River has graduated thousands of test pilots and flight test engineers, including more than 80 U.S. astronauts (four of whom were women). Among the grads were four of the original seven mercury astronauts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 30, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks. It is only as I awoke this morning that I realized we did not have to google how many angels danced on the head of that pin since we had boots on the ground we could ask. And you beat me to the question.

When I was in ninth grade, my dad was finishing a two year tour and a one year extension in the Philippines and was shopping around for a next assignment. He had just made light bird and needed a career maker. A buddy of his was a wing commander at Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA with one year left on his tour. If my dad became vice wing commander, my would be inline to take over the job. I hated the thought of going to high school in rural Georgia and prayed every night to go somewhere else.

Unbeknowmst to me, my dad getting pressure from PACAF to 'volunteer' for a year in Korea. Since he was already overseas nobody could make him take the assignment, however the pressure to do so was intense. Finally, a phone call at home at 4 AM from a general in Hawaii convinced him it was best for his career to go to Korea. No horse's head was put in his bed, but the point was obvious.

All assignments to Korea are 'unaccompanied' meaning no family could go. Since we were already overseas, the family (less my dad) could move to anywhere in the United States on the Air Force's nickel. They picked Tampa, Florida since that was where we had lived while my dad did his tour in Vietnam back in 1968.

Once the year in Korea was up, my dad could resume his ladder climbing using the chits he had earned from the year in Korea. Instead, he applied for jobs at MacDill. Since MacDill at the time had an F-16 wing and not F-4s, he couldn't get a flying job.

So he went to the newly formed Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, a unit aimed at increasing inter-service coordination in the event of military action. His job included organizing and supervising joint service exercises in places like Alaska in January and Nellis in July. Except for the brutal TDY assignments, it was considered a low stress 9-5 desk jockey job that had him home for dinner every night with plenty of time to play tennis with the admiral at lunch.

He took that job solely so I could finish out high school without transferring to a new district. I'm not sure his career ever recovered from that sabbatical and I've never thanked him for that sacrifice.

The irony is that MacDill and CENTCOM (the direct descendant of RDJTF) is now where all the action is because of our nearly two decade long entanglement in the Middle East.

Sometimes children don't know what their parents have done for them until it is far too late to appreciate it.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Interesting MacDill stories.
It's the fourth day of rain in a row. To say that we live in a green inferno would be an understatement. It's as green as the arctic is white in winter.
Witch no. 1 goes a 2-day bike ride this weekend. A wet bike ride it will be.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | May 30, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

That MacDill history you linked to is great. I had been using the Wikipedia article on MacDill for my research which isn't nearly as crisply written. Both, however, give short shrift to Teddy Roosevelt's association with the Tampa area.

I also used the history page from the official CENTCOM site which seems more accurate about the timeline than the MacDill one.

It's also a fascinating read.

My parents are bugging me to come visit but I keep blowing them off. I have told my wife that if and when we visit Tampa again, we're going to Bern's to see if the red velvet wallpaper is still there.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

bob s,
I took some clients to Five Guys and forgot to warn them about the size of the fries. They both ordered them and we had to throw most away. One order of Five Guys fries is enough for all but the hungriest groups.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle!

yello-our Tampa house is in the former Port Tampa City, now Port Tampa neighborhood, where TR encamped prior to embarkation for Cuba. The Florida State Library and Archives has pics on flickr

CqP-you're confused? You should have heard Mr. F's conversation with Pa Frost-in-law last night. We will go back to our old arrangement of me spending most of my time in Our Fair City and both of us commuting back and forth between MN and Tampa. After two terms I will not be running for reelection so in Jan. '11 we'll reevaluate.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 30, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Al.

Looks like a wonderful day dawning here -- sunny, not so humid, and a gentle breeze. A day pre-loaded for fun.

To extend my Bailey's-fueled ramblings from last night, with the news and journalism industries in such flux, there are huge opportunites for writers and others to develop their own business models and their own niches. See Politico, Huffington, etc. And, I suspect, Marc Fisher (who I think jumped before anyone tried to push very hard).

A writer's name is her/his brand, and the successful ones will move around making the best deals for themselves, like Baseball Free Agency Gone Wild.

And by necessity, they'll write about *everything* because they'll need as many revenue streams as they can get.


Posted by: -bc- | May 30, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm picturing Fisher's enterprise as the Style version of Politico: A lean organization focusing on the bread and butter stuff, entertainment news and hyperlocal human interest stories.

Joel needs to lock up the domain in a hurry before he gets shut out when they finally turn off the lights in the newsroom.

But I've been wrong before.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

So my wife looks at me with her disapproving eyes and says "So you might end up having to *pay* to spend time on that silly blog?"

I suggested there might be a barter situation possible. Might the publishers of the WaPo be interested in some primo bunny poo?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 30, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Beautiful day indeed. The dependents and I shall be heading out the the National Mall to see some of those new exhibits.

I am especially looking forward to seeing the shiny, shiny minerals.

The others, well, not so much.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 30, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The sky has turned this funny color, I think it’s called blue, not sure, it’s been so very long. Already been to the dump and now going to get my car serviced. Checked the garden and the weeds are thriving. Guess I know where I’ll be later on today when it dries out a bit. I’m single this weekend as “S” has gone to babysit his grandchildren. Nothing special planned except for eating what and when I want instead of planning meals. And of course more naps. Happy Saturday everybody.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 30, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I've never figured out why important military command facilities are located at MacDill, which will presumably have to be evacuated for an impending hurricane precisely when a major military operation is underway. Couldn't that stuff be in Ocala?

Then again, MacDill wasn't evacuated for 1960's hurricane Donna, which fortuitously blew water out of Tampa Bay. It was kind of fun watching Australian pines blowing over in the wind.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 30, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle!

My time off is like Yoki's (and others, I'm sure). I have begun working on a new certification which will make my job search (probably next year) easier.

My question is why doctors make so much. I mean, we tech could shut down the world if we wanted to. But the problem with global domination is it would be just one more thing to do, so you're safe. :-)

The whole MacDill conversation has been really interesting!

Planted the tomatoes yesterday, will do the herbs in a few minutes, mow the back lawn, do the front flowers tonight.

Anybody every have WaWa's coffee (new format, many different kinds with a plethora of add-ins, flavors, spices, creams, milks, ice); you make your own, it's cheap ($1.65 for 20 oz), easy, and I'm sorry to say after a week, addictive. I tried it at home today, I need better add-ins.

Have a good day, Al. Call me if there's an imaginary BBQ tonight.

Posted by: -dbG- | May 30, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

g'morning, my boodle peeps. hope everyone has a good weekend.

as for the kit's topic, i do hope wapo can figure out some reasonable arrangement for viewing online content. it should be free for all who already subscribe, of course, but for those of us who read only online, some other tiered plan so we can opt in at a level that reflects our usage patterns. i would gladly pay a reasonable amount for online content.

it was recently brought to my attention by a savvy mac user that it's very easy to block all advertisements, including those embedded in the web pages. (the plugin literally blocked every ad from the nyt site, as he showed me.) not helpful for generating ad revenue, but certainly a much nicer experience for the user. will have to figure it out when i get around to upgrading to a newer mac.

Posted by: LALurker | May 30, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

dbG-understand about the WaWa coffee, used to partake frequently in NoVa. The diabolical schemers constructed new stations on both sides of Rte 1 just so I wouldn't have the difficult traffic excuse not to stop on my way to or from work.

DotC-Why are so many important things located at MacDill? Politics.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 30, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

psst: keep on downlow, or price will rise:

Glacier Blend is the best cup I have ever had.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 30, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Think barks don't bring luck?
Get a black dog (rescued)
Like Mister Blewitt...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 30, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, everybody...

RD... I'm sure bunny poo is very good for gardens and may even be worth as much as bat guano, but I get mine for free (like the WaPo). Unfortunately, the bunnies come with it and they only poop in my garden so the plants will grow for them to eat later so they can then grow big enough to be whacked by a car in front of my house, leaving my daughter in a very distraught state.

Flat bunnies also bring up complicated questions from a seven year old that this forty-something still doesn't have the answers to. "Circle of life" and "So it goes" are about the best I can come up with. I feel bad for the little buggers, but how hard is it to look both ways? I wonder if their reknowned procreative abilities are the only thing keeping the species alive in spite of their need to dash under the wheels of moving cars.

Hope you're all doing well and maybe enjoying some nice weather this weekend.

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | May 30, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

We've entered the season when tomatoes won't bear, due to the unremitting heat. Okra can flourish, and maybe eggplants.

Brad DeLong's blog has a link to a 1994 paper by Paul Krugman, "Ricardo's Difficult Idea". I can't comment on the economics, but Krugman's got the evolutionary biology precisely right. I'm no good at doing the sort of model-making that underlies ecology, but have learned time and again that it's essential to deal with the "economy of nature" with models. The good news is that most such models are easy to follow if only you have some patience. Even better if the model was done using Excel and you can play with it. How did we cope without spreadsheets? Is there anyone teaching our high school kids to think using spreadsheets?

I did once, inadvertently, have dinner with John Maynard Smith, who happened not to have an entourage despite being a megastar.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 30, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

You made me laugh in recognition, DaveoftheCoonties. I sometimes believe I wouldn't be able to think at all if it weren't for Excel.

Posted by: Yoki | May 30, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Excuse the off topic interruption but just wanted to share something I just saw.

We have a brilliant sunny day here, clear blue skies, I have been outside gardening. I heard a strange sound in the sky and looked up to see and old WWII plane flying fairly low in the sky. I think it was a Lancaster Bomber, the Canadian War Plane Museum is not that far from me and occasionally you see the planes fly over - but never set against such a lovely sky and so clearly visible.

Made me realize how loud it must have been when waves of those planes would fly during the war - and how terrifying for those on the ground. If it comes back I will try to get a picture.

Note I live nowhere near a military base so these sightings are quite unusal for me.

I am not wearing my glasses so I apologize if there are more errors in my post than normal - I can just barely make out what I am typing.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday - I am applying mulch - since it is just a little cooler than normal for this time of year it is a perfect time to do it.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Never been in that part of the state, slyness, altho we go to the Napa Valley a couple of times a year to visit daughter and her family.

Don't take the Oakville Grade "just to see what it is like" as we did. Twelve miles of switchbacks at the very tippy-top of the mountain is 11.999 miles too many.

Posted by: nellie4 | May 30, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Martooni's story reminds me of working WAY back off the road once in Texas, an 8 mile drive on dirt roads. Almost every shift change another suicidal/kamikaze jackrabbit - or two - would dive under the truck wheels. Quite disturbing to say the least. This went on for 5 days or so, and one day it dawned on me: where are the fallen bunnies? That very day at shift change, leaving in the truck, we rounded a corner and there he was: a well-fed bobcat lurking near the "buffet" snarling at us over his shoulder as he vanished, startled and upset at being so rudely disturbed.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 30, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I've used Excel, but never quite as a brain adjunct.

Clearly I am a mere grasshopper in contrast to your sage wielding of Excel-sior. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 30, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

That is a great story, Jumper.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 30, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Glad you liked it, Wilbrod.

Off for some red meat now. A week of bean burritos and turkey tamales is enough.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 30, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read all 200!! comments, but I for one would be happy to pay if there was an easy way to do so, it wouldn't bother me one bit and sign me up first. The WaPo has been my family newspaper since I was about 3. When I was not much older than that, an elementary school teacher asked what my Mom did; I replied "She reads the paper". Mom took a bit of umbrage about that at the time, but honestly, a good bit of my raising as a kid from my Mom took place while she had the WaPo handy. So charge for it already!

Posted by: careyarmst | May 30, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I recall roads near Rock Springs, Wyoming, loaded with ground squirrels. They moved erratically enough that there was no use in trying to spare them.

We are heading into the dull tourist season, so at dusk, I expect to see bunnies munching grass between the sidewalks and curbstones at our beachside downtown.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 30, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah, hardly a day goes by without someone, often me, saying "I saw this and thought of the boodle." But, really, this is so absolutely right up the boodle alley I almost linked to it before I finished
"The Case for Working With Your Hands" in the NYT Magazine

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 30, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I imagine that an ad-free site would not be workable, because they'd probably have to charge so much that traffic would be minimal. But five or ten bucks a year for access (ads & all) certainly wouldn't bother (I suspect) a fair number of the regular readers. Given that you can subscribe to the paper for around $60-$75 per year at promotional sale rates, anything much higher would probably run into resistance.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 30, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Gorgeous day outside, and I am finally inside (reluctantly). Wish I had knees to do gardening like the creative boodlers who report on theirs.

It occurred to me that the Britain's Got Talent show finals were this evening (Brit Time), so I jumped on the web site to see if I could see and hear Susan Boyle give her all on it. She certainly did. Go check it out. Hope she wins.

And, as if I needed to remind you all for this evening and tomorrow evening (eastern time): GO RED WINGS!!!!!!!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 30, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, that was a great article. I am in complete agreement with the author that the ‘trades’ would be a much better fit for a lot of us and that there is no reason to be ashamed of being a tradesmen instead of a college graduate cubicle worker. Funny, when I first sat down to read the Boodle I was going to comment that I had just finished cutting out a dress pattern. I have been looking for a summer dress with sleeves with no luck (thanks Mrs. O!) and finally decided to just make one. I do love the creative process and the feeling of accomplishment. It’s not fixing vintage motorcycles, but it’s what makes me happy!

Posted by: badsneakers | May 30, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I took a train up up up the mountains to Whistler from Vancouver (Whistler Mountaineer). It is one of prettiest train journeys I've taken. It helps that the weather is over-the-top amazing.

I'm really loving this part of Canada. After 5 more days I might have a hard time going back to the east coast. Luckily NYC has my heart held tight.

Re paying for the WaPo--it was pretty easy to sign up for the electronic version. I never use it (prefer the browser), but it's nice to be able to pay for the content.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | May 30, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree completely with you, Sneaks. There was a guy at my condo laying out granite squares for the garage lobby space in front of the elevators. "Patience," he said. "It all takes patience." And I watched him work with such respect and watched others as they diminished him and what he was doing, presumably because it was a trade. Over time, it dawns on one that not only not everyone is a brain surgeon, not everyone should be a brain surgeon. I once reamed my father out in a restaurant for insulting a waiter, because he was "only a waiter." I told my father, very forcefully, that if the waiter didn't exist, *he* would be required to go into the kitchen and pick up his food to eat. And, while he was at it, he could insult the chef, thereby requiring him (my dad) to cook his own food (and he could barely boil water).

I don't know. Maybe it's the old standby of hating to be dependent on someone else (and afraid of that dependency somehow) for something which is important to survival. Is a granite floor important to survival? Not to me directly, but to the guy who was doing a masterful job? You bet!

Wow. It's just about 4:30-ish eastern time. Where on earth has the day gone?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I made my living for a couple of years as a house painter. Neither before nor since did I so often have the satisfaction of being able to look at and recognize a job well done.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 30, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

My gardener and my house painter both have college degrees. But they like what they do.

Posted by: nellie4 | May 30, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Well I am a gardener now and I have a University degree, why do labour - I love it.

At my daughters high school orientation, there was a great deal of emphasis being made on how all three streams for careers were equally important - i.e towards a university education, college education or in a trade. Many trades really need people here, quite a few pay quite well.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Keep forgetting to mention DNA_girl, glad you are enjoying your trip, quite frenvious of your train ride from Vancouver to Whistler. As I have mentioned several times the drive from Lake Louise to Jasper and the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo are among my travel highlights of my life - both trips were a marvel from start to finish.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

DNA_girl, didn't realize you were out this way. I've never been to Whistler, but I bet that trip is beautiful. We're having fabulous weather now, too, glad it's cooperating for you.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 30, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, let me be the first to let the Boodle know that Susan Boyle came in second to a pretty good hip-hop dance troupe called "Diversity". She was very gracious. I hope somebody gives her a contract, though.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 30, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you should tell your dad you appreciate what he did with his career choice. Sounds like he had his priorities straight, and I bet he'd like hearing that from you, even all these years later. You have a perfect opportunity coming up.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 30, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi Al!

Good to see everyone today. We are halfway through our state testing. We have a four day break coming up and we start again on Friday. I did not make up the schedule...

I would pay for the Boodle, too. I'd miss it too much, even if I visit sporadically.

I LOVED the Working with your hands piece. I blogged about it earlier in the week. I'm tempted to call up that guy and come watch him work one day this summer.

Posted by: abeac1 | May 30, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Both daughters have degrees and #1 has her MBA in education. Both girls waitressed their ways through college and it was a mistake in the sense that they made much better money doing that than they would starting out at their chosen careers. #2 now works part-time doing bookkeeping and part-time bartending and waitressing. Guess where she makes the most money? #1 is finally working in her field but does not have a teaching job yet and she works part-time managing a restaurant. Both girls, on occasion, have been ‘dissed’ by customers, #2 is more feisty than #1 in terms of giving it back. I wish I had finished college, just for the heck of it, but it wouldn’t help in my present job. I am all for giving children a real choice of careers. Some people just don’t like being stuck in an office 40 hours and week and dealing with the politics involved in many of these positions. I don’t blame them. I’m lucky to be in a small company where the only politics is the running joke between my Republican boss and me regarding the new administration.

Drat, it sounds like I should have been working in the garden today, the forecast for tomorrow is iffy.

Oh, I'd also pay for the Kit and Boodle, as long as the fee was reasonable.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 30, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow has it otten dark and scary out, wind whipping around, thunder and lightning. Feeling very good about my decision to drive my daughters friend home, she was going to walk the short distance home but I sugested I drive her because of the storm coming, thought I was being overly cautious as it still seemed a ways away but it moved in quickly - she probably would have gotten caught in the storm.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

dmd... it would have been likely she would have run into a traveling fortune-teller who would have sent her back home, but not in time to make it to the cellar with the family.

Yes... Good thing you drove her home.

Posted by: TBG- | May 30, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Such a pleasant day we've had. I sampled and bought some great wine, we rode all over Sonoma County, and found a great little Italian place in Kenwood for lunch. Nellie, we didn't do the Oakville grade. Another time, maybe.

I went to grad school so I'd qualify to get a job, got a job, stayed with it till I retired. I don't get being superior about professional jobs. I'd love to have the knowledge and skill to farm or be a stone mason, for example. If I just had a strong back...

Posted by: slyness | May 30, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

ftb, just watched the video of the group Diversity - it was brilliant - very original and deserving winners. The lead of the group is kind of hot as well.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Apprenticeships aren't as well publicized as college educations, Slyness.

Thus, some people assume such jobs must not involve any formal training-- being either taught from birth or come to by a sort of bizarre lust for grease.

(Down, bc, down!)

Since my parents are both from blue collar families, I feel comfortable with both white and blue collar types.

I like to think both white and blue collar types are equally uncomfortable with me, but that might not be true....

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 30, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I thought Diversity deserved the win as well. I'm sure Susan Boyle will do just fine.

Got the tomato plants in this afternoon, just in time for a freeze warning tonight. The global warming deniers will be out in full force around the coffee pot at the gas station tomorrow.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 30, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Happy Saturday Night everyone. (The Bay City Rollers will never die! Right? Right? Sigh....)

Had a great time at the Museum of Natural History. The Oceans Pavilion was just as Joel described. And it was interesting, in a slightly creepy way, to see this in, un person:

Speaking of things that are a bit disturbing, friend of the boodle Ms. Rachel Manteuffel has another XX Files article.

You know, if one defines good feminist writing as writing that make men think good and hard about how they behave towards women, then I think Rachel deserves some kind of special award.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 30, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

One of the reasons I thought of the boodle when I read that article, and love the boodle as well,is that it has always frustrated me when people who work with their hands are assumed not to be readers or not to have a full life of the mind. It is equally frustrating to listen to those with an education stereotyped as lacking in common sense, or branded as elitist. Neither of those prejudices seem to turn up on the boodle, much-where poetry may be quoted in the same comment that recounts great mechanical and/or engineering feats.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 30, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you seen the "literal version" videos on YouTube?

Total Eclipse of the Heart with lyrics that match the video. Very, very funny.

Looking back, I can't believe MTv became an institution showing such nonsense.

Posted by: abeac1 | May 30, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

The books I ordered from Amazon (would that it would still be Olsson's) came today. Among them were Petals of Blood, the first book by Ngugi wa Thiong'o, the Kenyan who wrote Wizard of the Crow, which I recommended last year. I also got a copy of that to give as a birthday present for a friend (whose birthday was in April, but, hey, our gang uses the entire year to take care of those kinds of things) and other books. I think I would be in 7th heaven (or, indeed, higher) to take a writing class from that guy. He does teach at UC-Irvine, but that's a bit of a commute. *sigh* Anyway, Petals of Blood is the book for which he was incarcerated in Kenya. He was born in 1938, making him 71 this year. Not as old as it used to be when I was not sniffing at the heels of that decade, but reason for pause. He's been exiled over here for more than 20 years now, I think. Do read him. He'll make your heart skip beats -- on purpose.

And, with that, back to the hockey game. Last I checked, before a phone call from a colleague on a matter with which we are both dealing, Detroit was up 1-0. The first period is probably over right now, and my television is way back over on the other end of my unit, so it shall be ta-ta for now.

RDP -- interesting article by Rachel Manteuffel. Thanks for posting the link.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 30, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

abeac - I remember that song well from 1985. (I never really got the video at the time, and still don't. ) I think everyone was just kinda we making it all up as they went along.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 30, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

RD, this is interesting.

It seems that this man set the tone of the conversation by behaving guiltily about it. I think that itself communicated far more than the simple confession.

I've often been aware from early in my work experience that men do often struggle with drawing the line on friendly decorum (often on very minor aspects).

I think women do, too, but often from very different motives.

It seems this guy finally realized he had gone over the line in a way he could not attribute to mere friendliness on her part.

(I could be wrong, not shooting from the Y myself, but..)

Even if she had consented to the hugging for years, it still wasn't right in that context at all.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 30, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

frosty - I finally read that article and agree very much. Where I work we have some amazing people who can take big chunks of metal and wire and create something new. They are, sadly, increasingly hard to find.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 30, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Newspapers online must charge to stay alive. No ifs or buts about it. Yes, they will definitely lose some readers, esp oversea readers because for most the US$ is a few times their local currency. I read several online newspapers almost daily. If and when all of them decide to charge, my habits will have to change. My eyes will thank me for sure.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 30, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

End of the second period and Detroit is up 2-1.

Just so you, um, know. Since you're all so interested. Especially in hearing it from me.

*going now*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 30, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

ftb, Mr. Needles has switched loyalties and is now cheering for Pittsburgh. Its not that he doesn't like the Red wings, its just that his points will do better if the Penguins win.

I however am quite firmly nuetral. I do like the hockey playoffs but they are so darn long and the orgy of the early rounds pretty much takes all the fun out of it. However if they slowed it down, I'd be forced to watch hockey till Aug 31, and the new season would be starting on Sept 19th or something like that.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 30, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

And in case it matters, I have no idea why, but we are watching the game on Detroit's NBC channel. Does that help?

Posted by: --dr-- | May 30, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Common sense : There are several things I want to say but can’t put it coherently. One thing I learned while working in my present company is that a Thai labourer’s common sense is not an Indian labourer’s common sense. A Myanmarese’s common sense is not a Sarawakian Iban’s common sense. I suspect it’s because they all have different reference points.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 30, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Rainforest, well said. Forget coherence, you moved way beyond it to eloquence.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 30, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dr, for your encouragement.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 30, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Rainforest, that observation makes sense to me. Can you tell what the different reference points are?

Posted by: slyness | May 30, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

rainforest-that makes so much sense. Wish I'd thought of it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 30, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I am almost caught up - minus a Kit and Boodle. I was at a two-day conference, plus driving time, at a resort in Missouri owned by the Bass Pro folks. It was very lovely and a little frightening: like Disneyland except the activities are all real. Somewhat luxurious, impeccably groomed grounds, frighteningly cheerful staff, everything expensive - like Disneyland. Good conference room, too.

Why are there so many Mudges?

Obscure Oklahoma law, one of the few finally repealed: it was illegal to get a fish drunk. I don't know why this was a problem around statehood, but apparently it was.

I finally planted vegetables and herbs today, a little late but not too much so. Now we shall see. This year I went all out with manure and mulch. Maybe it will pay off.

In Oklahoma the Army posts are called "posts", not "forts".

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 30, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Shooting drunken fish in a barrel, Ivansmom?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 30, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I saw the Literal A-Ha Take On Me but didn't realize the concept had spread to other videos.

Some are better than others. For example, the Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit was done better by Weird Al.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Well since its quiet and I am awake and can't seem to sit still enough to knit...I vistited ye olde used book store the other day and came home with a couple of good things.

I am now the proud owner of The Path Between the Seas, by David McCullough, and a small novel by C.S Forester - The Ship. The first book is interesting for the writer and the second for what is written on the front leaf.

The first note says simply, "Pickard, Liverpool England /43". The second, "HDD Davidson ...RCNVR, HMCS Chambly", and has the additional notation "(ownership by courtesy of the Captain - Lt. Cdr Pickard!) "

I did find a little about Lt. Cdr Pickard, mostly a long list of materials archived from during his entire service, but few details of the person he was, but did find lots on the Chambly.

and just a little more,

I love old books for the interesting things you find between their covers that their owners leave behind.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 30, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

An article by a philosophy major extolling the existential joys of motorcycle maintenance. Am I the only one having a bad Robert Pirsig flashback?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | May 30, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

As a kid, I always went to the base exchange. For my grandfather and father-in-law who were both career army, it was the PX. In the Philippines we used to like to go to Subic because the navy exchange (which in the typical naval penchant for superfluous vowels was the NEX instead of BX or PX) had cooler stuff. My theory was that sailors on shore leave had more money to spend.

For everybody, you bought food at the commissary.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I think two branches of the Canadian Armed Forces calls home "Base" and one calls it "Station." Possibly Air Force? I don't really remember.

Posted by: Yoki | May 30, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki. It seems odd that the article itself doesn't address that elephant in the room.

As for the Manteuffel column, inappropriateness is in the eye of the victim. It's a legal maxim that Denzel Washington is incapable of committing sexual harassment since by definition it requires an unwanted sexual advance.

I try to tread lightly now that female friends of my son are old enough to make coy references to obscure sexual fetishes in the comments section of my blog. As for me, I am well past Young Horny Dork and quickly approaching Creepy Older Guy. I aspire to become a Harmless Geezer.

Speaking of creepy older guys, I saw a trailer today for Woody Allen's new move "Whatever Works" which stars Larry David as a man in a potentially inappropriate relationship with a 21-year-old. Is Woody so ancient that Larry David (who is in his 60s) qualifies as his younger wish-fulfillment avatar?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, don't we use Camp as well? Seemed to recall referring to where my Uncle was as Camp.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

SCC: The misspelling of 'movie' is probably partially Freudian.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 30, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

We used Camp apparently, this explains my memory.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 30, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Of course, it was Camp, but now it's Base, or it wouldn't be CFB. Probably they were so ashamed of being associated with Acid Rain and the first hints of ozone holes [protogenitor of climate change] (boy, am I ever old. I remember the Rio Conference as hot news) that they could not abide the CFC designation.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

In the Navy, we didn't say "NX" or "NEX", we said "Exchange" --- I'm going to go buy some gum at the Exchange."

Posted by: nellie4 | May 31, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Wow! *Some* team just won a series final, or it is a very tense game!

How sad are Calgarians? When our team isn't in the playoffs, we still go to the Saddledome and watch on the videotrons, and there is wild cheering and *huge* sound thence (two blocks from my wee circle).

I expect a lot of honking and shouting in the streets in a few moments. And I'm OK with that.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

A couple of years ago, I posted this video of Hurra Torpedo covering "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

It still - er, cracks me up (ahem) - and I'm still impressed at how they can make music with household appliances.

Love the big Steinmann finish, too.

Some think these guys are great Danes, others think their music is for the dogs.

If you want the three minutes of your life back after you watch it all the way to the end, well, check for the money-back guarantee at the bottom of the page...


Posted by: -bc- | May 31, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

In one of those quirky little life moments, I took some time to google my uncle who was at the Camp, and discovered that tomorrow will be the anniversary of the day he died, it is also the day my dad was born - never knew that (or remembered that more correctly).

Posted by: dmd2 | May 31, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Good links tonight. The article on work is great; forwarded to many now.

When I was putting in hardwood floors it was mostly like a dream come true. Years ago a friend told me of some of his brother's pals, two guys with philosophy degrees who decided becoming moving men was ideal ethical work. So they did. This amused and counseled me for years. The job takes a lot of strategy, rudimentary surveying skills, a lot of routine math, some study of the professional society literature, etc. And I got aerobic exercise on top of it all. I had the pleasure of working with a product I believed in fully. I was occasionally insulted by homeowners who assumed I was of no status in society whatever.

yello, Persig was insane; not so Crawford.
I also should point out brain surgeons work with their hands too.
I see the guy in Manteuffel's article as benign but horribly clumsy, in that exchange. And not possessing much common sense. (Good comment by Rainforest, too.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 31, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Now we have fireworks and police helicopters! Something good, hockey-wise, must have happened.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

And here is the hooting and horn-blowing.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I wonder who we're cheering for?

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Just noticed the time my tomorrow of my earlier post is now today, and with that I must go to bed didn't realize it was so late.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 31, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

still up, Yoki?

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm still up, jack. Will be for a bit. A while. A time.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Insomnia is just *lame.*

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Oh my!

All the drunk people are yelling insults (quite profane, or obscene - definitions are tricky).

I just love living downtown.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Why the fireworks? Since the Blackhawks lost, I've temporarily stopped following the playoffs. I think that the semifinals are on. Regardless, I hope that you're enjoying holiday. Be wary of #1 and shopping...Coach comes to mind. we started the restoration of the shop in earnest today, and I tried to lop off the tip of my left ring finger in the process of raising a window that has been shut for nearly 25 years. My guitar gently weeps. I can't take anything that resembles salicylic acid or IBP until surgery is done. Thus, wheat ale will have to do. Interesting cover of The Beatles' She Said, She Said..

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh, jack, you are such a freak.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Go to the City during NYE, Yoki, but stay far away from Times Square. Sheer revelry dominates the island on that night. And on Halloween...This came to mind. One of my best friends lived in the City for a number of years, including a stint on St.Mark's Place in the East Village. This video ends up in the St. Mark's Bar and Grill.

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

A kindly freak, I hope.

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

A great and good and kindly freak.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

yoki, insomnia is indeed lame. jack, are you ok?

that diversity dance group was really great. i hope the press will give susan boyle some peace. she did well considering the pressure and she can now make a living at singing.

Posted by: LALurker | May 31, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but I'll lose some body mass directly. the MD will take a cyst, the upper hyoid bone (just because the membranes surrounding the cyst are leftover thyroid tissue and they loop about said bone), and at least part of the left half of the thyroid. If they find any kind of malignancy in the tissue sample from the latter, I hit the trifecta, lose three pieces of tissue, and go synthroid. Ths MD said that my voice wouldn't change. If it does, I'll just have to go to his office and kick his a$$.

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse


If this is the result, I shall go in swinging my big-ol-gramma=purse.


Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 2:29 AM | Report abuse

jack, i hope all goes well and the test results are favorable. and go easy on those windows.

Posted by: LALurker | May 31, 2009 2:30 AM | Report abuse

check this out. rock and roll. I hope these copies open. They came out of my iTunes files. If not, they're from the Capitol theatre show, 11.08.70, at Click search by band, hit the Dead, and browse by date. there's only about 7K shows. You'll find it somewheres. If you want to hear something really *freaky*, check out the 9.19.70 Fillmore East show. Pigpen does an inspired Lovelight.

New Orleans > 4:36 Grateful Dead 1970-11-08 - Capitol Theater 2 5/30/09 11:28 PM
Searchin' 6:18 Grateful Dead 1970-11-08 - Capitol Theater

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Wear your boots with your pants tucked into them, Yoki. And accessorize with a waist cut, belted leather jacket. It'll add to the effect.

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, lal. It'll be ok, regardless. I have faith. Bolstered by Cassandra, and the rest of y'all.

Posted by: -jack- | May 31, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, most of the time culture and religion of the workers play a very big part in how they behave. My Bangladeshi storekeeper would not look me in the eye when speaking to me. To him, it is disrespectful on his part to look me in the eye. As for indigenous people of Borneo, most are superstitious. A crane operator refused to go to work because he found something in his car that, to him, was not suppose to be there.

A couple of other stories :-

Instruction from labourer A from country A to labourer B from country B: cover the wood with zinc sheets. Labourer B did just that.

A strong wind comes along and send the zinc sheet flying.

To labourer A : You are not a 12-year-old. I don’t have to tell you everything. It’s common sense that you hold the zinc sheet down with something heavy.
To labourer : Common sense?

Another incident :

Two labourers from 2 different countries sharing a kitchen :-

P : You use my XYZ
M : I ran out
P : Go buy your own
M : In my country, people always share
P : In my country, people don’t
M : Why won’t you want to share? You can eat my food.
P : Your food stinks

Throw in a couple of vegetarians and a few muslims, it gets worse in the kitchen.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 31, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Good vibes heading Jack's way.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 31, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

In these parts, if an old guy gets a little too friendly towards a young girl/woman, he’ll be termed a lecher.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 31, 2009 3:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh…. just want to explain a little bit more about the crane operator who refused to go to work….

He was convinced that someone was trying to fix him with black magic. He refused to go to work until he had consulted a black magic “expert” and obtain something to counter whatever that was used to fix him.

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 31, 2009 3:32 AM | Report abuse

A few latenighters tonight. Hi all!!
I am up and working,this getting used to staying up all night is tough,I can't get my daytime sleep patterns down yet. I guess time will tell.I so much enjoyed evening shift to this one.Plus working weekends pretty much sucks too. I guess that is why they call it change,nobody said it would be easy.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | May 31, 2009 3:48 AM | Report abuse

Morning Al!

Wow, this place sure did get campy all of a sudden. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Good thoughts headed your way, jack, and fear not the Synthroid if it comes to that, it works quite well. And yes, let's hope you retain your voice and not that of "Alpha" in "Up!" which NukeSpouse and I (and bc, I would imagine) recommend highly.


Where was I? Oh yes... Skilled tradesmen are to be treasured, most certainly! I know where my skills end, and value those who take over at that point.

*debating-the-usual-jog-due-to-a-balky-calf-but-looking-forward-to-another-delightful-day Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 31, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

That makes sense. Because the pronunciation of NEX would be 'necks'. Or in the naval tradition of making their acronyms longer than actual words, it could end up NAVEXSHOPPACFLEETCOM.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The coffee is on, and I'm putting muffins in the oven. Morning all.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 31, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article about Oprah and health advice on her show.

-Jack- please don't follow Oprah's guests' advice.

Posted by: abeac1 | May 31, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse


That was a funny video with the broken stoves. Yes, I "cracked up" too, right on cue.

The bearded guy has a nice voice.

Posted by: abeac1 | May 31, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

So, going back on kit...

Let's say newspapers do charge, just like the recording industry charges for music. This is good. It will spawn an entire new branch of law enforcement that will provide employment for lots of people who will monitor what gets cut-pasted into emails, blogs, etc.

I'm sure some people will pay, but it will be the equivalent of becoming an NPR member.

Posted by: abeac1 | May 31, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everyone.

Laundry is on, plants have actually been watered as they are craning their best sides to the side. Have to work a bit this morning with a colleague over the phone before we both go (she will drive) up to Camden Yards to see the Orioles-Tigers game. The Orioles have thumped the Tigers already three-straight, so I'll just enjoy the game and the day, regardless of the score.

Jack -- I'm hypothyroid and I take the generic equivalent of Synthroid (called Levothyroxine). It's a teeny-tiny pill in all different colors, depending on your dosage. I hope for you that you get a clean bill of health, however.

My Wings won the first game of the Stanley Cup finals and I hope will do it all again tonight. Inasmuch as I hope they'll take it in 4 (although I don't think they will), it would be tremendous to have them take it at home. Detroit needs such a morale boost, and this would do it, no matter in which city the Wings get their trophy.

And, if I turn out to be wrong in my predictions, I hope you all (save dmd) will allow me to grieve appropriately.

Beyootiful day outside. Can't wait to get out and play in it. And may you all do the same.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 31, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

SCC (much too early) -- craning their best sides to the SUN (geez)

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 31, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Jack wishing you the best, I have had two family members had to have their thryoids removed - both with suspected cancer, one resulted in being benign the other not, both are fine today. One of the surgeries was done while 5 months pregnant.

Fingers will be crossed for a great outcome for you.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 31, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

abeac, I couldn't agree more with that Newsweek article. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 31, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

One more thing, if I might.

Where does Robin Givhan (and the WaPo) get off calling the nominee for the Supreme Court "Sonia"? First name basis suddenly?

*snort* *rant* *snort*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 31, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Jack, take care and God bless. I am in the thyroid club after radiation rather than surgery. I take Unithroid and Cytomel. Many of us are gals, but we will share our secret decoder ring with you.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | May 31, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Dr G "lost" his thyroid 12 years ago. He says of that strange summer... "I lost my mom, my sister, my job and my thyroid. Boy... I sure miss my thyroid."

Really he doesn't. But it took the surgeon an extra two hours to make sure she didn't hurt his vocal chords.

After the six weeks without any thyroid hormone (so they could check for cancer cells with radioactive iodine) he could barely talk and couldn't even climb up stairs. But just a couple of days on generic Synthroid and he was back to normal.

Well.. .normal? ha! If he were normal, would I love him so much?

Posted by: TBG- | May 31, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I pass out just typing the word "thyroid", so I feel for you. Hang in there.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Dodged the freeze bullet last night just to have our planned morning fishing expedition ruined by rain. Mr. F simply can't catch a break-we went out for a bit last night but it was so windy we gave up after about a dozen casts.

I see the reps are in a tizzy over the Obama's trip to NYC. I guess they think Broadway is an inconsequential part of the economy. It sure wouldn't have hurt some very fine shows, and all the people employed by them, if W and Mrs. Bush had attended a play soon after 9/11.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 31, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Jack-best of luck. No surgery is routine, especially when it's happening to you, but it seems the docs have a pretty good handle on this thyroid business.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 31, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Another call from the vet... I'm not looking forward to telling NukeSpouse when she gets home from work. *SIGHHHHHH*

And FWIW, although I was never much of a "Man vs. Wild," that show has officially jumped the shark -- Will Ferrell is a "guest host" with Bear in a "Land of the Lost" promotion... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 31, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Standing back in admiration of my Boodle friends, especially RDP, Yello and rainforest.

Ms. Manteuffel's article also makes women think hard about how they treat themselves.

Posted by: -dbG- | May 31, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Jack, I don't know how common it is but I'm one who reacted chaotically to thyroid supplement when I began. Mostly it was at first when accidentally skipping a day.
The chaos began about 3 days after resuming normal daily routine. Temper tantrums for a day or two. Not good. I learned to keep to the routine.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 31, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, some people also have a reaction to the non-generic form of the supplement, i.e., Synthroid. They seem to do fine on the generic form, tho.

I generally know when I have to kick up the dosage, in that I feel like I've been hit by a truck. Extreme fatigue, a bit of moodiness towards the darker side (which is definitely *not* like me "normally" (as TBG might put it)) off my food somewhat, and the like. Gimme the new dosage (and a mere +1/4 on the dosage is usually enough) and I'm right as rain almost immediately.

I think that given the "choice" of ailments out there, a thyroid problem which is not cancerous is treatable. I just like the fact that the pill is tiny.

Snuke, I'm so sorry about Midnight's continuing woes. I'm faxing more karma in cat form and in Snuke form.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 31, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

So... is it going to turn out that the one thing all boodlers have in common is a morning (or evening) dose of "synthroid"?

That could explain a lot... what it explains I have no idea!

Posted by: TBG- | May 31, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Here's a good piece by Richard Clarke about the reactions by some in the Bush administration right after 9/11:

Posted by: -pj- | May 31, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

And here's today's column by Kathleen Parker about the over-heated reactions so far to Sotomayor:

It has a couple of great lines:

"Could a white man get away with saying something comparable about a Latina? Of course not. After Latinas have run the world for 2,000 years, they won't be able to say it ever again either."

"To think, a few days ago, only seven people outside of New Haven, Conn., knew the name Frank Ricci. Today, rumor has it that Tom Cruise is considering playing Ricci as soon as Joe the Plumber writes the script."

I don't agree with everything she says, but the woman has an excellent sense of humor.

Posted by: -pj- | May 31, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck to you, jack. Careful with the windows - one surgery at a time is more than enough!

Posted by: -pj- | May 31, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

ftb, not sure what you mean about Robin Givhan. Other than calling the judge "Sonia Sotomayor" the first time, she refers to her as "Sotomayor" throughout the article.

No thyroid meds here yet...maybe I should ask my doc...or Oprah.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 31, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Happy Sunday!!!

... as the morning drifts away ...

Posted by: russianthistle | May 31, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Since we are discussing the op/ed page, George Will is just bucking for the Let Them Eat Cake Award.

He ridicules a congressman for proposing that large companies should be required to provide paid vacations. A few paragraphs later he defends $20 million severance package to the ousted GM CEO.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

In the Outlook section, this article by Ronald Glasser on doctors makes a lot of good points but I have to take exception to the guy berating incoming doctors for asking about retirement plans and trying to arrange their schedule to fit in family events.

He also sees it as a bad thing that doctors don't want to work longer hours even if they got paid more.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The Richard Clarke article was very good. In many ways it was a fairly muted "I told you so" by implying that if Cheney had paid more attention to him, the Veep wouldn't have had a pretext for the line-crossing things Cheney put in place. I subscribe to Clarke's theory that much of the post-9/11 over-reaction was out of a guilty conscious that they had done too little earlier when they had been clearly given a heads up.

Perhaps Cheney would have just found some other pretext.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Just came back from Safeway, where I browsed the latest issue of Washingtonian magazine while standing in the checkout line. Seems they have an article naming the top 50 journalists in DC. Only thing is, it should be the top 49 journalists, since they left Someone We know out. Idiots.

They got Cilizza, Balz, Milbank, Priest, Kurtz and Robinson, though. Can't remember which other Posties.

I was especially irked because they had one break-out section about a handful of journalists who are especially good at explaining complex things. Nope. Now I ask ya, is that remotely correct? No way.

OK, another one for the Canucksis:

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

May 31, 1578: Martin Frobisher departs Harwich, England, with a fleet of 14 ships to sail to Frobisher Bay, Canada, his third such voyage to search for the fabled Northwest Passage. On his first voyage he’d found a black rock that one expert (out of four consulted) said contained gold, so Frobisher became a gold hunter. On his second voyage he brought back 200 tons of “ore,” and brought back more on this trip. The stuff turned out to be fool’s gold, and was used to pave the streets of London. Frobisher abandoned Canadian exploration, took up with Drake and Raleigh, helped fend off the Spanish Armada, and died in Plymouth of a gunshot wound received at the siege of Brest. His soft organs were buried at St Andrew's Church in Plymouth and the rest of his body was taken to London and buried at St Giles-without-Cripplegate.
1916: The inconclusive World War I Battle of Jutland, which some experts claim was the largest naval battle in history, depending on one’ criteria. Jutland wins in terms of tonnage of ships engaged, in total tonnage of ships involved in a single action; perhaps the largest battle-line action in terms of numbers of ships engaged; the largest surface action; the largest ship-to-ship action, in terms of the tonnage of the ships engaged; the largest gun action in terms of the weight of fire of the guns involved; and the largest single action – surface or otherwise – in terms of the numbers of torpedoes launched. Having said all that, the Imperial German Navy’s Admiral Reinhard Scheer’s fleet went up against a larger British fleet in the Skagerrak between Norway and Denmark. In the two hours before sunset the British fleet under Adm. Sir John Jellicoe twice engaged Scheer’s fleet as 250 ships went at it. In the end, Jellico lost 14 ships and Scheer lost 11. It was the only major sea battle of the entire war. Although the British lost more ships, the German Navy never again left port or dared to take on the British head-to-head for the rest of the war, deciding instead to resort to unrestricted submarine warfare. That didn’t work, either.

I for one am delighted the Obamas had a "date night," whether in NYC or anywhere else. More power to 'em.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | May 31, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

My memory seems a bit fried, but haven't not we heard that the whole "cause and affect" factor on the increased security lockdown pre-dated 9/11.

When I say that, there were two striking efforts coming out of the White House or maybe more precisely, the VPs office at the White House: (1) beginnings of war strategies for Iraq and (2) domestic spying.

I guess I'm trying to say that there was a pre-disposition to go after our "enemies" even before they became our enemies.

In my desk chair analysis, the train came off the tracks because the train was never on the tracks.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 31, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Jack, good luck with your surgery. It seems you have plenty of thyroid info available right here if you need it. One more great thing about this place.

Scotty, I’m crossing my fingers again for Midnight. What a difficult time you all are going through!

I heard something last night about the criticism of Obama for going to NYC. Um, how many times and how much money did we spend on the Shrub’s trips to the ‘ranch’ so he could thrash away in the brush? The Repubs are batsh@t crazy.

Got the garden weeded, thank goodness. “S” will be pleased that he doesn’t have to tackle that little chore this week. I think he’s going to be a bit tired after caring for a five and three year old for three days.

A quick shower and back to sewing. Have a happy Sunday all.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 31, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

So, here I read that the Post just ain't making it in the Internet-world. It is funny how, in this consumer oriented society, we all think that other's products should be free, but not, of course, from our own business.

It happened to me. Now, it's happening to them. Nothing ever ends up free, but it fuels the loss of the "smaller fish" at the great gain of the large mega-corporations.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 31, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, yello, that Clarke is still ticked that his advice was ignored and that the Bush administration never acknowledged that.

I also think rt is correct in reading a little more subtext into Clarke that some members of the administration came into office wanting to invade Iraq and were just waiting for the right circumstances. That is the inference I get from both Clarke and Paul O'Neill.

Posted by: -pj- | May 31, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Now I have to add Blue Hill to my 'Eat Where Obama Has Eaten' list. So far I have checked off Ben's Chili Bowl, Georgia Brown's, and B. Smith's. Still to go is Hell Burger. And I need to decide if any Five Guys counts or if I have to go to that specific one. Probably not.

This is a non-partisan obsession of mine that first started when I had some lobster in Kennebunkport as saw tons of photos of then VP George HW Bush by the cashier.

The previous president was a complete bust since to the best of my knowledge, he never left the White House Bubble for nourishment.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Kitty lovins!!!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 31, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think I remember a restaurant saving and encasing the plate after Pres. William Clinton had finished and then saving it for display. Again, my memory has become hazy.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 31, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Yello, if you want, I will get you a bag of pretzels and that should cover Bush II.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 31, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

How about this... someone told W that, if you ate 9 sandwiches at the White House, the next one was free.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 31, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I expect Joel and others here would like to read a new origin-of-life view if they are not familiar with it already.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 31, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

LOL, rt.

Veering randomly on-topic, one much overlooked advantage of the free internet version of the newspaper over the tossed on your lawn at great recurring expense version is that the former is still legible when the latter has not been properly double bagged on a rainy morning.

At least the comics and BigBoxOfElectronics ads are shrink-wrapped.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

You've gone way farther back in the Way-back Machine than I this weekend. Thanks for the link.

After spending the "Eighty Percent of One's Time on What Must Be Acomplished," I'm spending the "Remaining Twenty Percent of One's 'Free Choice' Time" on this warm weekend with William Smith and Simon Winchester.

Posted by: laloomis | May 31, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

But I won't be following Obama's lead in Broadway show choices. August Wilson is a little too highbrow for the yellojkt family's tastes. I had to call in all my chits just to talk the wife into Tom Stoppard's 'Rock and Roll'.

Yesterday we spent the day in Bethesda noshing and theatering. After lunch at Jaleo we saw 'Every Little Step' which is a documentary about the casting process for the revival of A Chorus Line, which is about auditioning for, well, a chorus line. The only way this could get more recursive is if the DVD release has a 'making of' featurette.

Then it was pre-theater appetizers at Black's Bar And Grille before going over to the Bethesda Theater for the one-man show 'Men Fake Foreplay'. Despite the titter-inducing title, the show was funny but also very thought provoking about how men sabotage relationships and fail to cope maturely with their emotions. It also had lots of penis jokes.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Rafa is out of the French Open. Robin Soderling from Sweden defeated him:
Federer might have a chance now.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 31, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Looked it up, Yellojkt. That does sound amazing, I enjoyed the book excerpt that I read.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 31, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Nadal lost?! That's huge and, yeah, maybe Federer can get his career Grand Slam. He'd only be the fifth or sixth player to do it.

Posted by: -pj- | May 31, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased to be able to be added to the Thyroid Club. A very exclusive group it seems. When I started taking Levothyroxine, I felt just fabulously great. Then, hyperparathyroidism set in. Fortunately, since we have about 4 parathyroid glands, removing one is not such a big deal and what a difference it makes.

I wish I could say that I feel 'normal' though .....

Posted by: rickoshea0 | May 31, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Good day all. Good luck Jack, and luck may not be that necessary as you seem to be in good hands.
Strange weekend in the other capital. Yesterday was nice, despite a horrible forecast. This morning was nice and cool, turned to rainy and cold and now it's sunny and very cold. There is a risk of frost in low-lying spots, a good 10 days after the frost-free date. It's not the kind of weather to help germination and I spent the whole day yesterday seeding the garden. *sigh*

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | May 31, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Jack, best wishes for your medical procedures; take it easy and take your time to get healed afterward.


I was glad to see Robert Wright on p.22 of today's New York Times magazine. His new book is en route to chez moi; I'm looking forward to reading it.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 31, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

A few random comments:

I thought Rachel Manteuffel's article was great, and absolutely loved RD_Pad's definition of good feminist writing. One of my truly good friends is an attractive (married, with kids) woman a bit younger than me. Over the years of our friendship, it's been fascinating to watch men create those uncomfortable situations with her. Sad, but fascinating.

My heartfelt support for Jack (& others) dealing with various physical travails. I'm way overdue for a thorough checkup, and (given the abuse I've put my body through) probably won't like the news. Several of you probably remember the discussion in which I posited that young single men are grotesquely overcharged for health insurance, a position which I still maintain. I've been covered for quite a while now at my current job and haven't used a dime of benefits. I gotta a feeling that the time is a'coming!

abeac - A fine article about Oprah. I'm still annoyed with her self-involved reaction to the beef producers who felt a little threatened when she had guests on the show happily proclaiming meat to be poison. "How could they accuse good-hearted old ME of attacking their livelihoods?!?" Sheesh. She's a piece of work, fer sure.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 31, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci - I have to admit to momentary disappointment when I realized that it wasn't Stephen Wright being interviewed. More of his thoughts on the subject(s) can't be a bad thing!

Posted by: bobsewell | May 31, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Home! It's so good to be here. I had a lovely time on the left coast, but I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.

I too am a member of the hypothyroid club. Synthyroid drove me crazy, so I'm on Levoxyl and not happy. I'm looking for a doctor who will listen to what I say and work with me. The doctor I have been seeing goes strictly by test results, and that hasn't reduced the symptoms. It's a problem.

Posted by: slyness | May 31, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse


We really appreciate all the good wishes, everyone, but we had to say goodbye to Midnight this afternoon. The vets seemed to have the diabetes figured out, but his liver wasn't recovering, he still wasn't interesting in eating, and with something preventing his intestines from absorbing syringe-fed food properly, he'd become anemic. A very emotional decision, nonetheless. He stayed rotten right to the end, giving us "that look" whenever we paused in our goodbye scritching. He and his monkey song will be greatly missed.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 31, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, so sorry to hear that, hugs to you an NukeSpouse.

Posted by: dmd2 | May 31, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Awww... Scotty. So sorry. Heck, I'm gonna miss him, and I never met him.

Posted by: bobsewell | May 31, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, sorry about your kitty. What a tough time.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 31, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Howl with me, howl, S'nuke...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 31, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Awww, my profound condolences on your loss of Midnight. Big hugs to you and NukeSpouse.

Just came back from the Orioles-Tigers game, where my mighty cats picked off the birds 3-0. Now I'm gonna take a shower and get ready for the Red Wings to pick off yet another bird and make sure it doesn't get to learn to fly.

Jack, you get even more karma from me for your thyroid and the operation and for you to use whatever karma is leftover for anything your heart desires.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | May 31, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Sad to hear your news, Scotty. Hugs indeed to the NukeHouse.

Posted by: -pj- | May 31, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, so sorry to hear about Midnight. You and Nukespouse will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: slyness | May 31, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Awww... so sorry about Midnight, Scotty. I have to say our Molly-cat was acting kind of skittish today... like she knew something.

Hugs from all the G family.

Posted by: TBG- | May 31, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh Scotty, I am so sorry. Please give Nukespouse my condolences also. So sad to lose a pet. Thank heavens for memories.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 31, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I just want to know if the biogas plants help cut the smell, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 31, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Now we can describe the Titanic as having "no survivors"...

Posted by: TBG- | May 31, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse


So sorry about Midnight.

Sending extra hugs your way.

Posted by: Moose13 | May 31, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Scotty -- I've had three black cats in the past 32 years -- all individuals, all great. Go look for Midnight II, who is out there waiting for you!

Posted by: nellie4 | May 31, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I'm so sorry to hear about Midnight. Sending hugs and a song your way.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 31, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

scotty-n, so sorry to hear about your kitty. hugs and condolences.

abeac, still can't get total eclipse of the heart of my head, and i'm really not happy about it. (the literal video was hilarious, but then i had to go and watch the original...argh)

Posted by: LALurker | May 31, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

s'nuke-I am so saddened to learn that you had to let go of Midnight. Take good care of yourself and Nuke Spouse.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 31, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, and NukeSpouse, I know you know this, but just gotta say...

This is the last, best, kindest thing we do for those under our care.

Heartbreak is a small price to pay for knowing we've been good guardians.

I am very sorry for your pain, and very proud to know you, that you do what you are called upon to do.

Posted by: Yoki | May 31, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Very nice dog toys:

I like these, they come in various sizes, so My Little Poodle® can get one designed for a small dog. He likes it, too!

Posted by: nellie4 | May 31, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh geez, I am so sorry to hear about Midnight, Scotty. I know it's a really hard time.

Gotta go give the faithful beagle a pupperoni in memory of faithful pets.

Posted by: Kim1 | May 31, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Scotty and Spouse. I'm so sorry about your cat. It's so hard to let go, but you know you made the right decision. You are in my thoughts.

ABeaC, I'm with you about Total Eclipse. I went to sleep with that tune cootie, and I woke up with it this morning. No more literal MTV videos for me!

It really made me laugh though. And I've never even seen a music video before yesterday.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | May 31, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm reading (for the first time, never saw the film)"The Bourne Identity". One of the main characters is a smart, hot, red-headed lass from Toronto.

Brings someone to mind, can't quite figure it out...

Posted by: bobsewell | May 31, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I'm so sorry to hear about Midnight.

I'll take some cat toys to the shelter in Midnight's memory.

Posted by: -dbG- | May 31, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Did you see HBO's movie tonight on Winston Churchill during the war? Very moving.

I'm sure it'll be repeated several times in the coming week.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | May 31, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, so sorry to hear about Midnight monkey boy. My best to you and Nukespouse (I'll catch up with you later...)

G'night, all.


Posted by: -bc- | May 31, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Churchill thing was excellent, Maggie. I'd been looking forward to it for a while. Janet McAteer as Clemmie was excellent, I thought, and Gleason nailed it.

Anybody catch the premiere of the new Edie Falco series, "Nurse Jackie"? Pretty good, I thought. Pretty raw, somewhat steamy.

Red Wings win; congrats ftb and others of that persuasion. Only saw the last minute, but that was quite a brawl they had with what? 7 seconds left?

Susan Boyle hospitalized in England for exhaustion.

'Night, Boodle. (It'll be nice having slyness home and serving up biscuits and ham at Dawn Patrol. A pleasant thought to drift of to sleep thinking about...)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 31, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

You get to get a hospital stay for exhaustion?

Man, there must be millions of American women who wish we had a British style healthcare system right now.

I know I do.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 31, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about Midnight, Scotty and Nuke spouse. I hope that things get back to an even keel soon.

Thanks to all for the kind words and good karma. If I'm unable to speak, my wife and children will consider it a temporary blessing. the dogs, 2 bags full. If I begin to have temper tantrums, that'll be another thing. Legacy stuff.

Posted by: -jack- | June 1, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, sigh.

I had encouraging tales to tell about my friend's happy diabetic cat, and nostalgic tales to tell about my own Midnight who featured in so many of my childhood drawings. But now what I've got is condolences to add to the Boodle pool.

So sorry for your loss.

Posted by: -bia- | June 1, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

So sorry about Midnight, Scotty.

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 1, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I am so sorry to heard about your loss. When we had to have our cat, Robin, put down, she gave me "what for", too, as I held her in my arms for the last time. Words just can't express.... :-(

Posted by: VintageLady | June 1, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Happy Monday, all!

Yeah, yeah, I know, but I had to say it.

VintageLady! Good to see you this morning.

Ham on cream biscuits, just to make Mudge happy this morning. They're in the warmer on the table in the ready room.

A normal day for me today, and I am grateful. I hope the usual walk doesn't do me in, and I look forward to catching up with the laundry.

Posted by: slyness | June 1, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, all. The Boodle mojo helps.

And I fear many more people are going to need shoulders today...


*perfunctory Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 1, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

And we have Joel telling us not to bother printing that ticket for Alpha Centauri.

The best line:

"The problem with interstellar spaceflight is the "interstellar" part. We happen to live in a universe that is strikingly vacuous."

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning everyone.

Scottynuke - well, ya know.

Yello - I like this quote from Joel's article:

"You need physics breakthroughs," Millis said. "Or undiscovered physics."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 1, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Our world is strikingly vacuous indeed; has anybody watched TV lately?

I've got a beef with headline writers this morning. Why to they refer to the medical doctor wha was killed last weekend only as an "abortion provider" or even as "late term abortion provider" in one case. The guy was a doctor and was killed by a nutcase. There is no need to put him on trial on the frontpage.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 1, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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