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On the Far Side of the Moon

Al Reinert's documentary, "For All Mankind," screened at the AFI Silver Theatre last night as part of the Silverdocs festival, and afterward I moderated a panel discussion that featured Reinert and three actual astronauts: Tom Jones, Frank Culbertson and Ken Mattingly. Mattingly orbited the moon on Apollo 16 as the command module pilot, while John Young and Charlie Duke walked on the surface. He told us how, during spaceflight, there's lots of chatter -- except when you go on the far side of the moon:

"It's a great moment when you loses signal and go around the corner and you can just contemplate how beautiful it is."

The movie, released two decades ago and still powerful, captures not only the technical proficiency of Apollo but also its artistry. We see behind the curtain as the astronauts joke and play. They bounce on the moon, being silly, stumbling, acting like kids. As always, the images of the Saturn V taking off, with chunks of ice falling off the rocket into a maelstrom of fire, are awesome to behold. Reinert and his team made an interesting narrative decision: All the Apollo missions are woven together into a composite journey. There is no attempt to explain to the reader precisely which mission is on screen at any given moment. Instead, there's the sense of a single trip to the moon and back. It's great fun.

The most compelling moment of the panel discussion came when Culbertson talked about his anguish when he was on the space station during Sept. 11. He said he could see the black smoke pouring from lower Manhattan -- and then saw a great billowing cloud suddenly form as one of the towers collapsed. On his next orbit, he went right over the Pentagon. He first learned of the attacks when he called Houston that morning and was told, "Frank, we're not having a very good day down here on Earth."

At the end of the night, I asked Mattingly what he thought about a human mission to Mars. He said it can't be done at the moment -- that going to Mars today is harder than going to the moon was when Kennedy declared his goal in 1961.


I'm all in favor of getting away to clear the head. But isn't this taking it a bit far -- especially when you're the governor of a state and a likely presidential candidate? [via Cillizza]:

First lady Jenny Sanford said Monday her husband [Mark Sanford] has been gone for several days over Father's Day weekend and she did not know where.

She said she was not concerned.

"He was writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids," Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press while vacationing with the couple's four sons at their Sullivan's Island beach house.


Gene is taking the buyout but will still be columnizing and sometimes chatting.


Here's a transcript of the Obama presser. Lots of interesting moments. Note his reminder that he and he alone is the president of the United States and has duties different from members of Congress, such as McCain and Graham. His message on Iran, as I hear it: Wait and see. Consequences may come but he won't telegraph [does that metaphor still work?] his intentions. Critics will say this is timid and weak, etc., but the president is saying: I know what I'm doing. The cigarette thing later in the presser is interesting, but hardly answers the question of, for example, has he had a cigarette in the last 6 hours.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 23, 2009; 12:27 PM ET
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Next: The Red Line


"For All Mankind" is a wonderful documentary - I've seen it a couple of times. The narrative that treats all of the missions in a single overarching story arc made a lot of sense to me. All of those Apollo missions occurrred in what - a little over 4 years?

Shoot, hasn't "Lost" run longer than that?


Posted by: -bc- | June 23, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I thought the scene with Tom Jones and that lady eating chicken legs was terrific.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Man, I get in massive trouble when I get home late from work without calling first.

I remember very well seeing that documentary. Truly breathtaking. But scary to think it was 20 years ago - and that Apollo was 40 years ago. Thinking about this too much is gonna make me feel old.

That is a brutally poignant anecdote about being in the space station on September 11. Wow. What complex emotions he must have had.

I am saddened to hear that Gene is taking a buyout. (Not to be confused with a bailout which I understand is something quite different.)

Taking a buyout always seems as if you are playing financial chicken with your longevity. But then, as Gene points out in his chat, he is expecting to obtain additional revenue streams.

His optimism is endearing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I remember thinking that it must have been interesting to be in the Command Module during the Apollo missions when the other two were on the moon.

Now, Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut, once said in an interview that he was much too busy up there to spend a lot of time in deep contemplation. But still. Imaging the feeling of being that separated from all of humanity. Magnificent isolation.

Speaking of the Dark Side of the Moon. I am kind of eager to see this indie film "Moon." It has gotten good buzz, and is directed by Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie. Think about it. Bowie. "The Man who Fell to Earth." "Space Oddity." Pink Floyd.

It all makes sense now...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse


" The rest were passengers, four of which have been identified..."

whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom whom

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Indeed Mudge. I never viewed finger food quite the same way again.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I mean the Tom Jones quote with reference to the finger food. Not the passengers quote. But I've boodled too much. For you know the old saying. "Ask not for which the bell tolls."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@Mudge: Thank you. How do you feel about the rampant misuse of "less" and "fewer"?

Posted by: Southwester | June 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Or 'common' and 'mutual?'

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@Southwester: Careful, he's known to bite when he gets in these moods...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo is now reporting that the train was overdue on brake maintenance. While this is never good, it seems to be beside the point. There was clearly a software glitch. My concern is that people will fixate on the maintenance schedule, and ignore the underlying software glitch.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Common/mutual doesn't bother me too much. Less/fewer bothers me a little more. Who/which, and which/that bother me a lot. "Who/that" makes me crazed.

I'm currently editing something of a medical nature I can't discuss, except to say I seriously want to kill someone in as painful a way as possible.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

When I emailed to complain about the Froomkin firing, I also noted the obvious absence of copy editors. I suppose at some point mispellings/misuses will be so pervasive that no one will notice (like the tomatoes GeneW has been going on about, and with which I'm not sure I agree, having been in the land of thick-skinned tomatoes for too long).

Posted by: seasea1 | June 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, they are also talking about recommendations to replace with cars with newer ones that have "block boxes" and that are said to have increased survivability in a crash. But neither of these factors would have prevented a crash in the first place. It's amazing how easily people get side-tracked onto irrelevant issues. Black boxes don't prevent crashes.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Yoki.

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

@Mudge: How about was/were? Back when I did part-time editing for a secretarial service in my college years that was the one that really got me steamed. These days I just edit code.

Posted by: Southwester | June 23, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

And then there is using "it's" for the possessive, which makes me nuts.

Posted by: slyness | June 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey, 'mudge.

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Several of the writers in one of the previous buy-outs took the money but came back as freelancers for a while. "Technically, Gene is syndicated (but I have no idea how many newspapers actually carry him), having made a play for the Dave Barry slot when Dave 'retired', so he might be able to continue his WaPoMag column as an independent writer. What would become of his chat and his quarterly Pulitzer bids is unknown. But I doubt he is going anywhere anytime soon."

Posted by: yellojkt | June 3, 2009 2:11 PM

So how many points do I get?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

And on the crash - it seems to me it's important to fix all the contributing problems. The software/sensor glitch, the brakes, the operator training, the survivability of the train car. As others have noted, usually these things happen when 2 or 3 things fail at the same time. As Error said, you have to plan for error.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure I'm sorry that Gene's taking the buyout.

If he can make it work for him, good!

I will miss the big lug, but I suspect a volume increase in Boodling come July 2.


Posted by: -bc- | June 23, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree completely Mudge. Fortunately, the NTSB fellow who was part of a WaPo chat earlier seems quite good. In particular, he mentioned the "eerily similar" software glitch some years ago that might have been left unresolved. This, to me, is the alarming revelation.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

yello, I'm deducting points from you, since Gene specifically said that he would continue the chats and would not keep doing long-form stories. -2, I think.

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't have any first-hand or up-close experience with any of the NTSB folk, but my general impression from my reading is that they have some good people there, unlike some other agencies I could name (but won't). (You know who you are.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"EXCERPT: By a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court said a federal appeals court wrongly blocked on environmental grounds the Army Corps of Engineers' waste disposal permit for the mine project. The Alaska mine, which had been closed since 1928, now plans to resume operation and will dump about 4.5 million tons of mine tailings — waste left after metals are extracted from the ore — into the lake located three miles away in the Tongass National Forest.

Court OKs dumping gold mine waste in lake
By H. JOSEF HEBERT – 20 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — A mining company was given the go-ahead by the Supreme Court on Monday to dump waste from an Alaskan gold mine into a nearby 23-acre lake, although the material will kill all of the lake's fish.

The court said that the federal government acted legally in declaring the waste left after metals are extracted from the ore as "fill material" allowing a federal permit without meeting more stringent requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called the decision "great news for Alaska" and said it "is a green light for responsible resource development." The Kensington Goal Mine 45 miles north of Juneau will produce as many as 370 jobs when it begins operation.


"The lake will be as good or better as a fishery than it is today," Ebersole said. The waste deposits are expected to raise the lakebed 50 feet to the current lake surface level and eventually triple its size to 60 acres. The lake contains a variety of common fish that are not expected to survive, according to court documents.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, welcomed the court ruling and said it "resolved the most significant obstacle to the creation of hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and a major boost for the economy of Juneau and Southeast Alaska."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 23, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Gene's buyout will be great for him. He'll still be able to do lots of Post stuff, won't have to do those very hard, exhausting magazine stories, and can turn his many talents to some other ambitious pieces of writing (more books, screenplays, etc.). It's win-win for him.

FYI I posted the Obama transcript. It's worth a read.

Posted by: joelache | June 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I predict that Weingarten becomes a full time professional Twitterer ala Ashton Kutcher.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Another Ringo Lucky person: David Schwimmer.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You gotta be kiddin' me...

I just got ANOTHER Metro alert:

(ID 55715) Disruption at Fort Totten in both directions. Trains are turning back at Rhode Island Avenue & Silver Spring due to a situation outside of Fort Totten station. Shuttle bus service has been established. Expect delays in both directions.

Oh my FSM... Pathetic.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 23, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I watched Obama's press conference. Thought he did quite well, especially when he came right back at Major Garrett (Fox "News"), whose question was more like a sneer. And the guy who said something about "Spock-like logic". The whole bit about whether Obama smokes an occasional cigarette is so trivial it could make me crazy. Again, I thought he answered it well enough.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 23, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who criticizes Obama for using a teleprompter should listen to these press conferences. Obama clearly has no problem working without a script.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@RD: You're forgetting that he uses a teleprompter in the press conference, too, since the whole thing is scripted by the Liberal Media to delude the American People.

Posted by: Southwester | June 23, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I thought Obama's comments on Iran were especially good, especially the way he denied the premise of that nasty "about time" snark.

Obama is making a clean distinction between condemning violence and siding with the demonstrators. Because Obama knows his history. Even a hint of intervention will be quickly latched upon and quickly become dogma.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Got back from downtown about 1/2 hour ago and have been busily backboodling since. And, so, to Englemann, my answer is that I bought my iMac over the phone and something apparently shipped because there was a FedEx sticker on my door. They'll come back tomorrow and I will definitely be here!

It was really gorgeous downtown, in spite of the 1/2 hour I had to take to find a parking garage which had space. Nuttin' but sunshine and puffy little clouds. Rare in these here parts lately. The lunch meeting was its usual terrific self, and the drive home was lovely, indeed, despite the tailgater truck smooching my car's backside.

Mudge, as you well know, I'm definitely with you on the "who/that" business. I really despise the use of "that" in place of "who" and equally "less" in place of "fewer" -- ah, but language does evolve (no intelligence or design about it!), and dumbing down generally does seem to winnow its way into the language eventually. I call it laziness, because I am really enamored of language and like to hear it as it should be heard. But it all is what it is. I can translate in my mind when people mess it up and just go on my way.

Hope I can find the Obama press conference somewhere online. If any of you have a link you'd like to post to ease my way, 'twould be greatly appreciated.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 23, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The comeback to the Spock comment was good -- you makin fun of my ears?

Posted by: joelache | June 23, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before and it's still true but the teleprompter attacks are a Rovian ploy to ridicule one of Obama's strong suits: public speaking. For the party of Bush to attack an obviously eloquent speaker like Barack is sheer chutzpah.

It also echoes something I saw many years ago. I found a poorly mimeographed racist tract by a genuinely Klan related group. It discussed in great length the tendency of local news broadcasts to pair a charismatic well-spoken black man with a bubbly attractive white woman. The racist explanation was that black men could be trained to read words very well and carefully but that their inferior intelligence made them incapable of understanding what they were reading. This tract went on to explicitly compare black newscasters to trained chimpanzees.

Every time I see or hear right wingers go off on the teleprompter meme, I feel they are deliberately or subconsciously mining that subliminal suggestion that a black man can't really understand things that he is just reading off a page.

It also plays into the racist theory that the Holocaust Museum shooter believed that Obama is just a puppet of Jewish interests and is parroting what they want him to say.

So every time I see a teleprompter joke (and this week's Prickly City's are just one example) I cringe because the subtle racism that is being spread just rankles me so much.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I laughed out loud at the ears bit. Sad, isn't it, that the word "logic" has somehow become vaguely disreputable.

Sometimes I have this weird compulsion to check out some of the far-right blogs. The meme now is that Obama has shifted. What I cannot determine is if these bloggers are really that incapable of making the distinction between criticizing violence and actively backing one side in this dispute, or if they are simply being deliberately disingenuous to make political points.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 23, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

When in doubt always go with deliberately disingenuous. The Palins' mock umbrage at Letterman is just one case in point.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@RD: There's a culture there that refuses to admit anything good about the other side. The "either they're all wrong or we're all wrong and we're not wrong" attitude is pervasive on both sides, but especially so on the right.

Posted by: Southwester | June 23, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

taking things out of context is an art. Partially, because of their rampant unpopularity, we are missing some classic context avoidance.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 23, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Did Gene have a leg to stand on?

Posted by: russianthistle | June 23, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

We socialists have developed a case of the itches that is definitely legendary in that we are constantly wearing sheep's clothing and that stuff can really chafe.

Mutton, honey.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 23, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, I was able to find the news conference on C-Span and watched it from cover-to-cover. Man, Obama is cool as you-know-what! He is tremendous, and, alas, he's gonna be a really hard act to follow.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 23, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

You are in fine form this evening, russianthistle.

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki, a day off (worked anyway...), but ready to relax for a couple of hours and listen to some jazz. Wanna come along?

Posted by: russianthistle | June 23, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Ooooooohhhhh, JAZZZZZZZZ. May I come along, too?

You know, it really pays to be resourceful. I've been meaning to check out the Staples stores to get XP for the PC side of my Mac, but I keep missing my windows (so to speak) of opportunity. So I called Quill (which is now owned by Staples). Turns out they only sell Vista now (*gag*) which means that Staples only sells Vista, too. I called Microcenter (there's one relatively near me up Rockville Pike, and I can pick up some stuff from Trader Joe's while I'm there, too) and they have XP! I told the guy on the phone that I really, truly loved him and I know he blushed.

Gettin' there.

Hey, Weed and Yoki, do you guys like Cleo Laine? I really do, and I have a couple of her CDs, including the one she did with James Galway on the flute. Very, very nice.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 23, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse


I was doing the manager a favor and did a really early shift on my off day and was riding through Bethesda on my bike heading home when I passed a summer lunchtime concert. Usually, first impression... they ain't any good... and you keep going--just a group who got a gig because the locals didn't have a clue how to book music.

Well, immediately, I thought, these two guys are good! Turned out, after I slowed down for a second that they were my friends Jen and Scott Smith--Naked Blue, playing as a duo. I got a treat of a free concert by two fantastic musical producers and writers.

As free advertising for a free event, you can catch Naked Blue (Baltimorons) at the BBQ battle at about 3:15 on Saturday downtown DC.

will give you snippets of some nice songs, or just go to and listen to Jen's song "Ordinary Girl" which she will proudly tell you was used for a pron movie. If it appears in the movie within the first 10 minutes, I guess it gets heard a lot.

See you guys later!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | June 23, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I am *so* there, Weed. I'll bring some wine. I haven't listened to Cleo Laine in donkeys' ages, but I used to love her. That husky power is amazing, isn't it?

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I kilt it.

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Press coinference about an hour ago reveals that the second train's emergency brake system WAS deployed, and that the woman operator did in fact hit the "mushroom" emergency brake button. Still don't know when she deployed it, but she did. Also don't know what happened to brake system, but the brake rotors were "blued," from heating, indicating that they were deployed and working to some extent.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 23, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to know this, 'mudge. I read the investigation chat to which RD_P referred earlier, and was really shocked at how many questioners, with no information at all, desperately wanted to pin it on the on-coming driver's distraction or incompetence.

And then I thought, it is that same demonization thing that Weingarten spoke after his last story about heated babies. Everybody who rides public transit *needs* to feel reassured that it isn't the mechanics that failed. Because if it is, it means they are vulnerable. Much better to convince themselves that the operator must have been texting or talking on her cell. That makes it safer to get on the subway tomorrow morning.

Magical thinking, as Didion would have it.

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

Eleanor Holmes Norton (feisty DC Congresswoman) on channel 9, as well as Post story, report two of the fatalities were Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr., retired commander of the DC National Guard, and his wife. As it happens, I had met and interviewed Gen. Wherley about 10 years ago when I was doing a story at Andrews AFB, about a bunch of high school ROTC cadets who were participating in some AF ROTC contest. Nice guy.

I remember the day because I also interviewed a couple of former Tuskegee Airmen that same day at the event. That's an interview one doesn't forget.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 23, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Norton also just told the reporter on channel 9 that the reason that Metro never replaced those old cars despite many recommendations over the years to do so was that Congress never gave Metro the money to do so. Metro had acknowledged the recommendations and asked for money-- but guess what? They never got it.

Lemme see, lemme think. Who was in the White House eight of the last years? Who controlled Congress for most of that time? Uh, jeez. Guy's name is on the tip of my tDidn't wanna spend money on a tongue.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 23, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the garble.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 23, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

That's bush, isn't it?

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, if it weren't for magical thinking, some of us wouldn't think at all.

brag, saw your digs on the NYT online real-estate section. Nice. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | June 23, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

dbG, this is how I maintain my optimism!

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Lewis Black will be on with Olbermann to talk about Gov. Sanford. This should be good.

Posted by: badsneakers | June 23, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

No, not Bush. Chain something. Lon Chaney. Gene Chandler. Chain, Chain, Chain of Fools. Something like that. Mean, snarly guy, got a bad ticker. He was running things.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 23, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a Dick, mudge.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 23, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Whew, TBG, I was about to poke the boodle and declare it deid.

How's the beach?

Posted by: slyness | June 23, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Great points, boodlers, on people blaming the train operator -- reflexively.

Meanwhile, Mark Sanford supposedly was on the Appalachian Trail -- so why was his car at the Atlanta airport??

Posted by: joelache | June 23, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Joel, when I go to the trail, I always go to the Atlanta airport. Same with when I go to Mars.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 23, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

cheney, cheney, cheney
too insaney
for this crazy world
cheney, cheney, cheney
such a drainey
on our hopeful world
all the things we could've done
If we weren't stuck with cheney
in his hell-bound world

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 23, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

If you have a tune cootie, set it free.
If it comes back, just give up, you're stuck with it all night.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 23, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I think that Sanford was doing something he oughtn't to have been doing (at least if he wants to get re-elected) both this week and at easter, but with his wife's compliance. How weird is that?

Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

As for Sanford's mysterious road trip, has anybody seen Charlie Crist in the past week? Just askin'.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 23, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | June 23, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Olbermann has noted that while Sanford was missing, it was National Hike Naked Day. And he had Lewis Black commenting on it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | June 23, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

hmm...Sanford and Crist way below the radar, Sanford vehicle in atlanta, claimed to be on the AT, National Hike Naked Day...sounds like A Boys' Weekend Out.

Used the day to transform the soot stained walls of the office to a Martha Stewart flax colour, gloss white trim. The resilient flooring is trashed, so tomorrow, we'll scrape it up, and lay a new peel/stick floor, kind of a beige, faux late dealie. The exterior painting will be done, and I hope to remove the roof over the loo, replace the plywood over the rafters and paper it, installing tin if time allows. The boss is coming in from Shelby on Thursday to see our digs and accompany us to the cemeteries where four monuments will be set.

Posted by: -jack- | June 23, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

As far Sandford's car being at the Atlanta airport -- well, did he say what part of the Trail he was exploring?

[For anyone answering, "Happy," let's hear what the man has to say first, eh?]


Posted by: -bc- | June 24, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

wonder if any hikers have this whilst on the AT?

Posted by: -jack- | June 24, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh, for pity's sake!

Posted by: Yoki | June 24, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

So sad to read about the Metro accident. To say that it could be worse doesn’t help the families whose love ones are not going to come home.

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 24, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

My periwinkle has been picked clean by 5 National Geographic quality slugs. Harumph…

Wait….it’s the other way round…they weren’t NG quality then….they are now.

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 24, 2009 3:44 AM | Report abuse

This is how California breaks off and forms its own island. I hope it doesn’t happen ….

The Interactive Graphic is cool.

A Swiss reporter in the article is named Philipp Loser. It reminds me of a German who visited us many years ago. Our company bought formwork from Germany. The German company sent their rep to visit us. His first name was Bodo. In the Malay language, “bodoh” means stupid. The pronunciation of the 2 words is the same. After someone told him that, he had his name in his name card changed to “Bo.”

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 24, 2009 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Hellloooo! Anybody here this morning?

Wow. Here I am with breakfast, and the ready room is empty. What gives?

Oh well, I'll start the coffee and put the ham biscuits in the warmer on the table.

Posted by: slyness | June 24, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone. This morning I am teaching a class to innocent new employees. They will be subjected to several hours of pedantic exposition.

It's our way of toughening them up.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 24, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! For once my timing is great, just in time for a slyness breakfast-guess I'll put the cheetohs and cottage cheese away.

Up late last night for a meeting that didn't end until 10:00PM then a 40 minute drive home. Off to another meeting this morning. I think most of the demand that is driving up gas prices is from small town officials going to meetings trying to figure out how to get federal stimulus $.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 24, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I listened to the conference live on WTOP, and I guess it's my turn in the editor's chair --

The NTSB official was very careful to note only the verifiable facts and not anything remotely resembling conclusions.

The "mushroom" was down, but the NTSB qualified that with "we don't know if a rescuer hit it."

There was evidence the brakes deployed, yes, but there is no evidence as yet to attribute that to the operator or a far-too-late function of the automatic system.

I yelled at the network radio anchor (or his writer, take your pick) for very erroneously saying "The NTSB says the operator hit the brakes," because that is flat-out wrong.

Sure, we as individuals can construct reasonable conclusions based on the limited facts available, but we need to remember there's still a lot of data to examine. In my limited-intelligence opinion, whatever they can glean from the relay system and central control computers will be vital in determining what happened.

*particularly-Happy-Hump-Day-'cuz-there-be-baseball-tickets-in-hand-for-tonight Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 24, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, we were wondering if you would be taking in a game while the Sox are in town. Have a great time! Still miserably cold, rainy, overcast and hopeless here. I won’t bore you with how suicidal the general population has become. Just want to say that there have been three ‘mostly sunny’ days all month. I am trying to stay sane by preparing for vacation, list making and purchases of toiletries and stuff.

Posted by: badsneakers | June 24, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Gut morninkz, boodle!
Freezing but clear weather here.
Heading for my local grocery for some fresh bread (bread arrives here at least twice a day). I like to watch butter melt on bread.

Everyone haff a gut day.


Posted by: Braguine | June 24, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Sorry I was late to muster this morning, slyness. When we woke up this morning we discovered we had no water, so had to use some bottled water, as needed, for various and sundry. We just found out a few minutes ago the reason was that overnight there were THREE, count 'em, three water main breaks on the road near our house, and so the entire neighborhood was dry. And no indication when it would be turned back on. I nver heard of three breaks on one street at one time, ever.

But thanks for the coffee and biscuits.

Meanwhile, a very busy day in

Today in Nautical, Aviation, Meteor and UFO History

June 24, Midsummer’s Day in England, and therefore also Midsummer’s Night, a good night for dreaming, perhaps.
1340: England’s King Edward III personally leads his 250 ships in defeating a larger French fleet off Flanders in what became known as the Battle of Sluys, which had two effects: it gave the English command of the English Channel, which ensured that the 100 Years’ War would take place in France, rather than in England. Edward then commenced that war three months after his victory by invading France.
1497: Italian explorer John Cabot (real name: Giovanni Caboto) celebrates his 47th birthday aboard his ship Mathew by making history’s cheapest discovery: he sights the coast of Newfoundland and claims North America for his employer, England. When he returns with news of his discovery, King Henry VII rewards Cabot with a prize of 10 pounds, and pension of 20 pounds, which Cabot has difficulty collecting. Newfoundland and Labrador celebrate this day as Discovery Day.
1664: English invaded the Dutch colony of New Netherland in North America and had control of it by October.
1938 – A meteorite weighing 450 tons explodes about 12 miles over Chicora, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. Two fragments of the meteorite were soon found. They weighed 242g and 61g, and were discovered some miles short of the calculated point of impact of the main mass, which is yet to be found. Two more small fragments were found nearby in 1940. Many reports of the Chicora Meteor mention that a cow was struck and injured by a falling stone; other accounts say that the cow was in fact killed by the stone. The meteor was an olivine-hypersthene chondrite. It was divvied up between the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution.
1947: Kenneth Arnold, flying a light aircraft and searching for another small airplane that had crashed on Mt. Rainier, Wash., sees what he claims is a “flying saucer.” Although this is by no means the first such sighting, it is the first widely reported in the media and the first of the “big three” UFO incidents (along with the Mantell incident and the Roswell incident) that touch off a wave of flying saucer fever in the 1940s and 1950s.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 24, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Technically, I suppose it was a meteor that exploded, showering the ground with meteorites, yes? And I can never, ever remember which is the stalagmite and which the stalagtite.

Meanwhile, Tom Shales had a nice appreciation of Ed McMahon, and other second bananas in general, but I lost the link to it and now it appeasrs to be missing from the home page. Alors.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 24, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Here's the link, Mudge.

It's on the Style page...

Posted by: slyness | June 24, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Midsummer's Night, they are rocking at Stonehenge. So to speak.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 24, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Why I love the British so much: headline in the London Daily Mail, June 22: "The New Nip and Tuck: N1pple Surgery Soars as Women Keen for Posh's Pert Appearance Go Under Knife."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 24, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

New kit, friends.

Posted by: Yoki | June 24, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

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