Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A Lake On Mars

There's new evidence of an ancient lake on Mars, a good site for future robotic probes trying to scratch up Martian microbes.

Planetary scientists think the oldest surfaces on Mars formed during the wet and warm Noachan epoch from about 4.1 billion to 3.7 billion years ago that featured a bombardment of large meteors and extensive flooding. The newly discovered lake is believed to have formed during the Hesperian epoch and postdates the end of the warm and wet period on Mars by 300 million years, according to the study.

Whoa. I'm still trying to memorize all the geological epochs on Earth -- you know, Devonian, Triassic, etc. -- so don't go expecting me to memorize the Martian ones, too.

Here's a quick thought, proffered without thinking through all the ramifications, but just to get it some air: Why not reconfigure the human space flight program to maximize the chances of landing some astronaut-geologists on Mars in the next 15 years? Maybe that's what NASA says it is doing, but a Mars mission is still very much TBD, and for the foreseeable future the action is geared toward the moon. And even before we go to the moon we're still building the space station -- the utility of which is unclear.

Mars is where the big questions are. (But, yeah, it's an awfully long way away, and how do you shield the astronauts from all that lethal radiation?)


From the archives, here's a Why Things Are on Mars and Venus, from June 24, 1994 (I think it's still basically correct, but tell me if I'm wrong about that):

Why didn't life ever get a toehold on Venus or Mars even though it pops up in all kinds of weird places on Earth?

New Jersey, for example. Surely that's harsher than your average crater on Mars.

Seriously, there's a feast-or-famine quality to life in our solar system. Our planet is literally crawling with it, from deep sea vents to subterranean rock in Antarctica. Meanwhile every other planet and moon in the solar system is severely dead, a hopeless wasteland.

Life on Earth is ubiquitous because it's adaptive. With enough time it can get comfortable anywhere. We should remember that the proverbial primordial soup (or is it the primordial proverbial soup?) wasn't a harsh environment at all. It was rich in complex molecules, warm, dynamic -- pretty cushy if you were a young amino acid in a hurry.

Originally things were pretty nice on Venus and Mars too.

"Venus, Earth and Mars probably started off with fairly similar climates," says Chris McKay, a NASA research scientist at Moffett Field, Calif.

But Venus never had a chance. It is too close to the sun. The heat boiled off the water. "Life as we know it requires liquid water," says planetary scientist David Paige of UCLA. To make matters worse, solar radiation broke down the evaporated water molecules in the Venusian upper atmosphere, and the hydrogen escaped into space.

The carbon dioxide molecule is made of sturdier stuff. It accumulated in Venus's atmosphere, trapping solar radiation. Hence, a runaway greenhouse effect. Hence, surface temperatures of 900 degrees F.

Hence, no bunnies.

Mars is the big mystery. About 3.5 billion years ago it was warm and wet, and liquid water flowed across the surface. There could have been life!

So why did Mars go belly-up? Size, probably. Mars is not nearly as large as Earth. Without a lot of gravity, it had a hard time keeping its atmosphere from evaporating into space.

Most important, it lacked tectonic forces. On Earth, we have colliding tectonic plates, which seems like your typical boring geology factoid but is something that turns out to be crucial to a living planet. The carbon in atmospheric dissolves in water and forms calcium carbonate, piling up on the bottom of lakes and the ocean floor. But some of the Earth's crust gets subducted under adjacent plates, is heated, and finally is spewed out from volcanoes, with the vaporized carbon rejoining the atmosphere.

Without this kind of tectonic dynamism, Mars couldn't recycle its carbon. The atmospheric carbon dioxide chemically reacted with surface elements. Gradually the carbon in the air diminished. The greenhouse effect lessened. Mars got colder, and, finally, the surface water evaporated or froze.

An interesting asterisk to this depressing tale: Because Mars is small, it may have lived fast, so to speak. On Earth, life evolved verrrrrrry slowly. McKay, the NASA scientist, argues that the Martian atmosphere could have become oxygen-rich more quickly than Earth's, and thus life might have evolved rapidly into oxygen-demanding multicellular organisms. "It could have had the buildup of multicellular organisms, dinosaurs, people, everything," he says.

There could have been Martians! And they could have died gasping!

Today Mars is a complete disaster. There may be liquid water under the surface of Mars, but there are not likely to be Martian mole-people. And although there are scenarios in which life may have formed in the mild upper atmosphere of Venus or in liquid water under the frozen surface of the Jovian moon Europa or beneath the hazy cloud-cover of the Saturnian moon Titan, that's probably wishful thinking.

Cold, dead and desolate are the norms in this universe. The way we see it, life is lucky to be alive.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 18, 2009; 11:46 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Humongous Science Questions
Next: Infinitely Mind-boggling


I love this Kit; it follows right along with Captured by Aliens. Thanks, Joel.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I've always been suspicious of the primordial soup theory. I'm more inclined to think of it as primordial bisque, at least in the beginning. Then, as various life forms began swimming around it in and growing into multi-celled creatures, it became a primordial gazpacho (remember, it was basically all just room-temperature). Finally, after millions of years and the life forms became seriously chunk-style, it became primordial ratatouille.

Then came that miraculous day when out of the sea crawled the very first primordial hors d'oeuvres. Possibly a shrimp on toast points, I dunno.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when I don't eat a hearty slyness-style breakfast.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If there is indeed frozen water on Mars, there is one thing for certain that you can wager on... someone will try to get a bit of it to make a Vodka out of it... if only a drop per bottle. We all know that Vodka drinkers pay for the exclusivity of the source. Those poor souls that must suffice with towing an iceberg back to the plant...

Posted by: russianthistle | June 18, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

mmm, ceviche

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 18, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I did overlook the primordial consomme and primordial chowder periods.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

3 billion years, huh? Guess that means the best waterfront lots are long gone.

Posted by: kguy1 | June 18, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

You a fan of ceviche, too, DNA? Which kind do you like, the finely-diced or the chuck-style? I make a mean fine-diced ceviche.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

That "Why Things Are" column reminds me of the kind of brilliant and funny writing that first attracted me to the Achenbach brand. And it mentions bunnies! I like bunnies.

Anyway, as I may have mentioned, I'm not a big fan of manned spaceflight, but if we are going to get our Trek Freak on, then we need to do so in a big way.

That is, if we are going to commit to a manned space program it should be truly epic. I believe that this means something with high technological risk and with the potential for a revolutionary scientific payoff. To me, this means doing something more than just recapitulating the glory days of Apollo. This so-called "Joel Initiative" might be just the ticket.

And I note that, in reference to Mars, you did not specifically exclude the possibility of bunnies.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I have alerted a colleague who works on Venus. I heard a talk of his from a few years back, that had a somewhat richer scenario for the sad history of any living things on Venus. And, of course, we have the recent discovery of time-variable methane releases on Mars. It might be non-biological geochemistry (serpentinization for those who know -- which doesn't include me), or it might be farting bacteria. Worthy of investigation.

Initial forays in search of alien life definitely should be robotic. The pesky thing about astronauts is that they are alive and crawling with bugs. Revolting sacks of microbes, when you get right down to it. That makes them prone to creating confusion. Follow-up studies, once we know whether we can distinguish alien life from Earth life, could conceivably be manned.

Apollo was successful, in part, because we cautiously tested each step before the next one. Going to Mars is like figuring out how to ride a unicycle to the corner grocery (Mr. Moon's Grocery) and deciding that that enables us to go ahead and build our own Tesla roadster with enough range to get us to Philadelphia and back again.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Forget a lake on Mars, we're gonna have a lake around DC if'n the consarned rain doesn't let up!

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 18, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Your colleague has a helluva commute, SciTim...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 18, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse


That a combo of Noah and Achen--minus Bach?

I'm focused myself on the Eocene, Miocene, and Oligocene--the itsy bitsy horses and the giraffe-like camels.

I did in the last week, go out and treat myself to two "On the Origins of Species," at the half-price book store. One is coffee-table sized, the other with gilt edges and a satin ribbon attached as bookmark, is pocket-sized. I may try to get a small velvet pouch for the latter so I can carry it in my purse as the occasion warrants, such as:

Doctor's visit on Dec. 26 about 18 monhts ago...

Deschner: How was your Christmas?
Me: It's a moot point?
Deschner: Whaaa..?
Me: I don't believe in the tenets of Christmas.
More chatter, then a mention of swearing on the Bible.
Me: I wouldn't swear on the Bible.
Deschner: Would you agree to swear on Darwin then, what is it? On "On the Origin of Species?"?
Me: Yeah, I would swear on that.

So, I'll pocket Darwin when the need arises to profess him and tell the truth.

Posted by: laloomis | June 18, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh wow. I just learned there are three Martian epochs. The Noachian, Hesperian, and Amazonian. The Noachian is when there may have been a large flood. (Get it? Get it?) It is also when the Tharsis Bulge formed.

It's good to keep stuff like this in mind.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Dejah Thoris bulged??? Did Carter know??

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 18, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's because I am probably overdosing on cold meds, but I think "Tharsis bulge" is an unreasonably funny phrase. Almost as funny as "Visitors Guide to Pittsburgh ."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Dammit, Scotty, you beat me by three seconds.

Curiously, that story on the North Korean insurance fraud business just completely disappeared from the front page, lock, stock and barrel. Gone. Kaput. And quite possibly for a good reason. The tease said NK committed fraud, "officials say." But when you read the story, which is four pages long, there *were* virtually no officials quoted anywhere. There was a single lame sentence quoting one named U.S. official, who said almost nothing. The bulk of the story came from a much-quoted NK defector, who may or may not be right -- but he's certainly no "official" of any kind. Then he was extensively rebutted by the British lawyer of the NK insurance company--and whether he's right or wrong, he's hardly an "official" either. (And he says the defector is nuts. But then, he's the lawyer for the other side.) The third major person quoted extensively was a completely unnamed British "expert" on internation insurance fraud cases. Also not anybody's "official."

Another case of bad headline/tease writing. And where did the story go?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Oops, sorry about breakfast this morning, Mudge. We'll do better tomorrow. How about scrambled eggs on croissants with ham and cheese (one of my favs, BTW)?

SciTim, we can ignore the jokesters.

Posted by: slyness | June 18, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What's so funny? I used to hear people say that all the time when I worked at the med school. "Hey doc, tharsis bulge on ma neck. Whaddya thinik?"

Posted by: kguy1 | June 18, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - well, you know I agree. You can sterilize a robot big time. Astronauts tend to get all cranky about it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, there's also a headline declaring "Teen Births Rising." Who are these people giving birth to teenagers?

Posted by: Raysmom | June 18, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

But are Martian tomatoes as famous as Jersey tomatoes?

Tell me no. It was bad enough that I had to cross the river to get almost-heirloom Jersey tomato plants this year.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 18, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If there was a big lake,perhaps there were some FISH?

Just got back to west by god and was greated by a beaver swimming in the river with sticks and grass in his mouth or paws.I am sure he takes credit for that flat stretch of the river there.

Oh,hello everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 18, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Fish? I'd be deliriously happy with stromatolites.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Yannow... this may be one of the few forums on which I wouldn't bat an eye that someone said that, Scotty! Works on Venus. Wow!

Reminds me of a friend who was amazed at how modern Dulles Airport is... "It's got *satellite* parking!" he exclaimed.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Without a lot of gravity, it had a hard time keeping its atmosphere from evaporating into space."

To me, this conjures up the image of a cartoon planet with arms and those puffy white gloves on, desperately grabbing at clouds as they slip out into the cosmos.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I thought the new theory is that life originated in the acidic, sulfurous and salty water found around submarine fumerolles, in the primordial warm vinaigrette so to speak. Then came lettuce, croûtons and much later, bacon bits to form the Frisée aux Lardons of life.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 18, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Yo Tim,do those Stromatolites like Canadian nightcrawlers?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 18, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'll be ...whatever. But the word "Noachian" (misspelled above in the piece Joel quoted; the error isn't Joel's it's in the Science Daily piece) really does come from "Noah." Here's Wiki: "Noachis Terra (lit. "Land of Noah") is an extensive southern landmass (terra) of the planet Mars. It lies roughly between the latitudes −20° and −80° and longitudes 30° west and 30° east.

"The term "Noachian epoch" is derived from this region."

Appears that the name Noah has that "ch" sound on the end of it in Hebrew.

Meanwhile, the Hesperian Epoch is named after the Hesperian Plain (planum and planita, whatever a planita is), which appears to have been named after the Hesperides, three nymphs who lived on an island surrounded by an ocean. And yep, the Amazonian was named after the women warriors.

Myself, I think astronomers are getting a bit too heavy-handed with the all the Greek and Latin (sorry, TBG and mo) and Biblical references.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Hummmm, THAT is a stromatolite.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 18, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Row, row, your canoe
Gently on Mars lake.
Noachian, Noachian, Noachian-
Life’s still all jake.

Puff, puff, your rocket
Gently across Mars
No more Noachian, Noachian, no more--
Lakes are now scars

Walk, walk, your rovers
Gently on deserts,
Pat the Tharsis bulge, pat the Tharsis bulge--
Water the red dirts…

.... that's all I got....

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

You think it's just an accident that all those regions, and the associated epochs, have watery names?

Generally, each planet gets some guiding principle in nomenclature. Venus gets goddesses of love and something like it, Mercury gets artists and hot things (hence, Caloris Basin), Uranus gets characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Neptune gets nymphs and assorted watery god characters, Jupiter gets "good friends" of Zeus and not such good friends of Hera.

Earth gets the Grand Tetons. Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@SciTim: It's a wonder that there aren't more anti-gay rights groups up in arms about a moon being named Ganymede.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that anti-gay rights groups do not emphasize classical scholarship in their members, or they might be arguing for the elimination of all books on Greek mythology and Greek history. They would have picketed against Disney's "Hercules"

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

A bunch of butch WWF lady persons were watery? The Amazons came out of the Ukraine.

I don't especially mind the idea of themes, but there's really no need to name a mountain a "mons," or a plain a "planum" or a sea (even a dried one) a "maris." That's just pretentious. Like doctors with their friggin' Latin. Things can get out of hand, and they have.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

@SciTim: Actually I think there were plenty of other reasons to protest Disney's "Hercules".

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Why Disney's "Hercules"?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@Mudge: Cartoon some years back. From the trailers I remember, it's the sort of thing anyone who knows Heracles from Hercules probably wouldn't his kids to see.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Never mind Heracles, I'm still wondering about Dejah Thoris' bulge...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 18, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

This was my favorite cartoon as a kid...

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the wabbit died, Scotty.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Amazons came from the plains, but there's a watery connection in the current usage. (Actually, I thought they were Scythian).

Why picket "Hercules"? Because of all the crypto-homoeroticism that is surely trying to recruit young boys to the ancient Greeks' wicked gay agenda.

Hercules wasn't too good, but it introduced me to Susan Egan, who has a ... fabulous ,,, voice. Being geeks, we kept hearing her in voice-acting roles in animated films, then we'd see her in the 'making of' features and wonder why we had never heard of this beautiful woman with the incredibly sexy voice in anything but animated films. Evidently, it is because we are geeks. I just looked at her IMDB listing, and it is quite lengthy with live-action roles, including House (though not Lost).

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Made of cheese and baloney,
Is a big fat phony.
Fighting for his life,
with a rubber knife,
with the strength of ten,
little paper men!
He's my hero,

-- from a friend of mine, written in 4th grade.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Disney's Hercules was scrubbed clean. His father's a good guy, plays for only one team and his mother is a loving woman. Hades, assorted monsters and the Titans are the the heavies. The only sulphurous caracter on Hercules' side is a satyre who trains him as a Hero.
Hercules doesn't massacre his family either. Boring. Lots of painful songs too. I must have listened to it 500 times. The girls loved that movie.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 18, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@shriek: Actually that one doesn't bother me nearly as much as that "Anastasia" cartoon. I had to sit through that one once and was so appalled that afterward I insisted the impressionable young viewer I was accompanying learn what really happened to Anastasia and her family. She was not amused.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Planitas are little hors d'oeuvres that you nibble when you're drinking your margaritas.

Posted by: laloomis | June 18, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Wiki: "The Amazons ... are a nation of all-female warriors in Classical and Greek mythology. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia (modern territory of Ukraine). Other historiographers place them in Asia Minor or Libya."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Planeta, now that's another chapter and verse.

THE ASTRA PLANETA were the gods of the five wandering stars or planets. They were named Phainon (the planet of Kronos, Roman Saturn), Phaethon (the planet of Zeus, Roman Jupiter), Pyroeis (the planet of Ares, Mars), Eosphoros (the planet of Aphrodite, Venus), and Stilbon (the planet of Hermes, Mercury). In Greek vase painting they were depicted as youths diving into the river Okeanos with the rising of Helios the sun.

LL: The accompanying graphic shows only four young gods in their Speedos, but you might want to leisurely wander over and take a gander.

Posted by: laloomis | June 18, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@SWer... when my husband first heard an ad for Disney's Anastasia, he was appalled... "They're making a cartoon about that horrible story!?"

My kids never saw it. Once they heard the real story they lost interest.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

What I could never understand about Disney's "Anastasia" was why they ever made it, much less promote it the way they did. They didn't get one single fact even remotely correct, beyond the fact that the Czar had a daughter by that name. Got the age wrong, the circumstances wrong, got Rasputin all wrong...the list of errors is just endless, well beyond even the wildest Hollywood distortions of history. "Blazing Saddles" is practically a documentary compared to "Anastasia."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, you shoulda seen the preview for the next Disney "Princess" film bc and NukeSpouse and I saw a couple weeks ago...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 18, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@Mudge: How 'bout the Pocahontas movie? I cringe at thought of innocent children believing the colonization of America played out like that.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Depends on your perspective, 'Mudge...

It's a takeoff on the "kiss the frog" fable, set in New Orleans. The "princess" turns into a frog after the kiss. The amount of melanin in the princess's skin is of interest, apparently.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Never saw it, but read the reviews about how historically awful it was.

I think the last Disney animation I watched was during the Eisenhower administration.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Don't tell me...the princess becomes...Ru-Paul?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of previews, how can it be that we go to see something like "Last Chance Harvey" (not bad) and get hit with trailers for "Fast and Furious" and "Terminator" and "Transformers" and "G.I Joe" and every other testosterone riddled 'splosion infested CGI driven piece of Michael Bay dreck-ola on the planet? Doesn't anybody ever stop to think that perhaps those who have paid to see the one are perhaps not the target demographic for the other? As the ol' Jewish carpenter once said, "When I became a man I put away childish things."

Posted by: kguy1 | June 18, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"testosterone riddled 'splosion infested CGI driven piece of Michael Bay dreck-ola" is a GREAT quote, kguy.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree, those previews are NOT rated acceptable for all audiences.

My mom was a bit upset at seeing all the violence in movie trailers before the Star Trek movie began.

She's probably not going back to the movies anytime soon.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

...but not available as a Boodle handle. Sorry.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I saw "Pearl Harbor" and it left a bad bad really bad aftertaste.

Posted by: kguy1 | June 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What about "Count Dreck-ola", Mudge?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

If we're complaining about Post-Walt Disney (the Eisner era) butchering story lines, let's talk about Little Mermaid. Every time I was forced to watch that with a child, usually the Boy, I'd make sure the child knew the Real Ending. She got her legs, lost her tongue, and every step hurt like knives.

Standing alone as a story, unconnected to any actual mythology, I didn't think Hercules was that bad. Of course, it helps that James Woods was the bad guy. Jeremy Irons as the bad guy helped Lion King too. In fact, Disney's voice-over talent has been pretty good, setting aside their lines.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

@kguy1: I didn't see Pearl Harbor, but I doubt it would upset me as much as Braveheart did.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The Jungle Book has little or no relation to Kipling's book, but it's a fine swingin' movie.

Sometimes we just need to teach our kids that Disney is always fiction. Even when they claim to base it on another work of fiction.

The one Disney toon I can think that comes closest to the literary work is "The headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow."

The story text is actually read aloud in the cartoon and the action illustrates it all. This meant when I read it for American Literature in college, I started having flashbacks to the Disney cartoon and the 'Toon Ichabod Crane.

I would argue that there is, in fact, a benefit to having Disney NOT follow the story line too closely.

How many of youse guys read "A Christmas Carol" lately? Anybody managed not to recall Goofy as Marley while reading, or hear Uncle Scrooge's voice quacking "Bah Humbug!"

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast were pretty good, I thought. I liked the Lion King well enough, but it was a poor excuse for a musical -- the songs did not advance the plot very well.

Mudge go see the Hayao Miyazaki movies that Disney has released in English -- except for Princess Mononoke, which is kind of incomprehensible and ultra-violent. My favorites are Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. CintheS is not as good as Spirited Away, but I love all the fanciful modes of flight.

You also might like Porco Rosso for the same reason as CintheS -- not a great movie, but I like the obsession with care-free swash-buckling sea-plane pilots zooming about over what barely resembles the Mediterranean. Piracy, buckled swashes, and a dashing, heroic, crusty old pilot who has inexplicably been transformed into a pig with hands and feet. The fact of his transformation is surprising to the other characters, but does not seem impossible to anyone. In the climactic fight scene, the heroic pig pilot does good, he saves the day -- and he DOES NOT get redeemed and turned back into a human being. He flies off into the sunset. "Who WAS that pig man?" I believe that Susan Egan may also have voiced a character in this movie, although I did not see it in her IMDB filmography.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

One more hour of work and then I'm on vacation. Going to the beach on Saturday for an entire week. Gathering with the massive extended family (including 6-month-old great niece!).

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I liked Princess Mononoke, along with all the other Miyazaki movies. We're big fans of Miyazaki.

I must admit, I've read or seen a live version of "A Christmas Carol" - or both -every year for the last 11 years, and I've never associated it with Disney characters, Muppets or any other movie version.

I agree that Disney is best taken on its own terms, insofar as one is able to do that, without reference to whatever "story" they're lifting from. Even the beloved Walt movies played pretty fast and loose with pre-written fiction they chose to re-tell.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@SciTim: I love all the Miyazaki movies, but my favorite is My Neighbor Totoro. Unfortunately the voice work in the Disney release is terrible, but if you get your hands on the original US release (by Fox) it's in the discussion for best animated movie ever.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The theme song of one of SciTim's other coworkers:

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did
And all this science i don't understand
It's just my job five days a week
A rocket man, a rocket man

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I've never seen it live or in any other version but Disney, Ivansmom.

Although I'd like to see Patrick Stewart's show (not live, but captioned on video, I hope that happens).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

To return to classical Greece for a moment, take a look at Michael Dirda's book review today of "The Greeks and Greek Love.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 18, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Anastatia was produced by Fox Animation Studios and directed by Don Bluth who also did An American Tale and The Land Before Time, neither of which were Disney either.

So don't blame Disney for that stinker. Disney *was* wholly responsible for Pocahontas, so continue directing your outrage that direction.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod! You've never seen the classic 1951 movie with Alistair Sim as Scrooge? We must remedy this.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I do love An American Tale. Especially when the immigrant mice are dancing and singing... "there are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese!"

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The Sim Scrooge is tops. Only the Muppet version comes anywhere close.

Posted by: kguy1 | June 18, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for Sim Scrooge 4 to come out.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Aww, Ivansmom, I *liked* the Little Mermaid. Andersen had a significant flaw as a children's author -- apparently he didn't like children, and resented that that was the audience with whom he found success. That may partly explain why he gave vent to such dark and depressing stories. The Little Match Girl, for example, is poor and down-trodden and mistreated. That's why she had visions of heaven as she lay down in the snow and died. Alone. In the snow. And nobody noticed ('til Spring, presumably). And that's what passes for a *happy* Andersen story, because at least she got to dream of heaven as she died in a cold and loveless universe in which hope is a fantasy and joy an unattainable illusion. Imagine the ones in which manic young ladies, with no significant sin on their souls, dance their feet into bloody stumps and spend their lives crippled. He was not a nice man.

Unlike folk tales, where you can confidently state that the gruesome elements represent something (unsavory) that is fundamentally true about the folk, Andersen's work is literary. It has an identifiable 'true' form, but it is fair game for adaptation. He shouldn't have sold his motion-picture rights so cheaply, perhaps.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Holocaust Museum shooter possibly a pederast:

Also, aside from spare ammo, they found a salt shaker in his car. Just salt, though, since the Jews invented pepper, ya know.

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Anastasia also bit because it was rotoscoped, which I felt gave it an unpleasant look.

Basically, I enjoyed all the of Disney musicals produced during the Katzenberg era, which was, I believe, "Little Mermaid" through Pocahontas. Once Katzenberg left for Dreamworks is when the conventional Disney animation lost its way. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was dreadful, and after that the creative energy seemed to shift to Pixar.

The latest Disney Princess movie is based loosely on "The Frog Princess," a rather delightful 'tweener novel written by a Maryland woman named ED Baker. It was a favorite of my daughter.

Because the Princess in question is African American, there is tremendous risk for Disney as some black commentators will likely be displeased no matter what they do. Of course, Disney has paid Oprah as a consultant. I don't know if this is good or bad.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Toy Story is another favorite of mine.

The ones I like are those that keep an adult entertained as well. Pixar pretty much manages to do that every time.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Coming fashionably late to the party, I note that as I write this, NASA is ready to launch an old-school Atlas/Centaur booster to send two probes to the Moon. The Lunar Reconnisance Orbiter will orbit the moon at about 30 miles (orbits that don't need to account for an atmosphere are clearly *not* a drag) from the surface and gather data to create a very detailed map of lunar topography, much as the Martian version did years ago. The other probe involves an interesting experiment as I understand it. They're going to have a booster stage crash into the moon at one of the permanently shaded polar craters, and fly a second probe through the cloud of debris kicked up by the booster impact to assess the cloud's compostition (before whacking into the moon itself). I believe the intent is to see if the initial impact sends up water ice, which many think may be permanently frozen in those craters. It'd be nice if there were some water on the moon, and could make it easier for people to stay there.

I'll restate my thoughts on radiation shielding for interplanetary travellers, but I'll say this: tin foil Deep Space boxer briefs could be the Bermuda Shorts of the 21st century.

More later.


Posted by: -bc- | June 18, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

What is rotoscoped?

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Rotoscoping is a process in which images are animated using dried-pasta constructions --traditionally, rotini of various sizes, but these days any form of small pasta is acceptable from ziti at the large end down to ourzo.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@SciTim: So is a stick figure cartoon spaghiscoped?

Posted by: Southwester | June 18, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Toy Story finally something I can intelligently discuss - love, love that movie.

I remember reading The Little Match Girl to my eldest - and me being me had forgotten the entire story, so there I am reading along weeping like crazy, just like when I read I Will Love You Forever.

The Swan Princess series was popular here, I enjoyed the films as much as the girls.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 18, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

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

Good evening, friends.

Love the Mars kit, just wish I could understand all the big words. Water on Mars, perhaps people after all?

Hot here, and more heat to come. A Black bear was shot by the deputies here in my small area. He says he tried to save the bear, but then the bear made the mistake of standing on his hind legs, and all bets were off. I believe the story states that there were kids playing in the area also. The bear weighed in at about 250 pounds. I never think about bears when I'm out at night, and I know they exist in this area. Of course, I try not to be out at night, unless going to the store. Hope they're not hanging around Wal-Mart. They will most certainly get shot.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Vacation Bible School starts Monday, so I'm going to be busy, and it the kind of busy I like. I'm teaching the adult class, and my grandsons will be here. They were here last weekend. A surprise visit for their granddad and his birthday.

Well, I guess the love affair is over for the President. After killing the fly, his numbers are slipping. Just think, something as tiny and annoying as a fly.

Stay cool, folks.

Posted by: cmyth4u | June 18, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, but I prefer the linguiniscoped films of Federico Fettucini. I feel they benefit from the bold strong lines of his characters.

Some directors can take this class of technique too far, until the technique itself comes to dominate the vision and force the story into service to the technique rather than the technique serving the story. For example, Michael Bay has wisely abandoned his early experimental work with lasagnescope, although there are many who would say that the change in format was not sufficient to imbue his work with subtlety.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, I think Comedian Tim wrote that last post...

Here's an article about the new Disney Princess movie (from April):

Remember when we had the discussion about the unfortunate name choice? Apparently Oprah has a part in the movie. It sort of amazes me that it's 2009 and they're just now getting around to an African-American heroine. But then, Disney was never at the forefront of social change.

I like the Alastair Sim Scrooge best too, or the Muppets (glad kguy concurs). And I've got the book, and try to read at least a bit of it around Christmas. I also saw a live production when my kid was in middle school - I went along on a field trip.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 18, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

And you all have our rain...

Posted by: seasea1 | June 18, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Rotoscoping is when a scene is first filmed with live actors and than the animation is traced over each frame. (Charles Schwab did a bunch of commercials using an extreme form of this technique.)

In "Anastasia" I felt it created a style that was too literal to be pleasant. Of course, I find rotoscoping creepy in general, probably because of a psychological phenomenon called "the uncanny valley" in which something that looks close, but not identical, to a human face can create a feeling of unease.

Different people have varying tolerance for this, and I seem to be pretty sensitive to it. (Especially when associated with investment firms.)

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I went to the baseball O's vs Mets with my brother and his kids.My nephew (who is now considered a person) AFA in Colorado said to me"Uncle gwe I want to be on the first manned mission to Mars"

The game was good,we got our Adam Jones bobbleheads,which were really cool.Last year as a rookie he made a leaping catch to rob someone of a homerun while blowing a bubble.The bobblehead is of that catch with him blowing a bubble.(bobblehead and bubble) that is a tongue twister. Also we got to see the first homerun by rookie catcher Matt Weiters.So despite the rain a good time was had by all.Plus I got a chance to yell at some Mets fans!!!!

A ant climbed into my coffee and Irish creme and did the backstroke for a bit before drinking itself to death and I just heard a woodknocker,it sure is quiet up here as opposed to the city.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 18, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Lincoln, too, had his fly moment--and mosquito moments, too.

Part of AP's coverage in the last hour:

That doesn't mean Lincoln didn't mete out swift justice if a tiny intruder got too close.

That was clear during a speech in which Lincoln, a young congressman at the time, spoke out against President James K. Polk's Mexican War policy. Lincoln told of his experiences during the Black Hawk War.

"Did you know I am a military hero," Lincoln said in a speech in July 1848. Then Lincoln, acknowledging that he never saw combat, said he did have "a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes."

If you need a clue as to why Obama's poll numbers are dropping--well not not quite like proverbial flies, take a peek at Maher's rant at the close of his program last Friday night. And pundits like CNN's Jeanne Moos and E! TV have it only half right. It's not Maher's lead-in (or Collins' op-ed) that Obama's on TV too often (who cares?). It's Maher's closing remarks about all those issues about which Maher (and others) hope he shows some audacity.

I could toss Princeton economist Maskin's remarks at Trinity last April into the mix. (I pushed him beyond his comfort zone, he shared.) Maskin at that time said that Geithner was just making outlines of outlines and said the world's economic woes were of our making. Not going to be solved overnight, but where's the spine, the backbone, the nerve and verve?

Posted by: laloomis | June 18, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Great answers AnimaTim.

For the serious answer: rotoscoping is when live actors are filmed and the cartoon is made by tracing over the filmed version. In the DVD extras of many Disney movies, they will show the original live action, the pencil sketch over the film, and then the final product.

Rotoscoping can be done well or poorly. Think of Snow White dancing in the woods. The Ralph Bashki version Lord of the Rings was heavily rotoscoped.

For a modern example, those nausea inducing Charles Schwab commercials are rotoscoped.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Veering abruptly slightly on-Kit, along with RD I noted Joel's curious omission of the lack of bunnies on Mars. All day I've been picturing Giant Martian Space Rabbits welcoming our tired astronauts on their grueling trip across space. I'm thinking we'd better have a section for hydroponic carrots in that spacecraft.

Why Giant? Well, it is more intriguing than Teeny Martian Space Rabbits, but less intimidating than Ginormous ones.

I heartily applaud ScienceTim's views on Hans Christian Andersen. Don't forget The Snow Queen, with its heart-piercing ice crystals and theme of abandonment. The man was not a friendly author. I read the Boy the original Grimm fairy tales with relish, but not so much the Andersen ones.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, Andersen was deeply Christian-- the suffering, painful kind.

He didn't hate children in particular, if anything he left very specific instructions for his funeral in consideration for the children that might attend.

However, he also seems to have suffered from gender identity dysmorphia-- a particular curse as he was no looker at all.

He was a fan of Dickens and overstayed his welcome when visiting him. It is said that Dicken based the character of Uriah Heep on him out of sheer annoyance.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I defer to RD's better explanation. It's bad enough I got to my computer four hours too late to post Scotty's 1:14 PM word for word.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

It was Primordial Stone Soup. The stones are important.

Will the Mars team have only freeze-dried rations, or will fresh foods be attempted? Tiny greenhouses? Fresh eggs? Will chickens live on Mars? In pressurized coops? In underground installations, extensive tunnels? Will they escape? Years later, will there be stories about the Ghost Chickens of Mars?

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 18, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Sad news.

Posted by: Boomslang | June 18, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

♪ I'm on vacation! ♪

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The uncanny valley (not to be confused with Death Valley or Happy Valley) is what made The Polar Express such a creepy movie. But the same technique when applied to Angelina Jolie in Beowulf worked wonderfully. At least the way I saw it.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I have just discovered that pimento-stuffed green olives go well with lime vodka & tonic.

I'm kind of sorry I made this discovery.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Did you have hot dogs with your relish, Ivansmom?

Actually... had The Boy been The Girl you probably wouldn't have read her the Grimm's tales. They are as misogynistic as you can get.

And the news about Froomkin is upsetting.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Woo-hoo, TBG!

And for some on-kit animation, there is The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars (really, it's an actual movie).

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I actually, for real, have a little sob in my heart at Froomkin's firing. I extravagantly admire his work. It is shocking and dismaying that he's being sent away.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

The Brave Little Toaster is a fine film indeed, yello. And I thought the rotogravure thingie in Beowulf worked quite well. In fact, much to my surprise I enjoyed the movie.

Yes, TBG, each fairy tale eventually came with its own little talk on social mores, perceptions, and how Things Have Changed.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Aren't parts of Chile's super-dry Atacama Desert nearly free of bacteria? A surgeon could maybe operate en plein air.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 18, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been a huge fan of Froomkin, but not because of his position, but of his analysis. At times, I thought it to be a bit "lite" and first blush.

BUT, what Calderone said.

Or, better, what all the commenters said. The Washington Post is getting openly stodgy. The controlling owners and editorial board is so off the mainstream that the only people to the right (or crazier) would be Faux News.

Some of the folks who appear in the paper should go straight to thought prison.

... and it continues. If you want to know why the Post is dieing, it is this. They are not vibrant thinkers and they are perceived to be stuck in their own mud. It would be so easy to grasp the center way over their on the left of where they are, but, alas, it is not to be.

Case in point, there has been some writing about the Letterman/Palin dust up that has been so off the facts, it isn't funny. Sure, the joke was poorly constructed and could easily be tugged to be very wrong based on the premise story, but don't suggest that Letterman didn't apologize when he had and don't do the Palin talking points on what Letterman said when any grown adult with any capacity to think can figure out what he was saying.

Why pay for that level of "reporting" and "analysis?"

Posted by: russianthistle | June 18, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Weed, I think that 'lite' and 'first blush' is what blogs do best. Froomkin was always willing revisit an issue when more information was forthcoming, and he certainly always did good reporting. I'm not trying to change your mind, just saying that the blog medium is *for* first blush.

Completely off Froomkin, I once had a TA takes marks off a paper I'd turned in for using that phrase. I got them back when I explained *in great detail* the Anglo-Saxon root word "blicken" and its derivations over the years. Glad I took A-S before the 17th Century Poetry class!

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

On a more cheerful note, I today scooped four pairs of very beautiful sandals (two with heels, two flats) and a nice bag, on sale. A senior partner was in the elevator as I was returning to the office. He looked at the bags I was carrying and said, "Your own little stimulus package?"

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I am not a Froomkin fan. Partly, I just avoided him because I didn't want to get into a never-ending rabbit-hole of political opinion. Further, his comments section is no Boodle -- friendly debate is not the order of the day.

My biggest problem with Froomkin is the impression I gained, admittedly from reading only a few columns, that he used his column to promote specific policy positions of his own and decried anyone who disagreed with him. If he wants to do that, then he needs to get out of the gadfly role and take steps to actually try to enact policy -- like, lobbying, or running for political office, or working as a policy wonk for a think tank or on a Congressional staff. It's easy to say everyone else is a jerk and is wobbly on matters of principle, it's hard to actually follow principle while trying to prioritize which part of your agenda you sacrifice in order to save another part of it.

As it happens, I largely agree with Froomkin's fundamental policies, but if I were a politician, I'm sure he would rip me, too, because I don't agree 100%. He seems like the George Bush of the left -- either you're with me, or you're agin' me, and that means rigid agreement, word-for-word, punctuation mark for punctuation mark. Contrary to Glenn Greenwald's description, I wouldn't consider his blast-everybody style to be the mark of a real journalist. A legitimate critique needs to be based on the situation, on what's needed, and what's possible. It may be that a policy doesn't do what you want, but that doesn't make it necessarily bad, it may just not be the way YOU wanted to see it done, or it may go only part way towards the solution you want.

Not, you know, that I've read that much of his stuff.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I found Froomkin's candor refreshing if a little long winded. He was also prone to the lengthy quote dump. I often felt he got paid by the word. Nonetheless he had good synthesis skills and doggedly followed topics others were ignoring. needs more like him, not fewer.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"Spirited Away" is indeed amazing. Miyazaki invented a Bathhouse of the Gods, early Japanese-industrial style. If anything, it's even weirder than Princess Mononoke.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 18, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Tim, Yoki,

I agree with Tim in that most of us have very similar goals for the people. We want the same thing. Also we aren't very close to where we want to be. In the political mine field, I think that you have to take many more things into consideration other than the final goal.

You most likely right that Froomkin would be willing to change his position and that is admirable. At the same time, when you don't understand why someone is doing what they are doing, then most likely, you don't have enough info to comment... better, to pass judgment that is in the vein of shoot from the hip.

Like Tim, I probably agree with many of his positions. Take the Obama "memo" on Feds who are gay... after the past twelve years, it is amazing that anyone could do this in the government. Sure, many may feel that this, as an end point is very short of the target, but its something in the correct direction.

Here's more of my take, I would rather listen to Howard Dean, who has the experience, but also not the edge. He is a guy who appreciates that there are "other factors." Howard may be more radical in his thinking than Froomkin, but seems not to have an edge to his comments.

(of course, that can be me).

BUT, I am really not pleased with the paper as a whole. Their tag line should be, we are in Washington, and at least we aren't Moonies."

Posted by: russianthistle | June 18, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse


That, I will definitely give you. Many a time, I would go to Froomkin just to get the lay of the land. AND, possibly, his style represented an understanding of the web rather than the paper so he is probably not appreciated by the higher-ups.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 18, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I could be Nanki-poo.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 18, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Do you geblicken people, Yoki?

And am I iblicken?

Excuse my Anglo-Saxon, I'm well past my first blush.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

And past my third rose... and past my fourth chardonnay...

(Lie, but couldn't resist the pun.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

*laughing* at Nanki-poo, russianthistle. Perfect.

I do blick people, Wilbrod. And sometimes they blick back!

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, maybe I will see you later!

Wilbrod just reminded me where I was supposed to be.

(delayed to spend 2 more hours getting the water out of my driveway and garage which is just a bit too close to my servers.

A quick look at the Weather gang radar indicates that I can run to enjoy a glass of what she's having.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 18, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Always glad to see you, Weed.

We are having a most violent thunderstorm, and I just saw two potted plants fly off a balcony across the way, as well as many many lawn-chairs. If the wind gets any stronger, I fear heavy gas barbeques cannot be far behind. I'm glad I'm up here and not at street-level.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Dolphie... just get one of your servers to bring you that glass of chardonnay.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read Froomkin for quite some time, partly because he was long-winded, partly because I couldn't always find him. But I'm sad to see him go.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 18, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Darn, I liked Froomkin. Looks like the Wapo may be losing me as an admirer.

On a lighter note, this story reads like something from the Onion, it cracked me up.

Posted by: badsneakers | June 18, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

My goodness -- I seem to have missed a fair amount of boodling yesterday and today. I guess that's what happens when you work all day without a break.

Frosti -- did you (or anyone else) see SYTYCD last night? Some of these people are really, really talented. I think I've figured out why some of the really good ones didn't make it out of Vegas this year -- they need to have enough dancers who aren't as good to eliminate in the earlier rounds. The others, unless they will have passed the age limit (which I think is 30 -- gawd, I can barely remember that age) will be back next season. I do enjoy watching it. My knees, on the other hand. . . .

Hope to visit the boodle tomorrow, but if I don't hold a place for me to park near the building for next time, k?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 18, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I am sad about Froomkin, enjoyed his column for a long time, haven't had as much time to read them of late. Much preferred him to Howard Kurtz whom I have never enjoyed. But I like opinionate people.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 18, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't know what to make of the Froomkin situation. Seems to me that there's more to this than meets the eye, and I don't know that any of it is my business.

I see that those lunar probes lifted off from the Cape at 5:30 or so, should be interesting to see what becomes of that Smash and Splash experiment. Hopefully, the Selenites won't sue NASA or take the US before the Hague because of an unprovoked Lunar attack, the way the Sea Monkeys on Tempel-1 threatened to 'way back in the day of the SAO-15 . [Need to get back up to the Hellbar on T-1 soon. Haven't been there in far too long.]

I'll bet lakes on Mars were pretty nice back in the day - all the waterskiing and swimming you wanted to do all day, and you didn't have to deal with mosquitos like you do in Maine.

Actually, the Marsquitos were far worse. Instead of a subtle buzzing, they'd fly into your ears and shout like they were in the Holland Tunnel, threatening to "run you through" and whatnot in florid Shakespearean language before intentionally, stealthily finding a place to attack and bite and draw your lifeblood with a hearty "Have at you!" And they'd do so in a place where One Dare Not Scratch In Public. Evil little Buggers -- there's a quiet rumor that they eventually they evolved into Karl Rove, but I've never seen any compelling evidence.

Rotoscoping - I know Bakshi used it for his "Lord of the Rings," but I really do *not* want to know if use used that process for "Fritz the Cat."


Posted by: -bc- | June 18, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I think we should all wish ScienceTim a happy birthday, before it isn't any longer.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I've been looking at the title of this Kit and it makes me wonder if A-Lake is in Connecticut.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Science Tim!

Also, all this talk of Mars and animated films reminds me of one of my favorite movies as a kid.

"Pinocchio in Outer Space."

I especially loved the giant martian sand crabs.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 18, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Tim!

Posted by: -TBG- | June 18, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm just flabbergasted they fired Froomkin. They must be out of their minds. And whoever said that one reason the Post is losing readers is because of their editorial page/op-ed page is dead right. I'm not sure it has gone all neo-con, exactly -- but it sure ain't the old Post of yore. The news side is still OK, except for the buyouts. But yes, you can watch the Post -- at least, the online side -- visibly declining. Quite sad. One grieves.

Happy birthday, multiTims.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 18, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Weed, the email I have for you is not recognized. So pop into mine, if you are around.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Take shelter Yoki and stay away from the windows.

Happy Birthday to all the Tims!!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 18, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Ron Charles is a pretty durn good book reviewer, and I think he may even be approaching Yardley status. Here he makes this novel sound really interesting.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 18, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Have a good day BirthdayTim!

Posted by: yellojkt | June 18, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday to *Tim!

Posted by: nellie4 | June 18, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Good heavens!

Happy Birthday, *Tim.


Posted by: -bc- | June 18, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Tims - do you get a cake for each Tim.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 18, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

A fantasy birthday card for ScienceTim, complete with telescope and heavenly bodies :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | June 18, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe my comment was held for review! Anyway, here's more on the giant stromatolite Shrieking Denizen mentioned earlier; it's now on exhibit in Martinsville, Virginia, and a scientific paper has been published on it:

Posted by: Hopeful_Monster | June 18, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the birthday wishes, everybody!

I can see how an editorial page might get me to read a newspaper, if the writers were particularly insightful. However, if I'm already reading the paper, I can't see how the editorial page would get me to stop reading the rest of it. One aspect of an on-line 'newspaper' is that it is not limited by the amount of real estate on the op-ed page. Thus, the increase in the number of conservative blowhards does not necessarily herald a reduction in the number of right-thinking liberals (Froomkin aside). Instead, it heralds the addition of people with whom I disagree in the comments boards. Which is exactly what the WaPo should be doing, facilitating debate -- as soon as those fascist jerks learn how to spell and write a coherent sentence in mixed case, of course. So, I am not persuaded that the on-line WaPo's problem is that it has too many conservative commentators. I have noticed that the conservatives seem to get more front page time than the sensible people -- perhaps that is simply because they are more likely to irritate the WaPo's usual readers, and thus are likely to agitate linking and discussion. Which is a desirable thing for an on-line news organ.

In the article linked from Salon about Froomkin's departure, Greenwald sneers at the WaPo for retaining conservatives and "banal" writers ("banal" apparently is defined as "people with expertise and nuanced understanding") when Froomkin has 3 of the 10 most-visited articles in 2008. OK -- but the top-visited article was by Liz Cheney, and #2 was by Bill Kristol. So, if Greenwald's evaluation criterion holds any weight, then the WaPo is 100% right to feature people like that on its op-ed page. As well as the Post's own editorial staff, and Richard Cohen, who also made the list. By my count, that makes 4 of the top 10 people who *aren't* Froomkin, and who are squarely in the camp that Greenwald considers to be morons or worse. This is a business, not a charity, and the choice of paid columnists is a business decision.

Fact is, bc is exactly right -- nobody out here knows enough to comment on whether the WaPo was "right" to let Froomkin go. Sometimes, people are let go simply because it's time to change the draperies (think of NPR removing Bob Edwards from Morning Edition). It's not a criticism, it's just time to freshen up. Greenwald also makes the specious claim that the WaPo has not made a coherent statement for why they 'fired' Froomkin. They have no such responsibility, and in fact could be legally liable for making any statement that reflects negatively upon him unless they are prepared to back it up in court. The fact is, they don't need 'cause' to 'fire' him. They just let him go because they didn't want him enough, not anymore. For whatever reason.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Tim! And may you have many more happy ones!

Posted by: slyness | June 18, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday to Tim!

Posted by: badsneakers | June 18, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Happy birthday to Tim, even HeartlessTim who would have Froomkin sacked just because (I tease because I love).

ftb-I saw SYTYCD last night, but I'm still a newbie so I thought losing awesome dancers before the top 20 was the norm.

I should say, I saw SYTYCD when I wasn't sidetracked by Dawn French (Vicar of Dibley) interviewing Russell Brand on youtube.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 18, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Happy Bday, Tim!

What Froomkin is saying is that he was fired because his blog "wasn't working" anymore. Seems like a lame excuse to me...and certainly while it's true that the WaPo can fire him, those of us who liked him can say so. I may have to email someone. I wouldn't care a bit if Will, Krauthammer, Kristol, Gerson, Quinn, Cohen were no longer carried by the WaPo.

My Congresscritter is in the news again, again not for anything good:

Keith Olbermann did a re-enactment of the emails, as his top story tonight (very funny, but oh the shame!).

Posted by: seasea1 | June 18, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Many happy returns to the *Tims and thanks to Yoki for the reminder.

That rabbit woman story is funny and sad too. I always think anyone so obsessed with anything that they collect them to death - animals, children, what have you - isn't actually interested fundamentally in the objects of their collection at all. In some weird way, it is really all about them.

Of course this is really true of everyone, at least some of the time. Our behavior just doesn't make it so obvious.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"congresscritter" I like it. Progressive bloggers in MN have taken to calling our embarrassment for congressional representation "Princess Sparkle Pony."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 18, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

The Ombudsman's piece on Froomkin:

And here's a link to Froomkin's column, if you're like me and had lost track of where it was:

Posted by: seasea1 | June 18, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, seasea1! I would have missed the Ombudsman's statement (which was weak).

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

That's a pretty amazing email story about the unreasonably persnickety congressional assistant. I dipped into the comments and all the ones I read were justified.

Ivansdad and the Boy just showed me an episode of a show called "All About Ted". It was surprisingly funny. The Large Corporation employer of the show had installed motion sensors for lights, elevators, doors, water etc., that were activated by light reflecting from skin and thus didn't see black people. Temporary corporate fixes: separate water fountains (oops) and hiring dumb white people to follow around the black employees and activate things. I kept asking if they were sure this was really on network TV and if they really had more than this one episode. I was surprised.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 18, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

That's um, a rather odd rationale. Light shines from dark skin, too. They could have done infrared sensors, which captures body heat from everybody no matter if the lights are out or not.

I'm surprised too.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Hi, all! I was just looking at Froomkin's Wiki page - who is Amanda Carpenter?

From Wiki:

Firing from the Washington Post

On June 18, 2009, it was widely reported that Froomkin was being let go by the Washington Post. [7] Additionally, there were rumors that conservative Washington Times blogger Amanda Carpenter would be replacing Froomkin. [8]

Posted by: Wheezy1 | June 18, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Amanda Carpenter is on staff (or had pieces run in) The Washington Times.

Oh boy.

Posted by: Moose13 | June 18, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday to Tim in all of his incarnations! Also to Paul McCartney, Roger Ebert, and Isabella Rossellini. I hope he is pleased to share his day with at least one of them.

I'm sad to hear about Froomkin and will miss him. Even if I thought he was overstating his case in any particular argument, I enjoyed that he included links to others in his columns. It seems like a perfect approach to a Web-based column.

Posted by: -pj- | June 18, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Yoki's right-- the Ombudsman's column was weak-- but boy, you oughta read all the vitriolic comments under it (including mine). A ton of 'em, all madder than hell, and only one in defense of the Post.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 18, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse


If I'd read your comment carefully, I would have seen that you noted that.


She is also the author of "The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Posted by: Moose13 | June 18, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin's departure is surprising to me. He always provided a thoughtful analysis of the daily political landscape. When the previous administration was up to something, Froomkin was pretty much on top of it. After the election, however, the format of his column changed, and he seemed to rail against the current administration with the same vigor that he did so regarding the bush administration. Sometimes, I didn't understand why he was so worked up. The cadre of regular posters on his blog left a lot to be desired: lots of yelling. In any case, he'll wind up on two feet again somewhere. Change usually ends up being good. I was surprised when MotP posted about Iran a number of days ago. Things seem to be getting pretty testy there. This is old, but still relevant.

Posted by: -jack- | June 18, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Many happy returns on your anniversary, Tim.

Posted by: -jack- | June 18, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Here is the plan of the bankers to do it all again.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 18, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Wait! I'm watching the Daily Show, and Mike Huckabee is the guest. He and Jon are discussing abortion. Huckabee just said that the founders said, "all PEOPLE are created equal," and Jon overlooked it.

I object.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 18, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

He was including fetuses in the uterus as people. We may argue about the definition, but that is not what the document says.

I wish I had gone to law school so that I could have learned to pick apart an argument instead of just responding from my gut.

Am I making any sense, or is it too close to bedtime?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 18, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not watching the Daily Show, but you're making sense to me, Maggie. Huckabee is many unmentionable things. Did Stewart finally object when Huckabee got around to including fetuses in the Constitution?

Posted by: Wheezy1 | June 18, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I assume you rode the storm out, Yoki? We've had two tornado warnings in as many days. I feel like I'm reliving my childhood in the Windy City.

Posted by: -jack- | June 18, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Jumper and Yoki, did you see this story last week about the big banks still trying to game the CDS system *after* they got bailed out? Foiled by a clever little Texas company. Guess who gets to mop up these losses? (Hint - get a mirror.)

Posted by: Wheezy1 | June 18, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Why point out that someone is being stupid, when he's doing such a good job of doing it himself?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 18, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to argue on expertise.

And Law 101 is: "never misquote the law."

You may stipulate that the founding fathers meant this in the sense of "people" even though they only gave the vote to free white male adults like themselves. At first.

The Declaration of Independence, an earlier document, does say "We the People..."

And the inequality in legal rights present at the time of revolution to women and minorities, after regression, worse inequalities, and turmoil, has largely been corrected.

Unfortunately I think in this case Huckabee has a reasonable interpretion-- based entirely on his bias.

However I would comment that even though church (and law) in the Middle Ages banned abortion, a fetus was not thought to be ensouled until around 80 days in pregnancy, and leniency was often given to women who clearly were overwhelmed with large families, while infanticide was aggressively punished.

Interestingly, rise in persecution of infanticide was often associated with an equivalent rise in witchcraft, according to the sources I read (women in the middle ages-- a few different books).

I think there is ample precedent in the 20th century and well before to show that the law cannot appropriately treat all instances of abortion as the same crime, nor do so without persecuting women for attempting to control their lives.

The seamless garment sounds good, but our lives are all seamed into others' lives, with a lot of tears, tugs, rips, folds to show for it.

The law must allow for evil, and good forced into a corner by evil, not merely preach the good.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 18, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Alexander Ovechkin for winning his 2nd straight Hart Trophy and thanks to all the boodle members who helped learn so much about Hockey this year.

Also congrats to the O's for a come from behind win in the ninth inning and the Nats for taking 2 out 3 from the Evil empire on the road!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 18, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yes, jack. It was rather alarming to see high-speed missiles (lawn chairs, watering cans) fly by the 7th storey, and all is tranquil nowl. I took gwe's advice and stayed away from the windows (after standing there fascinated!). All is well.

Posted by: Yoki | June 18, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

"it's like chicken intestines"

Different cultures have different ways of saying "It's all Greek to me."

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 18, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Likewise, Yoki. I've been working with SonofG for the past couple of days, doing work on our soon to be office. There's a loo attached to the back of the building that I've jacked up and blocked, as it has sagged over many, many years. Its moved about six inches over two days, and is nearly in the correct position. IT's a temporary fix, however, as the framing is rotted. One of many places where rot needs to be repaired. Erosion has brought much of the sill in contact with the ground, creating a habitat for various subterranean critters. The soil makes me look like its namesake: blackjack. Its worked its way into the steristrips on my neck. I reckon I have some 'splainin to do when I visit the doc for a follow up next Monday.

Posted by: -jack- | June 19, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Am I speaking Farsi?

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

...and I have a splinter in my left birdie finger. Ouch.

Posted by: -jack- | June 19, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Sagging, rotted framing, erosion. Story of my life.

But, you are spending time with SonofG, jack! This is always a good thing. Tell him Canadian Mom says 'hey."

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

He mentioned that you might be visiting Dixie soon?

Posted by: -jack- | June 19, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy. I can't answer your question. I was too busy typing to notice. Jon did apologize at the end of the program saying something like an apology for a rough edit, and he recommended that we go to the web for the complete interview.

And Wilbrod, I know the history. I was objecting to Huckabee's misquote to serve his own interpretation.

I will have to go to the to see the whole thing in order to have a complete opinion of what I thought to be a deliberate attempt to manipulate and 'massage' the documents to serve his purpose.

And now to bed.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 19, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

That's my plan, jack. Maybe early September, or late October.

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Be sure to get up on the mountain. Mother Nature will be showing her colours, and there are scads of festivals in cool places like Flat Rock.

Posted by: -jack- | June 19, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

AnotherYearOlderTim, Happy Birthday. I sure hope it was a good one. Do anything special? How many times did you make a birthday suit reference? Didja eat like you don't have a cardiologist? Was there cake? How many candles were on it? Any leftovers? (If so, definitely feel free to put it on the sideboard in the bunker.)

On the Froomkin topic, I'm on the same side of the ballfield as *Tim and bc. I find it odd that so many people seem to assume it had to do with his opinions, especially when there are so many other reasonable possibilities: everything from money to perceptions of behavior and conflict to something along the lines of an NFL trade. Kind of sophomoric to make decisions based on conclusions you jumped to, don't you think? At least let the thing see the light of day first.

Off to clean the kitchen so I can go to sleep. Happy dreams all.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 19, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Throw down nachos (chips, cheese, texas chili, cheese, pintos, cheese, onion, cheese, pico on the side) in the bunker, if anyone is interested.

Posted by: -jack- | June 19, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

That was mean of me. Harsh. I apologize.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 19, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

LiT, I was just going to say, where's the fun if we can't jump to conclusions? I don't care *why* Froomkin was let go, I care *that* he was let go. And if the rumor is true about bringing on some young right-winger, I'll really be gnashing my teeth. I don't care if her hair is red.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 19, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Tim. Many happy returns.

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 19, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

On financial regulations ...

“But requiring exchange trading would have another effect: it would reduce the profits dealers make on derivatives.”

Cry me a river.

Thanks for the link, Jumper and Wheezy

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 19, 2009 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Why did I think it would take no more than an hour to install the new venetian blinds?

Two down. One more tomorrow, two more next week. Thus will be completed the cycle of creative destruction and renewal in the kitchen.

At least I had enough sense to hire a pro to install the wallpaper--subtle leafy Craftsman-look, in defiance of the rule that your new kitchen must to look just like the new Olive Garden restaurant up the road.


Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 19, 2009 4:23 AM | Report abuse

This is absolutely shocking : One in four South African men questioned in a survey said they had raped someone …

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 19, 2009 4:41 AM | Report abuse

It takes more than an hour to install venetian blinds? I thought you just take it out of the box and hang it.

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 19, 2009 4:45 AM | Report abuse

Rainforest, that hurts.

My wife hired one of these Blinds In A Jiffy places and it took me more than an hour just to take down the old blinds.

There's a rule that says all projects take twice as long as projected even after taking into account the rule. Hanging blinds falls into that category.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. There is no need to "jump to conclusions" or withhold opinion on Froomkin's firing. Both Froomkin and the Ombudsman themselves say why he was fired: the Post didn't think his column "was working" anymore. No need to impute ulterior behind-the-scenes motives to anyone. Hence the outrage over the Post's consideration that columns by, oh, Krauthammer, Kristol, Kagan, Parker, Will, Cohen. Broder, and Gerson, among others, seem to be perking along nicely.

Today in Nautical, Aviation and Baseball History

June 19, 1807 – Russian Adm. Dmitry Senyavin and his fleet destroys the Ottoman fleet under Kapudan Pasha Seyit-Ali in the Battle of Athos, the key battle of the Russo-Turkish War, an offshoot of the Napoleonic Wars.
1846 – The first baseball game under recognizable modern rules (the Cartwright Rules) is played at Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey, as the New York Nine soundly defeat the New York Knickerbockers 23-1. This version of the rules, called "the New York Game," soon won out over a variant, "the Massachusetts Game," played by men in Boston. Twas ever thus, alas: N'yawk 'genst Bahston.
1864: The Union Navy’s now-famous USS Kearsarge (Capt. John Winslow) sinks the even more famous Confederate raider CSS Alabama (Capt. Raphael Semmes, who was born in Piscataway, Charles County, Maryland), at Cherbourg, France. The Confederate raider had captured or sunk 82 Union merchant ships.
1944: The main phase of the battle of the Philippine Sea becomes known as “the Great Marianas’ Turkey Shoot” as Adm. Raymond Spruance’s carrier forces destroy Japanese Adm. Jisaburo Ozawa’s fleet, including the sinking of three carriers and downing of 446 aircraft. During this, the most decisive sea battle of World War II, Navy Hellcat pilot Lt. Alex Vraciu sets a record by shooting down six Japanese planes in eight minutes.
1963: Valentina Tereshkova returns to earth aboard the Soviets’ Vostok 6 after 48 orbits made her the first woman in space. On the same day, Lt. Col. Valery Bykovsky lands in Vostok 5. For the previous three days, it was the first time two people had been in space at the same time, and the first time two people had been in space aboard two different space craft.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 19, 2009 5:52 AM | Report abuse

SCC: destroy. Singular.

A few other notables:

1862: Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying the infamous Dred Scott decision.
1870: After all the Southern States are formally readmitted to the Union, the Confederate States of America ceases to exist.
1910: The first Father's Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington.

Birth of Lou Gehrig (1903), Niehls Bohr (1922),Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane (1942), Salman Rushdie (1947), half of "Heart" (Ann Wilson, 1950), Kathleen Turner (1954), and Uhuru No. 2 (Zoe Saldana, 1978).

Death of Group Captain Peter Townsend, perhaps the most famous and dashing of the "the Few," the RAF fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain, CO of the illustrious 85 Squadron (previously commanded by Billy Bishop and Mick Mannock during WWI) at RAF Debden, and after the war even better known for his ill-fated roman with princess Margaret, who was forbidden by custom to marry him, a commoner.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 19, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I apologize...

Posted by: rainforest1 | June 19, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

No, Mudge, the problem with Group Captain Townsend was that he was divorced. Princess Margaret then married Anthony Armstrong-Jones, a womanizer if there ever was one. They later divorced.

Good morning, all, and happy Friday!

Scrambled egg croissants with ham and cheese on the ready room table. I promised Mudge yesterday...dunno why I haven't thought to fix them before, but enjoy!

Posted by: slyness | June 19, 2009 6:55 AM | Report abuse

No apology necessary, rainforest. Just some sympathy for those of us that are handyman handicapped.

The tricky part of hanging blinds is securing the mounting brackets into the window frame. These usually involves securing nails or screws into tight awkward spaces where there may or may not be adequate framing behind them.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Al. A beautiful day here. slyness, this breakfast is delicious!

Well, another deadline looms this afternoon, so I'd best attend to the project. Have a great Friday.

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I know this is presumptuous of me, but I fear I must notify you of a mistake. That was not Niels Bohr who was born in 1922, but his son, Aage Niels Bohr.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Niels received a Nobel Prize for his work in atomic theory, Aage received a Nobel for his work in nuclear theory. I know of no Nobel awarded to a third Bohr -- presumably, any such award would have to be for subatomic particle theory, to continue the trend.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

A thousand apologies for belated Happy Birthday wishes, *Tim!!!

Rant of the Day:
I'm really getting PO'ed at egregiously superfluous uses of "anonymous sources," to wit --

"The captain, who was based in Newark and had been with Continental for 32 years, apparently died of natural causes, the airline said in a statement. A source speaking on the condition of anonymity identified the man as [Mr. X], the Associated Press reported."

Yes, I redacted the name, sosumi. What possible benefit was there in naming the poor soul at this stage? You want to discuss how his overall health was monitored by the airline? Fine, try a second-day story when you can verify identity after the family's been notified.

*fuming-at-the-AP-generally-these-days-but-it-IS-TGIF-so-I'll-survive Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 19, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. The foreign affairs luminaries Krauthammer and Wolfowitz both egg on the Prez to take the side of the protesters in Iran. Those are 2 of WaPo's opinion pieces this morning by the way. By 2 people who wholeheartedly supported W's most excellent Iraqi adventures. So it's pretty clear now that Obama shouldn't get openly involved.
The ratio of dredge to value on the opinion page is climbing at the WaPo. That Kristol is their latest hiring is quite telling, imho.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 19, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle! Headed out after work for some summer groovin' in St. Paul this weekend, if I can recover from a couple days full of meetings that kept regular work from getting done.

Garden report-the last of the radish patch will come out in the next couple days to be replaced with spinach and basil. Rhododendron blooming! One of three anyway, the other two suffered dreadfully from Mr. F's tromping about in snowshoes. Terrible scold that I am I pointed out, again, the damage he'd done. "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger," he said, and I don't think he was talking about the plants. Some sort of cut worm decided to whack off the top of a newly emerged bleeding heart planted from a dry root in May. I had hoped it could race to flower this year before real heat sets in. Sigh. Volunteer sunflowers from the bird feeder are nearly knee high and I think I will just let them continue in their odd little spots. One bunch is concealing the well head.

Better get to work, have a great Friday everyone.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 19, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Yup, good catches to both slyness and BioTim. I always thought that Margaret should have told the palace to stuff it and marry poor Peter no matter what, ala Edward and Wallis Simpson. But then, I'm a Romantic at heart, so what can ya expect. Anyway, Pete wrote some excellent books, especially "Duel of Eagles," one of the best books ever written about the Battle of Britain.

IIRC the other death date today was of William Golding, author of "Lord of the Flies." I wish they'd never foisted that book off on high school students; making it compulsory just ruined it for them.

Scotty, I don't like the much-increased use of anonymous sources, either, especially when the sources have no reason for it.

Great breakfast, slyness. Anybody know if there's more coffee?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Fresh brewed coffee is ready, I may not be able to make fancy breakfasts, but I can make coffee. Warning I like strong coffee.

Off to try and get some work done before the rains start again, I won't complain about the rain as we needed it - just poor timing as the music festival started yesterday. Starting Sunday forecast is for 5 days of hot, humid weather (read increased dewpoint days).

Have a great Friday all.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 19, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Chuckie K is a near perfect contra-indicator of what should be done. If we can get Bill Kristol on the records supporting an activist approach to Iran, the choice is clear.

There is the old maxim that when you're enemy is destroying themselves the best course of action is to get out of their way.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Belated HBTY Tim(s)! And as for your observation about Niels Bohr and son Aage Niels Bohr as Nobel Prize winners and not knowing if there were a third Bohr out there to have won -- wouldn't that be a bit (wait for it) bohring?

*snort* What a gimme!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 19, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... don't forget Townsend's excellent work with The Who.

The story linked to last night about the congressional aid (let's just call her "Liz" shall we?) had this comment, which I think explains so many things wrong with our country today...

"Well ..... I don't normally defend the dems but .... "

DEFEND THE DEMS?!? Why was her action Democratic or Republican? It was just plain stupid and wrong. In fact, it never occurred to me to see what party her boss belongs to.


Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Also.. not sure if anyone already linked to this NYT editorial by John Kerry explaining exactly why Obama's current reaction to Iran is the correct one...

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The real life woman who posts pseudonymously as frostbitten1 is dieing to meet that Elizabeth woman and call her "Liz." To her face!

Thought you should know.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 19, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

There are families that have two Nobels, but rare indeed is the triple-Nobel family. I think the Curie family is the only one -- and they cheated somewhat, in that Marie brought in two (one with hubby Pierre, one all by herself), and two of the victories were by husband-wife (Marie and Pierre in 1903; Frédéric and Iréne Joliot-Curie in 1935).

So, the Curies have 3 prizes; 4 prize winners; and 5 physical medals. The Bohrs have 2 prizes; 2 prize winners; and 2 physical medals. The Pauling family has 2 prizes; just one prize winner; and 2 medals (and neither of Pauling's was a shared award). The Bardeens have 2 prizes; just one prize winner; and 2 medals (both shared). The Braggs have one prize; two prize winners; and 2 medals. Nansen won once by himself (peace) and another peace prize for the Nansen International Office for Refugees. And I know of at least two who won physics Nobels for their doctoral dissertation research (de Broglie and Mössbauer).

OK, that's enough of that. I'm sure that there's other Nobel trivia to help us be disappointed in ourselves and our children, simultaneously, but it's time to get some work done.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

About that Huckabee misstatement. It does indeed help to be able to argue from a knowledge of the law and source documents, as well as the historical perspective of the Framers, if one is so inclined.

The Declaration of Independence says nothing about the "People"; it refers to "all men" (which has since been interpreted to mean everyone, which was arguably not the intention of the signers) and is put forth by specific Representatives of the U.S.A., with signatures.

The Constitution begins "We the People". Again, "people" has later been interpreted in the broader humanistic sense to mean men and women, and even children. However, nothing in the document itself nor the multitudinous writing surrounding its drafting and passage remotely supports an interpretation that anyone contemplated including unborn fetuses as "people" in that context. Recall that at the time both women and children were essentially property. Church doctrine regarding life and conception would not have been dispositive, if it was even a part of the larger political discussion.

Turning to the more important question of whether contemporary social consensus would support a widespread reading of "people" as including the unborn for the purpose of constitutional protections, it does not appear to me that such a consensus yet exists. A number of states have enacted various laws regarding protection of the unborn, primarily relating to crimes such as murder against a pregnant woman; states and the federal government require health care availability to pregnant women. Most of these laws do not specify the personhood of the fetus, although some do. I am not aware of a majority of states - or even a large minority - passing legislation which would specifically grant legal protections to a fetus explicitly on the grounds of personhood. Absent that type of widepread state consensus it is highly unlikely that the Constitution will be formally and legally interpreted to include unborn children as persons.

Huckabee's definitely on the fringes, I suspect deliberately so.

Wilbrod, the "motion sensor won't pick up dark skin" plot line in "All About Ted" was the joke. It was ridiculous, which made it funny. I was surprised because I didn't expect edgy racial humor from prime-time network TV. Of course, I don't watch much TV so I may have expected too little.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, you're still a young man and the ScienceKids are just embarking on potential Scientist careers. I see no reason why we can't have a two-Nobel family right here on the Boodle.

Of course, if Miss Paris keeps up her photography and essays, we might have a two-Pulitzer family as well. Joel, too, is still a young man.

Alas, one can tell my definition of "young" has mutated as I myself share the approximate ages of Joel and ScienceTim.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

What, Ivansmom, you're 39 too? You, me, Joel, and Jack Benny (of sainted memory)?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning all and belated good wishes to ScienceTim.

@Ivansmom: One thing worries is me is attempts to charge the killing of a pregnant woman as double homicide. Anti-abortion groups back this kind of legislation as a backdoor precedent for granting fetuses "personhood".

Posted by: Southwester | June 19, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

IM, I think it is pretty clear that at the time the founders wrote it, neither "all men" nor "people" included, yanno, black people, or Indians, and arguably not women, in general or particular.

So since the question of "women" is problematic, leave them out of it for sake of argument. But there's no question blacks and Indians were excluded. Which would then open up the can of worms of whether black and Indian women are covered under the Huckabee interpretation, since they are excluded from the Constituion one way, if not two.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

How many states would count a fetus as a carpooler in the HOV lanes? I guess there would be your precedent-setter right there, no?

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

I think I'd call her Betty. Or Liza.

Of course, calling her Susan might be the way to go.

Heading into DC for a few hours today, hope the weather is sunnier than here.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 19, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

And if you're pulled over for too few people in the vehicle, how would you prove your pregnancy? And what about a man in drag who *claims* to be a pregnant woman? Hard to tell anything without a strip search.

Sounds like a dangerous complication, to me.

However, I'm not sure that minors count for HOV purposes, anyway. Do they?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

*Tim, they count.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 19, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, on who ain't people, there is also a twist that there wasn't any concept of illegal alien in those days, either.

I haven't got the whole flavor for this discussion as a late comer/non-back boodler, but all those folks were actually former citizens of other countries.

As you point out, only the folks that belonged, didn't belong.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 19, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

*Tim... thanks to modern science it's pretty easy to prove a pregnancy. (You may get the ticket and have to prove later, but that's OK, too.)

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Your argument about the lack of social consensus is quite clear, Ivansmom.

The constitution also set out who is and who is not a citizen, separate from being a person or a man.

Couldn't we argue that citizenship has changed, not the concept of personhood (which as you point out, did not encompass fetuses?)

Roman law (which some of the slave code was based on) easily recognized people either as property and as citizens without implying that one was any less human than the other.

I'm not sure I want personhood to be so easily settled by politics or social consensus-- that leaves the gate open for the fringe who would like to redefine animals as people.

Or redefine disabled people as NOT people.

I think property rights for their wards actually protect animals more than anything. (I mean, think of social services for rabbits? Anger management for bulls?)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 19, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

A minivan filled with a team of 9-year old soccer players wouldn't be allowed in the HOV lane? Ouch.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 19, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

...and I can't wait for the noble (not Nobel, yet anyway) Wilbrodog to weigh in on this issue.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps children should be prorated based on their age as fractions of people. The driver and three six-year-olds or two nine-year-olds would qualify for an HOV-2 lane.

There is precedent since the Constitution counted some people as only three-fifths.

And would you need four 3/5ths people to qualify for the HOV lane or would they allow you to round up and only need three?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I had a coworker argue that leaving a ten-year-old, six-year-old and two-year-old home alone for the weekend was fine since they added up to be old enough to watch out for themselves.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Children count in the HOV lanes, shriek... don't worry.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Humans: on job market
No health insurance, rare bonus
Praise lacking. Dog's better.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Already born children, that is.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Six-seven-six lines?
Need to go back to bed for nap
... ON the job. SO there.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 19, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

YJ, I think each infant or toddler should count as at least two, since you can't go anywhere without carting along enough stuff to choke a horse. That, and you should get a sympathy one or two for having to be in rush hour traffic with children in the first place.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 19, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, I think the six-seven-six is called Haierku.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

No, we can't say that citizenship has changed. Interestingly, the original Constitution did not set forth a definition of citizenship. It required that Congressmen and the President be Citizens and noted that the President must be a "natural born Citizen, or a Citzen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution". Article IV provides that citizens of each state are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the several states, but does not define the term.

The first and only definition of citizenship in the Constitution is in the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted after the Civil War, and granting citizenship to "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof". The language "born" would appear to clearly refer only to chidren post-childbirth, as opposed to unborn children.

I understand your unease with the process of social consensus. However, that is how constitutional change works and arguably how it should work. The language of the Constitution may only be changed by formal amendment of the Constitution, ratified by legislatures (or federal constitutional conventions) in three-fourths of the states. Absent an actual change in language, the final interpretation of the Constitution is tne exclusive responsibility of the U.S. Supreme Court.

No state legislature is going to ratify any proposed change which does not have a consensus of the people of that state, no matter how worthy, and will ratify a change supported by a consensus of citizens no matter how dubious (think of the ERA and prohibition).

The Supreme Court is very reluctant to make major changes in interpretation without some indication that the interpretation has support as reflected either in federal or state legislation or general political and social practice. This is consistent throughout its history, despite various milestone eras in which interpretations differed radically. The obvious exception is Roe v. Wade, and the lack of social consensus on that issue has led to decades of unrest as some citizens still refuse to respect that interpretation of the law. I cannot think of a situation in which the Court would actually endorse a judicial interpretation which would in effect negate explicit constitutional language, without a strong indication that the country was already there.

That's what I mean by social consensus, and why it matters.

Sorry. I teach this stuff.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - thanks so much for that post about the term "people." One of the things I love about the boodle is that we have such a depth of expertise.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 19, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

And, Ivansmom, I have a feeling you teach "this stuff" very, very well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 19, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Uh-oh. I think I'm getting a Streisand tune cootie - People, people who need people...

Posted by: ebtnut | June 19, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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

Good afternoon, friends. We're trying to get dressed, and out the door for just a little while. Temps in the high 90's, so we won't be out long. A beautiful day, just too, too, hot. I'm expecting the grandsons sometime today or tomorrow, and boy, will the fun begin then.

The g-girl is doing more fishing than washing in the bathtub. Time to bring that to an end. I hope it's cool where you are. And I do hope everyone's weekend is just great.

Mudge, Yoki, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and all the gang, have a wonderful day.*waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | June 19, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse


Boodles who need poodles...

(apologies to Wilbrodog and Ray and VLP and so on)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 19, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse


I would never pass a test in your class. Ever. But I agree with RD, I'll bet you're very good at what you do.

Posted by: cmyth4u | June 19, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

OK.. I got the laundry down from the upstairs to the main floor. Now if I can just get it down to the basement and into the washer. This is vacation?

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

In your spare time check out this fascinating website. Definitely check out this page (on the site's page 3) a map superimposing 1860s cotton production and 2008 U.S. "blue states."

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 19, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

*clapping* for Ivansmom.

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, jumper... I can get lost in those maps. Thanks for pointing out that cool site.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you'd definitely pass a test in my class if I'm doing my job right. I believe the point of teaching is to explain things so people understand them, and that should be reflected in grades.

Here's a Big Question: where is the self-laundering laundry? TBG, maybe with SonofG's experience in renovations with jack you can get him to install a dumbwaiter-type thing, or even a laundry chute, to send those dirty clothes flying.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 19, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I would think a laundry trebuchet would be more useful...

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Dependable Renegade reporting that the WaPo has offered the White House blog spot to Wolfowitz.

Just shoot me.

Posted by: Wheezy1 | June 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I love my job! One of my staff just asked me "What is a NERT?" and I actually knew the answer!

"She turned me into a NERT."
"I got better."

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Wolfowitz? With his track record, if he wished me a good morning I'd assume the Sun is setting.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

That has to be a joke about Wolfowitz. If it isn't a joke there really will be shooting goin on.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Well.. I can see hiring Wofowitz to write a blog, but not as a "replacement" for Froomkin.

I am currently reading Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, a very humorous memoir of his childhood in Des Moines.

The edition I'm reading was published for the UK audience (I acquired it from a thrift store); probably very little is different from a US version, other than the spelling and the tendency to overexplain a few things that any American would already know.

This section, I fear, is similar to what my kids will write in their memoirs some day. Remember... highlights of G family vacations have included the site of the Hindenburg crash and the Mentone (Indiana) Egg...

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

TBG, when you have to do laundry on the *first* day of vacation, I don't know what to tell you. Halfway through, understandable. :-(

At least sit on the washer and swing your feet!

Posted by: -dbG- | June 19, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yuppies who need puppies....


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 19, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

re: Scotty's 12:29. I can see the headlines:

Local Lady Launches Laundry. Load Likely Later.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 19, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Have they offered a law&justice blog to John Yoo? A Human Rights blog to Dick Cheney? jeez

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 19, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Vacation technically starts tomorrow when we drive to Ocean City MD to join the extended family. I've got to clean the clothes we're taking with us. At least my clothes... I got the kids (and Dr G) to do their own laundry a looooong time ago.

The laundry chute is a great idea, but what I really need is the Rosie the Robot who switches the clothes over and then takes them out of the dryer and folds them... and brings them back upstairs. Sometimes that's the journey that takes the longest around here.

And while she's at it, she can empty the dishwasher, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi again. Correction - I think Dependable Renegade got it wrong. I think she picked up on Brad DeLong griping about the Wolfowitz guest editorial and thought it was a permanent appointment.

I can breathe again.

Posted by: Wheezy1 | June 19, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that map blog link. It's fascinating. And my heart raced when I found one that described a geographic feature I have often described: The Sweet Tea Line. And it's pretty much in the exact place I tell people. It cuts right across Virginia.

Way cool.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Whereabouts in OC, TBG? (Not actual street address, just an approximation. No, I'm not stalking you. Like "near 95th Street," or like that.)

The newspaper outfit I used to work for (now owned by the Post, as it happens, but not back then) used to have retreats every year in OC, and everybody stayed at the Royal Princess up around 96th. But they always had the retreat in February, when there were only about two shops open in the entire island. And walking along the beach was nice--if you were an eskimo.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I love Bill Bryson. Will have to get that book.

Yes, "don't call me Liz" works for Jim McDermott, D-WA, my district. He's in a very safe Democratic seat, wins with 75-80 % of the vote. He's very left - got the nickname "Baghdad Jim" because he went to Iraq before we invaded, and opposed the war. He got into trouble about releasing the tape recording of Newt's ethic charges, then got sued and has to pay a huge fine (which he's asking for donations to cover). He's for a single payer health care system. In general, I like him, but he never seems to get "good" publicity. Oh, and he's a psychologist...maybe he should have a session with "don't call me Liz".

Thanks for the rain overnight. You can take it back now.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 19, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Bay side, Mudge. We spent our childhood vacations in OC every year. One or two weeks in an apt on 72nd St with all the cousins and their families, too. So much fun.

My parents bought a house there about 25 years ago, just in time for Son of G and Daughter to be raised summers there. They sold it about 15 years later when they realized they were only traveling there to fix something. (There's a big age difference between your late 50s and mid 70s)

But my sister's beach house is across the street and big enough for all the families to pile into. There will be three generations in attendance this year.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I love beach towns in the winter! Used to go to Ocean City and Rehobeth and Virginia Beach myself - usually in the summer, though. We haven't been to the Washington state coast in a long time, because even in the summer, it's like winter. Literally.

Posted by: seasea1 | June 19, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

And you can stalk me if you want, Mudge.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

WooHoo! I had visions of you doing laundry at the beach house on your first day. Pre-departure laundry is a fine thing.

Kiss the baby for us.

Posted by: -dbG- | June 19, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your posts on the abortion question. I knew I could count on you and the rest of the esteemed panel for the explanation of the intricacies of the constitution and governmental processes.

And Boodle,
Thanks for your turning the question so quickly into humor. The WaPo: I can live without it. The Achenblog? Never!

As for Huckabee? Bah Humbug! I'm still in High Dungeon!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 19, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Time to sell the Kinkades. We've been scammed.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say, from my perspective, that quite apart from dumping and stock manipulation, Kinkade's (or, more likely, 'school of') work is in and of iteself a scam; a travesty, an abomination.

Posted by: Yoki | June 19, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

What's that, you say? You would like to know what M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy) looks like in far-infrared light? Let me hook you up:

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 19, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Nature's @ symbol, Tim.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Got any pix of the Maytag or Kenmore galaxies, Tim?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@Yoki: aside from the schlock he hocks, Kinkade isn't a guy to invite to parties. (this cites the LA Times).

Posted by: Southwester | June 19, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

This might be the wrong time to bring it up, but I invested the Boodle Widows and Orphans Pension Fund in a Kinkade franchise. That is why we have so many hanging around The Bunker. But I did manage to unload them late last year for Bear Stearns stock. Maybe it's time to switch over to GM.

Thank goodness we still have the Lladrós to fall back on.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@Southwester... so glad you linked to that Wiki article (and so glad you've become a full-fledged Boodler). This was the best part, on so many levels...

"Kinkade became drunk at a Siegfried and Roy magic show in Las Vegas and began shouting 'Codpiece! Codpiece!' at the performers. Eventually he was calmed by his mother."

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Not to pile on the poor talentless crook, but there is also this possibly fictional account of his way to meet new people.

Let's just say he's quite the swinger.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

*faxing a petunia to CqP. No reason. Just becuz*

Haven't heard from martooni lately. Anybody? Think he's OK?

omni made a lightning drive-by then vanished. oms? You there? I need my quiz fix.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | June 19, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with marking a statue of Winnie the Pooh, as opposed to... say a tree?

I ask out of pure curiosity, of course.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 19, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse


Just in time for the weekend.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 19, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Yello... all I can say is... ewwww.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 19, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 19, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Get me a big enough mirror and I can show you the American Standard galaxy.

Perhaps it's a good thing that sound does not travel through space.


Posted by: -bc- | June 19, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company