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Michael Jackson and The Robot

Housekeeping: I'm going to Italy next week and don't know how much I can and will be blogging. It's vacation, and thus the default position is that I won't post anything. Of course, that's the default position much of the time even when I'm working. Has there ever been a blogger with such an astounding capacity for silence? It's my singular gift. The stuff I didn't write yesterday was genius, trust me.

Anyway, there may be a few things popping up on blog in the next hours and days as I try to clear off my desk. We're all moving desks while they reconfigure the newsroom to make it more 21st Century. I'll be throwing some stuff away, and throwing some other stuff on the blog. Possibly at random. [Reader: "Why did he just post a blank taxi receipt?"]

Now, it does seem that I should write more about Michael Jackson, since apparently the Anderson Coopers of the world are still on MJ 24/7, and that might indicate that some people out there are still interested. I find that my interest in a big story evaporates pretty quickly. But I do want to point you to Von Drehle's excellent piece in Time on the young Michael Jackson.

I'd forgotten that Michael Jackson had a signature move called the Robot.

You can see some more examples of it in this montage on YouTube, the first at about 1:03 of the video:

[more to come...]

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 1, 2009; 7:29 AM ET
 
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Comments

I know: You were clamoring for more Michael Jackson, weren't you.

Posted by: joelache | July 1, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

If I don't blog much today it's because I'm practicing my Robot.

Posted by: joelache | July 1, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

This isn't a very Canada Day-ey post, Joel.

We were going to invite you to join in the traditional festivities of our people on this occasion: BBQ-ing a moose, drinking a case of beer, and catching pucks in our teeth, all while dressed as Mounties. But after this snub, we're thinking that maybe that's too provincial for you anyway.

Eh?

Posted by: byoolin1 | July 1, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, O Boodle. Happy Fête du déménagement, Shriek.

*********
Today in Canuckistani History

1782 – American privateers attack Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
1867 – The British North America Act, 1867 takes effect as the Constitution of Canada, creating the Canadian Confederation; John A. Macdonald sworn as first Prime Minister.
1873 – Prince Edward Island joins the Canadian Confederation.
1878 – Canada joins the Universal Postal Union.
1881 – The world's first international telephone call takes place between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, United States.
1885 – The United States terminates reciprocity and fishery agreement with Canada.
1890 – Canada and Bermuda are linked by telegraph cable.
1916 – World War I: First day on the Somme – [ from Wiki:] On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 20,000 soldiers of the British Army are killed and 40,000 wounded. The first day was unusual in that the British Army contingent was almost entirely from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Since early 1915 the Canadian divisions had been featuring prominently in British battles and as the struggle on the Somme wore on, the Anzacs and South Africans were called upon but on the first day the only non-British troops attacking on the British sector were small units from Bermuda and Newfoundland. (Canadian artillery was involved in the bombardment.) For Newfoundland, the first day has special significance. At the time, Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain (Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949), and during a bungled attack ordered by British Officers near Beaumont Hamel, the Newfoundland Regiment was virtually wiped out, suffering a 90% casualty rate. After the war the Newfoundland government bought 40 acres around the site of the battalion's attack and created the Newfoundland Memorial Park to commemorate the dead. Although the rest of Canada celebrates Canada Day on July 1, it is Memorial Day in Newfoundland and Labrador. [The very excellent Anthony Price spy thriller, “Other Paths to Glory,” which I rate as perhaps the fourth best spy novel of all time, uses the Beaumount Hamel attack and the loss of the Newfies as the central plot device, although the novel is set in the 1970s.]
1933 – The Canadian Parliament suspends all Chinese immigration.
1935 – Regina, Saskatchewan police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police ambush strikers participating in On-to-Ottawa-Trek.

more

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Joel, I'd rather read about where in Italy you will be touring? I've been to Scotland, England & France, but never to Italy; bet lotsa boodlers have tho, and would be good at touristtalk.

Well, maybe some may want to talk about MJ, I should not be judgemental.

Hey RD & Scotty, nice young men, always a greeting when I am able to surface.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 1, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

2

1958 – The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation links television broadcasting across Canada via microwave.
1966 – The first color television transmission in Canada takes place from Toronto.
1967 – Canada celebrates the 100th anniversary of the British North America Act, 1867.
1958 – Flooding of the St. Lawrence Seaway begins.
1980 – "O Canada" officially becomes the national anthem of Canada.

Happy birthday, Canucks:

1863 – William Grant Stairs, Canadian explorer (d. 1892)
1942 – Geneviève Bujold, Canadian actress
1952 – Dan Aykroyd, Canadian actor
1952 – Steve Shutt, Canadian ice hockey player
1961 – Michelle Wright, Canadian musician
1967 – Pamela Anderson, Canadian model
1977 – Jarome Iginla, Canadian hockey player

RIP:
1999 – Edward Dmytryk, Canadian-born film director (b. 1908). Born in Grand Forks, British Columbia, he grew up in San Francisco when his Ukrainian parents emigrated there. Became US citizen at age 31. Was one of the blacklisted "Hollywood 10" and served time in jail for contempt of Congress (HUAC Committee). After several months, caved in and gave HUAC names of 26 people, and was "rehabilitated" [my word] so he could work again. Won best director Oscar for "Crossfire" and directed "Murder, My Sweet," adaption of Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely." Directed Raintree County, The Left Hand of God, The Young Lions, a remake of the Marlene Dietrich classic The Blue Angel, The Carpetbaggers, Shalako, Walk on the Wild Side, Caine Mutiny, Broken Lance The End of the Affair, and Warlock, among others.

Today is also Moving Day (Fête du déménagement) in Quebec, "a tradition ... dating from the time when the province used to provide fixed terms for leases of rental properties. ... The tradition began as a humanitarian measure of the French colonial government of New France, who forbade seigneurs, the semi-feudal landlords of the seigneuries, from evicting their tenant farmers before the winter snows had melted. In law, this date was set as May 1. Later, this evolved into a requirement that urban leases begin on May 1 and end on April 30. May 1 thus became "Moving Day", the day during which renters who wished to vacate their current premises physically changed domiciles."

Could not find a single reference to poutine relating to July 1 anywhere. Alors, mes amis.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps I have atoned for Joel's shocking oversight.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Okay -- I've had it! Yes, indeedy, I have HAD it with all this Michael Jackson all the bloody time, 24-7!

STOPIT! STOPIT! STOPIT!

Geez! This guy was a drug addict, among other things, just as Elvis Presley was when he died, and this nonstop coverage among the nonstop adoration from some quarters is enough to make me go read books -- ALL the books in the universe until my own lights go out!

*pant* *pant* *pant*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 1, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Tomorrow: Michael Jackson singing "Ben."

Posted by: joelache | July 1, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Nicely done, Mudge. Just for that, the first slice of BBQ moose and the coldest beer in the cooler is yours.

Posted by: byoolin1 | July 1, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I do not much mind a bit more Michael Jackson. I mean, this was a very complicated guy with a very complicated legacy. Sure, it might seem frivolous, but so is discussing, you know, James Bond films, and I have been known to do that for hours.

Sometimes with other people in the room.

But if I see a link to that rat song I shall not be responsible for my actions.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow. A sojourn to Italy! If you happen to venture into the Bari area be sure to look up some of my distant relatives. Just don't mention me. Or where I live. Because, you know, there are still issues.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

happy canada day and belated happy bday to dmd!

i vote no for more mj and yes for italy.

Posted by: LALurker | July 1, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

if anyone's searching for a topic of discussion, may i suggest the worst-governed-and-soon-to-be-bankrupt state of california?

on that cheery note...

Posted by: LALurker | July 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

That DVD article is engrossing. Thanks for that link.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the 21st century, there was a thoughtful, intelligent, insightful piece in the NYT about the challenges that Wyoming faces in the 21st century, compared to its neighbor to the south, Colorado. In a conversation with my cousin Marilou, she said recent, real growth is happening around Denver and Colorado Springs, as we found out the hard way.

At the last minutes, we decided to veer west from Dalhart (which smelled exactly like Hereford, Texas) to Texline and on to Raton, New Mexico. We played tourist on the trip only to take the high mesa road past the Folsom man site (we were told there was a small museum but found nothing). This two-lane winding side road took us to an elevation where we had a spectacular view of numerous snow-capped Rockies and where we could touch the clouds. At Raton, we connected with I-25, a huge mistake.

We began hitting heavy traffic in Pueblo, and also in Colorado Springs, and on the other side of the Springs, traffic was almost at a virtual standstill. We tried a small road to the east, through Monument, but we had no sooner turned north on it than we discovered a big rig or half mobile home turned on its side, blocking traffic in both directions. We returned to the freeway, but there was no on-ramp heading north. We then caught a road paralleling the freeway to the west, and by the time the road dumped us back on I-25, we were again at a standstill. We took the toll loop to the east around Denver, but didn't realize that we'd be tolled every seven miles. Why wasn't the cost of the pricey private toll road made public somewhere?

The NYT mentions Cheyenne's Cold War-era missile site and the building of a supercomputer next year in the city. It's a far superior piece of reporting compared to the Lubbock County Register's blogging about inlaw-to-be Rudloff (If I'm not mistaken, Hop-along Cassidy is one of the cowboy figures in the background). NYT has a much better photo of Rudloff, too. But the gold nugget is the news copy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/us/04cheyenne.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Darren%20Rudloff&st=cse

Posted by: laloomis | July 1, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Mudge but I'm staying put. I'm out MJed big time.

The Somme. Brrrr. What an horror. In one of Jasper Fford's books a billionaire and veteran from WWI opens Somme World to re-create the "ambiance". He wonders why it's a bust.

Note on Dan Ackroyd. He was schooled in Ottawa but lived long stretches with his paternal Grand-father who was a big shot in the Mounties. The grand-dad's House was on Ackroyd street, a stone throw from where I sit, here at home. The house's still there, but it ain't own by an Ackroyd anymore.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 1, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I vote with LALurker and ftb: no more MJ.

BTW, Joel, if you need somebody to come along on your Italy trip to do, like, advance work, planning, food-testing-for-poisons, accommodations, sommelier advice, etc., I'm available. I will also carry luggage under, say 30 pounds, although not real fast. Unfortunately, I don't speak Italian, but I know quite a few people of Italian descent, and have eaten in Italian restaurants pretty often, if that helps.

Just thought I'd make the offer.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I've seen "Under the Tuscan Sun" three or four times.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I vote no more MJ either, PLEASE.

MJ has been bumped down a little in the news today with Canada stuff taking top billing.

A nice article about our G-G in todays Globe, I do believe Jeffery Simpson might have a crush,

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/why-canadians-owe-great-thanks-to-michalle-jean/article1202410/

Posted by: dmd3 | July 1, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Those missile silos at FE Warren (former Wyoming governor) AFM to the west of Cheyenne are probably the reason we got a free breakfast Monday morning at the Cheyenne Holiday Inn, compliments of the Department of Defense.

We and a handful of others came down from our respective rooms expecting a complimentary breakfast, typical of Holiday Inn Expresses. We saw the outlay of food, and helped ourselves. There was zero signage indicating for whom the food was intended. According to the server, who five minutes later got a white board and posted a sign, the DoD had arrived Friday for a 10-day conference. She said most DoD personnel had headed out at 5:45 a.m. for a drill that Monday morning, and the food was more or less untouched.

Thursday night, when we checked in just before 10 p.m. after driving through a torrential downpour on Laramie's outskirts, we realized how much of a news void we'd been in. The Perkins cafe adjoining the hotel was open for only 19 more minutes where we could catch an extremely late, light dinner. It was practically empty, so I asked management to turn on CNN, where we learned that FF and MJ were dead. The spunky young college student at the front desk, whom I liked immensely--one of three young students who greatly impressed me on the trip--filled me in on the North Korea situation and details that emerged after Sanford disappeared for his mountain hike.

This attractive, towering college senior-to-be figured that with the missiles downslope in Cheyenne, he was sitting in one of the safest places in the States, if North Korea should try any missile shenanigans.

The 6'5" Brien Sonzogni, whose father works for HEB's Central Market in Dallas, was also responsible for my humorous disappointment during the trip. He said it's a campus tradition for students to try to land a pinecone in the mouth of the giant T.Rex that sits outside the Geology Museum that closes its doors permanently today. The museum was flooded with visitors of all ages Friday morning.

I tried with four pinecones but couldn't even hit the concrete, supersized beast. My husband was just as unsuccessful with one pinecone. This dinosaur is huge, his mouth narrowly open and full of teeth. From the looks of it, old T.Rex had plenty of pinecones between his jaws to make for a good meal, fed to him by students with a far better aim than I.

Posted by: laloomis | July 1, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

SCC: The picture of inlaw Rudloff with cowpoke Cassidy in the background is at the NYT, not the Lubbock County Register. Who's the other cardboard cowboy figure from the old Western films?

Colorado Springs was something from the highway--growth in all directions up to the base of the mountains, what looked like a vibrant retail economy, and many oversized office complexes, including USAA, not to mention the iconic Air Force Academy building. Success was in the air, especially as compared to many small towns along the straight-shot road from Limon, Colorado, to Comfort, Texas, many of these dilapidated old farming communities appearing as though they were drawing their last dying breaths.

Here's the link to the history of Warren AFB in Cheyenne that I forgot to include above.

http://themilitaryzone.com/bases/fe_warren_afb.html

Posted by: laloomis | July 1, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The comment I didn't leave on the blog you didn't write yesterday was witty and erudite, and revealed me to be exactly the type of person you would like for your best friend. :-)

Posted by: kbertocci | July 1, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm still chortling over that comment you didn't write, Bertooch, as I didn't mention in my posts this morning.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

What's the ethics of repeating my Facebook entry here? I wrote it there and then thought, this is more of a boodle comment. So here it is, with apologies to anybody who sees it twice and is annoyed by that.

Have put in numerous hours this week pulling weeds. Sometimes I think I see progress; other times, I'm identifying with Sisyphus:

http://dbanach.com/sisyphus.htm

That's not entirely a bad thing, says Camus: "One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

Posted by: kbertocci | July 1, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Gene Autry.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out what, exactly, it means to configure a newsroom to make it more 21st century. I keep envisioning something to do with large Plasma screens. You know, something like this:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/george_jetson.jpg

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Quote from SC's lt. governor:

"The basic gist was that he's [Sanford] 'going to be a better man because of this,' and I told him I was 'praying for he and his family,' " Bauer said in an interview yesterday."

I'm sure we're all praying for he. And I hope him and he's girlfriend get married and live happily ever after.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Or this:

http://davidszondy.com/future/Living/future_office_1964.jpg

Or, perchance, this:

http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r4/se_michigan/emcs/EMCApprovedCube.jpg

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

RD, If you lose a baked potato in that EMCA approved cubicle you'll never be able to find it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I prefer an ELO-approved cubicle m'sef...

*cranking me up some "Fire on High" even though I'm far removed from cubicles* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 1, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

EYE think it means more like the NYT's new newsroom.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/11/20/arts/20071120_TIMES_GRAPHIC.html?scp=8&sq=new%20building%20newsroom&st=cse#/tab=3

Posted by: Yoki | July 1, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, I fear you are quite correct. But still, there is something alluring about this Office of the Future:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_6hDZt1e0ofY/SXAFF8WOh0I/AAAAAAAADCE/aWV4lALQmeA/s400/ufo+office+3.JPG


I mean, note the computerized wet bar in the back.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Two-footed tango's
Hard to perform on four paws
Followed the beat, right?

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Last night, I watched Monday's Daily Show via the magic of Tivo. Oliver Sack says dogs can't dance. What say the Boodle-pups?

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 1, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I reply thus:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqbVbPvlDoM

Posted by: Yoki | July 1, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, I question the ethics of giving first and last name with town of residence on the web for a private citizen who is not in the public eye, unless he has given his express permission. Especially with an uncommon last name.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 1, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Never been to Italy. Probably never will. Where to start, anyway? The Veneto for Palladio villas (that was a possibility, fell through). Venice for Palladio churches and more. Florence because the TV miniseries "Best of Youth" had an inspired segment placed there, in the wake of the great flood. Rome for Michelangelo and the Pantheon. Villa d'Este because P.S. DuPont emulated its fountains at Longwood? Urbino because it's allegedly perfect? Dolomites?

Maybe borrow "Best of Youth" and watch it again.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 1, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little disturbed. The link to zondy that RD posted looks, for all intents and purposes, like my living room.

Posted by: Yoki | July 1, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that video pretty much confirms what Sack was saying -- the dog gets all his behavioral and timing cues visually, from his human handler, and doesn't seem to display any individual perception of rhythm. Sort of like me.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. OK. No more MJ.


The next post will be about Jermaine Jackson.

Posted by: joelache | July 1, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Cleary, Tim. Thus the frivolity inherent in my posting the link.

Posted by: Yoki | July 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

No Dog Nijinskys
We may have balletic moves
But /never/ the tights

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

We dogs got rhythm.
You don't see it, don't know it,
'Cause we be subtle...

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear Yoki, that doggy dance was simply wonderful! I have dutifully sent it on to some dear friends who also love doggies and their dancing.

*still wiping eyes from laughing*

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | July 1, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh please not Jermaine. How about Janet?

'cause she's ya know, nasty.


Well, that's what I heard.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

That pup moves his feet in time to the music a bit too much for pure coincidence.

I do know birds dance. Cockatiels, parrots.

The local paper keeps a team of dedicated carpenters and complete carpentry shop in order to perform these regular transformations of the newsroom and offices. Surely, they reason, profitability is right around the corner after these changes!

I like this theme today of futuristic office spaces.

A lame attempt at double dactyl,fudging from the get-go:

Haystacky Whostacky
Wassily Kandinsky:
artist and prophet and
purely abstract.

Theosophiliia;
H.P Blavatsky was
doubtlessly folderol
cut him no slack.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 1, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Charles "Robot" Washington came up with the robot dance in the '60s according to this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_(dance)

I saw kids from Miami doing this in '72.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 1, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, good point.

This dance's for bc, by the way-- absolutely one of my favorites

(the trainer/handler can't dance so its more a pantomine skit).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crmD_B8ERzk&feature=related

In my opinion, the dog has more rhythm than the handler.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

kb - as long as you're not his soul mate!

Hope Joel has a great vacation, and doesn't post a thing. But I bet he takes great pictures and tells us about the trip later. In the depths of winter here, I imagine the hill towns of Italy...or the south of France.

Happy Canada Day!

Posted by: seasea1 | July 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Rats!

I Boodled the other day that I thought Michael Jackson's career was all downhill from "Ben."

Was looking forward to JA's thoughts on the matter (RD, I'll catch up with you later on the subject...).

Why Jermaine, why not Tito? I understand Tito is a pretty good volunteer firefighter.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | July 1, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

You know, it makes no sense to think a predator lacks any sense of rhythm (in terms of tracking sound over time).

Any changes or break in gait can signal a lame animal, a wary animal, or an animal on the run. All information is key for a hunt's success or failure.

Yes, four-footed animals are not as flexible as us apes in altering their rhythm-- which makes rhythm so useful to track.

Humans use other's footsteps to mask their own.

Why shouldn't cats and wolves do the same... to the level they can anticipate the timing of the next footfall?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Another thing about Rome. Its geology is rather like parts of Yellowstone National Park. Tufa rock, laid down by Yellowstoneish eruptions of the Alban Hills. The rock is easy to dig into, so the Roman hills are like Swiss cheese. All sorts of stuff hiding underground. And the geology makes for springs and excellent drinking water, which probably contributed to the city's durability in times when people died from drinking water.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 1, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The dog dances better than I do (which isn't saying much), although I imagine his performance outrages PETA for one reason or another. Still, I'm not looking forward to a reality show such as "So You Think You Can Fetch a Stick."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that's genius!
When can I tivo that show?
Do they do kongs, too?

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Kongs?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | July 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Dooley made it clear from the get-go that their would be no room in his four-wheel drive vehicle for us, so that we could get out to his dig site. He was full-up, with two teen students, his son, Tim, and Tim's daughter. The pictures for Shell campground, where Dooley & Co. stayed, has links both to Dooley's museum in Virginia and Brent Breithaupt's museum in Laramie, and the pictures clearly depict that this is where the excavation teams stay--in rather spartan surroundings. Dooley also made it clear that he takes his breakfast and dinners at Dirty Annie's (and they pack the crew's lunches), a mile from the campground and just east of Shell.

I saw the interiors of the small cabins at the Shell campground and originally made a reservation there, but I had also seen the link on the Shell campground home page for Ranger Creek Ranch. I played some phone tag with the ranch before I was able to speak with "Doc." Once I was able to talk with him, I asked a series of questions about the ranch from least important to most important.

One of the least important was the type of breakfasts they served, since the cost of lodging per night included breakfast, and Shell campground didn't provide vittles. The most important I wanted to obtain was the ranch's proximity to Shell and Dooley's dig. The ability to possibly visit the dig site was to be the highlight, the apex for me for the trip, sandwiched between research on Monday and Friday.

Doc said that they were 1,000 feet higher in elevation (their YouTube video showed pines--which was an enormous draw for me) and six minutes away. I asked, "Six miles, then?" "Not exactly," Doc replied. I failed to press him for a better explanation--with tragic consequences. He also said there was a good dirt road to Ranger Creek Ranch. He wished me "Mazeltov." During the call, he also shared that he was a former clinical psychologist from Brentwood, Calif., and our conversation quickly moved to O.J. Simpson.

You can imagine my surprise when, after meting Dooley and Tim and kids Tuesday evening at Dirty Annie's, I received directions to the ranch from kindly old Jim at Dirty Annie's. "It's fifteen miles up the canyon and mountain," he began. He explained how to navigate the dirt roads, which ended up being incorrect and leading us to a dead end, but only after half a mile. Our cell phone call to convey that we were lost in a campground ended in a message on my husband's cell that the call could not be completed. We tried the next option where the dirt roads converged.

I know my jaw must have dropped a half mile in front of Dooley, Tim and Jim when Jim's explanation turned out to be so different from the information that I had received over the phone from Doc.

Posted by: laloomis | July 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

border collies are one of my favorite dogs. as it happens, a friend of my landlord's is staying on a sort of long-term basis. this friend has a border collie, so we've got more canine company and entertainment. in the last couple of days, this b.c. has become deeply distressed by the squirrels she cannot get to up in the trees and power lines. she's been whimpering on and off the last couple of days, and every time i check up on her, she's staring at the trees and power lines. too funny.

Posted by: LALurker | July 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

http://www.pet-shop.net/html/kong3.html

Buy one for a dog on your gift list.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Kongs are the best especially when filled with peanut butter - yum.

For Mudge at hollow rubber toy that can be filled with treats, and I used to practise my chewing, my owner likes to toss them and have me fetch them, I am working to discourage this behaviour.

dmddog

Posted by: dmd3 | July 1, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I had one like that as a pup, dmddog. Once I outgrew chewing and learned fetching, I outgrew it too-- too heavy and uneven to fetch.

But air kongs, on the other hand, are like the ULTIMATE ball-- big, squeaky, tennis ball cover, shaped like a football, and very easy to catch and run with.

Mine lasted all of four months before I chewed it apart. Not bad for a fetching ball.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@Mudge: they're a brand of dog toys.

Driving in to work this morning, listening to NPR discuss Sanford, I couldn't get it out of my head: "I'm in love/ with the other woman/ I was fine/ til she blew my mind"

Now I think they should play that as the intro to all future stories about the guy.

Posted by: Southwester | July 1, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I prefer cream cheese in my kong.

-The Gigantic Dog

Posted by: Southwester | July 1, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, Tim, I'm sure that Bill Barton of San Antonio wouldn't mind his name being published. He's said to be tall and strapping.

Presumably very patient, too.

Posted by: nothingtoseehere | July 1, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I have a strong dislike, and that's steep, winding, mountain roads. Well, there was a good ten miles of the 15 miles that fit that description. The dirt road may have been a good dirt road by Wyoming's cultural standards, but three weeks of hard rain this past spring, after a hard winter's snowfall, made the four mile trip to Ranger Creek Ranch a torturous route for me. The road was badly rutted and eroded, and by husband took the road at 10 m.p.h., 15 m.p.h. slower than the posted limit. We were jostled, bumped, rattled, violently shaken. The following morning when we went down the mountain, we traversed the dirt road at a far more comfortable 5 m.p.h.--the trip out to the highway taking 20 minutes, not counting the 30 minutes it took to get either up and down the highway to Shell. Above the highest Forest Service camping area, the road to the ranch turned into an old logging road, with a sharp switchback, deeper ruts and washouts, and forest growth close to the tracks.

Needless to say, I arrived at the ranch near tears, both of us tired, with darkness gathering. The trip to the ranch was so different from what I had expected, I immediately asked for a refund. The major stakeholder (we susbsequently found out), the Belgian Corinne, just said, "It is what it is." In other words, "No." We walked to the cabin, dejected, with our suitcases. Doc stormed out of the kitchen, and ran up the rocky incline to our cabin, "I understand that you don't like MY ranch. You can have your refund," he spoke before spinning around and running off.

We understood about five days before leaving that the Washakie cabin that we had originally reserved had a broken water pipe and that we were offered the Custer Suite at no additional charge. My husband had joked, which I had passed along in an e-mail to Corinne, that this switch would be O.K. with us, the free upgrade, as long as the Battle of the Little Bighorn didn't break out in our accommodations.

I arrived at the Ranger Creek ranch cold, half frozen, and my husband headed to the "lodge" to get two hot Kahlua coffees. He explained to Corinne that it wasn't the ranch that we didn't like, but the obvious deceit about the proximity and difficult mnountain roads to and from Shell.

Long story short, Dovc wouldn't even speak to us the next day, and I certainly didn't get my trip in the ranch's four-wheel drive to the "living laboratory" dig site. For one, we were told the cook was on vacation, away, so Doc had to cook the next morning, as he was doing when we arrived. Another deceit.

Later I hope to explain how their website is a deceit and the strange, rustic Custer Suite deceit.

Posted by: laloomis | July 1, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Bill Barton of San Antonio wouldn't mind it a bit.

Posted by: laloomis | July 1, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@laloomis: reading of the Custer Suite, I couldn't help but think of "They Died With Their Boots On".

Posted by: Southwester | July 1, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

happy C-day to all you north of the border Canuckistanis (did I spell that right?)

Posted by: omnigood | July 1, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

To read far more into something than is probably justified, that robot dance could, perhaps, be interpreted as saying something about Michael Jackson's psyche.

I mean, it is both powerful and constrained. Much like actual mechanical motion, it, to me, suggests huge amounts of internal energy released carefully - in small quantized jolts. You get the feeling that without a lot of effort, he would simply explode.

Like I said, this is probably reading way too much into things.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 1, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, laloomis. Frustrating indeed! Must have meant six minutes by helicopter.

Posted by: bobsewell | July 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense, RD, that's a very good description of MJ's dance abilities.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 1, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I found a wonderful website with quirky town names- alas, Mianus is not on this list.

http://www.accuracyproject.org/towns.html

Some of those names are quite unprintable, I must say.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I hope your creative energy is sparked with your trip to Italy. Haven't been there in a long time but have fond memories. Art and food and romance. Ooh la la.

I'm reading a fun book call "Lost on Planet China" by J. Maarten Troost. Great writing about a wild west place.

Posted by: Windy3 | July 1, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

That does sound like a difficult road, laloomis. Sounds like the B&B owners need to learn how to calibrate their directions for people who consider a road to be, typically, a paved surface.

I'm told that Jim has sent others up what he considered to be a perfectly navigable road in 2WD, which others found difficult or impassable for their driving skills in 4WD. I think it's a Wyoming thing.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 1, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Happy Canuckistani day all y'all Haute Mainers! The Ivansclan will sing "O Canada" loudly, if not entirely melodiously, in your honor.

Cassandra, your grandsons left the lizards? I think that is really funny. I hope they plan to come back for them, rather than have them live at Grandma's awaiting visits from the boys.

My family has a mountain cabin which, in theory, agents short-term rent for us during the summer. It isn't much of a "cabin" and, though high up, in a more settled area of wilderness-type mountains. We expect prospective renters to look up or ask about specifics like amenities (no Internet y'all, and buy your groceries before you get off the highway), and to get directions off the Net or from the agent in advance. That way nobody has unmet or conflicting expectations. If someone still feels they were not well-informed, we might consider a refund, but we'd throw them out first. Otherwise, unless something breaks through no fault of the renter, no pro-rating or discounting for conditions.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 1, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Heard about this on a Canadian radio show last night and NPR this morning:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5634216/Cross-stitch-recreation-of-Sistine-Chapel-ceiling.html

And it's even on Kit, sort of!

Posted by: seasea1 | July 1, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The Snowbirds made a pass at one o'clock. It's always nice to see them.

Now we're having a tropical shower. This fickle weather is too bad for all the outdoor activities of Canada day. Some sites were drenched and other stayed dry.

I'm doing a sauce Marchand de Vin to go with the BBQed steaks of tonight's family celebration. The FIL and a nephew have birthdays that are close enough to be celebrated together. The rosé (the real stuff) is chilling in the fridge in anticipation.

A lot of umbrage was taken by this family following the victory of the quasi-DdB in the ugly dog contest.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 1, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Now THAT is a bad vacation trip.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090701/ap_on_re_af/yemen_plane_crash

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 1, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Last summer we had a little lizard who lived in our mailbox, eating the ants. Haven't see one lately there, probably it got tired of us bringing it out into the open mixed up with cards & letters. But I have noticed one who lives in the roof gutter and climbs down to the deck to drink from the plant pots and eat bugs.

Posted by: VintageLady | July 1, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Ringing the cowbells for Joel's new kit, I was first for once!

Posted by: dmd3 | July 1, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

R.I.P. Karl Malden- he won't be needing AmEx travelers checks where he's going.

Posted by: kguy1 | July 1, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Psst, New Kit, kguy!

Posted by: seasea1 | July 1, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

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