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Obama's Vacation Challenge

Now comes the greatest challenge yet for President Obama: vacation.

Gifted in so many ways, Obama has yet to prove that he has any affinity for sloth, for torpor, for nodding off in the middle of the day. One senses that he is a man for whom being lazy requires extreme discipline.

As a product of the meritocracy he has limited experience with the aristocratic concept of "summering." He's a grinder, a wonk, a careerist -- the kind of person who, on the rare occasions when he takes a vacation, will write "Have A Beer" on his To Do list.

Obama in recent weeks has outed himself as a workaholic. The House of Representatives skeedaddled for vacation at the beginning of August, and the Senate a week later, but the president has continued to maintain an official schedule, holding town halls, hosting White House ceremonies, meeting with the Egyptian president, and apparently failing to notice that everyone else has left town.

Recent presidents have not been so vacation-averse. Some had ranches where they spent large chunks of their presidencies, clearing brush. But Obama has no ranch, and, if he did, it is hard to imagine that he would spend his time worrying about the brush at all. He is a pragmatist. He would delegate that work. "Hit it with the flame-thrower," he would say.

Obama has made it most of the way through August without taking his vacation, but there's no way he can postpone it any longer. After a Camp David interlude he is heading to Martha's Vineyard. He must relax not simply for a few hours, but for an entire week-and-a-half of vacation.

To understand why this may push him to the limits of his abilities, consider his recent mini-vacation with the family to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. Did you miss the stories about those visits? That's because they were drive-bys.

He visited Yellowstone last Saturday in roughly the amount of time that a regular person visits Costco. That was enough time for a quick walk around some hot springs and an obligatory witnessing of Old Faithful erupting (the White House schedulers no doubt demanded that the geyser blow 30 minutes earlier than normal to accommodate the president's itinerary).

He had lunch at the Old Faithful Inn. The kids got ice cream at the country store. But did they jump in the Firehole River and splash around? Or hike to a waterfall? Did they get anywhere beyond 100 feet of a road? Wouldn't it have been cool if the Secret Service saved the president from a rampaging grizzly? But no, they choppered away -- off to Colorado, where, while the first lady and the kids picked peaches, Obama held (reflexively? compulsively?) another town hall meeting.

Then, Sunday, he went to the Grand Canyon, walked around a little (a "hike," the reports called it, but the official photo showed him wearing what looked like dress shoes) and sped away again, to another official event, another speech.

All of this park-hopping was supposedly a recreation of a visit he took at the age of 11 with his mother and grandparents. But that trip lasted a month, and it surely did not involve town hall meetings. Obama has yet to show that he can make the leap from "working vacation" to simply "vacation."

He doesn't work all the time, it's true. Like Bill Clinton, Obama has found that golf is a great hobby for the chief executive. According to Time magazine, Obama goes strictly by the book when playing golf. No conceding of those two-foot "gimme" putts. No mulligans! He is the opposite of Clinton, a notorious cheater on the links, famous for using executive privilege to give himself do-overs. Golf with Obama doesn't sound tremendously relaxing. Would he concede a one-foot putt? A tap-in? Does he check the bags of his playing partners to make sure that no one has brought a prohibited number of clubs? Does he closely monitor divot repair? Does he examine everyone else's golf spikes to make sure they're not too long?

No president is ever going to be just a regular guy. Obama, however, rarely seems to let his hair down. When he does, someone jumps on his case instantly. He can't tell jokes -- because jokes invariably are transgressive, and someone will be offended, and within 15 minutes the press secretary is crafting the official statement of apology.

Obama spoke frankly about his reaction to Skip Gates getting arrested in his house, and all hell broke loose. Next came the awkward beer-drinking session at the White House. Just some regular guys having a beer! But did anyone really pound their brew? Were their hearts in it? It would have been so much more impressive had the president chugged a can of Schlitz and then crushed it triumphantly against his forehead.

The No-Fun Presidency may be largely imposed by outside forces. We live in a time of rampant sanctimony. Everyone wants to pass judgment on everyone else, and the president, always in the spotlight, can't put his feet up on the desk without it becoming an international incident. Now just watch the reaction when he takes a few days off. How unconscionable! We're in two wars! Health care hangs in the balance! Please, for the love of God, turn your Blackberry on!

A few months back, making good on a promise to his wife, the president flew with the first lady to New York City for a romantic evening. He was eviscerated by the conservatives for goofing off while the world burned and the economy crashed, etc.

This is, of course, balderdash, reflecting an unconservative view of presidential power. The president does not, in fact, run the world. Every moment doesn't count. There is a rhythm to politics, and nothing urgent is likely to happen until after Labor Day (knock on wood). A president -- and a husband and father -- should be free to have a good time. To play. To be -- can you imagine? -- off work.

Don't worry, Mr. President, the world will take care of itself.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 21, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
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Next: My Lost Decade


Good morning, all.

Boss, you're up early!

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

VintageLady, eggs Benedict for breakfast are wonderful! Thanks for that and the waffles. Yum!

Ten more days and August will be over. That's a happy thought. Let the president enjoy his vacation, he deserves one.

I've been looking at pictures of the president more than reading the stories. You know what I really love about that man? His smile. He has a beautiful smile that lights up his whole face. It's refreshing and comforting to have a president who smiles like he does.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I'm back from a short awaycation myself. Sorry dmd, it looks like we left a path of destruction in our wake.
We visited your fair city but it wasn't really planned. The Witches made the point that being Canadian and having never seen the Niagara Falls was Unusual and Cruel punishment so we had to go. Then I made the point that going to the Niagara peninsula without doing a winery tour was also Unusual and Cruel punishment. And so we spent a couple of days out there.
The weather has been way better than the forecast for pretty much all our vacation, that is unusual to say the least.

Welcome back Martooni, but ouch!

Elitist Barack is taking a vacation on elitist Martha's Vineyard. Wait until the blowhards starts blasting him for it, it won't be long. Atlantic City is not good enough for him? That will be worst than Shortsgate, i.e. Michelle wearing shorts during the family's quick tour of the Grand Canyon in a balmy 105F temperature.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 21, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I've not backBoodled yet, but...

I think frosti would agree with me that, although this article has a point, the tone is more than a little unjustified...

And 'Mudge probably already knows, but...

*pinballing-into-the-weekend-and-not-a-moment-too-soon Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Joel very funny kit.

Shriek, glad you enjoyed yourself, I neglected to post in time an invite over to you and your family, now I really feel bad since you went right by.

We are off to the falls ourselves this weekend, but in our case for the umpteenth time. Can never get enough of that Ripley's museum.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 21, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Bob S., love ya dude, but..

"enormous gains in communications knowledge, expertise and technology - how much of that would have been possible on a pay-the-government-protected single-provider system?"

Do I really need to point out how the AT&T government-backed monopoly laid the extensive foundation for today's telecom-centric world?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Last summer I spent a day stalking lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard. He can use my pictures as an identification guide:

And let's hope he's got a birth certificate or some other form of ID to get into Chelsea's wedding.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

*hand hovering over the Front Page Alert button* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Don't dmd. We were going along like pinballs, bouncing from one place to the other. We planned only the zoo (man was it hot...) and Dead Sea scrolls visits in TO, the rest was improvised. I was impressed with the flowers displays in Hamilton, both annuals and perennials, specially the hibiscus-like flowering shrubs.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 21, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Great kit Joel. I can understand wanting to see the sites and fit a lot into a short time. We did that in Nova Scotia. Speaking of which, I hope they don't get hit too hard by Bill. Such a pretty place, I'd hate to see it all torn up. The dew point is in the mid 70's here and it seems like a deep breath would lead to drowning.

After an hour and a half at the 'after hours' clinic last night and a trip to the drugstore, I am feeling much better. Funny thing, they never asked for a sample to confirm the diagnoses. We could have done the whole thing by phone, but of course then the insurance company and hospital wouldn't have gotten their piece of the pie.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 21, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Too funny, Joel, but remember golf IS serious business. I would love to play a 9 hole round with Obama, but even more, I would love to watch a full round with Tiger and Obama.

Hope they stay in Edgartown, but anywhere on Martha's Vineyard is fine. Didjaknow there actually is a vineyard/winery? Just one, we went there and bought a case of wine for gifts for friends, light and fruity stuff, nice. Some of the grapes for the wine were actually grown there, but most came from NYS and Mass.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 21, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Glad you are feeling better, sneakers. How nice to be close to Cape Cod, etc. I used to believe that going to Va. Beach & Nags Head for fun was perfect, now we like Mass. coast the best, although what little we have seen of the Maine coast is unclutteredly beautiful.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 21, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

How was the Dead Sea scroll exhibit, have been curious about it.

I am guessing you mean perennial Hibiscus, I have one but had more at my old house, one a red one with Dinner plate sized red blooms. They are great plants and quite hardy - but you must be patient they emerge very, very slowly often into June before you will see new growth.

The Zoo is always good but so big, did you see the new Polar Bear habitat?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 21, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I should also state that my vacations growing up were fly bys, we saw a lot but never for a long period, Dad wasn't really a sit still kind of guy, think he like driving to the destinations as much as anything else.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 21, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

VL, the cape would be better if half of the structures and people weren't there - as in the late 50's. ;-) I'm headed down there this morning for a while. Always love going over the bridge and taking a peak to see what's coming thru the canal.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 21, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yes, good kit. Best line: "We live in a time of rampant sanctimony." Indeed. And this morning Gene Robinson tells it like it is, alas:

Martha's Vineyard elitist? Well, it can't be *that* elitist; I've been there four times.

VL, we've been to that winery, too, twice. They have some nice stuff. Bought a couple bottles to celebrate our 25th anniversery vow renewal ceremony there. Some recent TV clips of the island show a red brick lighthouse on a bluff by some cliffs: that's Gay Head Light, at Aquinnah. We had our vow ceremony at the foot of that lighthouse. The Obamas have rented a house in Chilmark, which is in the center of the island, kind of in the middle of nowhere. Nut they can pop into one of the towns any time. I was going to say I love Chilmark -- and I do...but I love Edgartown (curiously, don't much care for Chappaquiddick--there's nothing there), and Aquinnah, and Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs, and Menemsha, and Menemsha Pond, and Sengatonnket, and Tisbury, and West Tisbury, and Katama, and East Chop, and West Chop, and Beetlebung Corner... DeNeen Brown had a nice piece on Oak Bluffs yesterday. I could be a year-round resident, but my wife couldn't tolerate it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

The new toundra trail is good but needs a little weathering. Everything is just too new. Perennial hibiscus? Not perennial around here for sure, this is a banana belt exclusive.

The Dead Sea scroll expo was good, it's pretty cool to look at 2000 year old scripture (or at a 2000 yo parchment lease agreement for that matter, there is one!).
Too many people, in particular too many small kids, are admitted at the same time though. The expo is mainly about the written word, I don't know why so many people bring their little tikes see that as they get bored VERY quickly. It's also about the religious life in Judea circa 250bc-70ad in affluent cities such as Jerusalem and in the poor hamlet of Qumran near where the scrolls were found.

Thanks to Science Tim I had recently brushed up on my Jewish&Roman Judea history by reading the scholarly "Lamb, a gospel according to Bif" he recommended earlier this year so I wasn't too confused with all the historical references.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 21, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

s'nuke-I think both point and tone of that article were spot on. Though dialing back to a more neutral tone would be good from a journalistic sense. I wouldn't get on one of those things, and I hate to see people sucked in by the mystique.

bobs-Telecom deregulation did lead to lots of innovation, and prices to consumers going down. However, just as with health insurance we throw a lot of money down the telecom rat hole too. Why do we get double charged all the time? In the US if two people talk via cell phone they both use minutes, in Europe only the originator of the call does. Providing the infrastructure for text messaging costs the cell phone service practically nothing, so no large investment for that first message, yet it is the most expensive way to use a cell phone.

Cloudy, dark and rainy all day yesterday, got up to more of the same. Can I use a gloomy mood to ask to skip the muffin, and egg to be replaced with a double helping of Canadian bacon, asparagus and Hollandaise?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Rampant sanctimony indeed. The poor man got in trouble when he took his jacket off in his office. Is it any surprise he may be leery of a real vacation, not to mention a good joke?

I spent three years in Boston but never made it to the Vineyard. I hear it is nice. Hope they have a good time.

I had a successful vacation recently where I did very little (other than drive for miles and miles and miles and miles up and down big big hills). With the Boy's help I finished a fiendishly difficult jigsaw puzzle.

In the spirit of the Kit, I'm taking a "vacation" day today which I plan to spend working. I'm going to weed in the garden, currently growing a fine crop of grass, and start clearing out my shop. That'll take more than a day. I want to get far enough that I can reach the broken-down particle board shelving which is leaning precariously near the water tank.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 21, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, the very best time to go to the Vineyard is late September or the first week of October. The weather is still great, and the crowds are gone, but things are still open. VL, Maggie, do you concur?

Also, pop over to Natucket, at minimum for a day trip, or better yet an overnighter. Spectacular. Stay at the Jared Coffin House. Take the bus (minivan) tour out to 'Sconset. Priceless. Go to the Folger Whaling Museum.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

And I'm sure everyone will find Howard Kurtz's column shocking:

"Code Red Confession
Media Notes | Bush administration tried to use terror alerts to boost president's political fortunes."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought Chas. Krauthammer was going be completely rational and grown up today, but threw me a head fake and swerved off into the weeds pretty quickly.

I work for a teeny tiny agency of the gummint which performs a function unrelated to national security or ag subsidies or even mail delivery, but nontheless we have to conform to certain security procedures and one of these that frequently manages to deplete my baby powder supply is computer passwords. I have to enter three different passwords to get online- a departmental password, a personal password, and since I'm using an Intel Mac, a third password for that. Then the system compels me to change these passwords at frequent intervals which vary for each of the three, will not allow me to use any previously used passwords, and demands that I memorize the passwords and never ever ever on pain of being waterboarded 83 times a month, write any of the passwords down. And the system tells me when the time for a change draws near, "Your password will expire in fourteen days. Would you like to change it now?" My standard reply is, "**** no! Why would I want to shorten the interval between changes which is too short as it is?" Why do they think I need 14 days to devise a password? Perhaps I should apply for Password Leave, 13 days of rumination and study of works on cryptography and mnemonics. Harumph.

This is one of the few things about my job that makes me look forward to retirement.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 21, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Lamb was a hoot. We listened to the unabridged version on our vacation. It's what qualifies as driving family entertainment in our household. Some of the more ribald elements were perhaps a bit over the top. My review is here (scroll down to the bottom):

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Hi, I'm Scottynuke, and I'm a password-holic. Welcome to the group, kguy. :-)

For those of you that peruse "Ask Amy," I can only hope you get today's dead-tree version. Hilarious!

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse


Very cool that you got to do that at the Gay Head Lighthouse. It was all fenced off when we were there and we couldn't get closer than the overlook.

It is worth every minute of the two-hour round trip bus ride. For a long, long time this was the wallpaper on my work computer:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I find the designations for Military Aircraft to be a useful starting point for developing passwords for sites the require frequent password changes. Since they contain a mix of upper case, lower case and numbers, the fit the bill well.

I also keep a very convenient file on my desktop called passwords.txt just in case I can't remember what plane I'm flying this month.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

After a brief interlude flirting with sanity Chuckie K has returned to form. I wasn't going to bring him up, but since you did, the most disingenuous paragraph from that column is:

"Except for the demented orphan, the living will is quite beside the point. The one time it really is essential is if you think your fractious family will be only too happy to hasten your demise to get your money. That's what the law is good at -- protecting you from murder and theft. But that is a far cry from assuring a peaceful and willed death, which is what most people imagine living wills are about. "

I want one just to keep congressman to from remotely diagnosing my brain activity so they can score cheap points with their base.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

The lighthouse was fenced off when we went there, too, yello-- just an ordinary two-bar split-rail fence with an ordinary gate. We climbed the fence -- as did three ladies in there 60s who were there before us. Although they were complete strangers, I asked them to be witnesses, and they were delighted.

I actually thought about trying to read the K-hammer column...but just couldn't do it. A man can handle only so much insanity in one's life without going out and finding more.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' Boodle,
Obama is just a really competitive guy, not a golf stickler. He's fairly athletic, so he wants to any athletic contest to be serious. The better question than whether or not he checks the number of clubs in everybody's bags, is whether or not he goes all out when playing Candyland with the girls.

Posted by: Southwester | August 21, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: kguy1 | August 21, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

This is my computer wallpaper at home:

This location is about a mile south of Oak Bluffs, and is one of my favorite places on the island. Just off to the left is a nice two story house, right on the water. This tiny harbor has three docks and is well protected. There is a larger catboat often moored here. Just at the top left of the view there is a small cut-- this leads out to Nantucket Sound. The pond where they filmed Jaws, with the shark swimming under a small bridge into a pond, is just down the road a bit.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Red Alert-A golden orb, which appears to generate a small amount of warmth, has appeared in the sky over Our Fair City. This could be the beginning of the invasion.

Rep. Walz (blue dog dem) Minnesota's 1st district, had a health care town hall last night. Walz had former Senator Durenberger (republican while in the senate, agnostic now I believe), now a health policy expert at St. Thomas Univ. moderate the meeting. From the coverage I've seen the first half hour was dominated by the crazies, but reform supporters showed up in force too and Durenberger was able to turn down the volume and they went on for another 2 hours. The meeting ended in applause. Besides McCaskill, Frank, and Walz, and the prez of course, who is handling these meetings well?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I disagree, frosti, the piece comes across as far too sensationalized. Yes, the service should be required to meet safety standards. There's no indication, however, that the article drew distinctions between crashes of for-profits and those of services such as the MD state-run one that had the fatal crash. They provide no connection between any NTSB conclusions on causes and any of the shortfalls they list. Their charts, to my eye, fail to show an "inflection point" based on the Medicare fee change. And most tellingly, the trend of crashes matches up almost exactly with the increase in the overall number of copters. More flights, more potential crashes, so where's the shock in there actually having been more?

Again, a legitimate issue, just presented more for shock value than anything.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

That is a nice picture, mudge. The teenagers we were with hiked down to the beach to play in the surf, but us codgers stayed at the top of the hill.

Here is the Oak Bluffs article from yesterday:

It has a nice photo gallery with it too. Picture 4 is a great shot of the main lawn. I was fascinated with the tiny cottages surrounding the revival hall. We were there very late in the day and the pastels just glimmered in the fading sun.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Darn Gaylord ad, futzin' with the formatting... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

s'nuke-you are correct in all your points about the way the story was written, and researched (or not, as it appears). And it concerns me that people make decisions about their personal risk based on sensational pieces like it. It would bother me more for this particular article if I hadn't already concluded from some first hand knowledge that I would never get on one of those things if I still had enough consciousness to object. Remote mountain climbs, polar ice caps,and roadless Amazon jungle, being the few exceptions.

Like many things medical related, we would benefit by some analysis of the effectiveness and when use of air evac is justified balanced against the risk. We have a couple generations of Americans who equate the sound of rotor blades with rescue and the worst being over once the hero is aboard the helicopter. But in real life it's not over until everyone lands safely. Frankly, my biggest gripe with the unsystemized system is seeing perfectly healthy crew members needlessly endangered.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh, we SO agree on that last paragraph, frosti.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

yello, in the #4 photo you mentioned, the house on the far right is a big three-story "painted lady," a dark green with dark red trim, one of the single most beautiful house I've ever seen (of course, everyone has their own taste in architecture; my wife and I love Victorian "painted ladies"). When we vactioned there about 10 years ago, we stayed in a house that backs up against one of the houses seen in the photo of the little girl tumbling in the grass. To get to the big public grean, we walked through the alley between two of those houses.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

frosti, how about this for a pithy saying:

"The Golden Hour vs. Gold-plated Care"


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Have a Beer" is a perfectly legit to-do list item.

And on my vacations, it's possibly the only thing that can be guaranteed to get crossed off said list! Everything else is flexible....

Posted by: | August 21, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

That house is a stunner, mudge. I have about a half dozen pictures of it in the set of Flickr pictures I linked to above. This is probably the best one of those:

Scroll left for even more picture of it. And can one of our Greek-fluent boodlers tell me what is written over the porch?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

*faxing a deli tray , veggie tray, chips and dip to the bunker, along with a cooler full of frosty beverages*

Posted by: -jack- | August 21, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

kguy, there is a very simple solution to your password connundrum; it'll still allow you to keep complex passwords in your head. Let me know if you need to know.

At present, I only need remember 1. On 08/31, I'll go back to at least 12.

I know my ex-job will not be changing all the system passwords--they couldn't pay me enough to keep working on those systems, they can't imagine me going in for free, even to hack. :-)

dmd, yoki, jack! I was supposed to be doing an online workshop today, but . . . I'm working hard on being lazy and if it's not still up this weekend, it is what it is.

Ivansmom, still in awe. Where do you get all this energy?

Posted by: -dbG- | August 21, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to know the password trick, dbG. Can you tell us here or should you email me?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Scotty and Frosty, I'm having a bit of trouble following your discussion regarding the medivacs (and I had some trouble following the article, for that matter).

One problem with the article: "The idea that helicopters can be used to swiftly transport critically injured patients to trauma centers and other hospitals grew from the experience of surgeons and pilots during the Vietnam War." This is total bulls---. It came from the Korean War, as any moron who has seen so much as a single episode of M*A*S*H knows full well.

Another is the statement that a majority of crashes happen at night. Big surprise. You know why? Because the majority of serious and fatal car crashes happen at night.

I found the article to be woefully short of reliable statistics and long on BS. I don't know how it is in the rest of the country, but in this neck of the woods, my perception is our medivac flights are almost always linked to really serious accidents and car crashes. Our medevac choppers are owned by and flown by the Maryland State Police, and contrary to that stupid article, I don't our crews are flying people with sprained ankles.

On July 3, my #2 granddaughter's boyfriend was in a very bad crash in Waldorf and was flown to Shock/Trauma in Baltimore. This was a life-and-death case.

And within the past year, we had a chopper go down and kill four people, the fifth, a passenger, managed to survive. She and another passenger were in a bad car crash; these were also life-or-death cases.

Again, I don't know how it is in other places, but in this neck of the woods, the notuion of somehow frivolous flights just doesn't exist-- or if it does, no one I know is aware of it. As a reporter, I've covered any number of serious incidents that used medevac flights. None were frivolous.

When I was a baseball umpire, we had a 16-year-old pitcher who got hit in the face with a line drive. We got him air-evaced out, and rightly so: he had a deadly serious head injury, and they took him to Shock/Trauma, too.

Also, in this neck of the woods, it is my understanding that the EMTs on the scene call in the air medevacs, based on the degree of injury. There is no "shopping," and the notion (hereabouts, anyway), that a pateient has anything whatsoever to do with the decision-making is completely absurd. If you aren't 90 percent dead already, the likelihood that you are coherent enough to be consulted, much less make a decision, is close to zero, if not zero.

The article alleges there are frivolous flights. Maybe there are, I don't know. But I want to see something more than the lame anecdote or two the article gave. I want to see some numbers and some examples.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the movie version of that medevac helicopter article. It'll be like a cross between 'Airwolf' and 'Mother, Jugs & Speed'.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Prez, don't forget to stop at Sandy's Fish and Chips. Sandy herself will make you the best fish and chips ever, or you can try the Belushi burger, a fried fish sandwich named after John Belushi, who was a frequent customer.

You can find Sandy at John's Fish Market in Vineyard Haven.

Posted by: newengland1 | August 21, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I know in remote areas people buy air-evac insurance. My brother and his wife got it for their country place, which is over half an hour from the nearest hospital on winding country roads, and where there is no ambulance or police service. I'll have to ask if it covers only serious emergencies, or could be used for a bad sprain if no other transport were available.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 21, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm vaguely aware that there is a federal agency that tracks upwards of a couple hundred THOUSAND crashes every year, with something like 42,000 fatalties, never mind serious injury. That agency doesn't seem to have any trouble analysing and cross-analysing types of crashes, causes, a couple dozens factors including weather, time of day/night, and crunching the numbers (to say nothing of producing a series of wonderfully edited reports).

Why the FAA and NTSB, -- as well as the Post reporters -- can't crunch a database containing a grand total of 240 fatalities over 29 FREAKING YEARS totally escapes me. Even *I* could do it, in my sleep, over a weekend. Jeez. This ain't rocket science. (Beggin' yer pardon, Tim.) I know an outfit that crunches 240 fatalities occurring on a SINGLE DAY on the average Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Belushi is buried in the cemetery out on the Chilmark Road (as I suspect you already know, newengland1). MV was one of his favorite spots.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mudge-there's the key, another gummint run program run better than bidness (at least in comparison, from the scant data available).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yep... *hittin' the FPA button*

Kinda thought you'd think those kinda thoughts, 'Mudge.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

SCC-I was referring to the MD state police doing the air evac.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

In rural areas the nearest major hospital capable of dealing with serious issues (such as heart attacks, etc.) might be 100 miles away or more.

That's when helicopters come in handy, and might be used more often.

I bet in Alaska with all its land and low population, they are more likely to medevac people with broken legs and other "less" critical injuries, because of the risk of shock, exposure, frostbite-- and also just because so much of Alaska is not accessible by road.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 21, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm blaming the reporters, Scotty. I suspect the numbers I want are already in somebody's file somewhere. But recreating them shouldn't be difficult. Here's what's needed, for starters:

First total number of fatal crashes. If there's 240 dead and each crash seems to kill three or four people, that's about a total of 60 to 80 crashes (and divided by 29 years you get 2 to 2.5 crashes per year). So, how many total med flights are there in a year? No idea, but for argument, let's say 100,000. Now what is the overall accident rate for choppers per 100,000 flights of all kinds?

(And can I see a show of hands of people who *didn't* know flying choppers is (a) very difficult and (b) dangerous? We got any chopper pilots here? Perhaps who flew H-60s? Say, in the miltary? Who might wanna verify this?)

So, 60 to 80 crashes. But for argument's sake, let's say it was 100. Out of these, how many were weather-relted crashes? How many an identified pilot error? Avery one can be reviewed to examine the nature of the passenger(s) being carried; how many were serious and how many appeared to be "optional"? Out of the 100, how many give an overall impression of being flown in marginal conditions? How many flew into high-tension lines? All of this is easy stuff to find out.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

And how many flights had the crews entirely eaten by zombies?

Mudge, you're bang-on right about the need for analysis skills when evaluating this kind of issue. Just raw numbers make no sense without context.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 21, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Scotty - I don't think that anyone would deny that government spending and/or imprimatur is useful for large infrastructure projects. But a customer of Ma Bell was not getting anything resembling their best and most reasonably-priced efforts until Ma Bell had some competition.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 21, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, Mrs D agency is spending (waisting?) quite a bit of their resources on helicopters crashes. It turns out they are poor gliders and most crashes end up in a ball of flames, unless they fall in a body of water in which the pilot and/or passengers quickly drown. They are NOT the aircraft of choice for crashes.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 21, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, Wilbrod.

But I'm not sure even that (great distance) is a factor. Serious cases here in Southern Maryland are often flown to Shock Trauma in Baltimore-- that can be anywhere from 75 to 100 miles or more. So 100 miles in Alaska isn't all that different than 100 miles from Charlotte Hall, MD, to Shock/Trauma. (Of course, weather is better here, but there's also much more air traffic. Probably a wash.)

Statistically, one should be able to relate flights as well as fatal crashes to population density. Yes, Alaska is very rural--but how many serious car crashes do they have compared to, say, Binghamton, NY?

(FYI, fatal car crashes are significantly more likely to happen in rural areas than urban. Nobody is going to air-evac a car crash victim [or shooting victim, or any other victim] from 23rd and Tasker in South Philly, or 93rd and 3rd Ave., Manhattan. Air-evacs are much more likely to occur in rural areas *anyway.*)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Maine Ambulance Crashes: 2003-2007
Ambulance Crashes by Year
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
58 41 42 31 33
Source: Maine State Police

That is, automobile crashes. Perspective is not sexy news.

kguy, I liked the YouTube bit

From this picture, Obama needs no coaching on enjoying himself. I definitely relate to his choice of recreation.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'll see if our Office of Zombie Nutrition and Crash Analysis can get that figure for you, Wilbrod.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

No public password secrets! Then they will become well-known things for sneaky-types to subvert. Tell TBG in private. Psst! email me, secret-holders!

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

By the way shan't repost my reply from previous kit, Bob S.

All along, I have been focusing on the issue of "catastrophic" coverage and how it could exclude the real wallet-killers merely because the costs don't come all at once, but build up steadily and snowball throughout life.

You're focusing on the systematic cost, but you're not doing the potential maximum math per patient, and why HSAs won't cover it (unless it's used to buy insurance).
His solution isn't right how he framed it. The point of insurance is to spread cost risk.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 21, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm not making this up. I have right in front of me data on "What percentage of [ambulance-transported] patients over age 35 with suspected cardiac chest pain received an aspirin?"

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-correct you are, landing and taking off in places that weren't designed for it is inherently dangerous. I too think more than enough data is out there to analyze then institute some reasonable industry wide standards. Then they need to be enforced.

Packing up for the trip to St. Paul. Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

sd, if you ask me, the more Moore, the better. Glad you enjoyed "Lamb," it's a book I recommend quite often, along with "Good Omens" (yes, there may be a theme here).

Had a vacation day myself yesterday, which included 9 holes of golf on a relatively inexpensive course. First time I've played all year, and didn't embarass myself -- much. I managed to amuse the folks I was playing with with my usual eccentric club choices - choosing to go with my "safety club" 3-wood (a real wood-head club that is so old that it's autographed in Latin by Emperor Haridian hisownself, who used it while he was in Scotland. For what, I don't want to know) on a 175-yard par 3, and using a putter to bump 10 yards onto the green from the rough, rather than risk topping a pitch into the next dimension.

I'd like to think that the President would approve of my Golf Game Reform Plan to address my handicap (which would my my game in its entirety).

Question - d'ya think President Obama's playing Skee Ball on the boardwalk? Considering a tattoo? Playing with the kids on the beach? [Somehow I don't see him with little green plastic soldiers, though *maybe* a frisbee.] Grabbing a bucket of boardwalk fries and some vinegar for everybody? What's he buying at Candy Kitchen? Think he'll bring back taffy for everybody in the Cabinet?

My bet is that at some point, Bo finds a dead seagull or some other animal and rolls around on it to mask his scent, which will be a family story for years.


Posted by: -bc- | August 21, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I read it. I'm still sorting my thoughts out, and trying to wrap my head around exactly what you're arguing against. The argument can't possibly be that you don't think that giving people control over how their health care dollars are spent would be a bad idea, so it must be something else.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 21, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Feel free to drop part of the double-negative in that last bit.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 21, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

No boardwalks on Martha's Vineyard, bc. Sorry.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

My absolute favorite Jack Nicholson line of all time. Better than "You can't handle the truth!" Better than "Heeeere's Johnny!" is
"Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up."

I only have two regrets regarding the line-

1. I cannot manage the proper amount of Nicholson nasal contempt when I say it.

2. The Jehovah's Witnesses don't come to my door more often.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 21, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I always wondered about this. (I'm not a golfer.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC: replace first "my" with "be."

Or not.


Posted by: -bc- | August 21, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.--

I already have control over how my health dollars are spent; I don't have control over WHY they are spent.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 21, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Organism fusion paved way for cyanobacteria bloom

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Getting ready for our weekend getaway. dmdspouse's new job closes the office at noon on Fridays so we will enjoy and early start.

Not the most original destination - Niagara Falls, but there is lots of things to do and see, great fun in a kitschy sort of way.

Have a great weekend all.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 21, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse
Shocking. Well, not that shocking...

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

in the spirit of woodstock, kguy, i can only say, 'right on, brother'.

thanks, mr. joel for pointing out that everybody could lighten up a little about the prez, his wife, her wardrobe, his kids, their dog, his schedule, his mistakes, etc. etc. the guy has been in office for seven months, working 18 hour days seven days a week (seems to me).

as for vacationing, there is no wrong way to do it.

and to get the weekend started, let's all sing along: cause it's one, two, three, what are we fightin for? dont ask me i dont give a damn....

Posted by: butlerguy | August 21, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, you thwack those prokaryotes with your No. 7 iron.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Balderdash" is a fine word. I also am fond of "flapdoodle."

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 21, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

bc brings up my burning question about the Prez's vacation - are they taking Bo?

Posted by: seasea1 | August 21, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy... I've begun to look forward to your posts. You should visit and speak up more often!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Good question, seasea. Alas, this doesn't seem to answer it:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, even though right

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you're killing me with Vineyard references! I have to wait until mid-September to go there this year. The weather will be beautiful (I hope!) with warm, non-humid days and cool nights; The crowds will have thinned, the private and beautiful town beaches won't keep non-residents out, and the Trustees of Reservations (the most beautiful) beaches of all will be uncrowded!

While you think that Chappy has nothing, I think that it is a wonderful place with beautiful hikes, East Beach, Wasque, the Cape Pogue wildlife Refuge, the Japanese garden, and other special places.

And,I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking about what I'm missing by not being on the Vineyard in August, notably the West Tisbury Agricultual Fair and Illumination Night at the Campground.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 21, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

A 7 iron?! That's insane.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey gang, back from a busy morning.

There was a spate of rescue copter crashes earlier in the year, several in a very short period of time.

My understanding is that pilots have the final say as to whether or not a copter flies, and they watch the weather closely. They can and do say no, then the ambulances just have to move fast as they can. Also an issue in traffic, of course...

Around here, the protocol is that the fire department sets up a landing zone for the copter, which means that second or third fire companies are dispatched specifically for that function. Generally, the fire department is first on the scene because there are more fire companies than ambulances and they are geographically located for short response.

Medevacs are not called for unless there is a clear need, a life that could be saved that would otherwise be lost.

Costly? You betcha. But priceless if it works.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep, like my Grandfather did -- not screaming, like the passengers in his car.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 21, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I wonder about this really a vacation for her? In my experience a true vacation for a mother of young children is one of those 'I have a friend who has a friend' myths. Really, who says bedtime? Who is doing everything from picking up the sandy beach towels and shaking them out to washing the sand out of various spots on a child? I know she's got "detail" now, but do they say "I think that's quite enough junk food for one day young lady" or "vacation or not, don't use that tone of voice with me. I brought you into this world...."

What do you think the girls have gotten used to the secrutiy detail, and car rides have a "Did Not!- Did Too!" quality?

I hope Michelle gets at least one night with a sitter.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 21, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Such a timely post, car is being packed, and I am bracing myself for two days of the kids in close quarters.k

Posted by: dmd3 | August 21, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm like Obama in that I favor power-vacationing. In my ten day vacation we drove over 2900 miles and visited six national parks or monuments as well as two major state parks across five states. And not those dinky eastern seaboard states either. We're talking Great Plains and Big Sky states.

I can only imagine how much more I could pack in if I had Air Force One at my disposal.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Looks like its working up to a pretty good thunder-boomer here in MontCo. Might want to batten down the hatches if your in lower or mid-County.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 21, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree, LiT... often vacation spots have fewer of the "mod cons" of home, too. So laundry and dish washing are a lot more work.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of insane, here's a good artsy/sciencey article:

7 "Eccentric" Geniuses Who Were Clearly Just Insane

Two I had never heard of.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Talk about projecting, Achenbach!

I think a guy who grew up in Hawaii has plenty of ability to hang loose and relax with friends and family, especially if there's an ocean nearby.

And not just in the summer. Remember that early meeting in the Oval Office during our first big snow, when he announced to his staff they'd better hurry up because he was leaving in one minute to join the girls with their sleds? And did?

You, on the other hand... after reading this, I'm not so sure. Are you 100 percent positive the topic here is really the president, not you?

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | August 21, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Whoa! Broken pipe forces evacuation of the Pru in Boston...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Thwacking those prokaryotes with a No. 7 iron IS insane. In the membrane.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Get the links BOSS?

Posted by: Dermitt | August 21, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ok, the 3 wood.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow... there's quite a storm going on right now. Can't even see the cars in the parking lot from our windows. Lots of scurrying beforehand!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, Dermitt. Welcome back. All we need is love!

Posted by: bobsewell | August 21, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

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

Hello, friends.

K-guy, cracked up over that Nicholson line.

Slyness, still humid and hot here, with the showers and thunder boomers. My dad gets an Observer every morning, and that paper is getting smaller and smaller. The local paper is larger than the Observer. What happened?

As for the kit, I hope the President is able to rest. Maybe sleep a little longer. The man hit the ground running, and is still at it. And I hope he gets to spend some time with his family, without a lot of interruptions. The whole family needs the break, wife too.

Have a great weekend, folks. I'm sleepy. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 21, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Michelle is doing ok - probably more help than she's ever had. I read somewhere that she took the month of August off - no public events (other than walking off Air Force One in shorts). So I think she has a sensible approach to this whole First Lady thing.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 21, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama deserves a great vacation. He does have a beautiful smile as one of the posters here noted. Even when he has been relentessly attacked, Obama seems to keep his cool and the only mean words he could utter were "stupid" and "wee-weed" - amazing after he's been called Hitler, death panel promoter, pulling Grandma's plug, communist, socialist, Leninist maybe, Marxist possibly, ad nauseum. Whew. And all Obama wanted to do was give those 47million without medical insurance some coverage.

Posted by: mstratas | August 21, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cassandra, not quite so hot here today but plenty humid. I think I'll stay in for a while. I think the Observer is smaller because of less advertising. I hope Ben Bernanke is right about the economy being on the road to recovery. Fingers crossed that it will help WaPo, the Observer, and other papers also.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 31% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-nine percent (39%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8

Maybe obozo will quit and not come back from wait that would mean plugged head biden would be in charge.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | August 21, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

OTOH if McCain had won, Palin would already have quit and gone home to Wasilla and we'd be wondering about the Pelosi administration's agenda.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 21, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

You know, whenever I read random insults on the internet, I always assume the author is a 12-14 year old boy-- and the kind that needs discipline and a grow-up pill.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 21, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I have to admit my favorite part of the Observer is the "buzz". Some of those comments are so funny. Who needs to read the comics after reading those buzz comments? And I used to love reading the letters to the editor, but now it's the "buzz". I am helplessly addicted.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 21, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I know, Tuna. It's a shame--Bush had sooooooo much better approval ratings.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy the buzz too. Wouldn't it be a hoot to be the editor who has to read and pick those comments out?

Wilbrod, you're making me wistful. I wish there were a grow-up pill, I'd slip it in lots of drinks.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Running out to go to a grandson's birthday party at a Japanese steakhouse...

Everybody have a nice weekend.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 21, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

As feared by LiT:


As initially reported in our telephone conversation, we have a situation arising for which Agent Smith and I have following some discussion opted to jointly seek your instructions.

At approximately 1236 EST the Presidential motorcade departed location MAGNOLIA en route to destination SANDPIPER.

In an effort to allow for pleasant travel, the writer’s assigned subject RADIANCE and Agent Smith’s assigned subject ROSEBUD, after some heated discussion, came to terms about their respective areas of personal space for the duration of travel. It was readily apparent to this agent that the agreed upon dividing line represented an imaginary line through the middle of the vehicle and that no dispute was reasonably likely to occur.

However, without prior warning or apparent provocation, ROSEBUD proceeded to place her arm across the agreed upon dividing line separating areas of responsibility. This was further compounded by ROSEBUD placing various and sundry personal items across the dividing line. RADIANCE took exception to these intrusions, and immediately expressed her displeasure. This may or may not have ended any discussion, but ROSEBUD immediately denied having ever taken such action. This agent finds this denial improbable. (see, however, Addendum). RADIANCE, in turn, immediately made a brief statement to the effect that ROSEBUD in fact had done so. ROSEBUD, in turn, maintained her denial and a series of exchanges resulted.

The situation escalated out of control when RADIANCE took possession of one of ROSEBUD’s Barbie doll and ejected same from the Right Rear Passenger window (see attached Interim Lost Item Report 11435). Note should be made that the doll at issue was originally a possession of RADIANCE. ROSEBUD, this agent has learned, will say that there is an error in the 11435 and that the doll at issue was a different one and in fact was an allegedly valuable “MALIBU Barbie”.

In any event, the situation was, and is currently, out of hand. RENEGADE has issued a verbal ultimatum to immediately order to return to MAGNOLIA unless all parties immediately cease all activity. RENAISSANCE has also intervened, unhelpfully in this agent's opinion, by engaging in an extended inquiry into an inventory of all personal possessions in the vehicle.

Instructions requested.

Addendum from Agent Smith:
Agent Johnson is factually correct in his assignment details. Beyond that his assessment is factually disoriented.

Posted by: engelmann | August 21, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

engelmann... that (fabulous) report left out the one detail about ROSEBUD complaining that RADIANCE was looking out *her* window.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Eh eh eh e he! Bravo Son of Carl!

As one wearing the physical (2 brothers) and emotional (2 sisters) scars of sharing the backseat of a large American car with my siblings I appreciate this low-key drama.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 21, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm also surprised that neither ROSEBUD nor RADIANCR demanded that RENAISSANCE told the other to stop looking *AT* her.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 21, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

That is genius. At what point did RENEGADE tell RADIANCE and ROSEBUD that he didn't care who started it, he was going to end it?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Which Secret Service agent do you think declared "Don't make me come back there!"

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant engelmann as usual.

I am singing along with butlerguy. Howdy butlerguy! and howdy to dermitt and all y'all newcomers. By the way, I enjoyed Bud's later post yesterday, very nice. Hope he's still lurking and will speak again.

Dear Boodle friends, when next I say that I am going to clean out my shop, will you please remind me that is WORK? As in, pushing, shoving, toting, hauling, sweeping, avoiding insects. I got about halfway through today and cleared out a lot of junk, with more to come. But oh, the pain. I've been vegetating for 45 minutes, communing with sliced tomatoes and cherry cider. Soon I must don cocktail attire and drive for over an hour to a party. This seemed like a good idea several weeks ago when I made the commitment and I know I'll enjoy it once I'm there, but boy I'm having trouble keeping my motivation here.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 21, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Engelman, you made me laugh out loud. That deserves to be its very own kit!

Ivansmom, did you take your naproxen? If not, do it now. You'll be glad.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Loved the report, SoC. I bet if the first family were wishing they *could* pile in the car and drive to Martha's Vineyard, reading your post could set them straight really quickly.

At the risk of sounding risque, I hope RD Padouk's insertion went well.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 21, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I must admit I relate a bit with Obama about vacations. Even though my influence on world events is roughly equivalent to a deep-water mollusk, I have a hard time relaxing when on vacation. It seems like such a waste of time. While I am forcing myself to sit on a beach, problems continue to emerge. Problems that only I can solve.

Or at least this is what I tell myself.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 21, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

It's so terrific to have a vacation loaded up with stuff to do and places to go. But then when you get home from that kind of vacation, you need another vacation to recuperate.

Maybe that's why I'm not taking any. Well, yeah, there's the money aspect, too. So, I'm saving for a trip to Zambia in 2012 or 2013, after my knee replacement and my back surgery recuperation. Then I'll be good to go, man! So long as work is coming in and the clients pay, it's fine by me not to go anywhere right now.

engelmann, you are a dream with that post. And Wheezy, I sure snorted at your last sentence. Especially!

Today has been a very, very strange day -- full of distractions I really didn't need, but which actually turned out to be pretty fine. It's just that now I need to work all weekend to make up for it. Tomorrow night I'll be co-hosting a two-table bridge game to celebrate my co-hostess' and my upcoming birthdays. it's a pot-luck and I'm bringing cake and ice cream. I ordered the cake (as chocolate as I could get it) with an appropriately funny greeting on it, which I'll pick up tomorrow. The lovely gentleman who took my order (at Whole Foods) is originally from the Congo. We've had opportunities in the past to converse and this morning was no different. We did talk this morning about the despicable treatment of women in that country and I could actually see steam coming off him (or maybe that was off me -- both of us actually). He hasn't been back for 11 years (his wife and daughter are here, too), and he'd like to go back next year. I told him that I wanted to see him return here in one piece, too.


Have good weekends, all.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 21, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I know that I'm not the only one to experience this, but I must share.

The ritual is not new. It is as old as are children and reasons for them to leave. These reasons have included war, marriage, employment, and for a privileged few like ourselves, college.

The mother suppresses her tears. The father does also, but hides it under a manly hug and stern admonitions against bad behavior. The child pretends not to care, but secretly does.

All take refuge in the fact that one day, very soon, the family will be reunited. The offspring will return. Nothing will really change.

Except everyone knows that everything will.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 21, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I see Whole Foods' stock price is holding up well. Guess people like the employees and the food at their local stores enough to ignore Mackey. I've always liked Trader Joe's and have never shopped at WF, but I read yesterday that the head of TJ's is very conservative also. At least he doesn't write about it in the WSJ, though.

I'm going to try a novel idea and get off-line for the weekend. There's a patch of poison ivy at the back of the backyard that has been neglected too long - it must needs be dealt with. And then the area surrounding it can finally be cleaned up, too.

Echoing ftb, good weekends, all.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 21, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Great, SoC.

I was under the distinct impression that passenger windows in said motorcade were not able to be lowered or raised.

If it were, I think we would have seen subject ARBUSTO doing "airplane hands" out the window at speed.

Or at least throwing out his chewed up hunks of bubble gum to sounds of laughter about how funny that 'Bazooka Joe' guy is.


Posted by: -bc- | August 21, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

RD, I'm with ya.


Posted by: -bc- | August 21, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Engelmann, that was wonderful, you are very talented! I love the Vineyard but wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it for the next week.

Talk about crowded and crazy! I spent the morning on the cape and usually it’s a bit cooler there than here, not today. I can’t remember ever feeling such ‘humidity’ in these parts and the weatherman tonight agreed with me, the dew point was 75. There are tornado warnings and watches in western MA this evening. This is quite unusual for us. We’re in no danger here, it doesn’t even look like we’ll get a t-storm.

I have been rereading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. Third time through and it still makes me laugh out loud.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 21, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

This one's for you today, RD:
I went to a show where he performed this song, just after my kiddo had moved to San Francisco - bawled my eyes out.

Child's Song - by Murray McLaughlin
Goodbye momma goodbye to you too pa
Little sister you'll have to wait a while to come along
Goodybye to this house and all its memories
We just got too old to say we're wrong
Got to make one last trip to my bedroom
Guess I'll have to leave some stuff behind
It's funny how the same old crooked pictures
Just don't seem the same to me tonight
There ain't no use in shedding lonely tears mamma
There ain't no use in shouting at me pa
I can't live no longer with your fears mamma
I love you but that hasn't helped at all
Each of us must do the things that matter
All of us must see what we can see
It was long ago you must remember
You were once as young and scared as me
I don't know how hard it is yet mamma
When you realize you're growing old
I know how hard is not to be younger
I know you've tried to keep me from the cold
Thanks for all you done it may sound hollow
Thank you for the good times that we've known
But I must find my own road now to follow
You will all be welcome in my home
Got my suitcase I must go now
I don't mind about the things you said
I'm sorry Mom I don't know where I'm going
Remember little sister look ahead
Tomorrow I'll be in some other sunrise
Maybe I'll have someone at my side
Mamma give your love back to your husband
Father you've have taught we well goodbye
Goodbye Mamma goodbye to you too pa

Posted by: seasea1 | August 21, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Inglorious [Redacted], Julie & Julia or District 9?

Posted by: Yoki | August 21, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

District 9 rocks, as long as one expects a thoughtful, poignant movie and not a kick-butte video-game film.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 21, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Made my day SofC!

For RD:
One day it's "the look",
the next, looking back fondly
to back seat bickers...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 21, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Thank you seasea. Thank you very much.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 21, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

RD... they come back. Believe me.

seasea... that was nice. :)

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

She hurried my departure now (though her heart, I know, was full),
and almost in half-an-hour after my arrival at home I was once more
on the road again, with the wide world as it were before me. I need
not tell how Tim and the cook cried at my departure: and, mayhap, I
had a tear or two myself in my eyes; but no lad of sixteen is VERY
sad who has liberty for the first time, and twenty guineas in his
pocket: and I rode away, thinking, I confess, not so much of the
kind mother left alone, and of the home behind me, as of to-morrow,
and all the wonders it would bring.

Barry Lyndon
by William Makepeace Thackeray

Posted by: engelmann | August 21, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Julie & Julia if you can have a wonderful dinner afterwards.

engelmann, brilliant.

Jumper, I'll tell TBG when I see her tomorrow. Does she have your e-mail address?

I realized today is the first day of an upcoming 10 days when I will touch only one computer. Since the late 1980's, that's only happened, on average, once a year. Desktop monogamy. Even geeks do it!

Posted by: -dbG- | August 21, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Ah, RD, I've been reliving those days with a friend who made that journey yesterday. God bless you and the son who us starting a new adventure.

seasea, I'm going to share that with said friend. With luck she won't bawl, but I know she'll appreciate it.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

*manly sort of condolence hugs to bc and RD_P, knowing that I'm gonna need a few in all too short a time* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 21, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

quite a prolific day of boodling.

engelmann, hilarious.

that's a really nice song, seasea.

my response to repubs regarding presidential vacations is to recall arbusto's habits.

yello, the inscription on the house in martha's vineyard is russian. transliterated it says "dacha petergof" (from dutch peterhof).
the original "peterhof" is the summer residence of peter the great.
the area is an area summer dachas as well, so perhaps it's based on a style of russian country house in that area. i really have no idea. or it's just an amusing reference to the much more lavish place.

Posted by: LALurker | August 21, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Just read your Secret Service memo out loud to Dr G, engelmann. Thanks for the laugh again!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 21, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

That song always made me cry, seasea. He does sad songs well, like "Urge for Going" and "No Regrets" but that one was much more immediate when I was younger.

Great story, engelmann! Thanks for the good laugh.

Posted by: -pj- | August 21, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Vacation for KBoom starts tomorrow, bright and early. Leaving the Texas kiln for the frosty north ... a week in a cabin on Lake Bemidji. Mom, Dad, sibs and their families ... tubing, swimmin', bad coffee, better beer, fried walleye, and loons. Woo hoo!

Posted by: KBoom | August 21, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

KBoom! I was in Bemidji yesterday. You'll be but a stone's throw from Our Fair City. Bring sweat shirts. Summer is already over.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams. I brought a ton of work with me that I've been putting off far too long and will have to be up very early to earn a break at the farmers market. I'll pick up enough stinky cheese and sweet corn for everyone. But my main mission will be buying enough basil to make a winter's worth of pesto to freeze. Thought I'd have enough out of the gardens Chez Frostbitten this year but with 10 plants I still don't have enough for a meal. Basil loves heat, and we ain't had any.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 21, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Make sure your fax is on, Frosti, I've got one basil plant and it grew so big it tipped over...I'll send all the basil you need!

Enjoy your vacation, KBoom, and look Wilbrod up if you get a chance, she's in the neighorhood.

'Night, all.

Posted by: slyness | August 21, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

KBoom, you have good taste in lakes. I'll be at Lake Bemidji soon myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 21, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Englemann, wonderful.

A blackeyed pea salad was made, with minced onion, fresh chopped poblano, homegrown tomatoes, olive oil, wine vinegar. I guess i will let it meld overnight, because I'm going to bed.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 21, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Play the blues...

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

More from the same session:

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

...and if you have never listened to Howlin' Wolf, this is why you should:

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Do I get a hat?

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Or a trick.

Posted by: Yoki | August 22, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

nah. just boodle hogging.

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Good evening...

SoC. Excellent....Take a bow...that was spot-on. And I'm tickled pink that something rattling around in my brain prompted you to write that. But your post seemed to be rooted in a position of knowledge...I gotta a child, which one were you?

bc..Arbusto would have tossed out a hollowed-out orange. (Not for the biodegradable factor, but the "who? me? I dunno. looks like an orange" plausible deniability factor.)

Posted by: LostInThought | August 22, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning,you all. First light will not come to me for a while, but there is a soft rumbling of thunder and even softer fall of rain, so the "praise be" is real. A bit of rain came down yesterday, as well, our dry, dry earth absolutely slurped it up.

Yes, concur with all re: Martha's Vineyard, especially in September, October might possibly be even lovelier, but haven't been there then. Sept. is our anniversary month and my birth month.

Although husband's family lives in VA/NC, one of his ancestors was a whaling ship's captain out of Nantucket, and he has inherited the captain's log from one of their sails, although not for the full four years out, I don't think. Tough life for the womenfolk back then, hence the widow's walk/watch railing, Brother-in-law has the small primitive desk the captain used to write and store his logs.

Anyway, the first time we visited Nantucket it was quiet, almost deserted, nice. Last time in Sept, it was a mob scene....better to go with Oct.-Nov., but that is the same "best time" for the Outer Banks as well, fewer folks, good fishing, shorter days, tho.

It's too early to think about much in the way of breakfast yet. Fresh coffee, fresh juice, KrispyKreme donuts, glazed, of course.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 22, 2009 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Two more things, SofC, thanks for the memories! SofC = engelmann, right?

Frosti, plenty of asparagus & hollandaise left over from yesterday, extra asparagus has not been cooked yet; some folks eat it raw, we like it lightly steamed, not limp and sad, the way we southerners do so many of our garden vegies.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 22, 2009 4:36 AM | Report abuse

DNAGuy and I are winter babies born mistakenly in India.
Our favorite time in Cape Cod was celebrating our anniversary (December 31st) on a beach near Brewster.

I've heard tell that the sea can freeze over at the cape in winter. Is this true? I would love to see it.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 22, 2009 6:30 AM | Report abuse

My wife also was accidentally born in a hot humid climate. Fate has corrected that problem. Every summer it's a search for someplace cool (in both senses of the word) for vacation. Next year is central Europe, which is why I have been pestering you for pictures.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 22, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Tom The Dancing Bug is stealing Joel's bit.

I have a friend who is really, really gullible who did fall for that chestnut. I read somewhere that 'gullible' is the most looked-up word on I don't know if I want to believe to that or not.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 22, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

DNA_girl, some of the shallower bays and inlets freeze during a cold winter. One year, I think it was in the early 80's, the cape cod canal was almost frozen over and I think they sent an ice breaker thru to keep it open. That same year the water between our summer home and a nearby island froze solid. The clammers bored holes in the ice in order to fish. It was quite a sight to see, there was also a lot of snow and the whole area looked like the south pole.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 22, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

That must have been the time my post-doc advisor talked about; he spends a lot of time at the cape and the frozen sea story is his longest and best one.

Patience yello, I am working on the picts :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 22, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. You can taste the ice formed from saltwater and you will find it is freshwater ice, perfect for a cool drink.

I was born in a wet cold climate and I appreciate the 2-3 additional weeks of summer we get in Ottawa. I could live in dmd's neck of the wood, if there were less %?$*!& traffic, but that's about as hot as my high metabolism (i.e. big sweaty guy) can take. I died once in August in Oklahoma city. Man, it was hot.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 22, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Have mercy boodle. It's too early to speak of frozen bodies of water. When frostson was little he thought any snow covered area free of trees or buildings surely had a lake underneath. Having seen a famous Alaskan in action I now see that removing him from the frozen north for a few years abroad in the land saved him from this magical thinking.

Putting the Vineyard and the Cape on our must visit list. Off to the farmer's market. Not so much an earned visit as I had hoped, but a few things are off the onerous to-do list so "have a beer" might get checked off this evening.

Have a great Sat. everyone, especially the newly free dbG!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 22, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

You're right frosti, it's way too early to talk about frozen landscapes.
Since we've been back from a 4-day vacation the Very Large Puppy doesn't want me out of his sight. So there he is, snoring at my feet. It's cute but annoying.
Off to the farmer's market for corn and other delicacies. The VLP will surely try to sneak in the car. Like we could miss a 125lbs clumsy beast trying to climb in the driver's seat (his favourite position). That dog is lovely but really dumb.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 22, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

A small note on naval Aviation.
It was confirmed yesterday that the plane wreck found in the Mingan Archipelago on the Quebec North Shore was the USAF PBY 5A (Catalina) that went down in 1942 with 9 on board. 4 aviators were rescued by local fishermen. The archeologists will try later to verify if the wreck contains the remains of the other 5 aviators.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 22, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow... NukeSpouse and I actually let the sun get up first this morning!!! *L* Gonna have to get used to this "weekends together" thing again... :-)

*skipping-off-gaily Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 22, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Love that Howlin' Wolf video, jack. I had a very nice tune cootie of "Little Red Rooster" yesterday and that video was a nice additional treat.

Posted by: -pj- | August 22, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Jack, thanks for the little view of Hound Dog Taylor -- It's amazing that we have some of this great video out there:

In this woodstock year, I can remember that some of the best music was being created at festivals like the one above. I remember being at the Mall to hear Hound Dog and I looked around and I was surrounded by some of the best young guitarists who are still playing professionally today.

And, it keeps going... here are the Swampkeepers at Bangkok Blues doing a huge favorite from Taylor:


So many generations ...

Posted by: russianthistle | August 22, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"I died once in August in Oklahoma city. Man, it was hot." SD, you must be related to Mr. T, he's the same way. So much so that I giggled when I read that.

Currently a balmy 79 degrees, we may be almost comfortable at my family reunion picnic this afternoon. I've made chocolate chip cookies and will attempt peach ice cream in a little while. I even bought whole milk, a first for me! We found the ice cream maker, but it was an adventure.

Everyone, have a pleasant Saturday!

Posted by: slyness | August 22, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The Florida Atlantic coast is indeed having a swell from hurricane Bill, not to mention a National Scholastic Surfing Association surfing contest, with some pros on hand thanks to what is normally a huge surf trade show in Orlando. The mood at Surf Expo is reported as grim.

In the midst of full parking lots, closed-out surf (waves with no rideable shoulders) and such, a local limestone reef had plenty of parking, a manageable crowd, and rather gentle Waikiki-style surf. No tubes, just lots of glide.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 22, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Totally tubular, DotC... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 22, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

So on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being MLK's I Have A Dream Speech and 10 being David Duke at a Klan rally), how racist is this rant by a South Carolina columnist who calls himself the Southern Avenger?

He seems to have take umbrage at Maureen Dowd calling town hall protesters "mostly older and white malcontents." He claims no liberal columnist would dare use the M-word to describe a group of minority protesters. And then the rant goes on from there.

Personally, I'm giving it a 7.5, but I might be underscoring it a little.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 22, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

No chance of irony or (live) sock puppetry, yello?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 22, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Forida, and the east coast of the US in general, is just not a surfing mecca. I'm glad these wrong coast kahunas are getting a few waves, but it's a shame it only happens when storms brew.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 22, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Boodle! Busy morning and day here; lunch with Physics Boy who is town for the weekend (having selfishly left #1 back home in Montreal); dinner with a good friend. Prep for both lunch and dinner in am and pm respectively.

Dinner menu:

Tomato Peach Gazpacho

Seared Scallops with Corn Couli and Roasted-Tomato Salsa
Green Beens served cold with an asian-style vinaigrette


Marsala Raspberry Cake with Creme Fraiche


Back to it!

Posted by: Yoki | August 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Yoki, may I crash dinner?


Sounds great!

Posted by: slyness | August 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, now I DEFINITELY won't be looking for a back-alley appendectomy:

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 22, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Of course, slyness. Around 6:00?

Posted by: Yoki | August 22, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

*aiming the trebuchet to the northwest and elevating for maximum distance, while tucking a knife and fork in mah pokket* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 22, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Yoki, could ya post or e-mail me that tomato peach gazpacho recipe? I got a little dizzy just thinking about it. I just this morning bought some peaches at Safeway, and picked 17 more tomatoes out of our nuclear garden. We just finished putting up 7 more quarts of skinned whole tomatoes, and a gallon more of chili.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Much to my chagrin, I found out that Mecca is also not a surfing mecca. Didn't I feel silly?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

This is precisely why psychologists who've researched expectations say "it's not wealth, it's relative wealth that matters." I was able to trudge through a job interview clothes shopping trip without too much grumbling because I had fresh basil and some home made pesto on waiting at the end of the ordeal. But now Yoki's 12:42 has me singing "is that all there is?"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 22, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Parker says now that we understand the normal function of the appendix, a critical question to ask is whether we can do anything to prevent appendicitis. He thinks the answer may lie in devising ways to challenge our immune systems today in much the same manner that they were challenged back in the Stone Age. "
- - - -

Hmmm... Given that the obvious way to do this is to eat semi-rotted food and forgo some of the benefits of modern sanitation, I'm not sure that this will fly in the new health-care bill. If you think people were het up about the death panels, wait till they get wind of the intentional diarrhea counseling!

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

An interesting point is that I was unwilling to comment on the video that yellojkt linked because I didn't want to have my usual YouTube persona linked with that video in any way, and such vile individuals are unworthy of the time and effort required to create a new YouTube account just to point out to the video-maker and his commenters that they are scum. Net result: a little echo chamber of racists confidently affirming each other's belief that they are a put-upon minority.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 22, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

yello, what i find in that rant is the typical unwillingness of conservative whites to acknowledge that different standards apply to the historically dominant and privileged race than to other groups. it's similar to the uproar about sotomayor's 'wise latina' remark.

Posted by: LALurker | August 22, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse what *is* the function of the appendix? (I didn't get the memo.)

Bob, that was a perfectly natural mistake. One would have thought with all that sand, Mecca would have had an ocean and tolerable waves. A boardwalk. Ferris wheel. Cotton candy. Corn dogs. *Something,* fer cryin' out loud.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 22, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

LALurker - Well, I'm not willing to got THAT far. I expect rational behavior from everyone, but I fully expect members of a historically dominant and privileged race to react just like anyone else when they feel threatened, and am willing to forgive their decision to ignore certain niceties until their threat-level recedes.

What I get annoyed with is the tendency to refuse to concede that other folks may feel just as legitimately threatened, possibly even more so.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I read something about Asians having to do better than average on their SATs and such to get admittance in some universities. Apparently anglo-saxons are a deprived social class with not enough early education to compete well. So they let a few extra of them (anglos) in.

I have no idea if this is correct.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 22, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

bobs, i didn't define the standards, i just different standards apply. they just do. the rant yello linked to was built on the premise that all groups deserve equal treatment in how their behavior is judged, but that implies that all groups are equal and have similar positions and histories, which is not true.

Posted by: LALurker | August 22, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

(The appendix is apparently a repository for beneficial intestinal flora which can serve to repopulate the gut in case of accidental deletion, acording to the article)

Is it true the one who posts the YouTube video gets to moderate the comments?

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 22, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

LALurk - Fair enough. It's patronizing, but then we have good reasons for holding fathers to different standards than we hold children.

("Patronizing" DOES mean literally, "acting like a father", yes?)

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - Yes. See here:

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Fatuous garden question:

I have two small flowering trees in my back yard that I'd love boodle help in identifying. One has biggish dark pink rose-like flowers, and the other has small white flowers. I'm in zone 7b. Pictures are here:

They were both being suffocated by vines that I spent the morning pulling off -- I'm quite proud of the big pile o' vines in the first picture. Now that they can breathe, is there anything else I should do to keep them happy? I'm hesitant to prune right now, even though the white one in particular has become very leggy, because pretty much the only leaves that survived the vine coverage are at the very end of the branches. But I'll prune if a boodle gardener tells me to.

Any IDs or advice?

Posted by: -bia- | August 22, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - The above "Yes" & link referred to the ability of YouTube uploaders to set comment policies.

The Asian admissions thing is a little more nuanced, but I guess I'd have to give a qualified "yes" to that also. It's certainly true that some schools have gone through some interesting contortions trying achieve diversity without flatly admitting to quotas.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi, all! Didn't manage to stay off-line all weekend. Did clear out the poison ivy, though. Found a lot of wild raspberries back there too - funny, they have three leaves and I treated them like the poison ivy, only to find out later that they were harmless, though thorny.

Bia, the purplish flowers look a lot like rose of sharon. Not sure about the lighter things - leaves look like rhododendren, but those wouldn't be blooming now, don't think.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Bia, I agree that the purplist is Rose of Sharon. The white looks like crepe myrtle to me.

Posted by: slyness | August 22, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

bob, it may be patronizing on occasion, but i think it's mostly acknowledging that there is privilege that comes from being part of certain groups and not with others. it's acknowledging that the playing field wasn't level to start with.

Posted by: LALurker | August 22, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, slyness & wheezy! The crepe myrtle makes sense -- I've got some in other colors elsewhere in the yard, so you'd think I'd have been able to figure that out. But now I know.

Posted by: -bia- | August 22, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

bia -- I think Wheezy has the right answer --

Posted by: nellie4 | August 22, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Lurker - This our expectation for fathers (and mothers), yes? That they will take a kindly and benign attitude toward the misbehavior of those less experienced and powerful than themselves?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yup, rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus, evidently really from Korea, according to Wiki) and crape myrtle.

Many crapes do well in the near-tropics. In the not-so-tropics, Disney's Epcot in Orlando has its main 'street' lined with rows of beautifully trimmed crape myrtle trees. Leu Gardens on the other side of town has magnificent big untrimmed crapes.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 22, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, nellie, that sure looks right.

Wheezy, there's another shrub nearby that has leaves that look rhododendron-like to me. I'm curious to see if it blooms next spring.

Posted by: -bia- | August 22, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Fatuous gardening comment.
The magnolia (Soulange variety, pretty much the only one that survives our winters) in the backyard is flowering. The poor thing though that this last July was Winter. They usually flower in May.

It's very easy to find racist discourse these days disguised as venting on "White Oppression". Sometimes it takes the subtil form of the Rural (Tennessee-Oklahoma-Arkansas style) vs the Urbane. It's quite rampant on the Intertubes.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 22, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to your magnolia on managing to flower eventually, shrieking.

I've been thinking we should maybe get a magnolia for the front yard. We bought a traditional-looking white house in the South, after all. It seems only right.

Posted by: -bia- | August 22, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

bia - Please, please tell me that you're going to forgo the lawn horse-pilot!?!

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Jumper-the Georgia extension service has an excellent crape myrtle care primer here:

The white variety I'm most familiar with is called Cherokee and needs to be a tree (mine in NoVA at 6 years after planting from a one gallon container was as tall as our 2 story house) Anyway, you have plenty of time to prune it.

Rose of Sharon can be invasive, but I like it and like it best pruned as a multi-trunked shrub. Never bothered to research it as every time I've encountered it in an overgrown state (from Kentucky to Pennsylvania to Virginia) I've pruned it on the spot and never regretted it.

Off to go shoe shopping. How I loathe it. I often wonder why Stacy and Clinton have never surprised me with a visit. Surely someone has turned me in by now.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 22, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

frosti - Aahh, sometimes it's good to be a poorly-dressed man! I'm pretty sure that I've never spent more than fifteen or twenty minutes shopping for shoes other than serious running shoes (back when I was a serious runner), and I've definitely gotten it done in under five minutes on several occasions.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I had an different experience today. I helped give a horse a bath (actually more like a shower). #2 helps care for this horse and she asked if I'd hold him while she washed him, so I did. It was fun except for when he tried to nip me - I was out of carrots. He was a grey horse when we started and sort of ecru when we finished.

Still hot here and all the news is about the heavy surf from Bill. Was tempted to drive down to the outer cape to see it for myself but "S" is away visiting his grandchildren and I didn't think seeing it without him would be as much fun. Think I'll take a nap instead!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 22, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I was just showing off, but a few years ago I bought a suit, extra trousers, two shirts, a belt, socks, two ties and two pairs of shoes in under half an hour, and about ten minutes of that was being measured and having the suit marked up for some tailoring.

In addition to expressing annoyance & sheer disbelief at my headstrong recklessness, the lady accompanying me also gave some grudging approval to my choices.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Bathing a horse definitely wants a relatively cooperative horse. For that matter, I think it's fair to generalize the concept: Performing any endeavor X with any entity Y is easier with a cooperative Y.

There's probably a lesson in there somewhere.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 22, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I've sent you that recipe, 'mudge. And boy, is the soup ever good.

Posted by: Yoki | August 22, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Email me yello?
dna.girl477 at

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 22, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

bob, you don't think we should have a stable boy at the end of our driveway? But they're so cute...

Don't worry. It would be too painful to have to ridicule myself every time I came home. Besides, even though it's white, the house doesn't even have columns, so I don't think we could pull it off.

frosti, thanks for the pruning info. I might end up letting the rose of Sharon invade where it wants, since I like the flowers, and it's in a decidedly non-manicured part of the yard -- a little few-feet wide wilderness border between neighbors. But I'll consider.

Posted by: -bia- | August 22, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

We are all busy bees today. Thanks for clarifications all. I happen to be the crape myrtle master, myself. We get along. Making cherry preserves, however, I'm a newbie. I have lightly salted moderately sugared half and quarter cherries in a sauce pan, already boiled then simmered, ready for jarring but they seem coarse. Unless I get reheat-and-do-one-last-thing advice. Two tomato donation expeditions came off okay. One fig preserve hand-off. I probably have figs to harvest. I'll look again tomorrow. (I'm getting rid of last year's preserves, see.) Peaches donated to me. As an asparagus newbie the August sprouts are surprising me. Eat them or let them contribute to the total strength of the planting? I dug up a potato plant yesterday. I had a bowl full of littles, and almost gave up. There was a side area I decided to check, one little last exploration to make to be thorough. There lay the motherlode.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 22, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm suffering fatuous gardening frenvy.

Posted by: Yoki | August 22, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

bia, a word of caution on the Rose of Sharon, you will have a forest of them in a short time, they are everywhere up here in full bloom (perhaps what you ment Shriek, they are so common that I immediately thought of the less common herbaceous Perennial Hibiscus, which over time gets large enough to look like a small shrub - at least at this time of year).

Back home now, we decided to only stay one night in the falls, it was a lot of fun but we got bored, did all we wanted to do so changed the plans to back to school shopping. Having just finished shopping with the 8 year old for clothes I am beginning to regret just a little that decision.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 22, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, these taters are better than anything you can get there in the city, Yoki. Their fresh taterness is sublime. As I savor their ineffable superiority this evening, drenched in butter, (the taters), I will think of you.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 22, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

bia, a word of caution on the Rose of Sharon, you will have a forest of them in a short time, they are everywhere up here in full bloom (perhaps what you ment Shriek, they are so common that I immediately thought of the less common herbaceous Perennial Hibiscus, which over time gets large enough to look like a small shrub - at least at this time of year).

Back home now, we decided to only stay one night in the falls, it was a lot of fun but we got bored, did all we wanted to do so changed the plans to back to school shopping. Having just finished shopping with the 8 year old for clothes I am beginning to regret just a little that decision.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 22, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

When the Rose of Sharon bloom, the beginning of August, I always feel sad as I know that summer is waning. Altho' after the last few weeks of extreme humidity, I'm not so sad to see summer end. We may get some gusty winds tonight from Bill, but what I would most like would be some rain.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 22, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

A few photos from out trip to the falls, semi on topic as we cut it short when we got bored, the idea of just hanging around for another day without having something we really wanted to do didn't appeal to us.

Pics of the falls and some of the local gardens - some people take lots of family photos while on vacation, me I take pictures of flowers and trees and scenery.

In one picture you see the bridge to the US with what is now a very common scene, very busy into the US, coming back barely a trickle, high dollar, US governments insistance on passports and the recession causing deep drop in tourism - about 30% on the Canadian side of the falls. We did what we could to boost the local economy though.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 22, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Loved the pictures dmd. I went to Niagara Falls when I was ten. What I remember most, besides the falls themselves, was how much prettier the Canadian side was with all the gardens just bursting with flowers. I especially remember a big flower clock. “S” and I keep talking about going there as he’s never been. Maybe next year, assuming I have a job and the money to go anywhere!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 22, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Good evening. I went to Niagara Falls (both sides) when I was 13. Very impressive it was, and such a nice park on the Canadian side.

I haven't had the chance to cook for a while. Tonight I took frozen homemade chicken stock, frozen roasted chicken, frozen roasted green chiles, farmers market potatoes and onions, salt pepper & cumin, put in a pot over low heat for a while and voila! chicken green chile stew. Garnish of sour cream and cilantro. As an appetizer I wrapped bacon around cream-cheese stuffed jalapenos and baked (my new obsession). Yum.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 22, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I took my wife down to the Phillips today for our in-town getaway. We were going to cruise Dupont Circle in search of the most exotic cuisine there. It started pouring so we had to duck into the closest place and had Greek instead. It was plenty good but we will have to do the exotic hunt some other day.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 22, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Y'know, there are times where having several hundred miles between me and NukeSpawn is a royal pain...

Such as when she goes to the ER with a temp of 105 and no one tells me until I call the next day!!!! *attempting to pull hair that's too short to grab* :-O

Seems to be mono, thankfully, but I had to repeat about a thousand times that she should NOT go to band camp OR volleyball camp this coming week!!! Kids... *RME*

*going to practice some deep-breathing exercises to bring my heart rate down* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 22, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear that Scotty, had mono and the accompanying fever when I was her age. They only really found out I had it after having gone skiing on the weekend, several days later I could no longer swallow food so I finally told mom I wasn't feeling well. Doctor laughed at me and brought a med student in to look at my throat - apparently it was a "teaching moment".

Posted by: dmd3 | August 22, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Hello all... is this rain from Hurricane Bill? Not following it, I'm afraid to say.

Had a lovely lunch today with Rickoshea and dbG, meeting halfway between dbG and DC in a small town off I-95. Got caught in a little traffic on the way up, but the Baltimore-to-home leg took me about 3 hours (normally takes about one hour). Well worth it, though, to spend an afternoon with such wonderful imaginary friends.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 22, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

That brings back memories, Scotty. I got mono in college and my temperature was impressive, although I don't recall the exact number right now. I went to the ER, they poked and prodded and such and so and thus and what, and sent me home with a penicillin prescription. This was the evening of the Fourth of July. My impressive fever and I drove around town a bit before I found a pharmacy that was open. I called my folks a day or two later and my mom thought it was mono. Several days later I went to the hospital and that's what they diagnosed. I smiled when the doc said that.

Posted by: -pj- | August 22, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

We saw that southbound back-up on our way back from Zorba's. Sorry you got stuck in that traffic.

As my son can attest, about the only thing an appendix can do nowadays is try to kill you.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 22, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Is there any browser that can selectively block certain images? Because I'm darn tired of seeing a certain face on websites as "news."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 22, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Really? TBG. I was home in less than an hour, but I took MY WAY home. No traffic at all. So, NaNaNaNah.

We did have fun though!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 22, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. We're home from family reunion. It's always great to see all the cousins, the problem is that I don't have time to have a real conversation with each and every person like I'd like to.

bia, if you're considering a magnolia, please choose one of the little hybrids. There are lots of old ones in my neighborhood, and they need a 40-acre field. They seriously take over a yard. I wouldn't have one, myself. Too much work to keep the leaves they drop picked up.

Sorry I missed supper at Yoki's, Proseco always gets my attention. The rest of the menu sounded yummy too. Howsomever, my homemade peach ice cream was pretty good. Now that I've gotten it figured out, I'll have to remember how to do it.

Posted by: slyness | August 22, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

bia -- I am seconding slyness on magnolias. We lived among them in South Carolina, where we all co-existed nicely on a large Navy base. There are several on my block here, and they drop dinner plate sized leaves, the leaves stop the people from mowing, and then you have lots and lots of huge leaves in lots and lots of long grass. Get one of those litle ones!

Posted by: nellie4 | August 22, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I appreciate the magnolia warnings. No big leaf-droppers for me, thanks. I've already got the big pinecone dropper in front and the big twig dropper in back. That should hold me.

Posted by: -bia- | August 22, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

*from the venerable PSA* It's 11.13. Do you know where you children are?

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

More of that blues thing

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

my kind of car show

Posted by: -jack- | August 22, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Last night as we were watching the concert from our hotel room (band a local to the area do not know them), near the end of their show they performed a cover of G L O R I A, that was probably the best song they did all night. That set off a discussion of who's song it was, neither dmdspouse or I were correct in our guesses.

So needing the right answer had to google it - Them.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Which brought me to this - how great is this, Boom, Boom, Boom

Night all

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

jack, you deserve the title of official boodle d.j. or something like that.

Posted by: LALurker | August 23, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Just got home from the Peter and Paul concert at Wolf trap; just saw the recipe e-mail, Yoki, thanks. It looks fab. I'll make it tomorrow.

The weather was a bit fickle tonight but finally cooperated. We had thunder, lightning and rain here at 4-5 p.m., and it rained all the way out to Wolf Trap. We took a big blue plastic tarp, rain slickers, etc., so we were prepared. As we got closer, it was still raining, but the sky looked lighter. We got there about 75 minutes before the show started, intentionally, so we could eat our picnic dinner there (fried chicken, etc.), which we did under the plastic tarp. The rain started to let up into a very light drizzle, and after the fourth or fifth song P&P sang, it stopped altogether. There were a fair number of us hardy all-weather types on the lawn, but I'm sure the weather scared a lot of people away--there was lots of room.

It was a good show...but they aren't quite the same without Mary, who is undergoing chemo after a bone marrow transplant. After the first song, Peter read a letter than had come in that day, addressed to Mary. It was what you'd expect, hope you feel better, yadda yadda, and it was from Obama.

Toward the end of the show, they said they had a special guest, who turned out to be Tom Paxton, who sang his famous "The Marvelous Toy," which apparently is now a child's book.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 23, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

For reasons far too boring to explain, I was introduced to, or helped create, one of my new favorite expressions tonight:

"Seasoning the tofu" = Trying overmuch to make something interesting that's just not all that interesting. For them that considers tofu just a bit too politically loaded, "seasoning the tuna" is an acceptable non-vegan substitute.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse

Tom Paxton is the one who's not Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman or Toni Braxton, right?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning everyone!!!
Been meaning to post ,but it has been a busy week and just haven't gotten to it.

Snuke,sorry to hear about Nuke spawn and you have been under the weather too.Sending healthy vibes your wayI also know what you mean by not having any hair to pull out.I got a haircut last week and she did as I asked and cut it very short.

Last weeks crabbing trip was very sucessful,very hot too,but we managed to get a full bushel of crabs and we only kept 52,or as my friend say 4 dozen and 4.None of the crabs we kept were under 6 and a half inches point to point and we managed to get 2 over 8 inches.A very good haul. Also I got to see another Bald Eagle,a Perrigan Falcon and many Herrons.There was a large skate swimming around too. My friend designed his own crab traps and I really think he should patent them.He uses a ring trap with all with netting,instead of a box trap with wire. Thankfully there weren't any Thunderstorms that day.

I see where the Obamas were taking their vacation up north in the path of the hurricane,can't the secret service keep it (Bill) away.

I am taking a day off next week the 25th for my mini 3 day vacation.Hopefully I will be on the river at least one of those days.

I know we have several boodle birthdays this upcoming week,so Happy Birthday to everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 23, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse


Those Niagra Falls pictures are beautiful. And you always have a lovely eye for flowers.

Alas, my visit to Niagra (and Niagra on the Lake) predate my digital camera. We didn't know the falls were so beautiful at night or we would have made the effort to see them.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

'Seasoning the tofu' is a great metaphor. 'Seasoning the tuna', not so much. For one thing, tuna is not nearly as inherently bland as tofu. For another, it's a little too close to being a distaff version of 'choking the chicken.'

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Count on yello to take us in a profane direction (funny though).

It's too long for a t-shirt so I'm sticking with "We're #37," but T.R. Reid's column today "Five Myths About Health Care Around the World," is worthy of being printed off (or clipped from the dead tree edition) and waved around at a town hall meeting.

Researching just how our so-called system works now is nearly a full time job, much less working on fixing it. It's a wonder the various health care bills don't run to 7,000 pages a piece.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 23, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

A busy weekend gettin kids ready for school - one elementary, one HS, and I'm helping two get ready for the College Experience (one cousin in from out of town getting ready to attend a local school).

Deep breaths and emotional outbursts later -- for now, work and $hopping. Oy.


Posted by: -bc- | August 23, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. It was cooler outside than in when I went to get the paper an hour ago - a sure harbinger of fall. I'm okay with it being time for the season to change.

Off to church, where we will worship in the fellowhip hall and hear about the teenagers' mission trip to Miami earlier in the month. Our children's minister is preaching and she's always good, so it will be a good morning.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

bc, your post reminded me to comment on the various posts about sending a child off to college - very touching and best wishes to those involved.

Today is our day to go through the clothes and sort out all the clothes that no longer fit, are ripped or just will not be worn.

RD very touching post, brought to mind the day my parents drove me to university - I had purposely chosen a school away from home and friends and remember as they drove off briefly thinking - am I nuts, but did adjust quite quickly.

Thank you for the comments on the photos, if anyone is interested took a short video of a moonflower opening last night (1 min 30) - yes my obsession continues :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, DMD. I am so glad that boodlers have hoisted the moonflower banner. As it happens, my moonflower seedlings did not make it. I gave some away and they are doing well. The world can be our gardens: somewhere a moonflower blooms! And, yours does it for me just fine across the miles and through the innerspaces of 010101010101010101010101010....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Here's the lede Post story headline and deck:

Government Plans Vast Swine Flu Vaccine Effort

Health officials' plan to inoculate at least half of U.S. population within months is unprecedented in scope and potential for complications."

Now, this is all fine by me. But it certainly does raise that awful, chilling spector of "the gummint messing with my health." I wonder how many town hall protestors don't want their swine flu shots.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

dmd-I don't know which is more impressive, getting a moonflower to bloom or sharing the effort with pictures and video. I failed again this year (3rd in a row) and it doesn't seem to matter if I start them early indoors or direct seed. Any advice you could give would be most appreciated. This is garden failure is driving me nuts.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 23, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

*grumbling* ...can't find my moonflower banner. I knew it was here somewhere. Maybe in the flag locker...what color was that thing?...oops, here it, that's a fleur de lisle, I think, get my fleurs confused...this one's the fleet poison ivy warning..."All hands sniff geraniums", that isn't it...

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 23, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, the geranium banner does just fine.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 23, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Frost, take solace in the fact that I did not start my moonflowers from seed, I do not have a place in my house suitable for propogating seeds.

I purchase three seedlings from my local nursery and planted the three vines, one one on a south facing fence, it is the smallest, the other two are one a west facing fence - and they are the ones with the blooms, last night the largest had seven or eight blooms.

My secret - put them in the soil, some good fresh triple mix, and compost and mulch added this year but that is all. Luck and climate but not talent involved.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I will stop boodle hogging after this, but I wanted to share a conversation between dmdspouse and I this morning as it is somewhat kit related.

After getting his coffee this morning, dmdspouse sat down in the family room with me and commented that his plan for the day was to do 101 things around the house, I looked at him and said Oh, that is really going to clash with my plans to do d*ck all today.

As you might surmise we rarely go to a beach just to hang for the day :-). On the bright side my fireplace is being cleared of the ashes as I type.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful Niagra pics, dmd! :-)

Wow, two straight days off with NukeSpouse... I'm feelin's spoiled! Great, but spoiled!! *L* We're off to the orchard to find some applesauce cake... *wiping up drool*

Very glad to see the dewpoint's down, might even be possible to do some yardwork today! Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!

*wondering-what-the-week-will-bring Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

dmd... that video is amazing. Thanks so much for making it and sharing it with us. It really is a treasure to share these gardens with each other. Especially with me, whose only garden to speak of are several boxes of impatiens lining my deck in the backyard. Too shady for anything else, but they are beautiful under the colored Christmas light bulbs that are strung across a la Italian restaurant terrace.

Spending the day with Daughter today and looking forward to it. Funny as they get well into their teens you almost have to schedule time together. Whatever works, though. We have lots of fun together.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 23, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

TBG, we need to talk about shade plants! So many great options available.

Have a great Mother/Daughter day - teen is next up for back to school shopping, we might do that today.

Best part of our trip away was the hugs we kept receiving from the kids, not unusual from the younger child - the older one is was a wonderful surprise.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Trying to get an old Elvis Costello song out of my head. Remedies?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning everybody. After a tossing-and-turning kind of night, I woke up very early, desperately wanting to stay in bed anyway, but somehow got myself up. Did 2 loads of laundry down the hall (first one in, first one out, I always say), watered my plants, remade the bed, had some breakfast and now I'm nursing a big mug of ginger-peach tea, before I take a deep breath (let's hope without coughing), roll up the sleeves, wake up the brain AGAIN and get down to work. We have a pleading due tomorrow, and my part to play in it isn't very much, but it is, after all, the legal argument, so I've got to finish analyzing cases (theirs and ours) and draft maybe 3 pages. Doesn't sound like much, but much goes into it, and all I want to do right now is to go back to a newly made bed.


So, since tomorrow will be jam-packed with brainiac stuff to do, I want to give shout-outs now to some of my favorite boodlers (well, you know, you ALL are my favorite boodlers (with exceptionally minor exception)).

Mudge, may you start out the week on your birthday with your typical aplomb and enjoy your day. I'm right on your heels.

Vintage Lady -- go get 'em! You know you have the support of your real family and your imaginary family. I wish you well on your venture into chemo-land. Stay positive, even when you really don't feel like it. We have big shoulders to rest on and to cry on. And equally big hugs. (*faxing one to you now*)

Yoki, after browsing through yesterday, more than EVER, I want to eat at your house!

And now, *sigh*, to work.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 23, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

How about some Nick Lowe, rt?

Posted by: -pj- | August 23, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

rt... you may not understand the connection until you get to the end, but this guy is one of my favorite performers and this is one of my favorite songs of his...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 23, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Garnishing the tofu, Bob S.

You have to marinate tofu in some sort of sauce to get any taste out of it so you can actually eat it.

A spring of parsley on plain tofu would be just-- "yeah, right. Like that helps to have clean breath after gagging on wet cardboard."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

And I killed the boodle with garnished tofu.

Man, I am so boring today.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

My wife brought home some paint and supplies and said she had a honey-do project for me. The fireplace mantle had gotten something spilled on it and needed repainting. Last night I taped everything up and painted it while watching some recorded Degrassi TNG episodes.

The entire project lasted two episodes. I then parked myself on the couch and watched another eight. She thinks she has to start making the honey-do projects more elaborate.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

On my morning bike ride, I stumbled into the AFLAC Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon at Centennial Park.

Fortunately my ride and their route only overlapped about a quarter mile so I could rationalize get passed repeatedly by saying that I was tired from having already ridden over six miles while the women were fresh and rested from their 0.67 mile swim.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

pj, you know, I have listened to Nick Lowe's music for a long time, but never "saw what he looked like."

I could swear that I saw him at a friend's restaurant in the past couple of weeks.

I think I need more rest.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, tofu will kill anything, garnished or not.

Posted by: nellie4 | August 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Boodly good mornings to Al. Late, but not so very in my time zone.

Any DC-area Boodle peoplez up for an IBPH on September 8, 9 or 10?

Posted by: Yoki | August 23, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Marinated tofu: deadlier than a discussion of F-18 flight performance characteristis. Deadlier than a black momba. Deadlier than


Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 23, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Silly girl! If you're comin', then...


Uh, Scotty, could you fax me the GPS coordinates of that orchard that has appleasauce cake trees? Because I am soooo there.

The Redskins beat the Steelers last night? And who in blazes is "Chase Daniel"? He sounds like the teenage hero of a movie about young vampires in love. Chase Daniel. Nobody is named Chase Daniel. Not even Colt Brennan, because nobody is named Colt Brennan. I want a freakin' quarterback named Ebeneezer Postlethwaite. Where's the Y.A. Tittles when ya need them?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | August 23, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, wish I could go to the IBPH, but school starts back on the 9th so I can't.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

A nice video of surfing the hurricane Bill swell at Patrick Air Force Base south of Cocoa Beach yesterday. Typical of our long beaches, rides are short.

An unpublicized limestone reef in the next county was being much nicer, offering long rides without getting squished.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

So I watched that JoCo clip, and then another, and then a few more. And then one was with Paul and Storm. And then I googled them to verify that they really were former members of DaVinci's Notebook. And on their official page are links to their podcast.

My life is now ruined. Thanks.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

They are bracing for Bill near Halifax, a report on the swells that are building.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Mmm, tofu marinated in black mamba venom.

That has to be the top "I hate you" recipe of all time.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Yello... he performed with Paul & Storm at the Birchmere when I saw him. Well.. P&S were the opening act, but they all did plenty of stuff together during both acts. It was a great show.

Looks like the Annapolis show includes Paul & Storm as well! Woo hoo!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I read the T.R. Reid article that frosti mentioned last night. Unfortunately the dotcom folks don't have a link to it on the home page. That's too bad because it is worth reading. It asks a question I haven't heard enough in the health care discussion: We pay at least twice as much per capita as other countries and our quality of care isn't as good. Why is that?

Here's a great paragraph from the piece that shows why we are spending so much of our time talking past each other in this debate:

"In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die."

Posted by: -pj- | August 23, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

So now I've gone and bought from iTunes a Paul and Storm album and a JoCo greatest hits. This is getting expensive now.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The only cure for Elvis Costello is more Elvis Costello. This underrated little number has an extremely catchy tune; I love the way it skips around.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Fugu tofu. Now there is recipe not to be messed with.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Could you find the URL for it though?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

That T.R. Reid article is really good. Thanks frosti and pj. Here are a couple of blog entries from Roger Ebert on health care/insurance, which hit the nail on the head too:

Posted by: seasea1 | August 23, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse


Thanks! Pretty good stuff.

I think I may be cured. I also took two songs of Marshall Crenshaw, as well. I hate musical hooks.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link to the Reid article:

Posted by: -pj- | August 23, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of being cured, I was talking to a doc who is at Suburban Hospital. I mentioned that a good friend tried to take a child to that hospital and decided to come up with an alternative solution for the child who ended up having a slightly broken bone.

The emergency room was packed. The doc said that this has got to stop as the hospital is going broke taking on the uninsured.

The insurance companies are sitting on one of the wrong sides of a two-edged swords spending as much money as they can so they can make as much money as they can before we all figure it out.

I understand the the same companies are pushing legislation to be able to stick their insureds with a greater portion of their health care costs which puts the pressure on the care givers and the insureds to figure this one out.

The dirty little secret is that those same insurance companies have been sinking their profits into commercial real estate for decades and that business is on the "big-time" slide.

Seems that the only thing that those companies can do right these days is confuse the media and the public.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Saying we're Burundi is a little disingenuous though. What happens is that folks put off visits until they go to the emergency room and then their credit is ruined for seven years because they can't pay.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

rt, if you hate musical hooks, why are you listening to Marshall Crenshaw? His first record is one great hook after another. I get "Rockin' Around in NYC" stuck in my head frequently.

Posted by: -pj- | August 23, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

You can call me a socialist if you want ... it is a small price to pay, being called a name, if what I get is the ability to go to a doctor without incurring a 4 or 5 digit bill.

Heck, raise my taxes.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I felt the Toronto zoo has more than a few suspicious animals. Here are a few, with a couple of Niagara shots as it seems to be one of today's theme.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 23, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

only way to cure one stupid hook is to confuse the brain with a bunch more. I could have developed my current condition after I saw my friends Lena and Sanford played "Closer to Fine" last night at the Old Brogue.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Okay. That makes a certain twisted sense. Hey, if it works, go for it.

Posted by: -pj- | August 23, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

dmd, loved the video of the moonflower opening. I planted seed in the whiskey barrel and they have done okay, but not as well as yours. I think the spot is too sunny and hot and I just can't keep the barrel watered enough for anything to flourish.

However, here are a few pictures from the mountain place. I only have a small plot sunny enough to do well, so I'm trying to put as much in it as I can:

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

for you, weed. Peaches.

en Regalia.

Posted by: -jack- | August 23, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, so this is my garden fail: I cannot get coneflowers to flourish. I have tried in various sunny places, and they die out. So, slyness or frosti, could you fax me a 3-footer? Thanks in advance.

On the other hand, I have various kinds of sage doing well.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 23, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

A million streaming radio stations and not a thing to listen to?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 23, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the moonflower video. I'd never seen one before. It was lovely.

I really like everyone's garden photos (and videos). I have a black thumb, but I appreciate your hard work!

Posted by: Moose13 | August 23, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks frosti! I guess I was driving yesterday thinking it was Sunday, waiting for the rebroadcast of Prairie Home. No wonder it wasn't on.

Here's some news for Carolinians. And others. Coal: it's what's for dinner.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

seasea-prepare the fax, purple or white? I had a bit of trouble with coneflowers in NoVA. Plenty of sun, but it took a couple of years to get the clay soil amended enough for proper drainage. This year the prevailing winds Chez Frostbitten have blown the snow pea vines into my purple plant so it's actually a little leggy-4 feet tall when 3 would really do better.

I bought a yellow mum at the farmer's market yesterday. After some discussion with the nursery owner we selected this one with hopes it will survive the vagaries of a Zone 3-4 spring. Winter I know I can handle, mulch, snow cover etc. It's the freeze/thaw of April that may do it in. But, it's time to pick myself up, dust myself off, after the moonflower failure and focus instead on this remarkable hydrangea and poppy summer, and the passable peonies. How hard can it be to get a sunny little mum to survive?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 23, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Awright now...

Sumboddy wanna tell me why you all have hidden the secret of successful yardwork from me for so long??

I mean, a little Return to Forever in the MP3 player and I was done before I knew it! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Whatever works for you s'nuke. I use a playlist of Tom Jones, Bobby Darin, Indigo Girls, Johnny Cash and Ladysmith Black Mombazo as my motivation music.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 23, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

And you know the Web's having a good day when you open a new tab in IE and find one of your most visited pages is a Facebook error page... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Yardwork. Okay. Yesterday I KNEW it was the perfect time to mow. I stepped out and the sky opened up.

Now I'm out of here.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

That is the funniest set of captioned photos I have seen. Those are really wild animals. Shame none are real.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

yello-after your tri-ing experience you might find this bike competition more your style
audio NSFW or young ears

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 23, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Great pictures Slyness and Shriek, the captions are very funny.

I hesitate to say this but I will, as we drove by the floral clock in Niagara Falls - both my husband and I commented that we could not believe it was still there, having seen it so many times the allure has begun to dim - but it seems it is popular. The landscape and gardens along the Niagara Parkway are spectacular though along with the views from the escarpment, in fall it is just stunning.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Fugu's good. Actually, it's mostly in the presentation of those tiny, precise, artful little slivers of fish.

Florida residents are mostly wary of growing vines. Neighbors down the street planted something that, had it been left longer, would have covered their house and the one next to it. Two houses ago, I went through gallons of herbicide in trying to contain a horror called skunkvine.

Rhabdadenia biflora, a vine of the mangroves with splendid white flowers, needs to be tried in cultivation. Too bad it has such an unrememberable name. Rab-dad-een-e-a

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 23, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Rhabdadenia is really fun to say!

Posted by: Yoki | August 23, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The Guardian's story on health care for the poor in Kansas City, Kansas doesn't seem to describe Burundi. Maybe Honduras? Not Costa Rica.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 23, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it needs a nickname, Dave o' the Coonties-- like R. daddy?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Or Ron. That would work.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

(*^&^% I garnished the black-mamba marinated tofu again.

Sorry, boodle. We knew ye well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

And in the deeply disturbing tofu department yet again...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I've long thought that the market for vegan substitutes for human flesh was ridiculously underserved.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki! That gazpacho was really (REALLY) good!

60 Minutes tonight only has one story: the life and career of Don hewitt.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 23, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Now don't we all wish we could parallel park like this - perhaps bc might be able to though. Future F1 driver?

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Is that even possible with most cars, dmd? BC? (And now there's a new story idea for him...)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

That video of the little kid parallel parking was so good. It reminded me that yesterday I did the same as TBG watched, but the space was marginally bigger and I was much slower. But perfect.

On a totally different note, I read today this piece in Huffington Post of the lack of communication smarts in the White House about the Heath INSURANCE reform. Very good analysis but verrrrrry long.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 23, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

You parked perfectly, rickoshea!

Dinner tonight: took some leftover crockpot cubed pork, dumped it into a big pot, added a can of corn and a can of black beans. Then... a bunch of fresh tomatoes (some from dbG's back yard!), a dash of Cavender's Greek Spice (a staple in the G kitchen) and a couple of tablespoons of taco seasoning.

Added shredded cheese and more fresh tomato on top and it's the perfect meal for a hot summer night.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 23, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Pork, eh? Not "long pig", I hope.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I liked the David Rothkopf article about Sec'y Clinton in today's Outpost section.

Nice to see a piece which isn't strictly, or even primarily, about personalities.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Bo's on vacation too:
"As the president and his family headed to Martha's Yineyard, a surprise visitor ambled through the press cabin on Air Force One: Bo, the First Dog, along for the vacation."

Maggie, your link goes to a Clinton/Obama primary article...Glad someone can parallel park, as I am hopeless.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 23, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Seasea, I just now clicked on the link and it went to the correct place. Perhaps you should try it again....

(It's well worth reading, I assure you.)

If it doesn't work, then go to Huffington Post and scroll down to George Lakoff's article.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 23, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, Rhabdadenia flowers look a lot like flowers marketed as "allamanda", so the nursery industry might try something like "coastal allamanda".

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 23, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Well that just blows my ham flavored tufu out of the water. Really.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that was a great video of the moon flower! I loved the parallel parking one too. It reminded me of an Audi add where the car fishtails into the parking space. I want to learn how to do that, looks like fun! I learned how to parallel park on a car without power steering. I also taught both daughters how before they took their driving exams. A few years ago I had to parallel park on the wrong side of a street and I did it first try. In other words, it’s a skill I do still possess.

Boring evening. “S” had car trouble so he’s not coming home until tomorrow. It’s too early to go to bed and too hot to do anything around the house.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 23, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Aahh - The old "I had car trouble, so I'll be home tomorrow - maybe I'll hike a little bit of the Appalachian Trail while I'm here" excuse, eh?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Funny bobs! But "S" only hikes with me ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | August 23, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

The Patton Oswalt standup show Son of G and I attended earlier this year is being shown tonight on Comedy Central at 10:00 p.m. We knew it was being filmed for a special.

We were in the 4th or 5th row, so there's a good chance you'll spot us in the audience if you watch it. I'll suggest you do watch, because he's a pretty funny guy and it was a good show.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 23, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I found the article Maggie was talking about here:
It is good, and yes, I don't know why Obama and the Dems haven't figured this out by now. Or why they even try to work with the Republicans, who can't seem to get beyond their short-term interests.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 23, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Remember the words of wisdom butlerguy wrote a little while back? Something to the effect that he's come to realize that if the Republicans are against it, it must be good for us.

That should be the Democrats' new slogan.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 23, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

An effective slogan, TBG, but perhaps wouldn't win the hearts of people who happen to agree with what they believe to be the GOP on their key issues.

Right now, I'm hearing on the other side, they're targeting Obama and Pelosi as well as anonymous "liberals" as the villians.

We need specific GOP villians to make this above statement work-- and also a short-hand for the worst of all Republicans. They know who they are.

I'd be happy with "Bu*hites" as short-hand for those Republicans who bought into Bu*h's shtick of personal responsibility as an excuse to privatize and turn over people's livelihood to profitmakers.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the former president's name now triggers the Wirty Dird filter.

Priceless, and overdue as of 8 years ago.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

It is funny, if true, that Bush triggers this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Yet I didn't look up "gullible" in the dictionary...

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Well it has the advantages of brevity & simplicity, that's fer sure. Of course, so does, "Kill 'em all & let God sort 'em out!"

Posted by: bobsewell | August 23, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

All I knew it was held the first time, so it's either "Bush's shtick" or Bu*hites because those were the only two terms I changed.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I see it must be all the bull*hit that "bus*ites" implies.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 23, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

To your question about the parallel parking job that kid does - that is possible with most cars, and certainly easier with cars that have a parking brake handle on the console...

Also, karts that have only a rear brake and race cars with adjustable brake bias would be relatively easy to do that with, too.

I've done that with a full-size car between cones, myself. Didn't have the nerve to do it with real cars (or perhaps, too much sense). Did that with little kids' Big Wheels as well, come to think of it.

It's a variation on the old-school handrake/J-turn. Cool that the kid can do it at that age. Now, that's a ways from 10 years of kart racing and lower formulae racing, an FIA Superlicense and an F1 drive, but I think it's a decent start.


Posted by: -bc- | August 23, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Even more of that blues thing. Any cover of this song is ok by me. This is pretty good, but not the band's best effort.

Posted by: -jack- | August 23, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Jack I see your zappa and raise you!

Flo and Eddie along with George Duke and my favorite A. Dunbar.

(and Ian Underwood) ... Underwood must be doing something normal now.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 23, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

a song about the author's Mom:

Posted by: -jack- | August 23, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

zappa. dude.
NOrmal? Why?
This one is great. I didn't know that Hendrix played a SG. I'm a bit slight to haul around a LP. A double cutaway LP/SG would do, though. I'm currently saving my pennies for a Tele. IIRC, wasn't your friend playing yours in the ditty you linked to a week or so ago?

Posted by: -jack- | August 24, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

There are a couple of allamandas climbing up small trees in the wild near my house. The flowers look almost the same as tecoma stans.

When I was living in Los Angeles, I’ve eaten in a couple of Taiwanese restaurants where one of the dishes that were popular was dried prawns cooked in meshed tofu. It’s quite tasty. I don’t like tofu, but I don’t mind eating that a couple of times a year. Chinese restaurants here (and Chinese restaurants in my home country) don’t have that dish in their menus. I’m guessing it’s a popular Taiwanese breakfast. Can anyone who has been to Taiwan verify that? DaveoftheCoonties?

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 24, 2009 3:19 AM | Report abuse

I hope there’s enough hoo-ha about it that they'll forget about caning her after Ramadhan. This is ludicrous. It’s just drinking beer.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 24, 2009 4:08 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, and happy Monday. After family reunion Saturday and ice cream social last night, I'm rather glad to be back to the normal diet. Didn't lose any weight over the weekend!

So. Scrambled eggs, bacon, mixed fruit, and homemade bread toast on the breakfast table in the ready room. Your choice of juice and coffee/tea. Enjoy!

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

WaPo style has an article about a new body deodorant that is a a little, well, cr-ass.

Here is the product they are disgusting, I mean discussing:

Warning: The website autostarts a video that is LOUD!

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Seen on the restroom door of a Metro station this morning:

"DO NOT OPEN -- Live possum inside!!"

Yep, it's Monday...

*off-to-backBoodle-and-see-what-I-missed-but-not-necessarily-that-body-spray Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I have seen my old guitar on anything. Arlen has dozens of them, so it seems.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

From Kurtz, a kerfuffle I'm glad I missed:

"The Beck Boycott
The fallout continues over Glenn Beck assailing President Obama as a 'racist' with a 'deep-seated hatred' of white people. About 20 companies -- including Procter & Gamble, Geico and ConAgra -- have now pulled their ads from his Fox News show.

Beck's charge was so incendiary -- and bizarre, considering that Obama's mother was white -- that even some conservatives winced. But boycotts rarely succeed in forcing anyone off the air, and indeed, Fox hasn't forfeited a dime. A Fox spokeswoman pointed to the network's statement: 'The advertisers referenced have all moved their spots from Beck to other day parts on the network, so there has been no revenue lost.' "

I'm also sad that Kurtz is correct in saying sober articles on the "death panel" crap weren't enough to quell the furor. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I supposed, since Republicans have pushed thru "death panel" legislation in the past, they are now fair game. Everyone is absolutely nutz.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of nutz... I just put on a sweatshirt to warm up.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't cold on my walk, Weed, but it was delightfully cool and not terribly humid. The clothes weren't sticking to me when I got back. Fall is definitely on the way.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. The office building is still standing. *Drilling mercilessly through 2 weeks of e-mail* Sigh

Happy birthday Curmudgeon!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree with that HuffPo article upstream that the WH and Dems in general have done a TERRIBLE job of controlling the message over health insurance reform by disputing the 'death panels' accusations on their own terms. The Big Lie effect works by just having the phrase in the zeitgeist.

The analogy is the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice phrasing. It's not enough to be anti-death panel, you have to be pro-living will or something. The battlefield has to be shifted.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

How about "Pro-individual wish?"
I would like to see more of this.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 24, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey -- Mudgekins!


And you know I mean it. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | August 24, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Backboodle notes:
The proper comparison with plain tofu is, I think, poached eggwhite (no yolk). Not appealing.
The Shadows of Knight are the little-remembered rock band mostly responsible for the song "Gloria" being known around here.
Sweet potatoes are related to morning glories and moon flowers. I was impressed by my sweet potato blooms and enjoyed them. And I got sweet potatoes to eat later. Thornapple blooms look similar and fold up in the midday but are not so closely related.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 24, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

slyness, where should we get a permit for all the candles on 'Mudge's cake?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Thankee, thankee, all. ftb, your turn is coming soon enough!!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Just say 'no' to negativism" is the motto of the Dems, I fear.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 24, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, the house across the street is condemned. (Finally!) Does the fire dept. need a practice burn? Or do they have too many volunteers already? (they did this on another place I knew about, testing some fancy schmancy German water-cannons on a demo)

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 24, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

In synch with Kit for a moment, I see that the WaPo has installed what they call a "POTUS Tracker," to record how President Obama is spending his time on the job, presumably based on a White House-sourced RSS feed.

I have not checked to see if FOX is taking the same RSS feed and labled it "POTUS Training," nor do I care to.

Can't help but wonder why anyone takes anything Glenn Beck says seriously. It looks to me like the guy will say anything for money -- and if he can't get that, simply for attention. I think of him as Billy Mays without the credibility.

Happy Birthday, Mudge.


Posted by: -bc- | August 24, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mudge! It's great that at your age, you're still so dam perky!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Mudge!

We don't allow that many candles on ANY cake, Scotty. You'll have to either buy number candles or use one candle for each decade.

Jumper, there are a number of hoops to be jumped through to secure a structure for burning. I don't know if they are interested in using condemned structures; lots of safety hazards to be navigated in those buildings. You could go by the closest fire station and ask the captain on duty. He/she would be able to start the process. Or you can call Fire Training at 704.432.1700. D@mn, I had to look the number it, I had forgotten it.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I know, Mudge. But just think of it this way -- you get to be my role model. . . .


Posted by: -ftb- | August 24, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Not even to start a training blaze, Slyness?? I mean, 'Mudge is all about training at every opportunity, right?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could print this out and post it in the office without looking like a total glassbowl.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 24, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

rainforest, The hotel where I stayed in Taipei catered to Japanese businessmen (down to having a tiny Japanese garden at the entrance), so breakfast buffet was reassuringly big on rice, fish, miso soup, eggs, bacon. Tofu with shrimp of one sort or another seems something appropriate for the region.

I did a poor job of sampling Taipei's food offerings. A weekend farmers market near the hotel was revealing--lots of beautiful greens, fruit, and useful local products like pumpkin snow (pumpkin flakes, the perfect sauce thickener). Sweet potatoes were a big deal. A farmers' co-op was holding a peeling contest. Night markets and the food court at the Taipei 101 skyscraper had all sorts of goodies.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday mudge, to you and your blue bottom.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Fortunately I'm still only in three digits, so using those number candles shouldn't be too much of a problem.When I get to four digits we're going to need a wider cake.

I'm actually not too perky this morning; my company has just launched one of those blankety-blank random drug testing programs, and sending out booklets and forms and PowerPoint presentations to all employees, and I think it is not only a lot of nonsense, it is a sizable waste of time and resources dealing with all this crap. And of course you can't fight it, and you can't even bad-mouth it or express your opinion about it. But the truth is, it's bull---- show-and-tell. (For that matter, so is the vast majority of IT dept. "security" IMHO, all that password nonsense, etc. Bureaucracy is full of people building little tiny empires all over the place. It's all a joke.) (IMCHO.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm a big fan of training, all right. At the ripe old age of 63, my company thinks its going to tell me about the dangers and hazards of drugs and alcohol. Jesus wept.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Mon dieu. For something like 45 years I have wanted to go to France, for all the same reasons everyone else does. But now it appears I needn't bother:


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, mudge. If you were to edit under the influence of cannibis all sorts of disastrous things could happen: mismatched subject-verb agreements, improper pronouns, run-on sentences resulting in all sorts of wrecked bullet points. Plus no deadlines would get met after 4:20.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse


Happy Birthday. I now use hex. for my age. It seems smaller.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

As for the food in France, I understand there all sorts of rodents willing to fill the depleted ranks of toque-wearing red-scarfed pencil-mustached chefs. At least that's what the Rats-ptootie movie led me to believe.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

You get a lot more time to reach 39.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

It just this moment occured to me: I've reached drinking three times.

Something to think about. There must be a moral in there somewhere.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Writing screenplays with stuff like this, I think:

"(Knock Knock)

Who is it?

It's me--Pedro, man.

Pedro's not here.

No, I'm Pedro, man.
Open up."

=== it's all funny Sh*t.

--- weed

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Mudge! /sneaks a wrapped box containing fresh tomatoes in the present corner/

2nd (business) day of freedom! I think the library sounds good. It's a little cooler, so maybe I'll cut the lawn too.

I can finally move out of the guest bedroom into mine (noisier neighbor side) because I won't be going to bed at 6 PM anymore. It's proving harder to move into a daytime schedule than I thought it'd be. Around 8 PM, I start fading.

ros, TBG, wow. That was a great time, let's do it again. Yoki, weekends. We need you here on a weekend.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 24, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

7 minutes of mostly middle-aged guys surfing Saturday's very nice hurricane Bill swell. Mostly riding old-fashioned longboards.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. RD, I read your post and could feel the sadness deeply embedded there. I cried so yesterday thinking about my son. I rarely do that, but sometimes I can't help myself. I think because the Sunday school teacher mentioned it yesterday, and the fact that I was already depressed kind of sent me over the edge. The teacher was using my experience to explain something, but I will never understand why she did that. And I didn't understand everything she said. Church folks, you got to love them!

BC, read your post too.

Will this new interrogation board supervised by the White House, in investigating pass acts of the last administration, bring criminal charges against that administration? Are they going to turn over every stone, and if they do, will it result in people facing justice? What's the point if charges aren't filed? I've always thought it odd that folks that really broke the law were never even mentioned as breaking the law, and so many dying behind that action, yet people got really charged up about the extramartial affair of another President. That's a mind blower for me, but then, I'm not over-endowed in that department, the mind thing. I still believe there's a lot we don't know about the last eight years. And for me, that's frightening.

Nice weather here today, so far. I suspect it will be hot, but not quite as humid. Tomorrow is the first day of school. The g-girl looking forward to first grade. She gets to ride the bus.

Have a wonderful day, folks. Happy Birthday, Mudge. May you have many more, and continue to be just as perky.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 24, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Many happy returns, Mudge.

Perhaps the Boodle can fill out any forms or watch any training videos you might have. We'd be happy to. And you wouldn't have to read over the answers before turning them in. Really.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

ftb, I don't think curmudgeons should ever be considered role models -- if you don't beleive me, just ask ours.

And no light show for that birthday cake either (Holdups from the Park Service and and the EPA's environmental impact statment, and we've lost the sponsorship funds to purchase carbon offset credits). I've been trying to arrange for someone appropriate to pop out of the cake to sereneade him -- unfortunately, Phyllis Diller and Helen Thomas claim they're busy and that he's too old for them, anyway.


Posted by: -bc- | August 24, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Put a red carpet by the cake and Joan Rivers will automatically appear...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Felicitous Salutations and Best Wishes on the Day Mudge!

I think there is something to be said for expressing one's time on earth in drinking age ratios. Puts things in perspective.

Speaking of really large numbers, Krugman here is making me feel a bit better about budget estimates.

But just a bit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 24, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Laughing. bc has a point. It's kinda like that Groucho Marx line. Roll model, perhaps. Role model...not so much.

Incidentally -- and especially for the attention of TBG -- I have been reading reviews of "Inglorious B@sterds" and have yet to see any commentary or notice of the basically incorrect spelling of that second word. The Urban Dictionary gives it as an alternate spelling "for those too dumb to spell it correctly," or some such language.

Wiki says: "To date, there has been little explanation of the title spelling. In English, the presumed correct spelling would be "Inglorious B@stards," without the extra u in Inglourious and with an a instead of an e in B@sterds. When asked, Tarantino would not explain the u and said, "But the 'B@sterds'? That's just the way you say it: B@sterds." He commented on The Late Show with David Letterman that "Inglourious B@sterds" is the "Tarantino way of spelling it." In the film itself, the words are briefly shown in their misspelled form on Aldo's rifle, implying he is barely-literate." [Leaving in the incorrect hyphen in "barely-literate. Jeez.]

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Mudge!

Posted by: Moose13 | August 24, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

bc, if you can get Sela Ward, Helen Mirren, or Diana Rigg to pop out of that cake, I'd be much obliged. Eva Marie Saint. Kristen Scott-Thomas. Julie Christie. Annie Lennox.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

good morning boodle

It's magical thinking of course, but I still hold out hope that Obama and the dems are just laying back as a brilliant strategy. But then "hope is not a plan" is a cliche for a reason.

In today's Princess Sparkle Pony news (MN edition) the good congress woman continues to surprise with her shift to the left. First it was the stunner that she believes there is a constitutional right to privacy, which the census forms violate so she's not filling them out. Now she wants the government staying out of people's medical decisions "No interference with what I do with my body" no-way, no-how. The pro-choice tent is a big one, welcome Princess!

Frostdottir and fiance have decided to get married today while 3 of the 4 rents are in town. My only obligations-making a bouquet of farmers market flowers and bringing broccoli salad to the picnic after.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 24, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What??? You guys actually took me seriously? I mean . . . ME???


So, Mudge, you gonna send me flowers on Saturday?

Posted by: -ftb- | August 24, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, random or systematic drug testing is illegal around here unless related to a safety-sensitive job. However, testing after the fact is permissible if there is "reasonable and probable cause, following an accident or incident". So you might have to fill the plastic bottle and give some blood after any grave grammatical or stylistic incident.
That would leave me dehydrated and very pale most days.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Eek! and congratulations, frosti! a surprise wedding. How nice! I hope the Boy, a couple of decades hence when he is old enough to contemplate such things, will consider an impromptu wedding, or even an elopement; as long as I know the bride in advance, of course.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Frosti... congratulations! Not only on the marriage of the Frostdottir but on not having to host a mega-wedding!

I hadn't realized that Frostdottir's boyfriend had crossed into the fiance territory. I hope you are pleased with this turn of events. I gather he is from the Twin Cities area?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 24, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

CONGRATS to the Frostdottir & lucky guy!!!! *faxin' confetti* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Talk about burying the lede! Congrats on becoming an in-law. And many happy returns to the bride and groom.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

frosti, congrats on the soon-to-be son in law! And congrats on raising a daughter who chose to forego the wedding industrial complex.

The visit with my conservative friend went exceedingly well. We got the health care discussion out of the way first thing. We agreed on a few things: 1. Insurance companies suck 2. Living wills are a good thing 3. Aging baby boomers are going to bankrupt Medicare 4. We like each other too much to spend our time arguing.

Then it was on to an evening of wine and lobster. And more wine. And more lobster.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 24, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

TBG, love that cartoon!

dbG, I didn't realize you left yourself time between the jobs. You are one smart cookie!

Mudge, Happy Birthday! I've been reading the reviews too - here's what Ann Hornaday said about the spelling:
"(The deliberate misspellings of the title, presumably, are meant to simultaneously pay homage to, and make a crucial distinction from, the 1978 Italian war movie "The Inglorious Bastards.")"
But who knows? I heard an interview on NPR with Tarantino which made me want to see it, but I'll have my eyes closed half the time, I just know it.

frosti! Congrats and Best Wishes and all that!

Posted by: seasea1 | August 24, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Do tell, Raysmom... *putting on sunglasses to disguise the growing greenish tint in my eyes* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse


Why are you and your friend worrying about Medicare when our country is technically bankrupt now?

As things stand, we could "spin off" Medicare to raise funds to pay our debt.

Who knows? Maybe a company that currently provides "health care" could buy it and then turn it into a pile of poop like their current businesses.

Right now, I think we could be able to keep Medicare with positive cashflow by just selling off an aircraft carrier every year.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

An impromptu wedding! How lovely! Congrats, Frosti, and give our love to the bride and groom. I hope you are pleased with this turn of events.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

frosti, congrats on your dot's wedding!

mudge, a very happy birthday to you!

my bday tomorrow will start of grandly with a visit to the doc, who will let me how much i've messed up my ankle.

Posted by: LALurker | August 24, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

New kit with a very very old kit embedded...

Posted by: joelache | August 24, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering if Ravi Batra had anything new to say about the stock markets. Did find this article referenced on his web page:

Reagan: The Great American Socialist

Very interesting short piece about the "Reagan Revolution" that so many still consider the "good old days."

In a couple of paragraphs, Dr. Batra lays out what Reagan actually did to the USA. In a sense, it was much like what guys like Icahn and Carlyle Group do to corporations. Pull every last dollar out of the company making it totally incapable of riding out even the mildest downturn and then, to top it off, hand the keys to bunch of schmoes and say good luck, she's all yours.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I stole your flow chart for my blog. The union of computer experts is going to get on you for giving away trade secrets.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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