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Stephen Hawking Makes a Toast

"Freedom is very important for scientists. We need freedom to develop our theories and confirm our work. We also need freedom to raise ideas that are difficult...The astronomer Galileo Galilei was imprisoned by the Catholic Church for saying that the Earth goes around the Sun instead of the other way around. If I had proposed some of my theories in the day of Galileo I would have spent much of my career behind bars. This would not have stopped me thinking about the universe, but it would have been much more uncomfortable for me."

That was Stephen Hawking last night in Washington, at a diplomat's house where he was honored for having received, earlier in the day, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He ended his remarks with a toast to freedom.

I met him for just a moment and nervously and idiotically babbled about how I really liked A Brief History of Time and wasn't one of those people who merely owns it but never actually managed to read it.

I am not good in social situations.

As it happens, Hawking has been in the news because Investor's Business Daily decided to use him as an exhibit for what is wrong with the UK's public health system:

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

Um, except he's British. Lives in the UK and whatnot.

Indeed he has exceptional health care (two nurses were among those in attendance last night). Hawking responded to the Investor's Business Daily editorial:

"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

Sen. Chuck Grassley mined a similar vein in suggesting, incorrectly it turns out, that Teddy Kennedy might not get medical treatment in the UK for his brain tumor. The British are not taking kindly to these slanders.


Soon, John Edwards will confess to kidnapping the Lindberg baby.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 13, 2009; 8:41 AM ET
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Next: Getting What You Pay For


Howdy, y'all.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 13, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Since this makes a point about health care reform, I will repost:

Morning, all. I am very late today because I partied last night and didn't go to bed till 1:15 ayem. That is practically unheard of! Obviously I had a blast among friends, and while I didn't overimbibe because I had to drive myself home, I did enjoy two glasses of Proseco.

The cause of the party was an extremely lopsided vote Sunday morning for a proposal to change church governance we had worked on for a year and a half. As with health care reform, we heard loud noises from a few people who swore it won't work and that we needed to put off the vote. So we sat on the stage in the fellowship hall and watched with open-mouthed amazement as a 75 year old lady got up and expressed strong support, amendments were shot down by a large margin, the question was called, and the vote went our way by 89 percent.

We had no idea that the vote would come, or that it would be so much in favor of the proposal. The lesson I take from this is that the health care reform opponents make much noise at their peril, because the vast majority is ready for change and will see that it happens.

Posted by: slyness | August 13, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Mudged I am indeed, yello.

Ya gotta admit, my timely is really quite exceptional.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I think that the funny thing about Inv. Business Daily flub is that (and for an "investment" rag it is hilarious) they didn't figure into the equation that Hawking's voice synthesizer has no accent. Bingo, he is American.

With all the controversies, that one is absolutely hysterical.

Lucky, lucky, lucky for Joel. What a great honor to have that meeting.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

And so must needs repost as well:

*applauding slyness while faxing her a couple of Alka-Seltzer for her hangover*

You church gals sure know how to party!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse


I thought Jacoby's remarks (I would NOT call them a "rant," as several of her commenters did, nor a "diatribe") were perfectly fine as is. Yes, she turned the tables and said, in effect, that it was Palin who was "evil." I have no problem with that. That Jacoby did it both subtly and indirectly (by quoting Brodsky) and then without mentioning Palin directly ("sometimes evil walks onto a stage with a wink and a pair of very high heels. You betcha’.") belies any use of the words "rant," "diatribe," etc. Her entire entry ran to only 237 words -- no "diatribe" in my book. (I can't even get into third gear on my way to high dudgeon in less than 600 words, but that's just me.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I love the circular self-refuting logic that the NHS would have euthanized Hawkings, all evidence to the contrary. That paragraph in the IBD editorial, by the way, went down the same Orwellian memory hole as Jacoby's rant.

///cue for mudge to repost his refutation that it was a rant///

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The Hawking example is just so perfect. It points out the false assumptions that the right is working from-that the US has the best medical system in the world, and that all world famous brilliant scientists are American.

Good morning boodle. Having no experience with it, I'm curious-what does civilian dental coverage look like? The military farmed out its family member dental care to an insurance company, with modest premiums deducted out of the soldier's pay check, many years ago. Routine exams and cleaning, annual x-rays all covered with no co-pay. Other things vary, with dental implants covered at 50% (which my oral surgeon tells me is generous compared to many plans). Boodle experiences?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The best part about some folks who are complaining about gov't provided health care are those who, in some cases, never paid in enough to fund their coverage that they "think" is good ol' American private insurance (Medicare). For some of us, who have paid in for 30 years, we don't qualify. We have NADA. We paid for it and don't got it and they get it, didn't really pay for it, and don't know where it came from.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

When I went to see/hear Hawking deliver a talk at Berkley in the early 80's, he was still speaking, and even walked to the podium with the use of a couple of canes. He sat down to deliver the speech. Since that was before the publication of "Brief History", he wasn't so well known, and seats could be obtained without having to camp out or spend vast sums of money.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 13, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Were we disscussing gardening?

On to serious. But not from me.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

You've probably already done this with your military dental coverage, frosti, but Run Away from any dentist you don't care for. Immediately.

I stuck with a bad one for way too long and finally found a dentist's office (within walking distance of my house!) where they care for me, are nice to me *and each other* (important!) and have reasonable costs.

If you have to remind your usually incredibly peaceful and nice husband every time he goes not to yell at the woman at the desk, you're going to the wrong dentist (or doctor, or barber, or...)

Posted by: -TBG- | August 13, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

frostbitten ... your question?

Your answer? HA HA HA!!!!

seriously, about 12 years ago, I was hired to do a longitudinal analysis of mental health care and treatment protocols and approvals for a Lewin Group team.

I vaguely remember the premise of the study in that the approvals for care were cut back to a shorter flight of treatments and now Docs were requesting additional sessions and the bean counters wanted to know why.

Further, they needed to enforce some sort of payment reward to the Docs who managed to stay within their guidelines per diagnosis.

As I remembered, they had great office space and paid on time.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The little-known co-founder of Tim Hortons dies:

Posted by: bobsewell | August 13, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Frosty, my own experience over four decades is that for about three of those decades it almost never existed at all. Over the past 10 or 15 years it seems to have started creeping into health plans, but in a very minimalist way. I currently have a dental add-on, but I'm pretty unhappy about it. It has a $2,000 annual maximum (which nowadays means you can't even hiccup, let alone get serious work done) plus a $100 deductible. It generally only pays about half what is charged for anything major. The good news is, it's fairly cheap. The bad news is, it doesn't cover much, and it only covers a certain list of providers who seem to be largely imaginary. If you manage to find one within 30 miles, you call and discover they aren't taking any new patients.

As it happens #3 daughter is the office manager for a prosperous K Street dental practice--and they take NO dental insurance whatsoever. Strictly cash on the barrelhead, and the prices are breath-taking. They have some very prominent names among the clientele, and I could reel off four names you'd all recognize instantly. One is a congressman and one a former cabinet member. You know all that talk about how the Congress and Exec branch have such great insurance? Well, maybe they do-- but when it comes to dentistry, they're paying top fees out of their pockets. Perhaps they submit the paperwork later on their own, and get reimbursed to some degree, I don't know.

The third client they have is a prominent TV anchor who works for one of the majors. Presumably this person has a gold-plated insurance plan...but when it comes to dentistry, this person also pays cash.

The fourth is a famous retired athlete. I don't know what kind of retirement health plans athletes have, but this person, too, has to pay cash.

("Cash" meaning check, cash, money order or credit card. One day my daughter called me up and said, "Dad!! [Person X] just gave me [his/her] credit card number! I have [X's] credit card number!" I said, "Great! Let's go out to dinner at Fogo's!" She said she couldn't do that. *sigh*)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

TBG-So true. My all time favorite dentist, with fabulous office staff, was in NoVA. Mr. F was more than a bit cranky when I suggested that I should just stick with him after all these years. Guess he saw through it as a BPH attendance ploy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, again, I hate to use the expression "right-wing," but you know what I mean as a generalization, but the right-wing has a tendency to drop part of their explanation of their position: in total, they mean to say: "for those people with health insurance, the medical services provided are amongst the best in the world."

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Dental "insurance" is the black hole of the system. The hardest part is finding a dentist you like on the plan you have. My experience is that the crummier the dentist, the more plans he/she accepts.

For many, many years we went without because a few cleanings a year and the occasional filling is usually cheaper than the insurance, especially if you can get either pre-tax through a flex spending account.

Last year her dental benefits got better and we went on the plan. My son is going to have his wisdom teeth removed at Christmas for a net cost of $100 per tooth.

Our dentist is also changing which plans she accepts so it becomes confusing about whether we have the Plus/Gold/Deluxe sub-plan that is covered.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Federal employee dental usually has a $1200 per family member annual limit, but there are lots of plans to choose from. Cost varies a bit by zip code but covering 2 people is about $60-70 a month. Mr. F and I have been comparing the federal employee and military retiree coverage (practically the same, but the retiree coverage has a $100 deductible for some procedures). The biggest change for us will be that he will be on the coverage and not seen by military dentists anymore.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, I was under the City's dental plan when I worked, which was 100% payment for preventive care, but it had an annual maximum of $1000. Now that I'm retired, I can get on a state plan, but it's more expensive than what I normally pay. My dentist agreed that it was a good risk management strategy for me to skip the insurance. When I have to have something other than preventive care, they will have to give me enough notice to pick the insurance up.

Posted by: slyness | August 13, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Are those green shoots?

We have been pointing out for over a month that folks are really falling off the back end of the unemployment insurance programs rather than "finding new work."

Now, some folks are taking note.

Another weed-ism is on cash for clunkers.

here is a washington post quote from the business section filled with 50 dollar words:

"All the cash-for-clunkers [program] did was steal sales from other retailers. We'd argue that even more damage was done, as consumers who did turn in their clunkers likely surrendered assets with at least some residual value for debt and an equity stake in a sharply deteriorating asset," said T.J. Marta, chief market strategist, Marta on the Markets LLC.


So, we just have to be fair to all other retailers, I guess? We know that Americans will spend money for a deal. I know, if you give them a deal Americans can't resist! I can sell hundreds of dollars of pickles for the right price.

We have had Cash for Clunkers... what's next?

Cash for Gerkins?

Cash for Wall to wall carpet?

Cash for Staple Guns?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Rainn Wilson tweets: "If I was at a Town Hall Meeting I would shout down ANY discussion b/c I HATE TOWN HALLS! THEY'RE BUILT BY THE GOVERNMENT!!!"

Posted by: -TBG- | August 13, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I concur that most dental plans are inexpensive but not very good. Usually after the deductible most routine procedures are covered but crowns and root canals and such are at best covered 50%. As I grow older, I fear to be without dental coverage as my soft English teeth are demanding more and more crowns (It’s the royal influence, I’m sure). Even with insurance, I’m sure I’ve spent at least 10k on my teeth over the last 20 years. I really should have flossed more when I was younger!

Very dreary here for the second day in a row. Temps not out of the 60’s and occasional drizzle. We weren’t able to see the meteor showers because of the cloud cover. This makes me sad as we look forward to it every year.

Joel, very impressive that you got to meet Hawkings. I have a question which I’m sure someone here can answer. Hawkings has ALS and has had it for many years. I thought that that disease was more quickly fatal. How has he managed to stay alive?

Posted by: badsneakers | August 13, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Off the top of my pointy 'lil haid, I'd say T.J. was talking out his posterior to get some media exposure...

Stealing sales? How about generating sales that otherwise probably wouldn't occur?

For the public, how about lower operating costs for the new vehicle? Lower maintenance costs?

And he's somehow conflating buying a new car with having equity in the automaker? Isn't Toyota doing well under the program?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

And in the "Justice delayed is sometimes sorta like real Justice" department:'09-season

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Thanks boodlers for the dental coverage info. This transition to civilian life, even with military retiree benefits and Mr. F's snout still in the public trough, is full of new territory for us. When my head starts to ache I remind myself he's bringing my lawn tractor up on Friday.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I wonder which part of "stimulus program" the expert marketer Mr. Marta doesn't understand. My guess is pretty near all of it.

And anyway, that wasn't just "all" that Cash for Clunkers did. The *&%^%$#@ also took my office. Harrumph.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

(Because, when it comes to Cash for Clunkers, stimulus plans, and the recovery of the American economy, it still comes down to this: it's all about ME. I just thought I should make that clear.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

morning, all.

my friend (and boss) gave me a lift home from work yesterday in her new prius, bought with a cash-for-clunkers subsidy. she really lucked out because it's very hard to find a prius in stock at this point. the program is working. yes, it's taking destroying that still have some value and working parts. but isn't the point to get them off the roads and also make it more expensive for others with these cars to maintain them (with fewer used parts available). it's a kick in the seat of the pants to get the country moving towards green, and i don't care who complains about it. (with apologies to anyone who's been personally inconvenienced by this program. *wink wink*)

i fell and sprained my foot this ayem, so i called in sick. am sitting here with ice on it, elevated, yada yada. just glad i didn't break anything because i went down hard. i was going to ice it for an hour, then put an ace bandage on it and keep it elevated for the rest of the day. anything i'm missing? i have done this before. just not recently.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Here's another unknown object, smashing through Saturn's ring:

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

anti-inflammatories, LAlurker, ibuprofen and such. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

wow, i'd like to coin a new term: boodling in order. as in the opposite of boodling out of order. as in my post going up without having seen anything after 11:10.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The suggestion by russianthistle that "Cash for Clunkers" be extended to include carpeting and staple guns is symptomatic of the kind of creeping big government intrusion into the private sector that we should all fear most. After all, if such things can happen in carpeting and staple guns, won't the whole vast home improvement industry be subject to the inevitable round of stimulus followed by rationing? The America I know and love is not one in which my neighbors or myself with peeling paint or cracked linoleum will have to stand in front of Obama's ‘paneling panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of rampant consumerism,’ whether they are worthy of home improvement. Such a system is downright evil.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 13, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

alternative definition of boodling in order:
the opposite of being "mudged."

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I love you, kguy.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 13, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

thanks, scotty-n, i'll take some.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

A woman with her very own lawn tractor. Be still, my heart.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I would sign up for a Showers for Shinola program in a heartbeat. Some gummint subsidized bathroom remodeling would be right up my alley since it will be years before a home improvement HELOC comes my way (those things still require you to have some equity, don't they?).

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Aw, poor LAL. I'm hereby faxing chicken soup specifically brewed for a sprained foot.

Sneaks, I don't think it's ALS that Hawking has -- it's something like it, though -- just doesn't kill you so quickly (relatively speaking). I read about it awhile back, but can't remember what the name of his illness is. Gotta hand it to him, tho. He must be the true definition of capacity for survival.

I watched a little bit of the ceremony yesterday where Obama did the bestowing. He and Sidney Poitier gave each other a nice long hug (with back pats, the way men hug).

And that reminds me (caution -- RANT ALERT). I noticed that when Chief Justice Roberts, after he had sworn in our newest Justice Sotomayor, shook her *fingers* instead of her entire hand. That has happened to me so many times, and I just hate it! Shake the *whole hand* PLEASE!!! I don't know why certain men do that to women. They sure don't in Europe. I can't imagine the rationale, unless it's an obscure form of infantilization -- I mean, god forbid that the poor woman might swoon with pain and/or desire if a guy were to shake the entire hand.

Well, now, that were a good rant. Anyone up for a confirmation, denial of same or a simple "ignore"?

Getting hungry for lunch. What's in the bunker, slyness (that which Mudge and Snukes haven't already snarffed down, that is).

Posted by: -ftb- | August 13, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Canada actually has a renovation stimulus plan, which is being heavily promoted on television. It is laughable! They show young couples putting in new bathrooms, or a porch, or something major like that. And at the very end of advertisement, they brighly inform us that the GoC will "pay up to $1500!" That would be, like, a faucet, or something.

Posted by: Yoki | August 13, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I think the "Moola for [Home] Makeovers" idea is a great one. People can turn in their underwater McMansions and move into smaller, greener, more efficient and sensible housing. Meanwhile the McMansion developments can be turned into hospital clinics, halfway houses, community colleges, schools, etc., and my wife can then go back to full employment in the real estate and home organization fields, and I can return to the lifestyle I was once accustomed to. Go for it!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Jkt, the thing about cars that works is that it is also an asset that involves consumer credit. The country's secured consumer credit rate was dropping "like rock."

The real problem is on the unsecured side.

It has vaporized.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

kguy, Paneling panels, that's great.

We don't have a cash for clunkers thing, but we do have a home renovation credit this year (so maybe I will be hauled up in front of a Paneling panel) which we put to good use. I've never been a real lawn Nazi, but new sod is truly a thing to behold. It's like Augusta National out back now.

Funny bit in the National Post today, on a serious subject. The liberal United Church of Canada is considering an anti-Isreal resolution.

Posted by: engelmann | August 13, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I wish the cash for clunkers program wouldn't be sold as a way of saving the environment. Owning and maintaining an old car that may not get great gas mileage as a much lower impact on the environment than building a new car with great gas mileage.

Posted by: Southwester | August 13, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

More on-kit: Maybe the single-payer advocates should put out ads featuring prominent Brits, Canadians, Swedes, etc. talking about how much they love universal health care.

Posted by: Southwester | August 13, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

But the energy's already been expended to build the new vehicles, so the impact of building them would serve no purpose whatsoever if they weren't used. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

BTW, that was a really excellent Howard Kurtz column this morning, at

Best line:

"[GOP complaint]*Obamacare would have the government meddle in end-of-life decisions!* [Response] Two words: Terri Schiavo.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Everyone says that Galileo was so great, but tell me, did Galileo get an interview in “Playboy” like Hawkings did? I don’t think so. And, in addition to “A Brief History of Time” I actually read the interview. (If memory serves there was some other curious material in that periodical involving a young woman who owned a ferret that ate raisins from her mouth. But I digress.)

As I recall, the interviewer was trying to make the analogy between Hawkings and Galileo more explicit by claiming that the Vatican didn’t want Hawkings to go too far with his theories. Hawkings didn’t seem to buy into this, as well he shouldn’t. If anything, I believe that the Catholic Church enthusiastically supports astrophysics because the conundrums and quandaries that astrophysics introduces, like what caused the Big Bang, allows some scientific purchase for the existence of God.

And the notion of Hawkings interacting with the 17th century power structure is harder for me to fully envision than the nature of entropy around a black hole. I mean, the whole philosophical concept that the universe consistently follows quantifiable physical laws within the ken of the human mind had yet to be fully established.

Indeed, some suggest that this notion, which seems so obvious today, is what really got Galileo into trouble. That is, Pope Urban VIII advocated the notion that since God could do anything, he could certainly create a universe that didn’t follow physical laws consistently. Galileo’s implicit objections to this notion, more so than his specific discussions of the Copernican theory, is what really upset the authorities. Others point out that it wasn’t “The Church” per se, that went after Galileo, but rather a religious censorship board that had the Pope’s support. And then there are those who believe that Galileo just had a way of ticking people off.

But there is no doubt that central to the conflict was the notion of intellectual freedom that Hawkins rightly celebrates. Hawkings truly is an individual in whose presence babbling is the only rational response. I mean, it’s certainly better than mentioning the raisins.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 13, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Previous versions of car trade-in programs focused on cars with poor emission systems. Those have very clear benefits to air quality. Since removing one wheezing belcher from the road is a greater benefit improving performance on hundreds of new cars.

It's an auto company bail-out and a sop to folks whose monster trucks have sunk in value.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Good morning all...

Not meaning to quibble with an expert on these things (especially since my science knowledge is limited to the physics of billiards and darts), but the quote at the beginning of the kit isn't how I learned it. My understanding is that Galieleo didn't say it wasn't the other way around; he challenged the idea that everything in the bible should be taken literally, specifically, that the earth stood still. And while S. Hawkings may have been imprisoned if he had said those things during Galileo's day, Galileo wasn't exactly behind bars. And he did continue thinking about scientific matters after sentenced to house arrest; "Two New Sciences" is considered by many to be one of his best works.

I won't even get into the concepts of the Catholic Church vs. The Holy See. Even a lot of Catholics get that one wrong.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 13, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

mudge ...

.... re schaivo

SHORT MEMORY is so key.


pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

But in the wing-nut mind, that is the RIGHT type of meddling. Just like increasingly arcane limitations on the types and varieties of abortion procedures that can be used.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I was googleroaming looking at recipes when I should have been paying more time on the boodle and working ...

and came across grilled stuffed grapeleaves.

Makes me want to go get some at the Green Papaya.

Already have lunch on the stove.


Might have to round up the ingredients.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I was talking with a jazz musician the other evening who everyone thinks is my polar opposite politically.

We sat and I said, I bet that we have much in common. Turns out, he is a selective libertarian. He is "don't touch my medicare and get govt out of my life" sort of a person.

Funny, so am I. I truly believe that the we the people should do a few quality of life things and get the heck out of the rest of our lives. I don't want women wearing babushkas and spending 15 hours a day with a hoe in their hands working for the collective.

Without getting into right-wing fantasy about the constitution, I agree, let's get back to privacy and freedom for one and all. In the old days, that was why JJ Kilpatrick and Eugene McCarthy were odd bedfellows. There is a longtime tradition in political "warping" that should help us get through these trials.

After waiting too long to "fix the problem" we might be able to just push it through (start the process really) to universal health care.

Is it an American right to be screwed by big business? I just prefer to allow health care to all. We have roads and schools, why not doctors?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Au contraire, my dear Padouk!! You rend me to the quick! I myself interviewed Galileo for the September 1634 issue of Count Hugo Heffaratti's famous "Serving Wench" magazine (that was the one with the illumination of Dona Casamiglia della Strumpetto in the fold-out).

(I also contributed a number of the so-called "service articles" to that publication, including this one, one of my best:

"Dear Serving Wench: Forsooth, in yon fortnight, I'm planning on inviting a certain damsel to my bachelor abode for an evening of fine comestibles, nectars and libations. For entertainment, I was planning upon the local string quartet to perform various and sundry madrigals, but I find the quality of the sound in the main vestibule to be unsatisfactory. A friend suggested that I substitute a lute player for one of the violoncellos, and mayhaps hang tapestries upon the rectory facade, perchance to mute the treble. Doest thou believe this may be a satisfactory solution to my amorous quandry?


yr obdnt servant, and et cetera et cetera

Serving Wench Advisor:

My dear et cetera: Methinks thou hast answered with but half a solution. Indeed, hanging a tapestry upon the rectory wall will indeed produce a sweeter and more melodious tone from most of the string quartet, with or without the substitution of the lute. However, it is my sincerest belief that much of thy trouble lies with the reverberations from yon vaulted ceilings, which are producing what is known in some circles as "feedback." Perchance, art thou requiring the quartet to play at a volume at or above "11"? Your humble advisor suggest dialing back the volume of the cantatto dellaroso to perhaps no more than 8 or 9, and perhaps requesting the quartet to modulate its reportoire with a nice bolero from time to time. That should suffice.

P.S. Don't forget: The French lettres are in the bedside drawer."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, let's get those kids to school healthy so they can be educated.

And then these kids can pay the taxes when we're 100 and droolin'.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 13, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, madrigals? String quartet?

were you referring to your mode of dress?

In your youth, I am sure that would have been worth the price of admission.

Two words ... stage seating.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, Wikipedia has this to say about Dr. Hawking's illness:

Hawking is severely disabled by motor neuron disease, likely a variant of the disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS). Most neuromuscular specialists believe he has Spinal Muscular Atrophy type IV. Hawking's illness is markedly different from typical ALS in the fact that his form of ALS would make for the most protracted case ever documented. A survival for more than 10 years after diagnosis is uncommon for ALS; the longest documented durations are 32 and 39 years and these cases were termed benign because of the lack of the typical progressive course.[27

Posted by: slyness | August 13, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Les Paul died.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 13, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, I hope they do one of their archived interview tributes on Fresh Air. Les Paul was not only inventive and talented, he was one interesting guy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

How High the Moon, indeed... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Let's just all pretend I wrote "Hawking" instead of "Hawkings." Gosh I would appreciate that.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 13, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Well done Mudge! Ribaldry most scandalous.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 13, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

After pondering the concept of a cash-for-clunky-carpet deal, and factoring in my own wisdom about flooring, I realized I had a reasonably astute new metaphor.

One of the key things to understand about flooring is that the customer is desperately searching for something that is impossible, a will-o'-the-wisp: a floor that does not require cleaning. Several industries have grown up to cater to this fantasy, carpet being the primary one. Because carpet hides the dirt. A brief vacuuming, and it appears clean. Magic, I say! And a certain amount of illusion is nice, really.

Hardwoods and tile, in contrast, are the easiest to ACTUALLY clean, but take more effort than to "seemingly" clean a carpet.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Unless you live with multiple large, black-furred, heavily shedding dogs, in which case carpet becomes very rapidly both unsightly and malodorous; hard flooring is the first best choice.

Posted by: Yoki | August 13, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I fear looking for an easy solution for our transportation/petroleum/pollution problems is perhaps a similar exercise in self-deception.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

RD, your 1:03. Me too.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 13, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Most delightful article, mudge. I only read Serving Wench for the illuminated manuscripts. But the bawdy wood-cut illustrations were very funny as well. My favorite was Little Annie Boleynie.

And here is a saucy little tale to titillate and delight:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I my understanding of the whole Galileo Situation is somewhat different from Dr. Hawking's as well. [And neither does it involve a decaying orbit and Spock going for a Hail Mary by dumping the remaining fuel and igniting it with the boosters to serve as a flare. But I digress.]

To LiT's and (I think) RD's point, I think Galileo was tossed about in shifting political winds, and may have gotten himself into hot water as much for how he expressed his ideas as the ideas themselves.

Perhaps it's convenient and very romantic to suggest that Galileo challenged the Church with the power of his ideas and was imprisoned in the name of intellectual freedom, but my read is that his prosecution and house arrest and was far more political in nature and not a truly dire hardship (no cells, locks, chains, or waterboarding, as far as I know).

Mudge, did you mention anything about ghosting something for Watchtower Forum back them?

"I wouldst not believe had thine told of it, but it doth happened to myself but two moons past..."


Posted by: -bc- | August 13, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I knowest not of this Watchtower Forum of which you speak, good sire. Googling it didn't help.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

There is a construction/remodel deck project taking place just outside that is quickly taking on the air of "weekend at Bernie's."

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

There's a dead guy, weed?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 13, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

...and dead floating in the surf? Or dead sitting in your deck chair?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Headline from The Globe and Mail:


Posted by: Yoki | August 13, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh. Somebody's been blabbing to the Globe and Mail.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

No fooling, Yoki!

Posted by: -ftb- | August 13, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

6 hours trying to take out a failed hot tub.

Saws, crow bars, machetes, small theater nuclear devices ....

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

rt... that's why those "Free Hot Tub" listings on Craigslist always crack me up. People think someone's gonna come take out their old (and often broken) hot tub for free!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 13, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I have a Free Hot tub myself,it is a soft spa,weighs 90 lb empty,would fit nicely into the back of a pickup,but it does need work on the motor(bc),or a new motor was $350 which is just too much for me.So almost free!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 13, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I have a free hot tub sitting on self-cleaning floor!

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Ah, RD, it is all about the ferrets.

One of my favorite parts of the whimsical new TV show "Warehouse 13" is the appearance of sudden ferrets.

I don't actually like ferrets in real life. I find them odd - like a dachsund rodent.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 13, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

We sold our NoVA house with a functioning, and quite lovely, hot tub on multi level deck. Little did the buyers know that both house and tub would put them underwater. Easier to maintain than a pool my a$$.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Agreed--we had a hot tub for more than 20 years---19 of them non-operational and empty.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Most of it is sitting 8 feet high in a 1/2 ton pickup. Next put the deck in where the hole now resides. We are looking forward to an I.M. Pei design.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Another classic opening line from Watchtower Forum:

"I am but a young apprentice at a small mid-western guild and something truly amazing happened to me involving the local milkmaid and the abbey's prioress..."

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I am sheepishly reporting that we've had a hot tub for over ten years and it's still operational.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 13, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I am willing to help anyone who wants it to take away my next door neighbor's hot tub which sits nearly directly under my bedroom window.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

JA's been at it again:

News flash -- NASA needs more money to get to the Moon by 2020. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Where are my "Losties"? Thanks to the Jen Chaney chat, I just learned about this video:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 13, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

*shaking my head*

Some weenie misplaced a decimal and put a big-screen HDTV on the site for $9.99.

Best Buy informs the few folks that clicked "Buy" before the error was fixed that the sale is invalid, and the people get irate. I mean, sure, everyone loves a good deal, but how can you expect a company to throw money away these days?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Which is cheaper, putting a centrifugal gym (hot tub optional) on Phobos, or Mars landings?

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Was that Globe and Mail piece written by Elwood P. Dowd?

Posted by: kguy1 | August 13, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I wondered that myself, kguy.

Posted by: Yoki | August 13, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

As someone who had a collection of imaginary friends and told adults about them I had to post this - funny I still have imaginary friends.

And a big shout out to my mom who always defended me when people would quietly suggest that perhaps I was not quite right, due to my imaginary friends. Mom always thought it was OK.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 13, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Meet me at Chumley's Rest. We'll have a beer. Maybe Myrtle May can make us some egg and onion sandwiches.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 13, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

What's the cost of a free hot tub in Mianus? Let's have NASA figure it out.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

good afternoon, imaginary amigos.

yoki, i forgot to say congrats on your condo.

thanks for the soup, ftb.

feeling mildly sorry for myself, i goofed off all morning. watched health care clips on the daily show website. lord, what a country we live in. stewart gives a healthy dose of mockery to both sides, too.

the dems have lost control of this issue in the media when they really shouldn't have. for all the crazies out there afraid of "socialized medicine," there are endless stories of people losing health care, going bankrupt, etc. let's get the limelight on those examples, please.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

LALurker, but when they go bankrupt, it is important to remember that it was their fault. Ascribing blame is an important part of this whole situation.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 13, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

No no, LAlurker, the Dems didn't lose anything. The media chose to publicize the noise over reasoned debate. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 13, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

yello, first you'll have to get Captain Kirk to chase the Klingons... oh never mind.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 13, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The Fanjuls must have missed a payment to one of their congressmen or this story wouldn't have made the light of day:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Tired of the propaganda war against health care reform I posted on a message board on the BBC Disability Forum asking for experiences with NHS. This is the first response. Please, please, don't give the talking points coverage. We need truth, scientific statistics on what works and what we could improve on. Here's the quote:


I am an american Viet Nam era Veteran and lived in the US for over 40 years. My English wife became disabled when we lived in the US in the late 80s.

We moved to the UK because the US system of healthcare stripped us of almost everything we owned.

Since we have moved here my wife has had 6 operations, two of them major ones and she is now partially paralysed and bedridden because of a spinal cord injury.

I have also been in and out of the hospital with one heart attack and a few other problems.

The NHS was always great and FREE.

We always had a choice of Dr's and hospitals.

Now that my wife can not travel unless she is on a trolley (gurney) the Dr's and Dentists, and even the optician comes to our home to see her.

I have been reading some of the scare stories coming out by the opposition and I can assure you the NHS is far from evil. They do have some waiting lists but none of the times we had to wait were very long and anything that was an emergency was treated on the spot.

My wifes GP comes to the house in a matter of an hour or two when I call and although he has many patients he always finds the time to be quite thorough.

By the way the social system here pays for our home and I get a tiny amount of income as her full time carer.

If we were still in the US we would be living under the George Washington bridge in a box.

I am still very angry at the US health care system and now that I have become a permanent resident I will never return.

I really hope the health care system over there changes so no one else will have to lose everything when them become ill.


Posted by: RUBENMORTIZ | August 13, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Am I back online? Lawd, I can never figure out when the WaPo gods are going to smile upon me.

Hot tubs. I'd love to have one. Since I'm a whiz at fibergalss repair, I could fix a broken one. (But not russianthistle's - I draw the line at small theater nukes) Problem is, where to put it? I live in a teenyweenie, tiny townhouse.

I see that Raysmom has one that still works. Will the next BPH be at her place?

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 13, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

It holds eight people, Don. And has cup holders! Wine closet not far away, either. It might be arranged. But not in this heat.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 13, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

One last comment before I hit the ol' I-270. On the way into work this morning, I saw a bumper sticker. I was somewhat saddened, but not surprized. It read, "Impeach Obama".

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 13, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

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

Hello, friends. Lurker, hope you get to feeling better.

I think the enemies of health-care reform are those that don't want to share their tax dollars, and those that don't see themselves needing it in the future. Both position are extremely faulty. With everyone having access to health care, I see a benefit in saving money, and greater protection for the masses, in the end taxpayers won't be the losers. As to the second part, none of us know what the future will bring. We don't know what our end will be, and even more frightening, how it will be.

I had a wonderful time at church last night. Big crowd, and I got a chance to say a few words. Always good to witness the goodness of God through Christ.

Time for the after-school program to start. The kids only have a few more days out. The summer break went by fast. As always, I'm looking forward to it.

Hope your evening is good. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 13, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom-I should not have been so harsh about hot tubs. Ours was made for 6, which turned out to be overkill for the 2 who used it, and it was wonderful. However, I wanted a pool and Mr. F wanted the hot tub. He won, so it will always be referred to by me as "as much work as a pool." I should say though, that Mr. F was right, we did use the hot tub year round in NoVA.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 13, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not sure that "the media" has much choice about reporting much of the noise in the health care reform process. If twenty loudmouths shout down the speakers at a town hall meeting that is news, and can't be completely ignored. If elected officials (or even - sigh - former officials) publicly state their concerns about "death boards" and whatnot, it's news and should be reported, lest the media be accused of perpetrating (or at least abetting) a cover-up.

It's annoying, but I don't see any other good options. Nutjobs & boors can (and should) be minimized, admonished, and ridiculed, but they probably ought to be heard.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 13, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, however, other stories of some significance have not been getting a lot of press:

Posted by: engelmann | August 13, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Those darn Alberta rodents are such show offs.

The Boss reports that the Bush space strategy was an unfunded largely faith-based plan (We will be back on the moon by 2020.) I was so surprised you could have bowled me over with a feather.

We have this humongous pool (not my choice, it was there) and I think today is the first day this season it was used 3 days in a row. Yes, summer is finally here and it's supposed to last another 4-6 days, right in the middle of my vacations. Yeah. But still, a hot tub would probably but used more often.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 13, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

scotty-n, i agree with your point about the media. however, knowing that the media loves sound bytes, vignettes, noise, drama, nonsense, etc., the p.r. side of the administration, the democrats, whomever, could have done a lot more to put the sob and horror stories in the limelight. i thought obama and the dems owned this issue during the campaign season when they so frequently could refer to specific personal stories to make a point. where did that organization go to?

ok, and now to be really cynical, knowing that being dramatic or irate gets you in the news, where are the lefties and other folks? they know d@mn well how to cause a ruckus in a town hall meeting. why aren't they causing scenes and getting in the news? they easily could have been called on to mobilize the same way some right wing groups have mobilized folks.

i also think the dems dropped the ball on the order of things by letting the debate get ahead of the legislation. how can they be doing town halls when they have 5 versions of a bill? they needed to get their legislation together earlier, not invite a public debate or try to promote change and reform when they don't have their legislation together. being vague might have worked during the presidential campaign, but it's not going to work at this time.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Added a John Edwards item to the end of the kit.

Posted by: joelache | August 13, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, John Edwards, we hardly knew ye. Until we saw you preening in front of your mirror on videotape. Then, we had a pretty accurate idea.

This climate is just awful now here. The grass is sopping wet 24 hrs a day whether it's raining or not. The insects are out of control and are invading my house. I managed to mow maybe 200 sq feet before the mower just clogged up with 50 lbs of green goo. And maybe 100 mosquitos feasting on me at any given time even in full sun.

Not to mention a tree limb fell over the street yesterday and I killed my back chainsawing the thing out of the way. Signed, Happy Camper

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the activist organizations on the left are for a single payer system, so they tuned out when that was taken off the table. There have been some emails I've gotten about health care meetings and what not...but I think it's always easier to whip up opposition to something, especially if all you have to do is yell "Liar!" and "Socialist!". I don't know what is wrong with the Democrats, other than they're Democrats, and so have no unified message or plan, and are letting the Republicans run the show. Why, why, why?

At least John Edwards isn't president...or in charge of the health care plan. But you know, it it hadn't been for his stupid behavior, he might have been a bigger player in this. Sigh. I still hope something gets done.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 13, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Very nice NASA article on the home page.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 13, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

LA Lurker, hope your ankle is feeling better. I hope it's not too bad...I suppose the only way to tell if something is broken is to get an xray. I sprained my ankle very badly many years ago, but no broken bones, so I had to do the ice, elevate, wrap thing for several weeks.

dmd, congrats on the moonflowers! I checked mine, and I have teeny tiny buds on some, so I'm hopeful that I'll see a flower or two eventually.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 13, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Logsdon, in Joel's NASA article, is a bit negative towards manned comet/asteroid rendezvous missions. Suggests to me he thinks they aren't good enough PR; not flashy.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

thanks, seasea. i'm pretty sure there are no broken bones since that would hurt a lot more. i can still walk, although with a major limp. we'll see what tomorrow morning's like.

i wonder what else john edwards will say. maybe he'll write a book, too.
sorry, can't hold back on the sarcasm where this guy's concerned.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for taking over my former life Jumper.
Summer is here, finally. The mosquitoes are still here, I just choose to ignore them.

At least, you have this NYT comment of the moment award to sustain you during these difficult times.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 13, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorite piece of trivia about the whole affaire Edwards is that Reille Hunter is the former girlfriend of Jay McInerney and was the inspiration for Story Of My Life. In that book, the first person heroine has a habit of faking pregnancies to extort money out of boyfriends.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 13, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice front page article, indeed, but it somehow feels a bit clipped, as if a few paragraphs are missing from the end. Maybe something about how to carry on without the Ares I rocket?

For a long time, the Space Station seemed to be gobbling up the available resources, but now that it has genuinely useful lab modules, I like the idea of keeping it running, even if it means finding some charismatic things for it to do, so as to keep up public interest.

Going from space to water, Miyazaki's new animated movie, Ponyo, opens tomorrow. The reviews are mostly looking good. Including Kois for the Post.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 13, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Yup. Some more right wing nut jobs tried to open up a can of'whoop ass' .... and as usual, got their asses whooped! Dumb is as dumb does much? Hawkings elegant truth put them to shame.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | August 13, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Joel is on the front page twice! Yay!

I'm sad to hear about Les Paul. He was a triple-threat (or triple-treat, as I first typed it.) He was a fine guitar player, a designer with the solid body guitar, and an innovator with his multi-tracking recordings. Vertical integration as I think they call it in business schools.

There's a DVD released a couple of years ago called "Les Paul - Chasing Sound" that is well worth checking out if you are interested in him. His success is all the more amazing considering he was in a severe car accident and his left arm was nearly amputated. The doctor set it at a right angle so he could still play the guitar after it healed.

Posted by: -pj- | August 13, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Galileo was full of psychobabble. He should have been tortured into recanting his statements. Who was he to reveal the Creator's designs, God ?

Posted by: truthhurts | August 13, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Cue Twilight Zone music.

And yup, front page alert.

#2 dottir called up a little while ago, furious that the Iggles (she's a die-hard Iggles fan) signed Michael Vick. I can see it's going to be a turbulent season.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | August 13, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

shreik, I'm not quite understanding the NYT comment remark.. Something I did? Someone else did?

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 13, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

I meant to clarify my 1:34 PM to reenforce the idea - as I understand it - that Galileo's trial and house arrest was by factions with affiliations within the Church, but that the groups were not officially *of* the Church, per se.

I also am reasonably sure that there were people - members and officials of the Church - who acted on Galileo's behalf to have the penalties reduced.

Anyway, I had a nice evening despite the Washington NFL Franchise's remarkably poor showing against the Baltimore Ravens. Feh.

More later.


Posted by: -bc- | August 13, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Sorry that you hurt you ankle, LaL. As soon as you can manage to immerse it in the hottest water possible, do so, and work the joint through as full a range of motion as possible. Our college trainer, Pete, suggested this therapy whenever there was an ankle injury during the course of a soccer match. The heat and increased circulation will help break up some of the scar tissue, and carry away some of the other damaged tissues. YMMV. Better yet, rely on the advice of your MD. Meanwhile, feast your ears. Jerry is playing the pedal steel on this one.

Sad news about Les Paul. I think of Neil Young's Black Beauty, and the way he wails on it.

Posted by: -jack- | August 13, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Les Paul - he'll be missed, and talk about a musical legacy...

I'm going to sleep on Joel's Manned Space Flight article because I want to see the Panel's final recommendations to the President (to be presented tomorrow) before I get my thrusters in an uproar.

G'night, all.


Posted by: -bc- | August 13, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

thanks, jack. still periodically icing to fight swelling. will try warm soaking tomorrow or the next day.

what is the horizontal stringed instrument in the video? and is that jerry playing it?
i don't know the dead very well, although i did own a couple albums and catch a couple of concerts back in the day.

Posted by: LALurker | August 13, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

pedal steel guitar. He played it with the New riders of The Purple Sage, and had a cameo on CSNY's Teach Your Children. He was a banjo player at heart. Google up old and in the way for a listen. Here's one of my favourite bluegrass tunes, from Tony Rice's younger days:

Posted by: -jack- | August 13, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

LALurker, while soaking in the hot water, try adding some epson salts. In one of my classic klutzy moments I once fell down a flight of stairs and had some very sore muscles, taking the advice of someone I soaked in epson salts and felt much better.

Off to bed night all.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 13, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I was looking for some steel guitar work especially the other day. Got some recommendations? I did find this little thang

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 14, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see the headline of Joel's article corrected. It originally read "NASA: US Likely Won't Send Man Back To Moon By 2020", when NASA hasn't weighed in on the subject - their spokesman said it was premature to comment on the Augustine Committee's report. The link on the homepage was even more egregious (but I'm unable to retrieve it).

Mudge, what sort of penance is Joel owed from the WaPo headline writers?

Posted by: tomsing | August 14, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Galilio Tune Cootie:

Shoutout to grad school, The Indigo Girl's _Swamp Ophelia_:

Power of Two

Least Complicated

Posted by: -dbG- | August 14, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

Whew! I am off the mountain. Had a nice dinner at Miyo's restaurant in Hilo (excellent!), marred slightly when the power went out and in the dark I clumsily knocked over a bowl of tempura sauce all over my leg -- might have had something to do with the two beers I had consumed already. Tomorrow, one free day here at sea level, then I get on the first of the three flights that will get me home -- until October, when I go to a meeting in Puerto Rico.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 14, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

The illustration they should have used for Joel's article:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 5:55 AM | Report abuse

"Morning, Boodle.

Today in Nautical and Aviation History (maybe)

Aug. 14, 1781: Gen. George Washington receives a letter from French Adm. de Grasse, promising to bring 28 ships and 3,000 troops to the Chesapeake Bay. The letter prompts Washington to abandon plans to recapture New York and instead rush south to Virginia, where he eventually surrounds and captures Cornwallis and his army.
1901: According to some sources, Bavarian-born inventor Gustav Whitehead makes the world’s first powered aircraft flight of 880 feet, at Bridgeport, Conn. If true, this would put Whitehead two years ahead of the Wright brothers. But Whitehead never makes much fuss about his aeronautical experiments, which in any case are not very well witnessed or documented. He may also have flown the world’s first seaplane a year later, but that is also poorly documented.
1945: At 9:17 p.m. local time submarine USS Torsk (SS 423) fires the last torpedo of World War II, sinking a small freighter (Torsk is now moored at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and is a tourist attraction). A bit later, and though it had no connection to the Torsk sinking, at about 9:45 p.m. Japanese Emperor Hirohito broadcasts a message to his troops that Japan is going to surrender to the Allies. The announcement is released worldwide the next day, which was then dubbed VJ Day (Victory over Japan). The official surrender is signed aboard battleship USS Missouri on Sept. 2, which is also sometimes called VJ Day.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | August 14, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

I cannot hear Power of Two without crying like a baby. It is the saddest sweetest song I have ever heard.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Also on the dead trees front page is a heart-warming but bittersweet story about a divorced middle-aged woman that goes back to college but has to move from Ohio to North Dakota to find a job.

She buys a mildewed mobile home and gets a job at a call center for a cereal company.

Maybe Gene Weingarten can call her and harass her.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Don't tell mudge, but the Chuckster is waxing cynical again about health care reform.

This time he crunches the numbers to 'prove' that preventive medicine procedures don't reduce medical costs overall.

He does confess that the purpose of medicine is to reduce human suffering.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Our heat wave is supposed to break by tomorrow. I'm a bit peeved that it did not dip below 60 the last two nights in a row, but it's still been quite pleasant sleeping with windows open. Summers without the constant drone of AC are delightful.

yello-I'm surprised, and pleased, that there wasn't one snidely superior bit in that article about the woman moving to ND. Didn't even paint it too quaint, despite a few circumstances that would qualify.

One thing should be noted about the conservatism of North Dakotans and the risky mortgages they didn't get. Most home loans that are sold by the originating small town bank are sold to the state owned Bank of North Dakota. Well beyond the scope of the article, but it is seldom noted that in ND "natural conservatism" is often backed by government involvement that comes from a populist/socialist tradition.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 14, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

yello, I know. Language or the kiss always pulls me too.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 14, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle.

If you can find a copy on DVD, Guy Madden's The Saddest Music in the World might be a suitable movie for tonight. Doesn't hurt that "Kid" Mark McKinney starred.

A busy day ahead and I'd better get to it. Have a lovely Friday.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, ye Boodlers!

I have read Hawkin. Thus I can say with authority that Santiago's cherry blossoms exploded with a Big Bang.


Posted by: Braguine | August 14, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

The electrically inclined among us should visit Google, quickly...

Pedal steel guitar... I'd go find a Robert Randolph clip, but I can't access YouTube @ werk. *SIGH*

The NY Times has an excellent piece outlining how the "death panel" crap has been festering since shortly before the election.

*really-just-can't-wait-for-the-weekend Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I do think describing her small town as being in rural North Dakota is a bit redundant. If you aren't in Fargo or Bismark, that is pretty much a given. And those places barely break the 'suburban' density level.

I would recommend lunch or dinner at Meriwether's in Bismark. Good, but not great, food with a wonderful view of the Missouri River.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Morning folks. Just a quick drop-in. Going to be busy for an August Friday. Cloudy here near your Nation's Capital. The "Natinals" are back to their old ways, and the 'Skins kinda stunk up the joint last night, especially the defense. But, the Steelers looked to be ready to go, so friend wife was happy.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Ahem, Fargo, Bismarck, or Grand Forks (home of a Pulitzer winning paper).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 14, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

"Somewhere there's music,
how faint the tune,
Somewhere there's Heaven,
how high the moon"

Les Paul's, he lived a long life, God Bless Him for all of his talent, his music was my beach music as a kid.

I have been reading all Joel's health care kits and everyone's opinions and info. Keep it up!! Just now, I'm in the middle of serious health issues and will some day hold forth with my own personal stuff, if I ever get through the gloom of it and see the light of it. Next stop along the way is Chemo, don't weep, I am so thankful it is there for me. Faith and Family and Friends are carrying me. Some of you met my husband, Vintage Lord, he has been my rock. We are holding hands through this mess of mine and getting on with life.

Hospitals and doctors and health insurance, it's a crap shoot, sometimes you get lucky. Mudge is right about the nurses, male and female alike, mine have been smart and caring.

Will read you all, and maybe post again in a few weeks. Love you all, each and every one. God Bless.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 14, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed that article, too. I did wonder why she chose to buy a place 1.5 hours away from her new job. But good for her for making such a bold move at her age.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 14, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for inducing umbrage, fb. I did neglect both Grand Forks (pop. 51,740) and Minot (pop. 35,281). You have to draw the line somewhere.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Saying prayers for you, VL. We're here if you need us.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 14, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Yup, I had to Google Hans Christian Ørsted. As I imagine a lot of people will have to.

Although in my defense, the electrical engineering courses a ME has to take are remedial at best.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

VL-hugs, kitty lovin's and home grown tomatoes loaded in the fax.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 14, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Vintage Lady, sending my best thoughts and hugs.

Posted by: Yoki | August 14, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Prayers, mojo, and karma all coming your way, VL. Fight the good fight and keep your spirits up. You have lots of friends.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Your Vintage Ladyship, I am collecting all the chicken soup and wonderful optimistic karma I can to mete out to you all at once or as you need it along your journey -- the best part is, it never runs out. . . .

Today my dad would be 101. I was thinking of him yesterday as I was pounding away on the keyboard and doing this and doing that computer-wise. I think he would take to it, probably after tossing as many computers out of the upper deck window as I have (figuratively) over the decades. Mom? Probably not so much. She was plenty smart, but of a generation and of a personality which required her to defer and demur. Deep down underneath, tho, she was one feisty woman.

More PT today -- looking forward to it.

Cya later.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 14, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Stay strong, Vintage Lady. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 14, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Oh VL, much boodle love to you.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 14, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, Brag, what'd they do with the Arctic Sea? Where is she?

Good luck, VL.

I'm not gonna read Krauthammer. He's irrelevant. He has nothing to say.

I can't begin to tell you how much I loathe and despise the WaPo's blog question today, "Should Obama Go on Vacation?" (And the even cheesier, "What's Your View?")

Well, my view is that asking questions like this to solicit mindless replies from the Wackosphere is simply the most prurient kind of pandering. It serves not one wit of public usefulness, not even cyberventotherapy.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 14, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

My very best to both of you, VintageLady, you know you can lean on the Boodle as much as necessary. *HUGSSSS*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, you all :-) many times.

Hope this works, wonderful, wonderful live Les Paul.

No Hammer for me either, he needs fresh tomatoes and peaches and corn, and maybe prunes.

Posted by: VintageLady | August 14, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

VL, we'll be thinking of you round here.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 14, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

A lot of prunes, VL.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 14, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, ref Arctic Sea.

Ship must be carrying some undeclared cargo.

The "Swedish police." Is the joker in the deck.

Posted by: Braguine | August 14, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Courage cued up, VL for you and VLord and VSon1 and VSon2.

And, Epigen and other anemia-fighting drugs if the chemo robs you of hemoglobin and energy in that theft.

Brag is funny; Jumper is too, and he keeps a good kitchen.

Off to various sundries of the day. Hope to swim later in between thunder showers. The 60 bags of cedar mulch seem to be helpful in the tick wars. My vet tells me that the vector in our neighborhood is the field mouse population, first infected by contact with white tail deer.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 14, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

George Allen is writing a book titled
"The Triumph of Character: What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports."

I'm not sure this is a "Triumph of Character" era in sport.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 14, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Re: Artic Sea. Perhaps the Bermuda Triangle is a skosh bigger than previously thought. I did see the X-Files episode where Mulder and Scully find it full of black ooze.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Sending my good thoughts to you as well, VintageLady, and to your VintageLord.

Posted by: -pj- | August 14, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh, another fine pedal steel guitar player is Rusty Young from Poco.

Posted by: -pj- | August 14, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

New kit, BTW...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Yup. The 'shell game', 3 half shells and one 'pea', of nearly 1300 private health insurance companies must be broken up some. In the USA they have been the only 'game' in town for too long. Too many denial of coverages instances. This situation borders on the edge of national disgrace. The option being offered does pay it's own way. It also brings other benefits as well, especially with regard to foreign diplomacy and other matters.

.. Anyway, Hawkings naturally occuring eloquence casts an even larger shadow of doubt on the "from the sublime to the ridiculous" crowd, than the darkness of 'space', which is simply nothing more than the shadows of objects that are 'in' the Universe, backlit by a core of light or energy. Recently, NASA has seen this distance and so some of them have become somewhat discouraged. My advice. Stay with citizen Hawking. He does actually 'have a clue' on these matters.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | August 14, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

What I find most surprising about this hoo-hah is that Americans seem to be so reluctant to give control of their healthcare system to the Government, but are quite happy to leave it in the hands of 'suits' whose only motivation is profit. A healthcare system should be about the PATIENT and not profit, but then pretty much all the rest of the civilised world realised this a long time ago (and saved a lot of money doing so).

Posted by: IlPadrino | August 18, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

"two nurses were among those in attendance last night"

Hawking's nurses, which number more than two, are not provided by the NHS. Hawking would have been put in a nursing home in 1985 were it not for grants by private institutions (mostly in America.)

A simple web search will find an online Hawking bio with the info about how Hawking's wife, Jane, was "bitter" after her experiences with the socialist NHS, which included being denied the treatment that the Hawking's thought was necessary.

I blogged it at:

Posted by: msoja | August 19, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

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