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A Small Gesture

As you get older you realize that what people will remember about your life are the small gestures. The things you did when hardly anyone was looking. The biography is not a resume: You could win every award on Earth, get every honor, but will be remembered as a heel if you were surly to waiters.

Some people will never forgive Teddy Kennedy for his failings and sins. But here's a little story for you -- a small gesture that won't make any of the history books.

A few years back, one of our colleagues here, Helen Dewar, passed away from cancer. Helen had covered the Senate for 25 years before retiring in 2005. She had been completely devoted to her job, staking out hallways day and night in pursuit of a quote, covering midnight votes, making sure she knew everything that might possibly being going on in that chamber. The Senate was her life. As her obituary noted, "She had no immediate survivors."

When she died, The Post held a memorial service for her in the community room on the first floor.

A senator showed up to pay tribute to Helen and praise her professionalism and wit and integrity. Of course it was Ted Kennedy.

He didn't have to do it, and probably had a million other places to go and things to do. A staffer could have, on his behalf, graciously declined the invitation to speak, citing a scheduling conflict. But I think he knew that one of his roles in life was to be a eulogist. In this case no one was going to record his words, the way they did for his eulogy for Bobby Kennedy. This small gesture won't be mentioned tonight at the service for the senator at the JFK Library. But there are those of us who remember. In the ledger of life, everything counts, doesn't it?

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 28, 2009; 8:59 AM ET
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Next: The Kennedy Brothers At Arlington


Beautiful Joel, and a real tribute to Kennedy. I try to remember that everything counts, every day.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Especially considering that Sen. Kennedy must have led a fully-booked life.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 28, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I think this and the countless other Teddy anecdotes that are sprinkled into the reporting are far more important than the trolls trying to turn their emotional volume knobs to 11.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

bia and SciTim,

"Get a brain morans" is hyperlinked and is part of the joke. Click the link to see if it makes more sense.

If you missed the last boodle, there is a website to see if Obama has taken away our guns yet:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I seemed to have mudged myself, so I'm reposting:

'Morning Boodle. DNA_girl, I liked that Kalman piece. Nice find.

Thanks for the warning, yello. Yes, I saw the headline on the K-hammer, and knew it was toxic.

The other night I heard an interesting clip of NPR, during commentary about Ted K's death. It was a sound clip from an LBJ phone conversation to TK in the mid 60s, with LBJ advising the young TK how he got a Medicare bill through Congress. LBJ's advice was to NEVER let anybody do a cost projection several years out. LBJ's bill cost $300 million the first year, and that's all anybody was allowed to see (there was no OMB doing projections back then). LBJ told TK that it jumped to $900 million the second year, etc. He said nobody would have ever voted for it had they seen the cost projections.

Also, anyone who has either lived through those years or studied them sufficiently knows how LBJ operated. He was a master wheeler-dealer, and could "persuade" (none too gently) people to vote for his programs ruthlessly.

What is going to be needed to get a Health Reform bill through Congress is going to have to be some variation of that kind of behind-the-scenes ruthlessness of an LBJ-style White House boiler room. There is going to have to be a lot of unseen/behind-the-scenes arm-twisting. My fear is that Obama and his people are not up to this kind of ruthlessness. In theory, it isn't supposed to work this way, but he is going to have to hold a metaphorical gun to the heads of a handful of Blue Dog Democrats and say, "Look, you SOB, I am your president and you are going to vote my way on this or I'm going to blow your brains out, politically speaking."

Or as Voltaire once said (about the British Navy), sometimes it is necessary to shoot an admiral to encourage the others.

This issue has ballooned to have become too important to continue to "play nice."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The thing about Teddy Kennedy was that, since he died, a thousand "small gesture" stories have come out. In part they account for why he was so beloved by the people who knew him. (The people who hated him when he was alive and hate him just as much now, won't believe these stories and don't care. You can't argue with them and you can't convince them of the wrongness of their position.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhhhh. Now I get it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 28, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

You are right Joel and Mudge about the hundreds of stories of Kennedy’s reaching out. The one that impressed me a lot is about the family in Mashpee on the cape who had lost their son in Iraq. Kennedy was just returned to Hyannisport after a chemo treatment for the brain tumor but he went the the parents’ house and sat with them for a few hours, asking questions about their son and looking thru photo albums. He declined to go to the candlelight vigil that night because, he said, he didn’t want to be a distraction (which he definitely would have been considering the state of his health).

I said to “S” last night that we might be the only two people in MA who hadn’t called Kennedy’s office for help or a favor.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 28, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I think small gestures are so powerful because they are so personal and salient. And this cuts both ways, of course. Even someone who has done spectacular things can leave one cold if they seem rude or petty in person. So maybe these gestures aren't so small after all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 28, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Fiona Apple and Maude Maggart - It's Only A Paper Moon

Posted by: omnigood | August 28, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The days of the Rayburns and the Johnsons, who ran Congress like private fiefdoms are gone and I don't think we will see thier like again. In the long view, maybe just as well. I think Obama probably made the initial right choice in opting to let Congress create the health care bill. But I'm sure his team way underestimated the backlash from the Repubs. Things have gotten so polarized in these times that scoring points is the only measure, never mind the public good. It's all about killing the presidency. I have yet to hear any kind of alternative plan from the GOP. I presume they think that most of the voters who count have some kind of health insurance, and if they can scream enough falsehoods or half-truths about how terrible the proposed bill is, they can scare enough people into thinking the status quo is a good thing. I still can't get over all those folks hollering about how bad a public option would be while depending on their Medicare coverage. Maybe if the Dems just changed the tune a bit and called it Medicare for everyone that they could make it play in Peoria.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 28, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning y'all. Joel is so right. The longer I live, the more I realize the importance of small gestures. Of course i strive to do Good and Right in a big way, but if I want to affect the world on a daily basis, a small kind gesture can do wonders. My imaginary friends here have reinforced this understanding. So many of you share stories of small gestures which you have made or observed, or which have made your day. Omni in particular is so good with the random flower-giving and similar acts. It is good to strive to be smart and incisive and witty and all the rest of it, but it is also good to try and bring a little joy to someone else, even through a stray comment.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

The Republican game plan is pure prevent defense. It won't keep a bill from being passed but it will get watered down as much as possible and give them talking points for the mid-term election. You have to remember that their contribution to health care was the ugliest imaginable drug benefit policy.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Mudge says '[t]his issue has ballooned to have become too important to continue to "play nice." While I don't think of politics as a nice civilized afternoon tea, and also realize just how much goes on in hallways and men's rooms and golf courses, isn't that going down a dangerously slippery slope? Doesn't that sound like something GWB might have said about Iraq, Afghanistan, torture, etc? Blue skies, sunshine...not such a bad way to fly.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 28, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The power of small gestures. I fear, can sometimes lead to self-delusion. That is, because they are so salient they can fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing more good than we really are.

It's like when you offer a few bucks to a panhandler and then smugly assume you have done your part to end homelessness. Or when you put a few cans into a food drive bin and congratulate yourself on your sensitivity to hunger.

This isn't to negate the good brain chemicals that such small things can produce in both us and others, but they really aren't enough to tackle such problems. And we need to keep this in mind, I think.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 28, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I've always been sensitive to "invisible" people- maintenance folks, cabbies (I was one once), waitstaff (Dr. K waited tables once), housekeepers, security guards, etc. Tried to learn names and faces and greet the guy who picks up the trash or the gal behind the entry desk as a coworker and friend. First, because it makes me feel better. Second, because they appreciate being recognized as individuals. Third, there will come a night when I've worked late and have a dead battery and need a jump, and at times like that you can't have too many friends.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 28, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it is indeed a slippery slope. But saying that GWB might had said something like that isn't helpful, nor does it defeat the argument. Blue skies and sunshine are fine for people who want to lose political battles.

ebtnut, I think I disagree with your point aboput Obama underestimating the GOP backlash. I think what he and his team underestimate was not the powerless, toothless, demoralized GOP, but rather the degree to which the Democrats refused to go along nicely. Too many people (see yello's 10:34 for example) are STILL fixated on the Republicans and what they are thinking, and saying and doing. People have to stop talking about the effing Republicans as though they really mattered. Yes, they are loud and obnoxious...but so what? They represent about only 25% of the country, they are nihilists, they are discredited, and they are Out. Of. Power. People have to start ignoring them, not cowering in fear every time one of them burps some piece of nonsense, or hollers. The GOP are defeated and irrelevant, and people (the media, the Dems, etc.) have to start *acting* like it and stop worrying about what some total a-hat like Michael Steele is going to say. Who the eff is Michael Steele? A nobody. A lightweight mouthpiece, and nothing more.

The GOP is irrelevant, but they have so traumatized the rest of the country over the past three decades that people can't leave them alone, they still fear them as though they mattered. But they don't matter. They are a loud, obnoxious collection of wingnuts and vasrious kinds of extremists. Everyone else has to stop playing their game and worrying about what nasty things they are going to do or say. It's like being afraid of the boogeyman hiding under the bed. Frankly, it's embarrassing behavior to be so afraid and so defensive. (And it is why Conservs are so contemptuous of liberals: libs get scared when the GOP shouts "boo!" It's time the Dems grew a pair.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Well don't sugar-coat it, tell us what you really think.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 28, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I recognize and validate your thinking, RD_P. Go forth, my son, and feel validated! However, there is an opposing view (which, I guess, is what Joel already wrote about).

It is possible to get so wrapped up in working the big problem on the giant scale necessary to actually effect societal change, that one can forget to attend to the scale of individual human interactions. That is bad individually, in that it deprives the big thinker of his own modicum of human joy, and it's bad for the people nearby. On the grand societal scale, however, it also has consequences: if we let ourselves forget the experience of the people for whom we are trying to make the big changes, then we lose the reason for what we're trying to do, and we lose the verification that we are doing what the people really need and want. Without that sanity check, it is possible to do great harm while imagining that one is doing great good. Great changes in human society must be committed by humans, and so we must remember to keep ourselves human.

Teddy Kennedy was perhaps "more human" than most, in that he had more opportunity than most to succumb to his own weaknesses, and he was in the public eye at all times. There is no virtue in overcoming weakness if you don't have any. TK had them, and he overcame them, and I suspect that's part of what made it possible for him to be a wealthy child of privilege who could understand an experience of life other than his own.

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

Front Page Alert, FYI...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Hip Hip Hooray for Mudge.

I want to say that I don't really mind Republicans and our traditional conservative neighbors. Not at all. I just have trouble with anyone who does not see any reason to bend a bit to a common area in the middle or once and a while, go along with the majority and give something an honest shot.

We are lucky that we have some very nice folks here who, while, for lack of a better description, are more conservative than others, but who also are very gracious and share their thoughts in a very nice way--carrying on constructive conversations.

I do remember the Republicans in Congress running that institution with no allowances for Dems, whatsoever. If a Dem wanted a hearing, the hearing would take place in a closet in the basement. There were no invitations to present legislation. There were opportunities to offer meaningful amendments on anything controversial. There was no bipartisan cooperation offered.

Now? Republicans want bipartisan cooperation and an opportunity to offer up advice? And they get that chance and this is what we hear?

Seriously, the level of honesty is mind boggling. Rachel Maddow, last night, did a short piece on Sens. McCain, Gregg, and Hatch saying that the, alas, would be willing to support an effort to make the health care legislation in the Finance committee better if Kennedy were still there to reach across the aisle.

What a bunch of baloney. They are on the Health committee that Kennedy chaired and all voted against Kennedy's bill in committee. NO. NO. NO.

They will get in the way again, but to suggest that Kennedy's passing changed things is just hooey.

I second Mudge... time to move on if all we hear from the Senate side Republicans is mis-information or no information... just noise... just hooey.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 28, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I guess the Post thinks they will get something going here and raise their click count, but each time they do the front page thing, all they get is a big hot steaming bowl of civility.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 28, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I agree, Tim that Teddy overcame his weaknesses, but I think there's even more to it than that. I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for him, but TK had a lot more to overcome than most of us. As the fourth son and the baby of the family, he had all three of his older brothers die tragically, AND lost a sister in a plane crash AND had another sister with mental problems get lobotomized. How many of us have had to deal with all that without resorting to a drink or two? And not only did he lose *all* three brothers, he was expected to fill their shoes and step into their roles. And all this by the time he was in his mid-20s. Is it any wonder his college years resembles Arbusto's? Arbusto had no particular cause for his loutish behavior. Teddy had a handful of tragedies.

Let us turn the question of his father. That man alone would be enough to turn me to drink if I was his son.

So one way to look at young Teddy (and middle-aged Teddy, for that matter), is as the spoiled little rich kid. I tend to think being a spoiled little rich kid is a burden right there. Throw in an impossible father, impossible expectations, three dead brothers, one dead sister, and one being hidden in an asylum...and from this poor guy we expect model behavior? Perfect decorum? I think the miracle isn't that he succeeded in the end, the miracle is that he didn't crash and burn (metaphorically) long, long ago. He was a man who not only overcame his disadvantages, he also overcame his advantageIt just seems to me too, too easy to say he was a drinker, carouser and womanizer. Yes, he was, but it needs a great deal of context.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Realistically, the issue is keeping the support of blue dog democrats and democrats that have taken seats from Republicans recently. They have to face voters in 14 months.

It's the margins and the borders you have to appease in order to pass legislation. If Democrats are reaching out to Republicans to pass this stuff that means there are Democrats following the same lines. The fringes of the parties used to overlap more, but there are still some Dems more conservative than others.

It all comes down to party discipline (and my favorite Will Rogers line about organized political parties). If you can't pass comprehensive reforms with both houses and the White House on your side, when can you?

The Republicans had no problem cramming their positions through, so I'm baffled at the waffling. Although there is the chance the GOP are paying off some karma for their scorched earth policies (which go back to Gingrich) and the Democrats being the nice guys they are are scared to go down that road.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Doing small things for other folks is how I have lived my life the past 20 years.Sometimes doing the smallest little thing just seems to mean the most.

Take for example being on the river just the other day,my friends knew my back was hurting,so without even asking they helped me out when I got stuck,they carried my kayak over the 2 dams we have to bypass,all this with a smile on their face.It meant the world to me.

My small gesture to them,fix them an easy dinner where they don't have to do anything.Grab them a beer or drink so they can relax.

Finishing the river and floating into the Potomac was the highlight of my summer.But their kindness and simple little gestures of help meant even more to me.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 28, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The other day, one of the many posters who showed up to say mean things about Kennedy offered nasty comments about Ted's ex wife Joan, asserting that Ted had driven her to drink, that she was in heaven laughing at his painful death and descent into hell, etc.

That one stuck with me, as I recalled Joan as 1) too classy for that and 2) still living!

If that troll is still reading, please check out the article on ABC's website about Joan. She remained friends with Ted until his death. She was at the private Mass in Hyannis yesterday. She spent this summer in a rented house on the Cape so she could be close by in Ted's final days. And, she was the daughter of two alcoholics who has struggled with alcoholism most of her adult life. Ted didn't drive her to drink; no doubt they drank together during the marriage, and both struggled to maintain sobriety in middle age and later. They had three children together, of whom they were immensely proud, and several grandchildren who brought them great joy.

Leave the lady alone, and let Ted rest in peace.

Posted by: newengland1 | August 28, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

i agree with whoever said that the problem is the lack of organization on the democratic congressional front, but more leadership could be provided from obama's team. i think obama will play hard ball when he needs to. his chief of staff certainly knows how to.

what i would like to see, though, is a real shift in how obama and other dems discuss this issues. they need to play offense not defense. death panels and rationing, as others have noted, are here right now in the form of insurance company decisions. how have the dems lost the moral high ground on this issue? they shouldn't have.

Posted by: LALurker | August 28, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Mudge: I'd like to think that the GOP is powerless, but they are still playing by the Rove playbook. One part of it says (and I can't quote, but this is the gist): "There will always be some portion of the populace who are die-hard supporters of the cause. Experience shows that objectors can be trusted to get out and shout about an issue; supporters usually don't, or only come late to the party after the shouting has gotten under way. The shouters get the media attention, which is magnified in today's media-drenched world, and thereby influence the fence-sitters who see all those shouters and think maybe they have a point. This works particulary well with a complex issue. Boil it down to a few sound bites (never mind the truth or accuracy) and have at it."

Yes, it would be good if there were some Johnsons and Rayburns around to knock heads among the Dems. And I think it now time for Obama to sort through the chaff and endorse some version of the bill. One of the problems with all the shouters is that they can sort of pick and choose items among the various bills being floated and say "The bill says this..." That leaves the other side trying to explain what is or isn't in a bill. We need some distalltion. If this process runs aground, some different distillation products may have to be liberated from the cabinet.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, yello--which is why Obama needs to hold a gun to the heads of the Blue Dogs and say, "If you don't vote for this plan, I guarantee you WILL lose in 14 months, because I'm going to do everything in my power to undermine you. I'll run somebody against you in the primary, and if you still win you won't see one red dime of Dem. fundraising out of Washington. I'd rather have a Republican in your seat than a disloyal, unreliable, useless, ungrateful Democrat who rode in on MY coattails."

That's how you deal with a recalcitrant Blue Dog Democrat. I'm not saying it is perfect democracy in action. All I'm saying is that's how you win when you are loosing 6-5 in the 7th inning.

Most good leaders say, "follow me." Sometimes they have to say, "Follow me...and we shoot stragglers."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

ebt, you are afraid of the Rove playbook. Yes, they are using it. But don't be afraid of it. Beat it. You never let the enemy see your fear.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

newengland1, thanks for that. I didn't know what had happened to Joan since the divorce.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

But the Rove playbook seems to be least that's what the media - the Washington Post in particular - seems to think. The Dems need to figure out a way to sell health reform in emotional terms, and repeat, repeat, repeat - instead of thinking that logic and reason will win the day.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Virtual lunch? (Yoki will be the guest of honor, should she decide to forgive us). With no pretense of matching her offerings, I will run out to a nearby restaurant which makes fabulous NY pizza--that bendy crust! Toppings: Eggplant? Italian sausage? Fresh tomatoes? Broccoli? Bring 'em on.

I will ask gwe to make one of his splendid dinners, however.

Today marks 7 days of being on vacation, I start my new job on Monday. Sorry to say, today is the first day I've felt rested and almost ready for a new challenge. Last night was the first one I've slept through in its entirety. Now that I'm awake, I'm seeing everything around here that's been neglected for so long.

On the plus side, I'm finally here.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 28, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

People will forget what you say.

They even might not remember everything that you did.

But they will *never* forget how you make them feel.

That why the boss has such a loyal following. Among his loyal followers, that is.

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 28, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC "how you MADE them feel."

Where's a good editor when you need one?

Posted by: Don_from_I270 | August 28, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"In the ledger of life, everything counts, doesn't it?"

Lovely words and so true.

Posted by: mfigiel-krueger | August 28, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree it seems to be working. But the solution can't possibly involve a show of fear of it. Showing fear to the enemy is always fatal. That book *can* be beaten. If one starts off by saying, "We can't win; they have a better stronger playbook than we do," what do you think is the likely outcome? How can the good guys win if they think like that? They have to start from a premise that the Rove playbook is defective, and can be beaten, and we're going to beat it. Anything short of that will fail. It seems to me a positive mental attitude about the ability to beat the Rove playbook is a necessary precursor.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm throwing open the Curmudgeon wine cabinet and bringing six bottles of Stone Mountain's Bacon Hollow revenuers Select to virtual lunch, in hopes of getting Yoki's forgiveness. Also a dozen tomatoes picked just this morning. And a wedge of pecorino plus a pot of excellent Stilton.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Florida Gov. Crist has appointed his own former chief of staff to the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez. So the seat will be nice and warm and (in all likelihood) Crist's permanent Senate staff will be in place by the time he moves in at the start of 2011. Such a nice, orderly transition.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Will crisply-fried bacon topping the pizza go with that, Mudge?

Posted by: -dbG- | August 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Don, your 12:18 was beautiful and so true.

At my parents funerals I was amazed at the locals who came up to share some of the little things my parents had done that had ment so much to the individuals, similarly I have many memories of people who I remember for the kind gestures they have performed, sometimes the smallest gesture can have a huge impact.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Yowzah, dbG.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

No broccoli on pizza. I tried it once and it was awful. Now bacon, that's a different story.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

'mudge is right about Ted Kennedy having had an impossible father. I recall starting on a biography of Bobby Kennedy. Got to the teen years and saw how he'd been yanked from one high school to another in what seemed a particularly cruel way. Abandoned reading the rest of the book.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 28, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Great kit, JA.

How do you folks want to be remembered? I think most people want to be thought of well. Of course, some of us will not go that way. Hopefully, our kindnesses will be remembered not the bad days. The good times.

RD, had to laugh at your 9:56 in the last kit.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It's a question of strategy. Sure, you can exploit the majority in congress and force through truly progressive legislation while giving the opposition the finger. But this risks so energizing their supporters that you end up with a next congress full of people specifically elected to undo what this congress has done.

The other strategy is to get through less ambitious legislation not as likely to induce a violent backlash. This way, you have a better chance of having the changes take root such that they can be built upon.

There are virtues to both, but I really, really do believe that too much disdain for the opposition is counterproductive. I think this is the real mistake that the Republicans made, and one that Obama is trying not to replicate. it isn't about power, it is about creating lasting change.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Bailey sends a terse verse to me because she's mad at the Kennedy hatin' going on.
"Love covers a multitude of sins", 1 Peter 4:8

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Wine? Loupiac, from Bordeaux. Someone's taste quiz pointed out that I (organically, biologically) like sweet stuff, so there's no reason to pretend to appreciate unsweet wine. Loupiac is sweetish and vastly cheaper than Sauternes. Jefferson would have been impressed. Didn't Washington stick to beer?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 28, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I have been reading on foreign views of drug patents. Lots of pressure by the U.S. to get other countries in line with the U.S. system.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 28, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree with both RD and ScienceTim about the importance of small gestures. As Joel's Kit story shows, I think they are vital. As ScienceTim says, small gestures to individuals can connect us with the human consequences of policies we support (or don't); they can remind us of our own humanity; small steps can ultimately make a better world on a small scale. As RD says, we can't let a small gesture take the place of committed action.

When I talk about small gestures I suppose I'm thinking of a middle ground. Paying someone a compliment, putting a coin in someone else's parking meter, giving a friend or stranger flowers or money or a little help - none of these will alter your or their universe in any real sense. At most, they make you and the other person feel a little better about the day, for no reason. I believe they resonate with us because each small act of kindness is a recognition of shared humanity and a gesture of respect. That's why we like Joel's story so much - Teddy Kennedy went out of his way to do something relatively unimportant, in his world, which might have been important to the recipients. Why? respect. We pay our respects to the dead; small gestures are one way to pay our respects to the living.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

How do I want to be remembered? As that tall slender gentleman with the great full head of hair who always kept everyone laughing and smelled so very very good.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 28, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post about Kennedy attending a WP staffer's memorial. Really enjoyed reading it.

Curmudgeon, I loved your rant about guns to the heads of the Blue Dogs (metaphorically speaking) threatening them with loss of party funds for re-election and running more progressive candidates in primaries. It really expressed my thoughts. WHY can't Obama's team whip these jerks into some semblance of order? It's so frustrating.

Posted by: novelera | August 28, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Here gets one mostly up to speed on pharmaceutical patent stuff recently. Still chasing HR 4279 to see its fate.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 28, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, newengland1, for that update on Joan. I had wondered, but hadn't stopped long enough to check.

I did a couple of hospital visits today and noticed with sadness the flags at half mast.

I hope - oh how I hope! - that all the noise is just that, and when the time comes, a bill will be passed. Of the two scenarios that RD postulates, I hope Congress takes the gradual one. Let the ideas take root, which takes time, and let the policies start to work, then we'll see where the blue dogs and Republicans stand.

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Here's an appreciation of Kennedy's role in the Northern Irish peace process.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 28, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

*Snort* kguy.

All is forgiven, of course. And pizza carbonara!!

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, novelera. I'm not sure that before this thing is over Obama won't have done that.

Weingarten's update had a link to this very interesting posting, which basically says that when Obama agreed the public option wasn't essential, he was masterfully performing the classic salesman's "take-away" move.

Here's the thing about Obama: all during the campaign, there were many of us who wanted him to be more agressive, angrier, punch back, etc.; I was one of them. And it turned out he was right and I (and others) were wrong. He is smarter than me. He's been right when I've been wrong. He thinks ten moves ahead; I can only see seven or eight moves ahead.

Everybody thinks he's loosing. Everybody thinks he needs to kick it up a notch, yadda yadda. Even me. Last time I thought that I was wrong.

Just because everybody thinks the Dems and Obama are loosing this one could be pretty much all hooey. K-hammer thinks Obamacare 1.0 is dead? Let me ask you this: what exactly is K-hammer's track record? What is Obama's?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Ooops. Forgot Weingarten link:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Those small gestures from a man that has attended way too many funerals of his own family tells much about the sense of emotion and connection he had with the people in his large and over-arching life.

I was taken to task for calling the Kennedy saga tragic in the Greek sense the other day and got the ninth grade Sophocles lecture. I was wrong. The traditional arc of the virtue becoming the undoing (hubris, devotion, etc,) doesn't begin to touch the true level of pathos. The epicness of the Kennedy saga extends beyond mere classical drama.

It would take the combined talents of William Shakespeare, Eugene O'Neill and Tom Stoppard to really do that family justice theatrically. There are so many levels of motivation and expectation and atonement at work that mere words can't begin to plumb the various shadings.

If a writer of the talent of Harold Robbins or Allen Drury were to propose a novel or even a series of novels with as many coincidences, misfortunes, and extreme to the point of caricature personality traits, he or she would be laughed out of the publisher's office.

Perhaps Teddy is not just the culmination of the Kennedy era, but the redemption of it. Here is a man who has known tragedy (of all types) since a young child but endured, survived and persevered. That a son of Joseph Kennedy could die of natural causes a respected and honored statesman despite or because of all that went before is the greatest tribute to Edward's character.

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

Here's some serendipity. Pondering the nature of small gestures, I read an NYT article about a Florida college football player named Tebow, apparently something of a star (Joel's probably heard of him), who uses his influence to raise money for charity. In particular he helps a small orphanage in the Phillipines, along with stuff closer to home. Of course, he's expanded his small gestures to a large scale, and this is really a different category of small gestures, but they are still everyday and practical. For instance, he described buying a chain saw so the people didn't have to cut everything with an axe.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey, yello, how about an opera? You're right, the Kennedy story is filled with twists, tragic turns, highs and lows. Just like a good opera plot. Get Alice whats-her-name together with Peter Sellars and John Adams again. I bet they'd do something good.

Am I too late for lunch? I'll bring some bacon-wrapped cream-cheese stuffed jalapenos. [I know, I've mentioned them several times recently. Forgive me. I'll get over it eventually.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Kinsley is also sensing a momentum shift in the zeitgeist and he attributes it to inertia.

He also reveals that it was Kristol-Meth that pioneered the no compromise obstructionist game plan which works very well at least in the short term.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to Boodlehog, but I'm still plowing through the NYT. Just as the Tebow story made me happy, I found one which made my blood boil. For anyone who still thinks the Republicans, as a coordinated party, might actually be interested in negotiating a bipartisan compromise health care bill: apparently the national party mailed a fundraising appeal suggesting Democrats might, under a reformed health care "rationing" system, check voting records and deny Republicans treatment.

This is not good for the country. I don't care how you feel about health care reform, Obama or any other gosh darn issue. This sort of poisonous nonsense is bad for the country and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Redemption is indeed a powerful word, yello. And it requires a great deal of courage to attain it without thinking about it (a requirement in itself). It is also a powerful concept, a concept which, alas, not a whole lot of recently heard from "haters" consider.

And as for small gestures, shall we observe this very Boodle (as a whole)? We are the family we have picked -- not the family we are stuck with -- and we are very, very protective of each other with humor, with civility (mostly) and with a relatively high regard for one another. We are here for a lot of reasons.

But, um, now I gotta go.

(did that come out right?)

And dbG -- yay for you!

Posted by: -ftb- | August 28, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I find it very interesting that some of the most partisan Conservatives have nothing but praise for Kennedy. Honest to goodness praise. They respect and admire someone like Kennedy who disagrees with them on most issues. I think it used to be that way for most folks until recently. The explosion of media that caters to inflaming transgressions really acts to dehumanize people, particularly enemies. Conservatives that saw Kennedy face to face in action didn't hate him at all. Conservatives that know him only as a caricature hate him passionately. There is a lesson to be learned there.

Posted by: steveboyington | August 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the "welcomes" yesterday - just noticed them. This really is a most unusual crowd. I'm a longtime Joel reader, back to the Rough Draft days, but haven't dipped a toe into these particular waters until now. Guess I'm also looking for something to fill the void left by Weingarten cutting back to one a month.

Posted by: stantheman1 | August 28, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, stantheman...

But first, a little roo-roo.

Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

steveboyington, you make a good point. Unfortunately, there's more than one lesson that one could decide to take from the fact that Kennedy's conservative opponents liked him personally. A conservative attitude -- actually, a radical attitude of so-called conservatives -- voiced in the last few elections is that "what's wrong with Washington" is that elected Republicans don't carry on with vitriolic hatred of the liberal scum with whom they share the halls of Congress. With a party built on that sort of foundation, one gets the sense that maybe it's time for another seismic shift in American politics like we haven't seen in several generations -- maybe it's time for the Republicans to continue marginalizing themselves to the point of complete irrelevancy, and the Democrats schism into two parties.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Good for you dbG,about the same for me,I finally slept the night through last night.I have an accupuncture treatment today,then back to the city and work.It was a nice mini vacation.

On a side note dbG,last week my Mom and I enjoyed the last of the cookies you brought me.We cherished each and everyone of them as if they were gold.The best cookies I have ever eaten.

So when might ya be coming down Balmer way Hon?

Have a Great weekend everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 28, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for hosting virtual lunch, Yoki. I think there's about 2/3 of a glass left in the last bottle of wine. Would you like it? (I'm having coffee. I'm driving.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

*crossing fingers reeeeeeeely tightly that the showers move off in time for the Pats-'Skins preseason game, since the Ticket Fairy managed to drop some ducats into bc's lap and he's kind enough to share* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't look, 'Mudge...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Forget that favor, Joel. Unnecessary, I'm told. (red face)

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 28, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Carolinians and others may as well plan their afternoon and evening around this weather:

I followed a link from a typical anti-Obama rant the other day back to two sites. One was a standard "think tank" affiliated with Joseph Sobran, the other was a blog by a U.S. self-described "monarchist."

Running a thinkless tank must be a thankless task.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 28, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse


Redemption sure is a heavy word, but I couldn't quite find another. One of the most common phrases used about the JFK presidency is 'unfulfilled promise' not out of willfulness but because of its premature end. Nobody will ever know anyone else's true motivations, but Ted Kennedy had both shoes to fill and his own burden to carry.

What was done out of a sense of atonement or to fulfill a legacy or noblesse oblige hardly matters. He did things for reasons he believed strongly in and passionately about. And he did them in a compassionate selfless way. That's the sign of a great man whatever his political leanings or personal failures. That he did all this under a shadow a half century long makes it all the more impressive.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse


"Of all the Kennedy's Teddy sets the example of the need to separate the flaws of the private person from the public deeds. He is also the poster boy for the question of redemption, a trait one seldom finds in Greek drama. The tragedies in Teddy's life occurred not to him, but to others around him. He was the one who had to suffer them. And they didn't defeat him, far from it."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 27, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea Joseph Sobran was still around. I thought he had crawled back under his paleo-con rock years ago.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

If I have the last glass of wine, I'll sleep all afternoon. Let's offer it to stantheman.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, this is depressing...

I guess the sun's going back behind the clouds... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 28, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

You've expressed that beautifully, yello -- and you, too, Mudge.

I think what Teddy ended up doing ("ending" meaning the full spectrum of his life after become "head of the entire family") was extricating himself from not only his brothers' shadows but from his father's shadow. His father, from what I've read, was the SOB of all SOBs. A difficult person to live with, indeed, and one from whom one could not escape easily.

I know I became much, much stronger during the illness of, and after the death of, my control freak father. I cherish the memories of his good side (kinda hard to find but visible in many ways) and put the other side in a cupboard with a lock. Teddy showed to us all, and to himself, just how strong he could be. As problematic (to put it entirely too lightly) as his flaws were, the good parts of him shines like an endless sunbeam, lighting the way for all of us to act.

Well, just some random thoughts.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 28, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Got thunder, lightning and a little drizzle here, Scotty.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, only a moment to jump in before heading off to meet the 'snukes and thence to Fed Ex field.

An interesting Boodle today -- I can't help but think that threatening legislators and treating them like conscripted 19th century foot soldiers is unlikely to bear legislative fruit in the near term, and would most likely cause sigifnicant damage to the Administration in the long term (and I'd bet against a second Term of Obama if that were done - karma & all...and paybacks are, well, you know). Er, we have a Democratic government last time I checked, not a Totalitarian one.

I'd also add that treating the GOP folks like they don't matter (backroom deals, threats, keeping people in the dark, etc.) may be plausible in the near term, but in the long term you may end up needing their support for something. So why not at least treat them better than their predecessors treated you in the reverse situation? Let them have some dignity and respect, and it may be helpful later.

As Joel and others point out, people remember personal gestures, both good and bad. And I think President Obama and this Administration understands this. Style counts, and one has to consider if the ends justify the means from all the perspectives that matter, not just one's own.

My opinions are what they are.


Posted by: -bc- | August 28, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy was not without tragedies of his own causing in his life. An event so iconic that a single proper noun is all it takes to evoke it.

I was living in West Palm Beach in 1991 when another scandal involving him peripherally cast doubts upon his character. It's all part of the warp and woof of his private life and his public persona. As much as you try, they are inseparable. His history and his actions and his

He had demons, both inherited and self-inflicted. One of the secondary school distinctions between tragedy and comedy is whether there is a happy ending or not. I can't say Ted's was happy, but it seemed fitting.

He can be properly remembered as someone who overcame his innumerable obstacles and triumphed. And it was that many years ago that such a statement might not have been possible.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

This Post article about Virginia wineries mentions the Corcoran Winery and Tarara winery. I'm familiar with them both, and recommend both. At the Peter and Paul concert last week one of the bottles of wine we drank was Corcoran's special seyval blanc, a really terrific wine.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Like it or not, bc, "threatening legislators and treating them like conscripted 19th century foot soldiers" was how we got the Civil Rights legislation, Medicare and Medicaid, among other.

For seven months, Obama has been treating the GOP waaaaaaay far better than the GOP treated the Dems. Look what swell cooperation that tactic has received. Time to get serious now.

"Let them have some dignity and respect, and it may be helpful later." Yeah. No doubt.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for jogging my memory, mudge. That must have been where I heard that word before. I should have given you credit for your unique insight.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

My older brother has hated Ted Kennedy for almost 50 years. It was only recently that I found out why. In the early 1960s, my brother was a musician in the First Naval District Band, based in Boston. The band was playing at a political gathering where Ted Kennedy was present. While throwing his arm around some local big shot, Kennedy accidently hit one of the other musicians in the face, hard enough to give him a black eye. Instead of apologizing, Kennedy just glared at him. Mr. Achenbach is right. Small gestures matter. One slight and you can make an enemy for life.

Posted by: dataflunky | August 28, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse


I remember reading one of Robert Novak's last columns where he recounts a similar gesture from the Kennedys. When Novak was diagnosed with a brain tumor, he said either Ted or Victoria called him, discussed his situation, suggested a cancer specialist at Duke University. Novak said that all through his journalistic life he had been very tough on Kennedy, and was surprised at the gesture. I am paraphrasing from memory. I think the article can be found on WaPo archives. It is only a few months old.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | August 28, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

mUDGE, That's an awfully narrow interpretation of how we got those things. You're also giving the Executive Branch more power than it really has. Threatening legislators that you'll see to it they aren't re-elected seems to imply that the DSCC, the DCCC, PACs, state and local committees, etc. (possibly even voters?), have no say/impact. Yes, trades are discussed, hands are clasped and deals are made. Seven months and you want him to go all-in? He's got a couple years left, and probably wants to have a chip or two left in front of him at least through the end of the year.

Politics isn't for the weak-at-heart; it's also not for the quick-to-slap. Careers tend to be short for both.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Hooked On Phonics: The Series

Now there is some riveting television.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Possibly, Obama is just giving Republicans (and his fellow Democrats) plenty of opportunity to excite uproar and resentment and simply screw up the whole thing royally; then, he can walk in, as the Prince of Cool, and slap down a document on the table. "Here's your bill, gentlemen. I suggest you sign onto it now, before the pitchfork and torch manufacturers have a chance to ramp up production to meet the demand."

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 28, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Is it better, do you think, to have a job where most of what you do doesn't really matter, but what you do now and again matters a great deal, or is it better to be one whose days are filled with many small accomplishments that together yield something larger?

That is, at the end of life would one rather think back on one or two truly epic accomplishments, or contemplate the aggregate effect of slow and steady work.

I wonder.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 28, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

You know why a gun is better than a wife? You can put a silencer on a gun. Nice and quiet.

Posted by: Dermitt | August 28, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

But some of us like talkative women.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

It isn't narrow at all. It's how politics operated for a hundred years. Any book about the career of Lyndon Johnson will tell you that. (I happen to have hated LBJ. But that was how he operated, and he wasn't alone in that.

How do you think the GOP exercises such strict party discipline? By being warm and fuzzy and high-minded?

The current batch of GOP are ruthless, nihilistic, nasty people, who have no goal other than to discredit and destroy Obama. Many are zealots. If you think you can play nice with those people, well, good luck to you.

Look, the thing is, it's all very well and good to be high-minded and idealistic. But if the other side doesn't perceive you as being high-minded and idealistic, what good does it do you? In fact, the other side perceives high-mindedness and idealism as "weakness," as cowardice, as wimps. (That I think they are wrong is irrelevant. It happens to be their perception of liberals, and it is why they have such contempt for them).

Somebody mentioned how the Conservs/GOP liked Kennedy so much. You know why? Because he fought them. He hounded them. Yes, he negotiated, but he took no crap. When we talk about Kennedy's willingness to compromise we tend to focus on what he gave away. But more properly, we should focus on what Kennedy gained. Because when he compromised he was also getting something from the other side.

Politics is a mean, dirty, tough business, asnd as you yourself point out, not for the faint-of-heart. So stop being so faint-of-heart if you want to play. If you don't want to play, that's fine. But there's no room in it for pollyannaism.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree heartily with Tim's 4:11. I think that's the gameplan, too.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Ah dermatt, master of the non sequitur. nice of you to drop in.

Someday I'll be back in a working laptop instead of this capital-challenged keyboard.

RD asks a good question. I don't know the answer, except that it is a lot easier to stay anonymous in a job with many small accomplishments. In my job every now and then I do something that matters a great deal but nobody knows it is me, so it doesn't count publicly.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy got played on No Child Left Behind. It's pretty embarrassing to be taken to the cleaners by Dubya.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

That's a good thing because there are so many of them.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone's ever accused me of being faint of heart. I'm touched. Cruella I've heard; pollyanna, not so much.

Here's an idea....if he can't control the electorate and swing elections the way he wants, maybe he can get USAOs to bring ethics charges against his opponents. Wait...someone tried that, and the attorneys didn't go along. Then the press got involved and you know what sticklers for detail they can be....

My guess is TK was loved because he *worked* with people, dealt with them on an individual basis, didn't treat anyone like they were the devil. He wasn't intellectually intollerant. He listened. He was good at compromise.

Not listening to what others have to say presupposes that there's not a single good idea out there.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 28, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, TK got played by Dubya. What's your point, yello?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The workweek is finished and the weekend has started. I liked last week better. This work thing bites into my fishing/gardening/renovating/cooking/drinking time way too much.

Kennedy was in congress in a bad time for liberals but bore it well. Some fault him for not becoming a saviour of the liberal cause aginst Clarence Thomas, Newt, the Florida recount and all that but he chose not to and it was his choice.

It's official, Doer will be the next Ambassador to Warshington. I hope he puts a Tommy Douglas portrait on his wall and lectures the Americans on single-payer health care for the next 4 years, that would be quite useless but a nice payback for Paul Celluci (what a glassbowl he was an ambassador. Unlike Teddy, he discovered late in life a job at which he really sacked- diplomat). Hopefully Doer could get Tommy's grandson Kiefer Sutherland to torture a Blue Dog or two into voting for a significant health care reform.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 28, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly a shining moment for the cause of bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle. Which would seem to play into your thesis, mudge.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse


(This isn't directed to you, yello:) Is there anything about Dick Cheney that suggests this is a man you can sit down with and negotiate, and reach a resonable settlement with some give and take, and that he'll keep his word?

Is there anything in Karl Rove's entire career, or in his fabled playbook we've been discussing, that suggests this is a fellow one can do business with, can work things out with, meet halfway?

Do you think one should calmly listen to the various arguments and point-of-view of Princess Sparkle Pony and oh, about 20 or 25 other Congress people, and give them your respect?

Do Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, Malkin, Hannity, and a dozen other Conserv ideologues and talking heads seem like people who we should treat with respect?

These are the people some of you seem to think Obama can deal with on a humane, frank, courteous, respectful level. Just think about that for a moment, please.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 28, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I wonder about RD's question. Since I have the scope for only small things, I like to think they can add up to something significant, if not capital-I Important. Raising children to be contributing citizens, for instance, is a litany of small monotonies that, one could argue, results in something important. At work, I put a lot of effort into coaching and mentoring and advocating, in the hope that junior team members can flourish and find a sense of accomplishment and engagement in their careers. Does that matter in the great scheme, in the long run? I dunno.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Knitters know a lot about the litany of small monotonies (great phrase) - so do gardeners, and parents. There are many, many ways to contribute. We can't all be big dogs.

I think the Republicans have shown how they will react to being treated with respect and a chance to make things better for all Americans. Now the Democrats need to get it done without them. Too bad some of them are no better than the Republicans (still talking to Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, among others).

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I have to think that conservative opinions about Ted Kennedy are more nuanced and complex than the current eulogizing portends. He was the poster child for bipartisanship and accomplished many things that might otherwise not have gotten done.
But he also served as a rather reliable boogeyman for the conservatives during times when there was no clear Democrat to rail against.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

In my career, I was involved in the selection of sites for 21 fire stations. (I had to stop and count them.) It gives me great satisfaction to know that they are in the correct places to provide emergency services as quickly as humanly possible. Small things can and often do have huge impacts.

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You're right mudge. There is nothing in the current GOP leadership DNA that suggests any willingness to be anything other than obstructionist. Compromising with them is in the realm of porcine singing lessons as far as futility goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee suggests that under 'Obamacare', Kennedy would have been told to "go home to take pain pills and die" during his last year of life.

I wonder if my insurance will pay for pills to stop my blood from boiling...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee suggests that under 'Obamacare', Kennedy would have been told to "go home to take pain pills and die" during his last year of life.

I wonder if my insurance will pay for pills to stop my blood from boiling...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm suffering from a twitchy finger already.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 28, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

How many hours 'til bacon-on-a-stick?

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Wonder what Huckabee thinks people with no insurance are told when they show up at the emergency room dying from cancer? Oh, wait...

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps seasea1 and I should just fight quietly among ourselves.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, girlfight!

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Several degrees removed. My Coast Guard commission was signed by JFK. When I arrived at my first duty station on Yerba Buena Island in SF BAY, My wife got a choice job as secretary to the head of the economics department at UC Berkeley who was an econ advisor to JFK. JFK came while she was there an took a group photo. My wife and Mother also attended JFK dedication of Whiskey Dam west of Redding CA. JFK refused to have the Whiskey Town post office closed when the site was inunadated by the waters of the dam and insisted the post office be moved to higher ground and prevented the spelling of the post office name be changed to eliminate the 'e'.

Posted by: bh72 | August 28, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm listening to the Kennedy memorial service with tears in my eyes...

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Totally off topic, When I arrived home late yesterday after work and shopping, I sat down with a glass of red and turned on the TV and it appeared there was a pro football game on between two Florida teams, Then Joe? Buck said we were in a 'RAIN DELAY.'
Joel I know you are from Florida and seems it rains a lot in Florida and there seems to be a lot of football teams in Florida (Dave in the C and yellojkt you also may chime in) is it true that football games are rain delayed in Florida? Mudge is this a true version of the game?

Posted by: bh72 | August 28, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Testing, testing. . . trying out the new computer. Apparently I am Internet enabled and can again Boodle from home, just in time for the weekend. We shall see. In time perhaps I'll even have email again.

We took the old laptop to the professional geeks. They asked whether it was a Vista machine as they recently had three in with the same problem - sudden refusal to reboot, for no apparent reason. Answer was no but we recently installed an Office upgrade. Apparently this is fraught with danger. With any luck that will have been it (what is that? future subjunctive?) and I'll be able to retrieve all sorts of useful information.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Past present tense? Future past tense? Past future tense? I'm getting a little tense.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Pasturistic? Futurpastic?

BobS, you are imagining something like this?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 28, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

From the front page: "Cost of U.S. Embassy in Iraq to Rise, Report Says"

Well, soitanly! Given the enormous popularity of the U.S.A. in the area, they'll need plenty of room for grand parties and sleep-overs by friendly local dignitaries and the like.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Yup, DNA Girl, that's the one. I'm a man of simple and predictable tastes.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Okay. I'll have to ask someone to indulge me and post again the address for the Boodle facts. I'm re-creating "favorites". So far I've got the Achenblog, Sinfest and The Pioneer Woman. I keep hitting things on this keyboard that open new windows and entirely different applications while I'm just trying to type. Time to commune with the rabbit for a while.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 28, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Okay, John Kerry made me cry...

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I'm completely undone. Kerry exceeded expectations.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 28, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Here you are, Ivansmom:

Erk. Randy Moss just scored his second touchdown. Pats lead 14-7.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 28, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Future perfect, I think.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Here you are, Ivansmom:

Erk. Randy Moss just scored his second touchdown. Pats lead 14-7.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 28, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Here you are, Ivansmom:

Erk. Randy Moss just scored his second touchdown. Pats lead 14-7.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 28, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 28, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Is there an echo in here?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

'allo? 'allo?

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

When I lived in West Palm Beach, the afternoon commute included a daily afternoon thunderstorm that could be simulated by someone standing on your hood and continuously throwing buckets of water on your windshield. I would find it difficult to play football under those conditions, but I am a bit of a wuss that way.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Found another place to add onto my list of places to visit,+Lake:AK::US:57.704441:-152.616943:city::1/m:hyb:16:57.704283:-152.617112:0:::::1:1:1::/io:0:::::f:EN:M:/e

I should do a tiny url but... take it to aerial map level ten. imagine a tent and me, and then Aurora Borealis


I saw a cool neighborhood band yesterday. Mount Pleasant Jazz (or something like that). I have an idea for a song they can cover. We'll see.


:the little things:

See everything.
Overlook a great deal.
Improve a little.

Good Pope John =>


little things and small gestures

Posted by: omnigood | August 28, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse


"See everything.
Overlook a great deal.
Improve a little."


I only quote food-wise:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ivan's mom, give the boy an anonymous hug from the boodle tonight

Posted by: omnigood | August 28, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Former Sen. John Culver just spoke at the Kennedy service and told the funniest sailing story I have ever heard. What a wonder tribute this service is to Teddy!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 28, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Wisdom begets Humor,,,Thanks Yoki. You made me laugh...

Posted by: omnigood | August 28, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

That was a great story, Sneaks. I'm not so thrilled with A Closer Walk with Thee. Just not my tradition, I suppose...

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm a watching BBC America and learned that they are remaking Reginald Perrin. Is nothing sacred?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 28, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

boogie, children.

Posted by: -jack- | August 28, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Senator Culven was great! Mumbles Mennino was surprisingly good. Over all, a great evening of tributes to Kennedy. Biden is speaking now, and Caroline and President Obama are still to come.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 28, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

yello: no.
jack: you pwn us.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Culver.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 28, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

- Michael Pollan


I agree

buen noches

Posted by: omnigood | August 28, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

In 1993-94, my daughter was having chemotherapy at Georgtown U. Hospital. One night, some time after visiting hours were over, this shlumpy looking guy in a windbreaker and topsiders walked into her room. I jumped up , thinking this is no doc, that I've seen. He looked familiar, and after a moment I realized it was Ted Kennedy. He asked me what was wrong with my child, and I told him that she had a brain tumor. He told me that one of his grandchildren was in the next room. Then he said "God bless you and your family" and left.
Another one of thhose moments

Posted by: gailv1 | August 28, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Holy Mary Mother of God! Surely this is over the top. Irish tenors and a gospel chorus singing when "Irish Eyes Are Smiling." Typically sentimental, loving, and reverential to Senator Kennedy. I must say I'm loving loving it!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 28, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

What harm did plants do
to become first on your fork
and also the last?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

jack, that video is great stuff. I'm trying to think of what things I've ever been able to do as competently as those guys play guitars. Darned few things, I think.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

gailv1... I know your story was about Ted Kennedy, but to me it was about you and your daughter. I hope she came through OK. Either way, here's a hug from an unknown friend.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 28, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Computer/server upgrades of any type are always fraught with danger, Ivansmom.

Or at least it feels that way to the person who will have to figure out how to fix the results.

gwe, you are too kind! Maybe we can work up a weekend BPH (lunch edition) in Havre de Grace.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 28, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Nice. More fun things to do with a guitar:

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 28, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I know we here in MA are sometimes accused of revering the Kennedys. But I must say that every single thing I've seen of them in the planning of these three days has been superbly done, with great taste, humility and humor. They have personally greeted those who came to the library and they have allowed the public viewings to run long to accommodate the crowds. I am very proud of them and of the citizens of Massachusetts.

And I agree with you Maggie, seeing the group singing When Irish Eyes are Smiling, just blew me away!

Posted by: badsneakers | August 28, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, Ivansmom:

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

12.5 hours to bacon on a stick.

Hope C-span will rerun the Kennedy memorial service, I'd like to see it from the beginning. For for now I'm watching Washington Week.

First hand accounts of the Princess Sparkle Pony town hall

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 28, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Badsneakers, I totally agree with you. I must say that I'm disappointed with all the liberals on the Boodle ignoring the Kennedy wake. Although flawed as he was, he was a champion of the people and their fundamental rights.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 28, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I watched the whole memorial service too. Loved the stories and the tone of it all. (Biden really needs not to say "literally" ever again, though.) So, mostly laughing, until Caroline said how lucky she was, and I lost it.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

badsneakers - I totally disagree with you (in one small area). I've never heard Kennedy critics so harsh as those from Massachusetts. Anyone who has ever accused inhabitants of Massachusetts of blindly revering the Kennedy clan hasn't spoken to enough Massachusettans.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Massachusettians? Massachusettia?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

If I was watching TV, I'd be watching the Kennedy funeral, I swear.
I'm enjoying the updates on it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 28, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Good going Bob.

Posted by: Yoki | August 28, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Caroline's story about history day trips cracked me up, but Mr. T called and I didn't get to hear the end of it. Biden made me laugh when he talked about playing with the Faberge egg at the Harrimans' house.

It was a great wake.

I see that Victoria Kennedy is a little younger than I, and that her kids are the same age as mine. Amazing what the love of a good woman will do for a man.

Posted by: slyness | August 28, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

In Florida, rain usually means thunderstorm. Which means possible instant death by lightning bolt. In fact, a local soccer coach was killed on the field by lightning from a storm that didn't even seem so nearby. It's happened often enough that high school sports programs are extremely conservative about having people on the field. Detection systems are widely deployed.

I suspect that Land Shark Stadium (Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium) may be sufficiently sheltered by surrounding structure that it would be safe for everyone to stay out in the rain. But, as Yellojkt put it, if rain's coming down by the ton, is it worth trying to play a game? I remember an attempt at a game in southern Delaware during a tropical storm. It ought to have been scrubbed.

My new toy, a bodyboard sized for a heavy adult, is showing promise, even though the Danny swell doesn't amount to much

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 28, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I watched it on MSNBC - not sure if they or C-Span will replay it, but they are likely to. The funeral is at 10 EDT Sat.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 28, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought before turning in (11 hours 59 minutes to bacon on a stick)

I keep hearing and reading a lot of speculation about where Teddy Kennedy's dedication to civil rights came from. My guess is that attending law school at UVA in the late 50s probably let him see apartheid American style up close and could have had more than a little bit to do with his fervor. I know it was quite a shock to the frostrents when frostdaddy was first posted to the state after growing up in the north, and Colin Powell wrote of his experiences in the state as a young officer in _My American Journey_. In NoVA particularly it's easy to forget that Massive Resistance was not all that long ago.

Toodles boodle and goodnight.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 28, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Well Bob, first, people from Massachusetts are called "people from Massachusetts" there is no suffix. You could call us Bay Staters I guess. Second, point taken. People here either loved Teddy or hated him, and sometimes all the Kennedys, with an irrational, blinding hatred. But I think even these haters are about to find out just how much he did for his state, now that he's no longer here to do it.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 28, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

seasea-thanks for the link. I'll watch in the morning. Now I must turn in so I'll be in fighting form for the fair.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 28, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I think they're Massachusettlers, for they have massachusettled in Massachusetts...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 28, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I have really enjoyed the updates from the Kennedy Memorial, and gailv1 your post we very touching.

Currently raining here just a little short of the Florida rain intensity but supposed to last throughout the weekend. Eldest was supposed to celebrate her birthday, for the first time, out with friends at a waterpark, but due to the weather it has been moved to our home, teen independance will have to wait.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 28, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

When I was finishing grad school in NC, I drove north to Washington by back roads for a job interview at the Smithsonian (didn't get it). It was disturbing enough to see signs for places like Appomattox Court House, but the real creepiness came upon entering Prince Edward County, which had closed its schools rather than integrate.

That was horrible, but to my recollection, the lack of support for children left without schools from politicians and ordinary people outside the county was even worse. Didn't it occur to anyone to set up inclusive, free private schools?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 28, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Awww... Dave, you liberal wimp! Don't you know that change is BAD, and must be fought, no matter the cost?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

It's not enough to cut off your own nose to spite your face. You must cut off your children's noses, and all of their friends' noses, to spite your face.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 28, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

pwn? I'm flattered.

Posted by: -jack- | August 29, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

From what I heard and saw tonight it was a very down to earth wake and left me with a better appreciation of Ted Kennedy. I resonated with comments by ordinary Americans on how he impacted their lives.

Speaking of small gestures I am finding in my travels that people are being more polite and kind and respectful. This is something good coming out of the economic calamity.

Posted by: Windy3 | August 29, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

The shuttle launch was lovely, worth the wait. I forgot to take out blankets to plop over neighbors' post lights.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 29, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

hot pedal steel

Posted by: -jack- | August 29, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the links, and the Boy will enjoy the hug, omni.

Frosti, I'm looking forward to the bacon-on-a-stick report. As we all know, I live vicariously through the Boodle.

When I lived in Massachusetts in the winter, we were Massachusickles.

Thanks also for the memorial service updates. I had parental transportation duties & could not watch. Finally, now, it is bedtime. Woo hoo! Buenos gnocchis to all, vaya con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 29, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I, too, have witnessed night time shuttle lift offs (parents had a weekend condo in Cocoa Beach). Such a thrill!!! Always leaves me with positive feelings for our future.

I'm still waiting for Joel to get a chance to rendezvous with the astronauts in flight.

Posted by: Windy3 | August 29, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I generally flee from profundity, for down that path often lies a profusion of piles of steaming pomposity (it seems to me). With that in mind, I just deleted a fairly longish post about Ted Kennedy & some of the favorite themes of his rabid supporters & detractors.

If there's another deal after this hand is folded, then Ted & plenty of other folks are already having a discussion that includes wider perspectives than I possess. I'll leave it to 'em.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 29, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra asked : How do I want to be remembered?

Kguy said : As that tall slender gentleman with the great full head of hair…

What kguy said reminded me of what my sister did. She didn’t want the picture that is going to be placed in the front of the hearse to be a picture of a woman looking like a grumpy old prune, so she enlarged a picture of herself when she was in her early 20s and gave instructions that that is the picture she wanted to use. My oldest sister did the same thing.

Now, I'm thinking maybe I should do the same thing. I have a somewhat decent looking picture of myself when I was in my mid 40s. One of these days, maybe, I’ll have it enlarged and give instructions that that is the picture I want in the front of the hearse.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 29, 2009 4:12 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: omnigood | August 29, 2009 4:23 AM | Report abuse

wake up to a little soul music

Fiona Apple live cover of Bill Withers "Use Me"

Posted by: omnigood | August 29, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Rainy weekend in Danny's tail for the other federal capital.

Bloody @&+!% bear broke my birdfeeder support again. Second time this summer, not counting 2 broken birdfeeders. The 1/2in. pipe broke in the threads of the 1in.-1/2 reducer. Next version will be 1in. all along. I was laughing at my neighbour's 1.5in. set-up, I'm such a dunce.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 29, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everybody. If anyone has extra rain, would you please send it this way? Storms all around us for the last couple of days, and nada here.

Rainforest, chuckling about having an appropriate studio portrait for your funeral. It's not uncommon around here for there to be a portrait exhibited with the casket at the funeral. My mother absolutely forbade us to do that at her funeral, so we didn't, even though we have a photo of her in her early 70's that's lovely. She also insisted that her obituary list her as Mrs.(Husband's name), but that's not the practice of the local paper. We didn't say anything to her, but she was listed by her given name.

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Faxing you all the weather scheduled for today. I'm over the rain. Have at it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

The granddaughters have been here since yesterday noontime. So far we’ve picked the garden clean due to the coming rain. Had dinner and a good walk along the waterfront to Plymouth Rock to watch the tourists take pictures of a big stone in a hole and eaten huge ice cream cones in the drizzle. They just woke up which tells me that they are getting older as they used to be awake before dawn when they visited. Now I must make blueberry pancakes and bacon (!) and cut up some melon that will count as the healthy part of breakfast. A long rainy day awaits, but we have plenty of games to play and I might get them to help me cook, which they enjoy doing.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't worry about what picture will be used should I die suddenly, for I am sure that the marble bust I have instructed my family to have created from my death-mask will be sufficient.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 29, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

As I fight off Teddy Fatigue, I try to push through the dead trees edition. On the front page, we have point-counterpoint with a look at how he was so polarizing:

On the Op/Ed page we are down to just one short piece by Geoff Garin defending Ted's "half loaf" approach to dealing with Republicans

"The problem is not that there is no Ted Kennedy among the Democrats who understands the art of compromise. {snip} Kennedy gave Bush a victory rather than sending the Republicans to their Waterloo because he believed the result was more important than short-term politics."

And in Style, why does this headline sound familiar?

Kennedy's Road to Redemption

That is your Teddy update for the morning. I'll pass on the wall-to-wall news coverage of the funeral and ancillary events. I skipped the Reagan funeral (but knew people who went) as well. As moving as they are, I feel just a bit voyeuristic using other people's grief as entertainment.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

You have a point there, Yello.

A buzz in this morning's Charlotte Observer: "I don't recall three days of media pomp and circumstance when Jesse Helms died."

Could it be that Jesse didn't have nearly the accomplishments of Ted Kennedy, nor the national or international stature?

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

For my grandmother's 90th birthday I collected old photos from my aunts and uncles, scanned them and made an album spanning from her high school days to a recent vacation she had taken. It was much admired as one of the exhibits at her wake.

The last wake I was at included a continuous run iPhoto slideshow of old family photos showing the deceased at a wide variety of events over the ages. Funerals have become quite the multimedia extravaganza.

Perhaps under Obamacare, I mean the completely legislatively-originated nearly universal health care coverage program, the mandatory death panel interrogation, that is, the completely voluntary end-of-life options counseling session, will include a Medicare-paid coupon for a free session at either Olan Mills or Glamour Shots for a 8x10 portrait to be used at the wake (a package of two 5x7s, four 3x5s, and 24 wallets available for an additional 79.95 plus 9.95 shipping and handling).

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse


Yello... excellent idea on the Glamor Shots benefit.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 29, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Go straight for the all-welded 4" schedule 80 stainless steel. Make those bears learn how to use a arc-welding torch to get to the feeder.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

So Bill is chatting with Al...Dubya and Laura are there, as are Jimmy and Rosalyn. Good crowd for a funeral, of course.

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

Oh my, that's a bigggg bow Michelle is sporting. Did anyone see the whole dress?

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

There was a metaphor concerning one "sentenced" to Purgatory but the "sentence" was in the end only "time served." It was late last night.

Now it's time to talk about cooking with wine. Although it's true you should "cook with a wine you like to drink" they should be more specific: cook with that wine left over from last night. This makes all kinds of more sense.

I have tomatoes to pick and a new faucet to buy. I refuse to think about Jesse Helms much as I refuse to think much of Lester Maddox.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Not to sound grumpy. Hi, Slyness. It's beautiful here today. Got some deadfall hickory wood stacked, pretty much perfectly seasoned wood. It's softly calling "barbecue" at me.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I settled for 1 1/4 NPS Sch. 40, ASTM A53 Galvanized piping Yellow. Threaded glvanized fittings. Total cost: nearly $100.
Our bears are famously small. If this guy breaks the new support I buy a gun, gun registry or not.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 29, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Daughter worked as a lifeguard all summer to buy herself a digital SLR camera. She just bought a very expensive Nikon D3000 and is busy setting it up and putting it all together.

We went to a local camera shop, where they ended up giving her a "worked for it all summer" small discount and threw in the SD card for free. She can also go back any time for help and advice. That's why it's nice to patronize the little guy.

Frosti... can't wait to hear about the State Fair--and the bacon-on-a-stick.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 29, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

In honor of bacon-on-a-stick day, I have decided to make rosemary chicken with red wine-mushroom sauce. The sauce starts off with bacon!

Posted by: Moose13 | August 29, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

'Good afternoon, Boodle. TBG, I know that Nikon D3000-- that's a great camera.

My wife, son, and I just back from the Verizon store-- our 2-year contract was up entitling us to upgrade to new phones. All three of us got Blackberrys-- my wife and I got the "Tour" model and son got a "Storm." I normally don't care about all that stuff, but mine only cost a dollar, so what the heck (some sort of buy one get one for a dollar, and there was a big corporate discount on hers. Probably take me a month to learn all the stuff it can do.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 29, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

What time can I come by Moose, love Rosemary chicken.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 29, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

You will love the blackberry Mudge, just got the Pearl myself not long ago (the girly version).

Posted by: dmd3 | August 29, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like a funeral Mass to start the day. I was glad to see Jean Kennedy Smith looking so good. Thought the speeches/eulogies were good. Nice touch to have the grandkids throw the political jabs. And yes, that was a big bow on Michelle's dress. I noticed none of the women wore veils.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Photo evidence cannot convey the pure pleasure of bacon on a stick, but here are the pics anyway

Off to back boodle, then more on the MN State Fair later. Takes a while for the mind to process all the wondrous stuff. State robotics kickoff BBQ this evening. What a day!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

frosti! You even thought to take a picture. You're a hoot.

Posted by: Yoki | August 29, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... How are your picnic preparations going? Have a great time!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 29, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The picnic is well in hand. Just need to pack the cooler later, make the coffee at the last minute. The Pellegrino is chilling in the fridge along with Too Much Food. It'll be a fun evening!

Posted by: Yoki | August 29, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Are you making cold-brewed coffee, Yoki? That'd be great for a picnic.

Neat pix, Frosty. (Cool shoes!! Very...mayoral.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 29, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

We're having a friend over for dinner. Main course is bacon-wrapped filet mignon. But I need to fins something new and interesting to do with tomatoes and peaches (besides Yoki's gazpacho I made last weekend, which was tres fab). Any ideas?

I'm thinking of dicing the tomatoes and peaches and adding them to half a quart of our pre-made homemade chou-chou.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 29, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

In this case, 'mudge, it is hot coffee, to go along with the pecan brownies and chocolate-dipped strawberries. We have other cold beverages :-)

Posted by: Yoki | August 29, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

What about grilled peach halves filled with cappuccino ice-cream?

Posted by: Yoki | August 29, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Feeling jealous of those who can picnic or cookout, it is pouring buckets here. And, we seem to be dogsitting/fostering a dog. Long story. #2 daughter has leashed us into this! More later.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Had fabulous bruschetta at a friend's house last night, Mudge, made from homegrown tomatoes. On top of a little goat cheese spread on the garlic-baked bread. Mmmm.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 29, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

When I go, will someone please arrange to have YoYoMa, Susan Graham, and Placido Domingo at my funeral.

It was a magnificent event. And glad I had a chance to watch it.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 29, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing the photos, Frosti, that makes bacon on a stick real for all of us. Yeah, love the shoes. Comfortable, aren't they?

Yoki, your picnic sounds fun and delish. I'd beg an invite, but I'm leaving shortly to go to a barbeque. This will be Boston butts cooked slowly over hickory coals. My contribution is peach cobbler. I've also got slaw that I think I'll take. It's my aunt recipe, with sugar, cream, and a beaten egg in the sauce. No mayo here...

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

We should have known that there was no way we could see everything in one morning at the fair, so butter sculpture and seed art will have to wait for next year. But, if any boodler ever wants to visit Minnesota I highly recommend doing it during "The Great Minnesota Get Together."

It was 53 and windy this morning, so even our hardy and pasty white natives were wearing long pants and sweatshirts. Typically the fair is a good time for people watching of the "I can't believe someone that age would wear so little in public" variety.

Mr. F and I started out with breakfast at the Big Fat Bacon booth. Having fasted since last night in preparation for this repast we found that first-a third pound of bacon is not as filling as you'd think, and second-it is freaking awesome.

From there it was on to machinery hill and taking a look at antique tractors and all manner of new farm equipment we'll never need but that is fun to look at. They post the "start times" for when they fire up some of the oldest tractors in case you want to blast your ears and sniff the fumes. The Eco building is full of alternative energy, local food and other "green" stuff. Highlight-free fish tacos from the "cooking Spanglish with kids" demo and Peace Coffee samples. Peace Coffee roasts locally and delivers via bicycle-year around.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh, 'Mudge mudge mudge... Soon you shall discover the leg trap that was disguised as a Blackberry... *L*

Had a marvelous time at the game last night with bc (who knows everyone at the stadium, even the tailgaters), and had the absolute best view of Brady's TD passes and the INT return for a TD. :-))) Photos to come soon.

(the original of this got et by the Wirty Dird Filter)

We of New Hampshire certainly know what the non-Boodling (let me repeat, ALL BOODLERS AND THEIR KIN ARE EXEMPT) and any otherwise disagreeable citizens of the Bay State are called...


A joke, 'tis a joke I swear!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 29, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Fair Part II

The fine arts building is more museum than typical fair experience. I was not aware before this week that the juried show can be quite controversial-with much questioning about why one piece gets in and not another. I don't know what didn't make it in, but the things that did were at times quirky but mostly exceptional. The comment book that visitors can sign is worth reading-no holds barred there and surprisingly emotional, though not as profane as Internet comments. I voted for "Barbie's Dirty Laundry" for the visitors' favorite but forgot to snap a pic to share. Imagine a Barbie doll in Mad Men style togs with her underthings on a clothesline as she drinks a cocktail.

After that it's all a blur of too many people, and I was already maxed out. But, we forged onward through the 4-H building to look at the fair projects the kids work so hard on, then to the Creative Arts building to see more quilting, knitting, sewing, tatting, weaving, crocheting, baking, canning, wood carving, and pickling than one can imagine possible.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Fair Part III (the last)

Time for lunch-so many choices and as newbies we did not know that we should have just skipped the exhibits and kept on eating after the bacon. I must say the spaghetti and meatball on a stick was pretty darn good. The "spaghetti" is actually a pasta type breading. It is shaped around a spicy meatball then deep fried, of course, and served with a boat of meat sauce. Far better than you are imagining. In fact all the food is pretty uniformly unhealthy but tasty and not too expensive-far cheaper than at an athletic venue or amusement park and 100X better. Witnessed people eating all these deep fried things on sticks-Oreos, deep fried twinkies, fried candy bars, cheese, pronto pups (if you have to ask the difference between a pronto pup and a corn dog you've never had a pp), and walleye. Not on a stick but also deep fried-lots and lots of cheese curds. On a stick, but not deep fried-pickles and cheese cake. Mr. F had a foot long hot dog for lunch-the motto printed on their hats, "Think outside the stick."

We opted for a dessert of chocolate chip cookies from Sweet Martha's, where if you order a paper cone of cookies they fill it then pile another half dozen on top in a great tower of cookies. The best place to eat the cookies is at the $1 all you can drink milk booth.

Mr. F says Spam World was worth a visit, but he did that while I was in the Fine Arts building so I'll have to take his word for it. The line around the building for Spam burgers and Spam hot dogs was inexplicable (and I like Spam).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

*must... resist urge... to... break... into song... with my fellow Vikings...*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 29, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Regular hot dogs are too healthy for the fair so they make them out of Spam? Jeezuss.

It's raining halberds, nails, cats and dogs, your choice. Every time I get outside with the dogs or to install something it gets worse.

The new bird feeder support is up, it is a thing of strength, height and beauty. I faced a barrage or snark from the girls but they don't understand that when a man gets laughed at by a stupid animal a guy's got to do what he's got to do. It would take an enraged grizzly to take that thing down.

That will be salmon steak on the BBQ for dinner. They are marinating right now. I'm still debating what veggie will go best with them. I'm leaning toward broccoli sauteed in oil with garlic and roasted potatoes. The Apulian potatoes will be for tomorrowS steak. It's cold as well, the oven WILL be used for something tonight.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 29, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon,all.

Scottynuke, you're very welcome - it was a lot of fun (despite the Washington loss).

Those passes came courtesy of a family of real-live old-school GOP 'wigs. As much as we don't see eye-to-eye politically, we've worked together on a lot of things and accomplished a lot. We've also worked on opposite sides of things -- and we're still friends.

Just as I'm friendly with the tailgaters and people who work at the stadium, etc.

In this town, you never know who will call you out of the blue offering a good deal or a resasonable quid pro quo for something they know you really want -- but only if you're on good terms with them.

Kindness and respectful relationships *can* pay dividends. But, that's just me.


Posted by: -bc- | August 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Watching the TK memorial from last night and was doing fine until Brian Stokes Mitchell sang. I'll blubber my way through the rest now.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Fisichella and Trulli on the first row tomorrow at Spa, so you're a millionnaire now bc after wagering a $5 on this to happen?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The broccoli will be sauteed with smoked cured pork and garlic. Thank you Frosti. Bacon is the unheralded food group.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Thanks to frostbitten for the fair report, and the splendid photo of bacon-on-a-stick. I'm quite fond of state fairs and yours sounds like a good one. The OK state fair is also good, but over the years the space allotted for 4-H and the flower & food judging (in my opinion the true bedrock of any state fair) has shrunk considerably. The animal barns and shows are extensive, though. I always force the Boy to go through them and we usually start there. As far as he's concerned the fair means "Midway". This year I'm going to be sure to round up a friend or two of his to come; he's normally cautious but has discovered the joy of roller coasters etc. I'm not riding those things.

Shrieking Denizen, our mailbox used to get knocked over regularly by knuckleheads. My dad finally replaced the 4x4 with a 4" pipe. It has remained solid for a good thirty years now.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 29, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The Virginia state fair is in Richmond in September after school starts, so we never have an opportunity to go.

Living in an urban suburb, our "county fair" is actually a for-profit venture that takes place in early June. No agricultural exhibits or 4-H tent, but lots of booths and rides.

Now that my kids are old enough to go by themselves, they wondered why I never let them ride the rides. They were looking forward to doing it themselves until I told them to keep in mind that the person operating the ride is most likely the person who assembled it.

I don't think they've ridden any of the rides.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 29, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I stopped at the Littlefork fair instead. No bacon onna stick (just as well), but plenty of ponies.

Wilbrodog was simply smitten. Too smitten. I had to eject him for barking during a barrel race.

Beautiful day with purple and yellow wildflowers, cottony milkweed and tan whatnot, with pine, tamarack, and birch outlining the horizon, and the nearly cloudless blue sky spilling into the road.

I feel like I've had a hole cut out of me and filled with miles of gorgeous scenery instead, and glass plopped right in front.

Days like this, I know I'm not moving back to the smog of the Beltway.

We shall not talk about the other days when it's -40 F and howling, or worse, cold and raining like the clouds got an "everything must go!" sale.

For now, just let me fill up my gas tank on miles and miles of gorgeous quiet.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 29, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Amazing pictures on TV of all the people on the Senate steps waiting for Ted Kennedy to come by:

I'll be going to the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup this year when my sister visits. We're going to a James Taylor show, but will have to see if bacon on a stick is available. And I must have scones.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Watching the burial service on MSNBC, with Olbermann, Matthews. Gene Robinson and Michael Beschloss commenting.

Borderline verklempt.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

The Florida State Fair in Tampa was always in early February. Cool, crisp and lots of great midway rides. Plus the hormonally charged thrills of taking dates to Midnight Madness.

But even better was the Plant City Strawberry Festival two weeks later. All the same rides plus fantastic freshly made strawberry shortcake and name country acts every night.

I went to the Maryland State Fair once or twice when I lived up in Cockeysville and was sadly disappointed. Our church carnival in Florida had more and better rides. Of course the memories of riding the ferris wheel with a girl under each arm clouds the judgment.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-there's something about the road south from Canuckistan to Littlefork that makes the sky seem larger. On a clear day it's like the trees are barely hanging on, and the earth's curvature is visible somehow. The timing of the Littlefork fair was quite controversial this year. 4-H kids had to have their projects judged early to be eligible for the state fair.

TBG-the Prince William County Fair was still a real agricultural fair when we first moved their in the early 90s. Alas, it too has lost its agricultural roots.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Because of the rain and the dog (!) we've been home all day and have watched all the coverage of Teddy's funeral. It took us thru the whole range of emotions. Seeing one of the grandsons with his head buried in the flowers on the casket pretty much did me in. Olbermann mentioned that is was fitting that the darkness kept the end of the service private, as it should be just for the family, and I believe his is right.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Took visiting relatives to the Virginia State Fair about 20 years ago. Insisted on my SIL going with me to see the pigs, which I recalled from my childhood as quite delightful. Had quite forgotten the piggy aroma. And had to keep a stiff upper lip (or nose) during the viewing!

Posted by: nellie4 | August 29, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I've spent much of today watching the TV coverage of Teddy Kennedy's memorial. Mudge, I am also borderline verklempt. In my 58 years, he is the only politician to whom I've ever written. It was a simple thank you note. I'd never had the opportunity to vote for him, but there is no doubt that considering both the big things and the little... he has made the world a better place. Thank you for your small gesture, Joel.

Posted by: chloebug | August 29, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Hmm maybe Bob S has a point about control over health care dollars.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 29, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I cried during the president's eulogy, then I read the text and cried again.

Mr. T's home community has a barbeque and fair the weekend after Labor Day. The fair's not nearly as large as it was when he was a kid, but they still judge flowers, veggies, photos, crafts. Antique farm machinery is a big draw, and they have crafts for sale. The barbeque is great, too.

Tonight's barbeque was excellent. It was hosted by a couple I grew up with, whose home used to be way in the country and now is part of exurbia. They have a lovely yard to entertain in, and we took full advantage. A good turnout, good company, good food. That equals a delightful evening.

Posted by: slyness | August 29, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Or north to Littlefork, Frostbitten. It's how the sky keeps puddling on the road, I think.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 29, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Seasea, the Puyallup fair dominates memories of my youth. The fireworks. The scones. The helium balloons. The many pretty girls, including one, with red hair, who I last saw there.

One of my earliest memories is of my two brothers and I being hauled around the Fairgrounds in a little red wagon. I have heard that it isn't what it once was, yet I like to think some of the magic still endures.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 29, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I have heard a friend refer to the Blackberry as a "Crackberry", so nice you never put it down.I am Green with Envy Mudge.I can't wait till I can get myself one.

Am watching the Ravens vs Panthers before going to work.We are looking very good and ahead in the 3rd 17-3.

Still warm and muggy here in the city.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 29, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I've only been to the Puyallup fair a couple of times, as an adult, usually to see a concert. It's still big and well-attended, as far as I can tell. I even thought about entering a couple of my knitting projects, but then thought better of it. Maybe next year. The King County fair is almost non-existent now...the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe is still going, and the one we went to more often over the years, but we're not going this year. When I was a kid in PA, the county fair was held about this time of year, the week before school started. It was a lot of fun, especially when I was a teenager and went with friends. They dragged me on rides I didn't really want to go on. My sister and I went to it a few years ago, and it was a pathetic shell of itself.

I'm glad I've never attended a funeral that included a plane trip. That must be exhausting for the mourners. I managed to see all of the Kennedy funeral, even though I was gone on my Saturday errands for 2 hours in the middle of it. I feel drained, and I was watching it from the couch.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 29, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Joel for a graceful Essay.

Our area is weak on fairs but rather good for plant sales and art shows.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 29, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I can attest to the crackberry qualities of the blackberry-but I wouldn't give mine up for anything. I even use it as an alarm clock and in a pinch a flashlight. It's the Swiss Army Knife of phones.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I’m curious. How did :

John became Jack
Robert became Bob
Edward became Ted
William became Bill etc?

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 29, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Banks 'Too Big to Fail' Have Grown Even Bigger

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 29, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!!!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 29, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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