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Astronauts in Sweat Pants

[Here's my story on NASA, just posted to the Web. I don't actually expect that someday we will go into orbit dressed like slobs -- we'll probably need helmets and stuff, right? -- but I can imagine that there will still be those tiny little bottles of Jack Daniels.]

Perhaps, someday, going into space will be as mundane as flying on a commercial aircraft: buy the ticket online, drive to the aerodrome, shuffle through a cattle-pen security line, grab a burger in the food court, watch a mediocre movie on the way up, and so on.

Here's a somewhat more plausible scenario: In the near future, U.S. astronauts could ride into orbit on a rocket that says, on its side, "SpaceX." Or some such exotic company name.

The prospect of commercialized space flight--with astronauts going into orbit on rockets owned and operated by private companies--is becoming more plausible as the White House awaits a sweeping review of the human space flight program.

The Augustine Committee, a 10-person panel created by President Obama and led by retired aerospace executive Norm Augustine, plans to give the White House Tuesday the summary of a report that has the entire space community on alert. Although the committee is just an advisory panel and is offering the Administration a short list of options rather than a single recommendation, the moment is fraught with tension because of the complex hardware in play, the thousands of jobs at risk and the congressional politics that will complicate any major change in strategy.

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 4, 2009; 3:25 PM ET
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Next: Happy Labor Day


I should think there could be some real synergy between certain movie franchises and new astronaut uniforms. (boodlers can apply their own appropriate inflection for "synergy")

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 4, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Elon Musk? That's a person's name? Sounds like something S. J. Parker would shill for in Cosmo with one of those super stinky fragrance inserts man I hate those.

Posted by: kguy1 | September 4, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

That's a great article Joel. I really like that "deep space" option. It makes sense to me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 4, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Mudge got mudged, asking why it would be much easier to go to Phobos than to Mars. The problem with going to Mars is that you have to land. You need to deal with atmosphere on the way down (good for slowing down, but requires totally different hardware than what you used in space to get from Earth orbit to Mars orbit). Then you need to leave, which means you need to carry rocket motors to the surface that are big enough to lift off from a planet, but without the convenience of having a giant NASA infrastructure, like we do in Florida. It's much harder than it was to lift off from the Moon. You can make rocket fuel on the ground from the CO2 atmosphere and the small amount of water in the air, although it would demand a lot of energy, since you have to use energy to break up the molecules that you will later put back together (via a process called "burning") over a much shorter time scale than the time it took to break them apart. These things pose severe additional challenges.

The advantage of landing on a body like Mars or the Moon or an asteroid, is that one whole side of your spacecraft is protected from cosmic rays and solar radiation by the thickness of the body. On Mars and the Moon, you have additional benefits: you can bury yourself beneath soil for additional shielding, thermal control, and to discourage air leaks, and Mars also furnishes shielding from the atmosphere.

Missions out of Earth orbit are best suited to old farts -- say, more than 50 years old. The biggest problem in long-duration space flight is radiation. Old guys are more radiation-resistant than young people (in the short term) and also simply do not expect to have to carry the consequences of radiation injury for as long -- a 25 year-old astronaut has another 50-75 years to worry about getting cancer from his radiation exposure. A 50 year-old astronaut only has 25-50 years of worry ahead of him. Since it takes some time for radiation-induced cancer to take hold (I dunno -- say, 30 years?), the old guy may dodge that bullet entirely by dying of something else, long before the cancer becomes an issue.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 4, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

wow -- space travel sponsored by public for-profit companies operating solely for their shareholders?

"Nah -- we don't need heat shields or functional O-rings. Costs too much. Let the passengers brake by dragging their heels in the dust!"

Or, something like that.

Posted by: -ftb- | September 4, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

frosti - I've always said that NASA should sell ad space (ahem) on their vehicles.

It'd be great to see the shuttle done up with a race car style-paint scheme.

I think Pfizer might have a product or two they could advertize on a heavy lift vehicle (I'm thinking a powder blue paint scheme ...).

Seriously, though, I think it would help a lot if we decided where we were going to go with the manned program, what the goals were, how we were going to do it, and stuck with it.

If we continue to change direction, strategies and tactics with every Administration, I have doubts that the United States/NASA human space programs will ever get anywhere.

Hopefully, human space flight won't become the domain of private companies and totalitarian countries.

I don't think I'll be having Jack Daniels for my space flight - I'm going old school and having Tang with Stoli (aka the "zero-g screwdriver").


Posted by: -bc- | September 4, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

A one-way ticket to Mars? I don't think it would ever get past the ethics committees. Not to mention that sending supplies every few months would eventually get expensive. And does Mars really need a landfill full of old boxes for frozen pizzas?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | September 4, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about it the more I like that deep space option. Why do we have to land on other planets at all? Can't we be happy to just get a respectful distance and set down some nice sensors. The notion that we need to somehow actually land seems a bit like the need to mark one's turf.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 4, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"This is Walter Cronkite and science reporter Jules Bergmann bringing you today's lauch of the Preperation H/Toyota/Johnny Walker spacecraft "Spirit of Wachovia/Wells Fargo" here at Florida's lovely Countrywide Mortgage Spacedrome near Melbourne, the site formerly know to you older folks as Cape Kennedy and Cape Canaveral back in the days when our Socilist government ran the space program and the military. Well, byegones, right, Jules?"

"Right, Walter. Today's launch is headed for Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, and our team of celebrity astroanuts sponsored by Cream of Wheat includes former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, his sixth wife, Dancing With the Stars winner and former Olympian Shawn Johnson, comedian Carrottop, and this week's guest mission commander, Britney Spears! Walter, it looks like an exciting lineup!"

"I'll say, Jules! And say, right after this word from our sponsor, KrispyKreme Donuts, the breakfast of astronauts everywhere, why don't you describe for us all the sponsor decals on Britney's bosom?"

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 4, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The only problem with the deep space option is that it questions the whole premise of sending people at all. If we still need robotic devices to visit the interesting places, like the surface of Mars, why send the people that far? There is really only one good reason, but it is a pretty good reason: telepresence. We do not yet have the capability, but it is included in lots of thinking about exploring planetary surfaces, robots that are remotely controlled by astronauts and provide a you-are-there experience. Telepresence is limited by the speed of light, so you have to be close enough to bring the light travel time down to something reasonable. That means you pretty much have to be in planetary orbit. The best thing is that you get human ingenuity without the direct risk to human life, and you keep the feelthy steenking human sacks of bacteria (channeling Invader Zim) away from the environment that you wish to explore for traces of living organisms.

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

I'm a-headin' out. Everybody enjoy your three-day weekend!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | September 4, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Whoops -- for a minute, I thought Joel's kit was Astronauts in Sweet Pants. . . .

*gotta clean my glasses*

or not . . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | September 4, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I won't there be a reality TV show shot on that ship hosted by Jeff Probst?

Sort of a "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here/Big Brother/Survivor" kinda thing?

And when they get voted off -- 'tis the airlock for 'em, matey!

[If they don't jump first.]

I still think the top half of the ship would be a nice powder blue and the booster sections a nice chocolate brown.

The Vi@gra/C0lon Blow Cereal Escape Vehicle, "The Spirit of Elvis."

But, that's just me.


[That last sponsorship will be funnier if you remember the old bit on SNL - someone with more time than I can probably find that in YouTube]

Posted by: -bc- | September 4, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody, thanks for the birthday wishes! I wish the day had started a little better. I opened my email this morning, and was startled by the news that my health insurance costs will be doubled this year. And, I'm now officially on COBRA, and that coverage will end 6 months before my medicare birthday. And, for various reasons involving some *pesky* pre-existing conditions, I've been turned down by several companies.

I may move to London!

(hey, not a bad idea ....

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 4, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I **know** someone there who would have to take me in.)

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 4, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Commercial space travel is an economic development opportunity in Oklahoma. True. West OK has Burns Flat, a town built around a HUGE set of runways, I think for refueling big planes in WWII. They still fly giant things in and out of there, and it is an astonishing and surprising sight to see them coming in low over the ranches and farms. They've repurposed Burns Flat as a Spaceport for aerospace.

Unfortunately the state's first attempt at a contract was with an outfit called Rocketplane, which took a bunch of state economic development money and managed to lose it. Really. I don't think those guys made money at our expense. It is a murky and tedious story, but the upshot is Rocketplane slunk away from OK in ignominy, to reopen on a smaller scale somewhere else. We're still looking for companies interested in commercial spaceflight. Internet access, major highways, all the wide open spaces you could want, and low cost of living. Gotcher spaceport right here.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 4, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a plan, Maggie.

On more health care related news, Recession Road had good story from Michigan (good in a depressing, why on earth can't we get reform sense):

Posted by: seasea1 | September 4, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Question for the next recession: are private space companies too big or important to fail?

Posted by: engelmann | September 4, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I love this headline from today's W.P.

White House to Name Visitors

If I go there, I hope they'll name me Fiona, or Shavonne or something exotic.

There's a good article on the front page of today's NYT about overusing fire personnel (formerly firemen) by poor folks who lack health insurance and access to medical attention. It features a fire station in the Trinidad section of DC. I'd link to it, but because it's Labor Day weekend, I'm not doing any work.

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 4, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Via Wonkette, here is Senator Franken being polite, eloquent, and persuasive about health care at an outdoor town meeting.

What a novel concept.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 4, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

My respect for Franken just increased. Why can't we have more Congresspeople who take the time and have the facts to converse intelligently with their constituents?

Posted by: badsneakers | September 4, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - I think you nailed it. Look, I am on record as not being a huge fan of manned space flight, instead favoring advanced probes. But the laws of physics are merciless, and I think your arguments for "telepresence" are spot-on. Further, I do acknowledge that there is something inspiring about humans in space (even if they often seem really grumpy about sharing) so deep space missions could also provide a bit of that. I mean, personally, I thought Apollo 8 was pretty darn inspiring.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 4, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

No surprise there, Maggie. In the fire department I retired from, medical calls are 65-70 percent of the emergency workload. There is lots of abuse of the system, generally by folks who can't/won't pay private physicians. I've heard tell of women who called for assistance for childbirth instead of going to the hospital.

Health insurance reform must include changes to the way prehospital care is delivered, or at least paid for.

Posted by: slyness | September 4, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone up for another round of plant ID? Since it was so quick and easy last time...

When we moved in, there were clumps of something growing in the front yard. J mowed down some of them, left some of them. Here's what's left:

Is it a flowering shrub to be tended? (Note flower.) A weed to be chopped down and mown over? I feel very ignorant, but with the boodle to instruct me, I know I'm capable of learning.

Posted by: -bia- | September 4, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Looks like a crepe myrtle to me, bia. Somebody must have chopped it down, or it's a dwarf, because they can get to be trees. I'll be interested in what the real gardeners say.

Posted by: slyness | September 4, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

yello-thanks for posting the Franken link. That intelligence and willingness to talk, at length, with regular people is a big part of why I caucused for him long before it looked all that likely he'd get the nomination.

Today at the state fair Franken preceded Garrison Keillor on MPR's midday show. While drawing a free hand map of the US, from memory, with all 50 states labeled, he answered questions from the audience and callers. It was one of the funniest things I've ever heard, Keillor was practically a letdown.

Host: Senator, how did you get started doing this? (drawing maps of the 50 states)
Franken: When I was in college I lost a bar bet
Host: What's this, you were in a bar?
Franken: Noooooo, I was not in a bar, but I lost this bar bet....

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 4, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

bia, I think its a wild purple velociraptor stamens.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 4, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

bia-my first reaction was crape myrtle, but I think the leaves are wrong. A little too pointy maybe and a bit too closely spaced. A close up of the flower would help. Even a dwarf crape myrtle will have some hard woody growth, like a small tree, in all but the harshest climates in its range (where it gets killed back to the ground, not recommended). So, your description of "clumps" has me flummoxed.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 4, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Could also be a Peruvian asparagus bush, I dunno.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 4, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I doubt I would be much help, do not know a lot about southern clime plants. My eyes are bothering me tonight so I couldn't see well enough to even guess at something.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 4, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I am deeply umbraged that the Boodle is no longer discussing overreactions. Or the Beatles.

I'd just moved back to Philly a few months prior to the wedding of a friend's oldest daughter. My date was an USAF Colonel, he wore (what's the correct term here, frosti?) his dress uniform. The bride's youngest sister was about 10 then and she told her mom she really liked the way he was dressed like Sgt Pepper. We all howled. :-)

Posted by: -dbG- | September 4, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

bia, does it look like this - I have a variety of this I planted this year. Leaves look similar but like I said my eyes are not the best tonight.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 4, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I thought that was a JubJub tree...

Very good, dbG! *LOL*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 4, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I wanna ride the space elevator.

Stay tuned for shocking news at 9:30 (provided I can stay awake that late...

Posted by: omnigood | September 4, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry forgot the link - but also do a google search for Pink Autumn Sage - similar but maybe only because some of the pictures are close up.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 4, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

looks like a tweener tumbleweed to me

Posted by: omnigood | September 4, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

In addition to Jupiter there are two A$$es in the sky.

Good thing im not in mi

Posted by: omnigood | September 4, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. I'm leaning toward one of Mudge's suggestions, but deciding between them is gonna be hard. dmd's flower doesn't look quite right. Crape myrtle is an interesting idea, though I'll be embarrassed if two of my three unknowns end up being the same thing. No woody parts. In the morning I'll have to compare leaves and flower to the various adult ones we've got. Could they have seeded themselves?

Posted by: -bia- | September 4, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

here's a clue: one of 'em is luna, the other isn't

Posted by: omnigood | September 4, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

The plants look as though they were mowed and have regrown quickly.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | September 4, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Bia, I think that, if you have a garden center available, take a representative sample there and ask them to identify it. The most reputable have a diagnostic center there.

Here's a link to Garrison Keillor's brilliant suggestion for passing the health reform bill.,0,7887661.column

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 4, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

That's great. I like this:
"Here is an example of the subjunctive: Had we known that Republicans were so paranoid about public health, we would have packaged health-care reform differently and come up with better slogans."

and this really made me laugh:
"If you put a pet option in the health-care reform scheme, Republicans would be in a bind. It's one thing to oppose big government taking over from those little mom-and-pop insurance companies, but do you favor throwing Mr. Mittens out the car window when he gets old and feeble and needs an IV because he can't chew his treats?"

Posted by: seasea1 | September 4, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Bia, are the lower stems reddish? Looks like a crepe myrtle that is stump sprouting. Do you have higher res image? Are the leaves moderately shiny?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | September 4, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I know you all have been waiting for more visual evidence of Franken's mad skillz. Here's a picture of the map of the US he drew freehand at the MN State Fair today. While answering radio host, listener and audience questions.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 4, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I do like Garrison Keillor. Oddly enough, I can only stand his voice for a short time, but reading him, I can imagine it in his voice and it's OK. Think I'll go do some back reading of him. Thanks, Maggie.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | September 4, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Bia, I agree with CollegeQP, and also Daveoftheetc., they look cut way down and coming back.

Posted by: nellie4 | September 4, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I expect that the Franken video is loading so slowly because it's very popular?

I think we ought first to send robots to these planetoids we are going to visit. (It occurs to me, that sentence would raise many an eyebrow in 1950.)

I will not volunteer to be the first guy to pee on Mars.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 4, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 4, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever very graciously carried out a social obligation, when all the while your soul was gritting its teeth? And then been *So Very Glad to Escape* after the requisite interval?

I have!

Posted by: Yoki | September 4, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse




[Good night, all. The big bad beautiful moon is up, and I'm *out*!]


Posted by: -bc- | September 4, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Yoki- I have done so with such regularity that I fear "suffered from a martyr complex" will replace "oft married" in my obit.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 4, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

what I should have said was
Poor dear Yoki. Can I fax you a soothing beverage for you to enjoy with your feet up?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 4, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jumper. I like Bela Fleck but don't listen to him a lot. Not often you see a bassoon in a combo like that.

Yoki, frosti, count me in that club. I have the further guilt complex of feeling the resentment when I know I should be doing it cheerfully.

Posted by: seasea1 | September 5, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | September 5, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

yeah, Yoki. Every time I was in the presence of my stepmonster.

Posted by: -jack- | September 5, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Yes please, even more so now than previously, frosti. I could really use a drink. When I was at the restaurant, I could not find my Visa card in my wallet. Returned home, put a hold on the card over the phone, called the last place I used it. They had it safe, but were closing in ten minutes. I made it! My dear little lifeline is back home safe with me and the hold has been removed.

If I had not found it and had had to cancel the card, I couldn't have travelled to DC on Tuesday am :-(((( I am so relieved that a soothing beverage is just what is required.

Posted by: Yoki | September 5, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh, poor jack! That makes it even worse.

Posted by: Yoki | September 5, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

belated happy birthday to maggie!

yoki, glad you survived your evening.

loved the al franken map - that's a pretty darn good drawing.

have a really great long weekend, everyone!

Posted by: LALurker | September 5, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I played bassoon in school band. My best friend played guitar and was not in the school band. I'd say he had a better deal. He got the girls and I got to march in parades. I quit.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 5, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

You made me laugh, jumper. Good night, Al.

Posted by: Yoki | September 5, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Maggie, I know it is not yesterday, but I hope you understand that this is the part of today that is pretty close to yesterday...

Happy Birthday!

Now off to my last regular day at work... that isn't so regular. Yesterday was so messed up that it proved why I couldn't stand it anymore.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 5, 2009 5:28 AM | Report abuse

the other isn't mianus either

Posted by: omnigood | September 5, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

But Yoki, the ICBPH isn't until next week.

I first saw the Franken map drawing schtick on election night many years back. I think he was also counting the electoral votes to prove how Dukakis could win. The map was fine. The electoral vote counting was off.

Here is a video of him in action:

Posted by: yellojkt | September 5, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

My calendar has it down for the 8th, which is three days away

Posted by: omnigood | September 5, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Yoki glad you survived your social obligation evening - I am in that club as well. Have a great time in DC, a social obligation that will be so much more enjoyable.

I do not have photos of the flyover I saw yesterday, but I strongly suspect this is who I saw, the Snowbirds flying over Niagara Falls - beautiful shot, there is one after this over Toronto that is also quite spectacular, you can see the gorgeous weather we have been having.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 5, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

That is true, yello, but the banks are closed for the next three days and my flight on Tuesday is at 7:00 am, so there is no way the card could have been replaced before I leave.

Good morning, Boodle!

Posted by: Yoki | September 5, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Al. Coffee's on in the ready room for them what needs it.

Posted by: --dr-- | September 5, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Howdy Boodle. My sympathies to Yoki. Over the years I've practiced saying "No, I can't" firmly with a smile. No excuse for people to knock down, no reason for them to negate, just "No." Of course I don't do it near enough, and sometimes one isn't in a position to refuse, so I've suffered for it too.

Not this weekend, though. The Boy and I are headed to Houston for a fencing tournament. I think this time we'll try chain link to oppose all those PVC "boards". Just hope nobody weighs in with the 4x2s. I'll drop in if I can. Otherwise y'all have a delightful weekend.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 5, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

/Raising my hand, present/ Member of the club! Recovering. I can say "No" to almost anyone other than myself. I've had an ongoing battle with myself this morning about fostering a lab mix. So far the adult has won.

Yoki, if you call the card's issuer helpline, they can overnight you one for delivery on any holiday, weekend, etc. Not that I had to do anything like that prior to visiting you last year or anything.

Posted by: -dbG- | September 5, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I note this morning that the boss has an article about bipartisanship featuring Bob Dole, and his notes his effectiveness as a legislator by being a voice of moderation and his ability to work both sides of the isle to craft legislation.

Now, wasn't someone here in the Boodle praising Bob Dole - noting the fact that that he's a nice guy *and* an effective GOP leader - Monday night?

Hmmm. LiT, it seems that many people in and around the Hill agree with you.


Posted by: -bc- | September 5, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

For engineering/traffic types, her's a six minute video about caltrans efforts to remove a football field size piece of the San Francisco Bay bridge and slide a new piece in over the labor day weekend. The started yesterday shutting down the bridge before the get away traffic. Caused a lot of congestion on the alternate routes.

Posted by: bh72 | September 5, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The consensus on my mowed-down crape myrtle is convincing. It's a spot I'm perfectly happy to have one in, so I'll let it keep growing, and maybe I'll give the others a chance to come back, too. Thanks, all!

Posted by: -bia- | September 5, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

bia-I am a fool for crape myrtle so it's good to know you will save it. Note of caution-if they are not in full sun, with plenty of air circulation, they can get powdery mildew. Best to move them while they are relatively small if the current site won't let them be the trees they want to be. If this is a true dwarf you'll know in a season or two so there's no need to transplant yet if this isn't the best spot. (More art than science really, you've already seen they're pretty tough so it will be hard to go wrong)

Off to rummage about for my "Stop the Crape Murder" bumper sticker.

Belated good morning Al. Have been in a hot health care debate on a friend's facebook page. Just a reminder that S'wester needs to do a whole lot more procreating to counteract the idiocracy.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 5, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

'Jes sayin' -- Not everyone can appreciate humor based on ill felines. *SIGH*

Yoki, it's not exactly analagous, but I often have to say "No" in several creative ways when dealing with callers or e-mailers who *know* I'm capable of something that's just not possible.

Odd weekend here, of course it's three days long, but NukeSpouse is heading out Tuesday via car to visit her folks and she'll be away for quite some time.

Hope I remember all my bachelor pad procedures...

*still-digesting-leftover-birthday-cake Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Why does "Astronauts in sweat pants" sound like a line from "Rocketman," as performed by William Shatner?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | September 5, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem saying no (au contraire) but the event last night was really something I had to do so as to hold up the social contract. And now that it is done, I never have to do it again. All cards have been called in.

Posted by: Yoki | September 5, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. OK, whose birthday is it today?

Just got back from food shopping (including my Safeway flu shot). Coke products on sale for $2.50/12-pak.

My spouse has narrowed tomorrow's dinner options: it must use bonesless skinless chicken breasts as the main item. Thoughts? Ideas? Anybody got a good jerk recipe? (No, no, not, "First find, kill and dress a jerk...)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 5, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

BTW I think I have seen lots of astronauts in sweat pants (or the equivalent) on the shuttle, the ISP, in training, on missions, etc.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 5, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

In case anybody is feeling a little too euphoric this morning and would like some sardonic humor to bring you back down to earth, here's Joe Queenan in the Wall Street Journal writing about what a crappy summer we all just had:

And just for the sake of weirdness, here's my latest favorite (or should I say favourite) YouTube video, Robots in Disguise featuring Noel Fielding:

Happy day to ya'll, and many happy returns.


Posted by: kbertocci | September 5, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse


Garlic-Roasted Chicken Breasts

3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Scant 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 chicken breast halves (2 to 2 1/4 lb total)


Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in upper third.

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in oregano, red-pepper flakes, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cut a 2-inch-long pocket (about 1 1/2 inches deep) horizontally in side of each breast half and spread 1/2 teaspoon garlic mixture into each pocket. Coat chicken with remaining garlic mixture.

Roast chicken, skin sides up, in a foil-lined large shallow baking pan until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

If one rubbed some olive oil on the outside of the breasts, one could barbeque these.


Watermelon Appetizer

Cut seedless watermelon into 1-inch cubes. In the top of each cube, make a small well with the tip of a sharp knife or old-fashioned potato peeler. With an eyedropper, add a drop of balsamic vinegar to each well. This is a fantastic flavour, and very cooling on a hot day.

Posted by: Yoki | September 5, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Or . . . .

Honey-Mustard-Curry Chicken Breasts

Preheat oven to about 375-400 (depending on how hot your oven gets -- mine needs 400).

No real "measurements" on the amount of honey, mustard and curry, but mix in "enough" depending on how many chicken breast halves you will be using.

Melt about 1/2 stick to a stick of margarine (or butter if you really want to live, um, large) in a pyrex or other oven-safe dish. When the butter is melted, take out dish and pour the honey, mustard and curry mixture into the melted butter. Mix well and then dip the chicken breast halves in and coat on both sides while arranging them in the dish. If you'd like to salt-and-pepper them before dipping and arranging, that's okay, too.

Once the chicken is all arranged, put back in oven for about 40-45 minutes.

This is good with rice -- and certainly good with rice cooked with raisins, so the raisins plump up. Throw some cloves in with the rice while cooking, too, if you like.

BTW, Mudge -- there is a fantastic commentary in the Post this morning about the tragic lack of copy editors at the Post. I thought about you immediately.

And then I read something that said ". . . and it didn't phase me at all. . ."


Posted by: -ftb- | September 5, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Shoot 'em with your fazer, ftb.

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 5, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I looked for that commentary but couldn't find it. Whose is it? Got a link?

Those recipes look reaaaaallly good. I'm really torn...

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 5, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

It was on the page just before the editorials and op-eds -- I've forgotten what the name of it is. The commentary is at the bottom of the page and is written in a style reminding one of Shakespeare. It is terrific, and the woman who wrote it should be enticed to become a Boodler. Boy, would *she* fit in!

Posted by: -ftb- | September 5, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget to wrap the chicken in bacon, 'Mudge...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 5, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Listening to Inti-Illimani and baking a chocolate cake. Woo-hoo!

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I read you the WSJ feller and watched the utube folks, & gee, I'm sure I live on another planet. :-O

We thought of you on Thursday as we drove to Shenadoah National Park for lunch in the lodge at Skyline. It's a beautiful drive and not too many folks about during the week, just about right. The wildflowers are peaking away. National Parks are national treasures, one thing we got right. Hope you can hike/camp there, again, if you want to, the fall is my favorite time.

A few years ago we stayed in the Lake District, at Ambleside. It, too, is a National Trust. Very beautiful, lots of tourists from other countries there, just as there were on Thursday in Shenandoah.

Shenandoah... what a lovely word... soft.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 5, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Big game tonight in the House of Burgesses, Hokies and The Crimson Tide. Fingers crossed, repeating "it's just one game, it's just one game". Would love to see our boys shine.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 5, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Excellent choice of dining location, VL! Hope you got a window table, I'm sure the view was scrumptious! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we did, we did, scotty. Fun to see hikers coming up for their lunch. Our waiter was from Indonesia & we enjoyed him. The park puts the wait staff and others up in dorms and give them meals and a salary and for many workers, it's their first time here in USA. He has gotten himself a job for the winter somewhere in US and hopes to be rehired next Spring.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 5, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Save it for later, or for now

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 5, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the oddest thing happened -- I got stung by a wasp at the supermarket! I was putting my wallet back, so I think the little beastie was trying to mug me! *L* No reaction though, thankfully.

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 5, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon all
Nice to see college football on tv today.West by god barely beat lowly Liberty,Navy almost shocked Ohio state.The Terps travel to the west coast as 21 point underdogs against #12 California.I too am pulling for the Hokies tonight.But it sure is nice to have football back again.

Ok off to do some chores.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 5, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

VintageLady, I'm sure that was a lovely day trip you had on Thursday. If it were in driving distance for me I'd love to be there too.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 5, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I may have missed the window to mudge's dinner challenge, but boneless and skinless is about the only type of chicken I cook. My most frequent dish is kung pao chicken. Mine is so good I never order it in restaurants.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 5, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I saw the last 4 minutes or so of that game GWE. I walk into a bar, grab a seat and order a BLT and PBR. I notice the 'kids' sittin to my right watching the game and it is totally obvious they are Ohio fans. (actually, totally obvious they are not Navy fans, natch)

I asked the dude sittin next to me what that big zero in the center of the field was for. He took one look at me and knew I was teasin.

I told him I've lived in Indiana and Pennsylvania but have only been to Ohio about 8 or 10 times.

He took on a thoughtful look, and said 'Indy and Pennsy' ( I swear, that's what he said). Then he cocked an I eyebrow and said 'You haven't missed much then'.

To which I said: 'You know, the most fun I ever had in Ohio was a business trip to Dayton.'

Good thing I waited till after he finished a sip of beer before I said that.

Then I told him the story about how my Dad, an Army guy, turned a few 'Go Navy' bumper stickers into 'Go Away Navy' bumper stickers. His Navy buddies on post thought it was --- what's the word for cute back in the mid 70's?


I also ended up giving a an SF reading list to a woman who claims to have only ever read one SF in her life. I had to explain that Koontz is 'thriller', not really SF. (second time this summer I made an SF reading list for a newbie)

So anyway, out of all this I've already made my SB XLIV prediction. Yeah, I know, the regular season hasn't even started yet.

I find the secret is to make your picks early, before you get emotionally involved in any team.

NOST Champs
Balt Chumps

And there you have it...

Are we playing for the Tiara this year? Who's going to get that started?

Posted by: omnigood | September 5, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday the WaPo weekend section ran a section called 3-Hour Weekends. They had seven ideas for an afternoon and one of them was the DC Franciscan Monastery.

Having never been, we gave it a go. It seems lots of people do rely on the WaPo for entertainment tips. The place was packed. The entrance drive and the main church are still undergoing some renovation.

It was a great relaxing way to spend an afternoon and we had a nice late lunch/early dinner at nearby Colonel Brooks Tavern.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 5, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

the secret is to save it and wait a few weeks

Posted by: omnigood | September 5, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh! Omni was talking about the WaPo weekend section, not the Garlic Chicken.

Posted by: nellie4 | September 5, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

House painting is very hard. We worked all day and got a lot done but let me tell you there is a lot of trim on this house. I painted some shutters with a sprayer, what fun! I can’t wait to do more of them tomorrow. We have three downspouts propped on a bench and a stepladder in the back yard that looks like a piece of modern art. It’s amazing what changing the colors do for the house. I am very pleased. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I can’t believe college football has started already, but of course it is September, it just came on so quickly!

Posted by: badsneakers | September 5, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Speakin' of college football, I have just been informed that William and Mary has beaten UVA.

Betcha didn't see that one coming.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 5, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Gaelic Chicken!!?? My stars! What is the world coming to? My ancestors are turning over in the peat!

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 5, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Shame on William and Mary for beating up UVA. Oh right...

Forgive me if I have nothing bright to say. I worked 6 days straight, my feet hurt and there might be yarn leaking from my brain. I'm too tired to knit tonite, which says a lot.

Mrdr is a prince. He marinated and grilled venison steak and baby potatoes this evening. All I have to do is drink the wine. Thank heavens.

Posted by: --dr-- | September 5, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

dbG, if ypu’re around, I was talking with #2 earlier today and she told me that the foster dog is doing better and her dog is now allowing FD in the house. I asked her if she has seen FD sit, as we never saw him do that once in the time we had him. She said she hadn’t seen him sit at all. Well, a little while ago, she sent me a picture of FD sitting on her deck! He must feel comfortable enough now to ‘sit’ a spell. Just thought that was sorta cute.

dr, you have a guy who cooks! “S” doesn’t, but he’s so good for comic relief that I can’t complain.

Posted by: badsneakers | September 5, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi Al... haven't had time to backboodle, but I wanted to share this story that shows There Is No World But The Boodle...

We just got home from Chapel Hill, where we attended the fabulous NBA Alumni game in the Dean Dome. (It was really quite an experience and I wonder how many schools can field two complete teams--complete with subs, coaches and assistant coaches all currently in the NBA.)

We were on a bus shuttle on the way to the Dean Dome and the woman standing next to me mentioned to her companion that "it takes about 30 minutes to get to DC" from her house. So we started talking about living in Northern Virginia (she's in Falls Church), which of course led to "where do you work?"

Her answer led to a round of "do you know...?" and it turns out that, yes, she does know....


There Is No World But The Boodle. People around the world are beginning to refer to their "bc number."

Posted by: -TBG- | September 5, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

His biggest flaw is that he drinks wine faster than I do.

Posted by: --dr-- | September 5, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, another evening shot to hell wallowing in the joys that is youtube. My cousin sent me a clip of Dame Edna Everidge interviewed by a British talk show comic guy, which led to a Dame Edna marathon. You Dane Cook freaks must understand the compulsion.

Anyway, here's my effort to get you hooked.

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 5, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

TBG, it is a small world when Raysmom lives right next door to my brother! And BC lives near my son.

Joel, I read your spaceX story in the dead tree Denver post today! There is still hope that you will make it on a commercial space flight someday. Never give up.

Hey, I am one of those slightly in the majority women job holders again! My grandmother, a women's suffrage fighter, would be so proud. They mentioned this stat in the USA Today on Thursday. Now that I'm traveling again I get a free paper everyday. It has helped of course that I am also in health care.

I flew up the west coast from San Diego to LA on my way home Thursday. Rather than the gold coast it looked like the brown coast from the smoky fires.

Posted by: Windy3 | September 5, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

My bc number is one. I've been in his kitchen. A high honor indeed.

The Franciscans were saying to come back October 3rd for their big Frankie Day festival. Because nobody knows how to party like the guys with three knots on their belt.

Speaking of college pigskins, the Hokies and the Tide have a barn burner going, but why are they playing in ATL?

I decided to drink dinner tonight so I am on my second pomegranate martini (nothing says college football like things mixed with cranberry vodka), so spelling, grammar, and coherence are not guaranteed for the rest of the evening. Not that they ever are.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 5, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you made me laugh this evening.

My oldest reported that when she went to the Honor society commencement program at her school, she mentioned that I knew the Prof delivering the address (also the Director of the program) and that we'd run into him on campus during move-in day, exchanged pleasantries about family, mutual friends, etc. They looked at her and said, "Really? Your Dad knows him?"

She replied with a resigned sigh, "My Dad knows *everybody.*"

As father to three daughters, this idea may have some benefits.

Scottynuke, I see you laughing out there. Honestly, I didn't know *everyone* at FedEx field that night.

A bc number -- it could be worse, I suppose.

No drinking dinner for me, yello, but I'm not ruling out dessert.


Posted by: -bc- | September 5, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | September 5, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | September 5, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Oy, the computer troubles continue. I'm offering it up...

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 5, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | September 5, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

And how great for William & Mary!

MD's down big to Cal out West early in the second quarter, unfortunately.

But I'm watching the Alabama/VA Tech game, and it's a dandy.

Back to the Kit for a second -- I'm fine with the Deep Space human flight program, though I hope there's provision for someone to get out, stretch their legs and kick up some dust at the destinaton.

Apollo 8 was wonderful, but everyone knew that it was just a dress rehearsal for the next couple of launches, ones where people were going on to land on the Moon.

There's probably less likelihood that there will be a series of subsequent missions to the same location in the near future. It would be neat if the first explorers of a given Deep Space body could leave a cache of provisions for follow-up missions...


Posted by: -bc- | September 5, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Meant to add that those caches would need to be hardended for long duration storage. Could be decades before anyone went back...


Posted by: -bc- | September 5, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse


All I can think of when deep space is mentioned is the aft shot of Discovery in Kubrick's 2001.

Posted by: -jack- | September 5, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I bet they are partying in the streets of Williamsburg tonight.

Maryland is down big at halftime,just too many big plays given up.But,being a fan and having a game on at work isn't bad.

Omni,I like your superbowl prediction,except for the results.I'll be happy if the Ravens make the playoffs.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 6, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

As if there were any doubts about Pat Buchanan's political leanings:

Revisionism at its most troubling. Read it before it is taken down everywhere.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

He is peddling another book on that subject, so I wouldn't actually do his publicity for him, yellojkt.

While he may not be likely to kick the bucket soon, I hope to do a ritual spit in memory when he does.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | September 6, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Yup, that's me. Constantly shilling for crypto-nazis.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

That made me laugh.

Okay, not so crypto-, now you've unmasked him.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | September 6, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

jack, I like your rock.

Gosh, am I tired. Attended the Highland Games today; dancing, pipes, drums (gorgeous men in kilts), Collie demos, caber toss, hammer throw, sheering... it was grand. Great. Glad it wasn't hot, or I'd've been toast.

Good company too. His darlin' Himself.

And saw #2 for lunch at the pub.

A fine fine day, too long extended. Good night. Al.

Posted by: Yoki | September 6, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Yoki, your day is one I would like to have. I've never seen the games, although we did spend some time in Scotland on one of our trips. 'Tis grand country with grand sheep, particularly in the highlands. Sheep are king, they have right of way along the roadside. Rounded hills remind me of our Virginia hills, we just have more trees, is all. Radford College (my school) is considered to be in highlander territory in Virgina.

Disappointed that Va Tech could not win last night. Sorry I did not make it to the last quarter, read about it in the WaPo this morning. The amount of hype for that game was extraordinary, it seems to me. Congratulations to Alabama.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 6, 2009 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Boodle
I have been meaning to post this all summer long,but usually I just enjoy it and go to bed.My mother's morning glories that is.She has them running up two trellis's and they have been spectacular all summer.Today I counted 49 flowers in bloom,most blue and white with a few purples mixed in.Morning glories are such climbers,they have gone over the trellis,on top of the canvas awning and now are climbing up the porch roof.

They are so nice to enjoy after a long night at work.Well,off to bed.I don't think I will ever get used to this overnight shift,but it will have to do till I find something else.

Have a great day everyone!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 6, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! We may hit 80 degrees here today. Another quick blast of summer I guess, and a good thing too. The frenzy to enjoy the great outdoors sans fleece is at its height through the middle of the month. Could be a bit buggy and uncomfortable for bear hunting, but I don't partake and this great weather was designed just for me, me, me and my vegetable garden goals.

Later gators. Off to will the tomatoes into ripening.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 6, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

On Obama school speech

Posted by: Jumper1 | September 6, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

As for the Buchanan piece... Ai cucaracha! :-O

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- bc is the Boodle's "Zelig," only better.

NukeSpouse and I caught most of a "Making of" documentary about "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" yesterday. What fun to watch a velly proper George Martin deconstruct the 4-track recordings and talk about first takes and such. I never knew the Beatles used harmonicas on "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"

*an-ice-pack-on-the-back-once-again-so-very-limited-but-still-heartfelt Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 6, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone, fantastic morning here as well, clear and warm. Had a wonderful evening entertaining friends, sat outside and enjoyed the marvelous weather, beautiful moon just added that perfect touch.

Tired today after all the preparations yesterday, a good day to just relax today.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 6, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Snukie -- I'm with ya. Just took two Advil, in fact, after a late-ish breakfast. I did two loads of laundry (all is fluffed, folded and put away and, yes, I do feel like going back to bed, but won't). The condo buildings in this development (such as it is) originated as rental way back in the 1960s. I think the conversion to condo happened in the 70s. Nevertheless, my point is that unlike current condos, our units do not include our own washers/dryers. There are laundry rooms on each of the four floors of each building, and -- perhaps luckily enough -- the one on my floor is in the same corridor as my unit and is far enough down the hall that I never hear it. Each laundry room houses three washers and three dryers. I try to get in there at opening bell (hours are 8 am to 10 pm) with my two loads, and all is done by 9:30-ish. Okay, so I know how you are just trying to figure out what this has to do with back issues, AND SO I've got this cart with wheels to put all the dirty laundry into, but it's too small to drag to the laundry room. So I put it on a rolling cart. And that's where the back boinged. . . . because while I am conscious of not lifting things with my back and instead use my (useless) knees and tush, this time the back got it and it got good! Very, very sore. And, well, pi$$3d is my back. So I'm resting it before going forth and doing other things.

So the Boodle has (at least) two sore backs.

Not that you ever wanted to know. . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | September 6, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Better than Zelig? Hmmm.
Taller, anyway.

I can imagine Martin in the Beatles control room saying in that veddy Proper Accent, "I have a fever, and the only cure is more harmonica!"


Posted by: -bc- | September 6, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Martin was more likely to say, "I have an elevated body temperature and the ony remedy is additional harmonica!"


Posted by: -bc- | September 6, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. We are in the midst of a Family Weekend, so I'll be out of pocket till in the morning. Yesterday the 3 hour kayaking trip turned into 5. We went much further than we anticipated. A great day on the South Fork of the New River, but we were all bushed. Then we had to rush to get to the barbeque to which we were invited - fabulous food and a good time. We are leaving in a little while to drive to Mr. T's favorite aunt's 80th birthday party. It will be fun to see all the cousins and to tease the aunt about how young she is...

Posted by: slyness | September 6, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Needs more cowbell. Just sayin'. ;-)

Hope everyone is enjoying a fine long weekend. Couldn't be better here weather-wise, even if I'm still under it (seriously considering joining the circus as "Lizard Man" -- psoriasis is still *very* bad and still around 90% body coverage with painful ugly scaliness, but I'm managing).

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | September 6, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"'s a different family when each child is born. A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life."

Deborah Tannen has a great Outlook piece today about sisters. Being the third of four girls, I can honestly say that, on a different plane from my children and husband, my three sisters are the most important people in my life...

Posted by: -TBG- | September 6, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hi, martooni!

gwe, thanks for the description of the morning glories. I'd love to see pictures. That is what I aspire to when I plant morning glories, but I've never achieved it here. They have had a few blooms every day, which is the best they've ever done for me. And it seems that what I thought were moonflower buds are actually morning glories...sigh. But that's ok. Wait till next year!

I read Deborah Tannen's article - will have to get her book.

Posted by: seasea1 | September 6, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

To continue the weather reporting, it is 75 and very clear here on the central coast. Last night we took our daughter and her husband out to dinner in honor of his birthday, at a restaurant we had not been to before. Everything was wonderful, even the appetizer pirogis with truffle oil! (Can't you see the chef staying awake nights trying to figure out the oddest combination of flavors he could think of?)

Posted by: nellie4 | September 6, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

nellie... Dr G is currently winging his way to Santa Barbara. Any suggestions on what he might want to do, see or eat when he's not confabbing?

Posted by: -TBG- | September 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Unfortunately, I don't know Santa Barbara that well at all. I do know that State Street is packed cheek by jowl with eateries, and it is hard to pick a bad one.

Posted by: nellie4 | September 6, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that article you linked is intelligent and insightful. The comments beneath it ... not so much.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 6, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

yello, what is the name of that musician I went gaga over and gave you grief for not providing a YouTube link to? I lost my faves when I was laid off and find myself jonesin' for her voice right about now.

Posted by: omnigood | September 6, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Martooni!!! Good to see your name in electronic print again. Condolences over the psoriasis, though.

*faxing an abundance of marvelous karma and chicken soup (to be administered on the inside and/or the outside, as appropriate) to Martooni*

TBG -- I think you are very lucky to have a set of siblings with whom you are close. I don't have that, and in consideration of the sibling that I ended up with, I did something which would get me the closeness that was never there. And, it wasn't with him. I have swapped him out and have traded him in for a wonderful set of new siblings -- all in other countries, yet related to each other -- and I am part of their families as much as they are part of mine. My actual sibling will never come close to the magic I've got with my new set of sibs, and he would never recognize the value.

One of my "theme" songs, which tune cooties its way into my heart every so often, as needed, is that of the delectable Rolling Stones -- Ya can't always git whatchoo want, Ya can't always git watchoo want . . . . Git whatchoo need!

And, so, I do. And may all imaginary friends do the same.

Posted by: -ftb- | September 6, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

'Toon!!! *Grover waves*

And speaking of questionable marketing (weren't we??), the satellite radio service I subscribe to needs to talk to its folks, I think. It has a couple of classic rock channels, and the "newer" of the two is currently doing a "Single, Triple and Double artist blocks" weekend. No points awarded for determining the acronym and resultant metaphors they're using.

Now if they'd used that campaign for the heavy metal channel...

*raised unibrow* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 6, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Eeeep! I can't recall if we have any Bay Area Boodlers, but if so you have my commuting sympathy!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 6, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Worth a giggle...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 6, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

wait..what!.! i thought that was a bag pipe

Posted by: omnigood | September 6, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

anD wheN thE cowS comE homE, we'lL havE morE bellS thaN we'lL knoW whaT tO dO witH



Posted by: omnigood | September 6, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Here, omni, this is the artist you went gaga over.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 6, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The NY Times today has advice from prominent college-professor type intellectuals on how to be a good undergraduate.

James MacGregor Burns's advice to "read a great newspaper" is certainly good, but while I was a pre-internet undergrad at Penn State, I got the impression that I was nearly the only student at the whole place who was making any effort to read the Sunday New York Times. I suppose things would have been different at, say, Haverford or Princeton, but those places were out of reach, admissions-wise.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | September 6, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Mudge.

Posted by: seasea1 | September 6, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

seasea, who's side are you one

oh, seasea,,,never mind


blue bottom sailor man, meet seasea siren...

watch out for those rocks

you'll get got, and your pretty dog too

Posted by: omnigood | September 6, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm just warning 'Mudge to avoid reading this piece due to a lot of internal illogic and just general bloviating:

A big ripple over a small fish... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 6, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

the flower said: "I wish I was a tree"

the tree said "I wish I could be a different kind of tree"

The cat wished it was a bee,
the turtle wished it could fly
really high into the sky
over rooftops and then dive
deep into the sea

and in the sea there is a fish
a fish that has a secret wish

a wish to be a big cactus
with a pink flower on it

and in the sea there is a fish
a fish with a secret wish


Posted by: omnigood | September 6, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hi Martooni, I’m sorry you’re still afflicted, hope things start to improve for you soon. Scotty and ftb, I guess this means you aren’t coming to help us paint the house ;-) Seriously, I do know how it feels to have a cranky back. Hope you both get better soon.

I don’t have siblings and two of my best friends are ‘only’s’ also. I do have a friend whose brother is useless so I understand that even tho’ I’ve always wished I had one, it might not have worked out well.

Making progress with the house painting as the weather is perfect except for the wind today which kept me from spraying more shutters. Darn!

Posted by: badsneakers | September 6, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I have had a great afternoon. I hit the local barbeque competition to eat pulled pork sandwiches and listen to blues, and then walked over to the Pride Street Gala and danced my socks off in a huge crowd. Now I need to drag my weary bones to the grocery store, but that's OK. Lamb tonight, I think.

My three brothers and I get along awfully well, and they are always a source of support for me (and likewise, I hope). They are unwaveringly on my team, have my back. I appreciate them. And I will see them next weekend for the first time in two years, all together in one place (I imagine there will be drinking). They are always lots of fun.

Posted by: Yoki | September 6, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

A very productive day Chez Frostbitten. Mr. F has loaded a trailer with stuff to go down to Florida (the pro movers will pick things up from the Hip Urban Loft tomorrow) and the boats are out of the water. Time for Mr. F to play barista, then we'll listen to The Big Broadcast on WAMU and play Scrabble until Masterpiece Mystery starts. Frostdottir often observes that we do not lead a very exciting life. On the contrary I tell her, we have so much excitement in our life this kind of evening is the most fun.

Martooni-Healthy thoughts going out to you, and kitty lovin's, if they won't make things worse.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 6, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, I'm sorry, but I'm confused about your relocation. Are you giving up the hip urban loft and your Fair City digs? Or just going on a hiatus to Florida? Or going to live in both/all three?

Posted by: mm_donovan | September 6, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends. I spent this beautiful day on the couch near the open back door reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society--at Ivansmom's suggestion. Well... she suggested the book, not necessarily the couch by the open back door.

But it was a wonderful way to spend the day.

Posted by: -TBG- | September 6, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

We are confused too. Mr. F is going back to Tampa, and will live in an apartment until spring when our renters leave the house we couldn't sell, then he'll move back in. We are keeping the loft, and I am staying in Our Fair City at least until my mayoral term is over (Dec. 2010). In the best case scenario I will then be able to arrange things to spend most of my time at the loft and we'll use Chez Frostbitten as the vacation home it was meant to be. In a better than best case we'll live together full time again. Or as I like to tell Mr. F - "you get a job in DC and I'll say ' Our Fair City? What Fair city? Never heard of it.'"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 6, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Why do I feel stricken?

Posted by: Yoki | September 6, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Know whatcha mean, Yoki. Me, too.

A while ago I watched the "Making of Sergeant Pepper's" documentary somebody mentioned (Scotty? bc) and it was very good. And now it is followed (on VH1, for anyone interested) by a truly excellent McCartney concert called "Electric Proms." Really makes me appreciate the man's genius all the more. Plus his work ethic and showmanship. (And I love the drummer, a guy right out of the cast of "Mad Max/Thunderdome.")

Michael effing Jackson couldn't hold this guy's coat.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 6, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

My mind is drawing a blank. You'll have to give me a better hit. We have traded so many YouTube links over the years.

The New River (which is actually very old) is a lot of fun.

My wife and I went out for anniversary tapas and decided we could live in Rockville Town Center. Ten ethnic restaurants, a library, and a short walk to the Metro. Whats not to like?

We also picked up a fresh 25 pound bag of rice. There would be Hades to pay if we ran out.

Gee, mudge, that Liberace guy seems a little flamboyant. You don't think....? Nah!

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Badsneaks, please keep your tootsies out of the water.

(Cue music)

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 6, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Garunkle and Oates have a new song. Not very highly produced but ultra thick with the pop-cultural references. My favorite line:

"I pop my collar like Rush pops Oxy."

Also not very safe for work of for young ears. Not even the title.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I think we're going to need a bigger boat.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

"I should buy a boat!"

Posted by: Yoki | September 6, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of scary fish, this story about liking the book better than the movie was NPR a while ago. The writer liked the book because it was so delightfully smutty.

I read Jaws when I was in fifth grade and loaned it to my best friend. His mom took the copy and ripped out the dirty parts before he was allowed to read it.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, when "S" heard about the swimming ban in Chatham, he said, "well, there goes the rest of the summer." The sharks are after the seals that congregate around that area. The water there is also pretty darn cold so I doubt that we'll hear about any 'missing' swimmers.

I just found out we get to babysit tomorrow. I hope they know how to paint!

Posted by: badsneakers | September 6, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Four great whites could do some serious damage to seals and crafts (cue "Summer Breeze").

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 6, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

But the seals in Chatham are so CUUUUTE!!!

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

This story is almost too incredible to be true. Dogs are so wonderful.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 6, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

This seal talk puts me in a clubbing mood. Ah, Martooni, too bad buddy.

I'm back from a quick trip to Charlevoix to see my parents. Man this place is beautiful. We went to the Grand Jardins park, a set of surprisingly high and steep mountains just off Baie-St-Paul. Thanks to a change in elevation and the worst micro-climate in Eastern Quebec the place is a tundra. Complete with caribou, lichen and spruce goose. Rugged but beautiful place. It was very dark too so we could see 3 satellites of Jupiter with my birding binocular. We also saw enough bear sh1t (and one bear) to last a life time. The area had a large forest fire 10-12 years back so the blueberries are plentiful, to the bear's delight and at the price of fairly liquid spoors. The trail along the river where I went fishing was a moose highway if I believe the number of tracks I've seen. The good weather brought people out, Quebec city was awfully busy, packed with tourists. The tourism business need the money as the summer was terrible in general. I'll try to cobble a few pics together tomorrow.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | September 6, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry yello, how can I expect you to remember if I can't.

a young blonde with a husky voice.

the commenters were arguing about her gender...

Posted by: omnigood | September 6, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Spent the weekend on a ladder, painting ceilings and installing a ceiling fan. the pain in my right shoulder and trapezius reminds me why many painters drink.


Posted by: -jack- | September 6, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Toss one back.

Posted by: -jack- | September 6, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

GTP self analysis.

Posted by: -jack- | September 6, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | September 6, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

That might be Ysabella Brave:

Posted by: yellojkt | September 6, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | September 6, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

We've had excitement with cougar sightings in an urban park. He was treed, tranquilized and transported back to the wild today.
Another case of zigging when he should have zagged.

Posted by: seasea1 | September 6, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Hooyah, Monday!

Posted by: -jack- | September 7, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

That is a neat story about the dog and the lost kid. My first thought was that the kid probably got lost by following the dog - glad it turned out well. My kid, when he was a toddler, went after cats. One time he totally disappeared from the yard and house. I was panicking when he came out of the next door neighbor's house, where he had been playing with their new kitten. And then there was the time in Montana, where I looked out the window and saw him clear across a field, headed to our landlord's barnyard. He wanted to see the chickens.

Posted by: seasea1 | September 7, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Huevos rancheros, rfb, and tortillas in the bunker. An agave chaser for the brave.

Posted by: -jack- | September 7, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Funny, I kept thinking Nellie McKay. The name I was looking for: McRae. Hilary.

Posted by: omnigood | September 7, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

A few night owls left. Got out of work at 9:30. Tried to help a friend who is a Luddite deal with an email document printing issue. I spent two hours on and off getting some documents printed and they await. Well, until his TXT which reminded me that I can cancel a late nite visit with a wonderful friend to help him, but he won't show up because...

Anyway, I made some pizza from almost scratch (cheated on dough) ... and also brought home some country style ribs that were discounted along with some sauerkraut and have that going.

For the record (own humble opinion), the pizza was about a B+ ... could have left it in another 1 to 2 minutes, but, by far not a disaster.

The ribs and kraut are going to be a while. I am taking a "no rush" approach and will let them simmer away in the juices for the night. Been winging it with a rough recipe idea in head and then hitting "The Google" for more ideas. Apple slices just tossed in about 30 minutes ago.

All are invited for a tasting tomorrow.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 7, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I live with two vegetarians. Sometimes I like a little meat. So this afternoon I barbecued a whole huge pack of pork steaks, a St. Louis specialty, whole pork butt sliced into steaks. I added baked potatoes, corn on the cob and grilled bread, all cooked on the grill. I am replete with meat and barbecue sauce. The daughters filled up on the sides. After I had recovered somewhat I made Derby tarts, which are Derby pies (without the whiskey) made in little tiny tart tins. Each one is about an inch and a half in diameter. Very cute and fattening.

If you're going to be bad, do it all in one day and be good the rest of the year, I think.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | September 7, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

this is the one

Posted by: omnigood | September 7, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Dawn patrol is very light these days, could be because Brag is no longer doing flyovers each morning to check out Cheney.

The degrees of separation I may share with bc are vast, although we may be connected somehow by straight shift, if that makes any sense at all. One with the car and all that jazz.

For this holiday morn, ready room has baked apples and spicy sausage and egg casserole, cheesy grits on the side. New warmer has been checked out and plugged in and will keep food just fine for the sleepy heads.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 7, 2009 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to say to TBG, I hope you enjoy The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society as much as I did, refreshingly different, loved the characters, a treasure.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 7, 2009 5:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, hey Cassandra. Happy Labor Day!

Meyerson's column on the state of US labor is a real downer. True, but a downer.

Family arose and departed just about when they said they wanted to be. They are returning to NOVA and wanted to get an early start.

We had a wonderful weekend, but I'm glad for a day to rest a bit. Yesterday's birthday party was lots of fun. It's always good to see the extended family at an event that's not a funeral.

GWE, thought about you when we were on the river Saturday afternoon. I learned the truth about the old saying that still water runs deep. If I were to avoid getting stuck, I had to go where the water wasn't many places, the New is only a few inches deep, just enough to get the kayak through.

Yum, VintageLady, your breakfasts are wonderful! Thanks for all the hard work. I'll leave some for the late arrivals, but not too much.

Posted by: slyness | September 7, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse


I am actually stunned. (if you have a "soft" stomach in the morning, please skip ahead)

One of our main cutters took some boneless Country Style Ribs that were on sale at $1.49 a pound and 50%'ed them. While I was making my pizza last night (had to use the dough), I also tossed together a version of Bigos or Pork Ribs and Kraut and let it go all night.

As I said, wow.

I guess that's what cravings are for. I don't care if it is morning, I just wanted some. The joke is that I got 12 big country style ribs (actually cut from the shoulder butt) and the Sauerkraut for about 6 dollars.

The dish cooked for 6 and a half hours, at least.

Now, I need to find uses for those remaining boneless ribs. Maybe, O can make a pulled pork sandwich in a quick sauce.

... or carnitas in a salsa verde with rice.

Posted by: russianthistle | September 7, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Hilary McRae would fit the bill there omni. That comment does go back a while:
You haven't lived until you've boodled from the couch with the Achenblog running at 1024x768 on a 48" Sony flat screen while the newest Hilary McRae album is streaming online through a 5.1 home theater system.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 18, 2008 11:07 AM
Here is another video of her:

I have to go fix my bike odometer. It says that on my last ride I went 52 miles at an average speed of 44 mph. I know neither of those is right.

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

Perhaps you were wind-aided, yello? Thought I heard a report of a microburst... :-)

Delightful brekky, VL, thank you!

Not a great deal to comment on in the headlines, but that "dog saves boy" story is wonderful! Hope the boy didn't bump into the porcupine quills during the night... :-O

*another-day-of-naproxen-and-ice-packs-but-whadda-ya-gonna-do-'cept-enjoy-the-day-off Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 7, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

dmd, shriek, etc. thanks for the Toronto tips.

The weekend was packed--or rather unpacked--helping a nephew move into York U. We did manage to drive around downtown late one night. Wow!!!
And ate at Spadina garden near UofT--pretty good Indian-Chinese food.

DNAGuy and I will definitely go again for a walkabout.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | September 7, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, hope you feel better soon. My back is a bit 'off' this morning but the more I move, the better it feels. Granddaughters are here, quite content to watch cartoons for now. They brought their bikes so will have something to do later. Waiting for the warm up before we start painting again. Happy Labor day to those who work, just another day for us who don't ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | September 7, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Pork and 'kraut, one of my favorite breakfasts. Frostdaddy makes the best, probably because he uses his annual family reunion trip to PA to stock up on the finest provisions from a shop I couldn't find again if I tried. Near Emmaus.

Ah, the vacation rentals are empty the post-summer maintenance can begin and we slide into a slow time for toilet cleaning, gas tank schlepping and general grunt work. It will be nice to not spend every Monday and Tuesday washing load after load of linens. "Cabin cleaning" is the local version of McDonalds and WalMart greeting. It's the first job most kids get if their parents aren't in the logging business, and the last job seniors do until they can't lift the corner of a mattress to put on a fitted sheet. When Ma Frostbitten was a kid there were 5 rental cabins crowded on the Chez Frostbitten site. I know better than to complain to her, I remember the wringer washing machine with fondness only because I never had to operate it and the scent of line dried sheets was intoxicating.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | September 7, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Happy Labor Day. (Or Labour Day if that's how you swing.)

In honor of this day I shall be doing work. That basement isn't gonna clean itself.

Trust me. I've asked.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | September 7, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Charlie Brooker on the astronormity that is Andromeda eating its neighbours and other science news that can cause "existential bruises":

Posted by: DNA_Girl | September 7, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I think not enough people eat sauerkraut for breakfast. I come down firmly on the side of savoury/sour/meaty for the first (and sometimes only) meal of the day. There are two kinds of people in this world, as they say.

The dawn was very beautiful here, red-gold and with a chill that promises autumn. My kinda weather.

Sadly, I must go into the office today but don't begrudge it since tomorrow at an early hour I shall be on my way to the DC area.

Happy Labour Day, Al.

Posted by: Yoki | September 7, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

You don't have to clean the basement RD, Andromeda will.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | September 7, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning everyone, trying to spend a relaxing Labour Day at home. Another great day here.

DNA_girl glad the trip to Toronto went smoothly. This is the big weekend for university move ins, my neice is moving today, good luck to all the students.

Posted by: dmd3 | September 7, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I assume Mr Frostbitten will send citrus, regularly.

Locally, our congressman supports Medicare but thinks it's unconstitutional, a violation of the 10th Amendment, which reserves stuff to the states or their inhabitants. He also wants to deconstitutionalize the income tax by repealing the 16th amendment. But of course wants a huge NASA budget.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | September 7, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey all -- interesting Ombudsman blog item:

The headline and lede graf of the original article were enough to convince me the rest of the piece wasn't worth persuing. Reading the Ombudsman's take on things, I'm sure I would have had the same reaction if I'd finished Hesse's piece. I decry the idea of enforcing "balance" in fact-based reporting, but given the underlying topic it's simply not possible to tell only one side of the story.

And frankly, I think both the Ombudsman and Hesse made a major mistake in somehow implying Hesse's relationships mattered one whit to the article. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 7, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

New kit. See you there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | September 7, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, of course...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 7, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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