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Waiting For Augustine

At 1 p.m. today the Augustine committee releases the full report of its review of NASA's human space flight program. Big news in the space world. I'll go to the presser.

In the meantime I came across something I wrote more than four years ago in the Post magazine, about the Vision For Space Exploration, the Bush blueprint for going back to the moon and eventually to Mars. The moon may now be largely out of the picture. Augustine has liked the "flexible path" approach of going beyond low earth orbit but not necessarily back to the moon. In some respects the Vision would remain alive -- if we still go beyond LEO. But there won't be astronauts on the moon by 2020, that's for sure.

Excerpt from my story:

The Vision has no official price tag, because it claims that NASA won't need any extra money to go to the moon and Mars. We'll go slowly, on the cheap. A skeptical observer might wonder how the government could inexpensively send people to another planet when it can barely afford to run trains from Washington to New York.

The Vision emits a whiff of conflict avoidance. It's almost a stealth program, an attempt to tippy-toe to the moon and beyond by noncontroversial increments. In the near term, there's no singular moment when we decide, as a country, that we're definitely doing this. John Logsdon, the sage academic who runs a think tank called the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said: "If you're really cynical, you could say that this plan makes that decision without a decision . . . If it works, one day we're there."

It's, like, Oh, by the way, we're back on the moon.

"We have to take this in spirals, take this in steps," NASA official Terri Lomax told an audience of university professors in Columbia recently. "Spirals" is the buzzword of the moment. Returning to the moon for a couple weeks is only Spiral 2; setting up a moon base for 90 days would be Spiral 3. This kind of talk scares some space folks. A spiral, they point out, is not exactly the shortest path between two points.

The incremental approach puts the Vision at political risk. At the moment, NASA hasn't decided on the design of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, and even when that decision is made, the plan could be killed by Congress or a future administration. NASA is already making internal changes in homage to the Vision (most notably, cuts in aeronautics research), but most of the big-ticket items would happen long after President Bush is gone.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 22, 2009; 11:03 AM ET
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Next: Guest Kit: Life After Newspapers


Going beyond LEO is hazardous to human health because of the unshielded cosmic radiation. The advances in robotics make even manned missions to nearby space a questionable use of funds as well.

Until there is an economic payoff for space exploitation that demands a flexible human response to immediate concerns or until military security demands a permanent manned presence in space, cutting back is reasonable.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who are interested in such things, I believe that NASA has rolled the first Ares 1-X out to the launch pad with it's first test launch this weekend.

I recall, however, that the Augustine summary was very critical of the Ares 1-X as a launch vehicle, so I suppose there's a chance that this may be the first and last time one goes up.

Posted by: Awal | October 22, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Just rechecked. Launch of the Ares 1-X is actually scheduled for next Tuesday (10/27) not this weekend.

Posted by: Awal | October 22, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Reading the comments of Joel Achenbach and edbyronadams, I can't help but think of the following two quotes, both attributed to the late Dr. Werhner von Braun:

"Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft...and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor."


"Everything in space obeys the laws of physics. If you know these laws, and obey them, space will treat you kindly. And don't tell me man doesn't belong out there. Man belongs wherever he wants to go -- and he'll do plenty well when he gets there."

Posted by: jamesspellman | October 22, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Augustine will say anything for which he later issues an Apologia?

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

So was the fox waiting for Augustine?

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I thought that poor little fox looked most unwell. It worried me.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Dammit, Yoki, ya beat me by about three seconds.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Space is an excellent environment for old guys -- like, for example, me when the launch vehicles finally are ready. No strain on creaky old joints. Radiation damage isn't so much a hazard as it is for young people -- and after all, did you want to live forever? Nodding-off is diminished, if for no other reason than the elimination of weight means that there's no particular direction in which to nod. And, to be honest, the loss of life in a fatal accident with a 70-year-old who knew the risks when he took the job is less tragic than when the same thing happens to a 30-year-old who still has small kids at home and who had a long life ahead. We don't want to kill them -- presumably, we will like these people, and their training is expensive -- but they risk an end to life doing something extraordinary *after* the ordinary accomplishments of a good life, rather than dying *before* the chance to have those ordinary-yet-wonderful accomplishments. Finally, there's really nothing in space that should depend on the abilities of the young for split-second timing and rapid reflexes. If that's your plan of action, then you're already on track for a fatal incident. Space requires planning and thoughtfulness and rewards the experience of years. So long as you don't have Alzheimer's or other pesky dementia.

So, let's send old farts into space! We have nothing to lose but our walkers!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I think red foxes typically are scrawny-looking. It's probably fine.

I have a question in about the website shenanigans yesterday. Any IT shop worth its salt ought to be testing with various browsers - that was a lesson that should have been learned in 1995. Found this tidbit in their faq:
" currently supports these web browsers:

* Internet Explorer 5.x and higher (PC and Mac)
* Netscape 7 (PC only)
* Mozilla 1.4 and higher (PC only)
* AOL 9 (PC only)
* Safari (Mac only)

Other browsers may work to varying degrees on the site but we do not test or design for web browsers not on this list."

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

How about the Von Braun quote, "Slave labor makes cost efficient construction of the V-2 possible."

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

In space, no one can hear you snore.

Wouldn't old farts in (an enclosed) space smell even worse?

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | October 22, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous Boodling:

"I think that the Augustine Commitee's recommendations to the President for NASA's manned space flight programs are due to be released soon - tomorrow, maybe?

Saw that the first Ares I test flight is being rolled out to the launch site down at KFC this week - I wonder if that bird will become obsolete (Flying Dutchman, or is that a Flying Roman?) in the time it took to go from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad?



Posted by: -bc- | October 21, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse"


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Jake Garn and John Glenn point the way. To be an old fart astronaut, get elected to the Senate.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, the fox may have the flu. He probably didn't get vixenated.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Got my copy of the report, I'll look it over (but not all 157 pages of it) before heading to my 1:00 meeting...


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Tim, if NASA launches me into space, can I take along my prune juice?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, there might be downsides to folks of greater years in long duration spaceflights. For example, I'd think those that suffer from osteoperosis, I'd suspect that zero-G would accelerate bone mass loss.

And as you know, zero-G does not mean zero mass -- one could break an arm or a hip bouncing off of the Colbert zero-G toilet as falling in a pink tile bathroom. I suspect that those bones would not knit nearly as well on zero-G, either.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Also, if I get launched into space before 5 p.m., is there an earlybird special? Can I get 10% off if I show them my AARP card? What if I have to get up in the middle of the launch sequence to pee?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It isn't the slightness of the fox that concerns me, it is the staring coat and lack of fear-response.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The main source of stinkiness in space is increased farting due to the low air pressure we use in our space vehicles, about 1/4 normal atmospheric pressure (but pure O2, so a lungful gets about the same number of oxygen molecules as at sea level). I think it would be fair to estimate that the differential gas pressure on the sphincter would reach the 'fart threshold' in about 1/4 the time it takes under sea-level conditions. The actual production of stink molecules is no faster than under ordinary conditions. However, it is my theory that farts are stinkiest when the material producing the gas is what you might call "insufficiently composted": too many large (and stinky) molecules remaining to be aerosolized in the effluent. When the intestinal contents have been more-completely converted to methane and biologically-useful compounds, I suspect that stink-per-cubic-centimeter would be decreased. Under this theory, the rapid production of farts, before the intestine has time to fully process its contents, suggests that total stinkiness would be substantially enhanced.

Perhaps Wilbrod_Gnome or jack would care to comment on this topic!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I have seen foxes in the wild and that is a poor example. Their tails usually look like a bottlebrush. Google up some images and compare.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Possible sci-fi movie titles:

Mars Needs Geezers
Flush Gordon
Close Encounters of the -- Mildred, I Can't Find My Glasses
Planet of the Assisted Living
Silent Gumming

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

After discussion with my office-mate, I have the following description for an ideal astronaut:

1. relatively old -- at least 60
2. little person (smaller body = less mass to move, lesser use of consumable supplies)
3. highly educated
4. decent physical condition
5. both legs amputated (less body mass = less mass to move, lesser use of consumable supplies. Besides what were you going to use them for?)
6. no dementia, except that which is required to undergo elective leg-amputation
7. good eyesight

Item 7 may not be necessary. Advanced forms of optical assistance may be technically feasible in the price range appropriate to an ambitious space program. I am already coming up with ideas...

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If that fox is a small as Joel says, it is likely one of this year's pups, and hasn't yet had time to "fill out" into a mature animal.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 22, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

2001: The Good 'ol Days
20 Million Miles to the Next Rest Stop
The Prune Planet
Lost in Space

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"Lost in Space" is *very* good, Scotty. Methinks a 9.5

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

*polite bow* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Joel's Augustine report is up:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Totally OT, but still worth a look and a smile, especially if you mourn the passing of Mouthpiece Theater-

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, Joel, serious question: given that the U.S. cannot afford a "proper" planetary program on its own finances, why not try to create a truly international space program. Give that int'l program that portion of NASA devoted to this work, and team up with Russia, India China (if it wants in), Britain, Canada, Japan, and anybody else who wants a piece of the action. Maybe shame some Arab countries into kicking in some moeny. Let Russia handle the majority of the booster work and the launch facilities at Baikonur or Star City, or wherever they are launching from these days, because their ecnomy can use the work, and they build very good, very big boosters using the ship-building theory rather than the clean-room approach we use. Any other countries who want some of the manufacturing can kick in, especially Japan, say, and the European consortium. India can have the help desk work.

In theory, it is not just the U.S. that benefits from the knowledge gained, right? It is the entire world that gains. So let's get the rest of the planet involved.

Has the Augustine Committee or NASA considered it from this point of view?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

China will be outflanking us in the high frontier soon enough. That will spur the militarization of space, something which tends to push through cost barriers.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

OH POOH! I really did mean to enter that stupid contest, but now it's too late. The video on the HuffPo piece was fitfully amusing, but too strident to be consistently funny; Lewis Black and Mudge are the only persons who successfully make something funny out of anger. The two dipsticks make an obvious joke about how you could blog with just as big an audience without bothering with the WaPo. Except, of course, that success in the contest requires that professionals make an informed judgement about whether you have actual, y'know, writing talent and originality. You have to do an awful lot of frog-kissing to find that in private blogs. Or just come straight to the Achenblog.

I completely agree that "Lost in Space" is a superior title.

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

The geriatric's guide to the galaxy?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

moi? *blushing*

A friend just sent me this link. Apparently someone at the British newspaper/Web site The Economist reeeeely didn't like William Safire, and wrote this devastating obit about him. About as tastefully vicious as only the Brits can get.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of including Canada in the international space team. We could kick in, like, CA$3M!

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

How about calling the geezers in space movie "Space Cowboys"? We could get a bunch of craggy actors like Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, or even James Garner.

Put in a lot of prune jokes and the script practically writes itself.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, there should be a Canadian up there Yoki. And Joel needs to make a trip for verification purposes of course.

I'm getting ready for a 4 hour meeting. Lucky me...NOT. Hey, it's paying the bills and then some. No complaining...just occasional grumbling.

Posted by: Windy3 | October 22, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

How much is that in real money, Yoki?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

That would be about $100,000, I think. Sorry, I was making a joke about the pitifully small contributions we make to most international efforts, with the Prime Minister getting up during Question Period or in front of the Conference Board of Canada or some other group of worthies and making a big announcement as though our drop in the bucket were significant. I think we gave $1M to the Pakistan Earthquake effort, and about the same for the Asian Tsunami. Laughable.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

This is a day old, but pretty inetreresting:
US News
Tests show flu spreads from schools
Wed, Oct 21 11:16 AM EDT
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Results of tens of thousands of flu tests indicate that the pandemic H1N1 virus is spreading from school-aged children to the rest of the U.S. population, makers of the tests say.

Quest Diagnostics, which makes a commercially available test that can confirm swine flu infection, said the findings suggest many more adults will be infected with the new H1N1 influenza.

"Based on tests performed since Quest Diagnostics began offering H1N1 testing in May 2009, children between the ages of five to 14 have experienced higher overall rates of H1N1 positivity than any other age group," the company said in its report.

The Quest test is a PCR test -- it magnifies the genetic material of the virus so it can be detected and is similar to the tests used by state health departments to confirm H1N1.

On-the-spot flu tests given in doctor's offices only tell if a person has influenza A or not. They cannot tell which strain, and they often miss the new H1N1 strain completely.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given up trying to count how many people have the new H1N1, saying only that is it well over a million. Only select cases are tested.

The CDC reported that data from 27 U.S. states shows 53 percent of people sick enough to be hospitalized with H1N1 flu are under the age of 25, with only 7 percent of hospitalizations among people 65 and older -- a reversal of the trend seen with seasonal flu.

Dr. Jay Lieberman, medical director for Quest Diagnostics and a pediatrician at the University of California, Irvine, says data from Quest's testing, based on 76,500 specimens taken between May 11 and October 11, 2009, can supplement the CDC's findings, which cover fewer than 5,000 patients.


The sharp rise in cases in children came at the end of August and beginning of September, Lieberman told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"What is interesting is that we are now seeing delayed by several weeks a rise in other age groups -- in the elderly, in people aged 50 to 64 and in children under 5 years of age," Lieberman said.

Influenza often spreads from school-aged children to siblings, parents and eventually grandparents./

"What we have seen in the pandemic so far is that the elderly have been relatively spared. That may start to change in the weeks ahead," Lieberman said.

Many scientists think the elderly are less likely to be infected because they have some immunity to the H1N1 virus.

Lieberman said the findings show it is important to vaccinate children against influenza to slow the spread in the community.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, not one of the commenters on that obituary seemed to see it as lampooning tiresome political fixations, extreme narrow-mindedness, and loathsome self-adoration.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 22, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I thought the best part of the pundit parody was at the end, where they tell Dan Froomkin not to apply.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that was pretty good, seasea. I also watched their parody of Mothpiece Theater, which was pretty devastating.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Fart Wars?

I'd also add that not only did "Space Cowboys" do the elderly folks in space theme, but the Star Trek motion pictures II through VII pretty much did, too.

The Augustine Report's final conclusion was reported by Joel here:

And seems to be consistent with my reading of it, and the Prune theme: p00p or get off the pot.

I'd would be very happy to send a lot more of my tax dollars to NASA provided there is a good plan, I don't think it's going to work out that way.

I was hoping - perhaps overly optimistically - that the Report would offer compelling cases for humans (presumably primarily Americans) to explore space firsthand. I don't see it clearly in the Executive Summary, anyway.
Instead, it looks to me like it's a "if you want to do this, ya gotta do that" list.

Which is fine, but hardly inspiring.

Something the Augustine Report does not appear to recommend - but would be my #1 recommendation - is Inspirational and Responsible Leadership and Advocacy bordering on obsessiveness.

Ya know, someone who Believes, and is willing to go the extra Billion miles to get there.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

A new episode of "Twits" is up!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Meant to add that you'll know Geezership One when you see it.

It'll be the one in the Left orbit going 2000 mph below the speed limit.

With the turn signal on.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

One last thing, quickly:

After reading the title of this Kit, I should be making jokes about AstroCosmonauts Vladimir, Estragon, Lucky, and Pozzo, but I don't have the time.


Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

FartWar is a homophonic synonym of fatwa

Is there a word for that?

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

2 memos to Liz Kelly re: Twits:

(1) Jessica Aimone and Annie Mueller are HOT! (All the actors, without exception are excellent. Presumably as director you have input on their line readings, so kudos to you too, Liz.)

(2) Rainn Wilson is deliberately writing comic one-liners; he isn't a moron or otherwise clueless self-involved egomaniac and thus doesn't belong in the company of the mindless and boorish. And he's brilliant; he's not a twit at all. But yes, his tweets do deserve wide exposure, but to be praised, not mocked. But otherwise the selection of tweets and twits as well as the readings have been outstanding.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Fartwar is how they pronounce fatwa in Boston.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

No no no no no...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Painfully off-topic, but not off-boodle is this study of work (house- and otherwise) and sex:


///The study defined housework as nine chores: cleaning, preparing meals, washing dishes, washing and ironing clothes, driving family members around, shopping, yard work, maintaining cars and paying bills. Wives in the study spent an average 41.8 hours a week on these tasks, compared with 23.4 hours for husbands—a split that is fairly typical, and often regarded by wives as unfair. However, the effects of any fairness concerns among wives weren't measured in this study.

Outside the home, husbands spent an average 33.8 hours a week on paid work, compared with 19.7 hours for wives. Couples reported having sex 82.7 times a year on average, or 1.6 times a week, about the same as in other studies.///

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the things I enjoy most about being single: no question of fairness. If you want something done, do it.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Did the study discuss what the 9 steps of sex were, yello? Or how much time each partner spends on which steps?

Just wondering.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Though I admit it would be great to have some device that mimics manly upper-body strength, sometimes.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it Bahstan that will only give you 239 of their famous baked beans?

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't sell Canada short. They've made great contributions to world peace over the years by steadfastly refusing to start wars they can't win in places they don't want to be, no small accomplishment.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- that's the time you gotta go out and hire one of them upper body (*at least*) types, eh?

Posted by: -ftb- | October 22, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

*Twice Snort*

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm more interested in trying to figure out what 0.6 sex consists of.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

One more and they would be too fahty.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 22, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I pahk the cah at Bahnahd's Stah.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

It's just foreplay followed by a cigarette, yello.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet Bill Clinton could tell us what 0.6 sex consists of. Maybe if you don't inhale...

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

SciTim-- charcoal filtered underwear.

This is my only suggestion.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

SciTim and Mudge, that's because it is so perfectly Safire.

It captures the colorful use of his language, without "prejudging him," yet making no bones about his five-o'clock shadowy connexions (Ariel Sharon, Nixon, etc.)

Love or hate him, it's a masterly summing up.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

All those who'd issue a faht-wah are old fahts.

It's the sulfur.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps NASA needs to check out this company:

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

a.k.a. brimstone

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Be good, kids. I'm off to shop and then out for dinner.

As Lucy van Pelt said, "What's the good of being sought after, if you can't be found?"

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

People who shun Twitter are missing out on the wit of Fake AP Stylebook. Sample tweet:

"Umlauts should only be used when referencing Nü Metal, the Canadian word aboüt, and in Conan fan fiction."

Even better:

"There is no such thing as an "Oxford comma." The other guys in the newsroom are pranking you."

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yello. I am now a follower.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 22, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

re this exchange:
- - -
Fartwar is how they pronounce fatwa in Boston.
[Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2009 4:12 PM]

No no no no no...
[Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2009 4:14 PM]
- - -

'Mudge is right on this one. "faht-wah" is how they'd pronounce it if it was actually spelled "fartwar". But since it has no "r"s, they'll happily insert them, and drawr you a picture of the result!

Posted by: bobsewell | October 22, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, even if we were to commit many billions of dollars to a hugely ambitious manned space program, that doesn't necessarily mean that a new era of Great Inspiration will follow. Maybe the public would follow such a lead, maybe they would be profoundly unmoved. Inspiration is touchy. It can't be bought.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 22, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Great video of a WWII veteran's testimonial about gay marriage...

Posted by: -TBG- | October 22, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Dear Frustrated in Cape Canaveral:

Thank you for your letter. We understand your frustration at your inability to secure the affections of your dream woman. Unfortunately, it is our advice that simply taking her to the drive-in movies isn’t going to work.

We understand that this was cool back in High School, but it just won’t cut it now, even if you do spring for the extra-large popcorn.

We believe that you are going to have to go for something much more ambitious. You know, maybe a day trip to the Shakespearean Festival in a Stretch Limo.

Sure, it’s gonna cost you, but we really think that’s what it’s going to take. Maybe, just maybe, you might impress her with a sight-seeing trip to observe the trees changing colors, but they are going to have to be pretty darn impressive. And you will still need a much better car.

And even if you do shell out for all this, we cannot guarantee getting the desired response. It might be better to just invite her over for pizza and red wine and watch something romantic on television. Sometimes that works too.


The Augustine Love Advisors

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 22, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Google maps, I discovered just a few days ago, will serve up a map of the USA with the remaining drive-in theaters labeled.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Indexed, on kit:

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Quickly, before collapsing after a long day: Love the Geezer Space Nation Notion, ScienceTim and others.

Thanks RD. I'm having trouble with that "Augustine" myself. Space exploration is just not my primary association and it is too much effort to wrench my mind around.

Speaking of which, "vixenated". "Viagarella". Hah. And thanks to Mudge for the last word on fox in socks. You rocks!

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta has a hockey team... called the Thrashers?

Posted by: -TBG- | October 22, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I kinda liked "vixenated" my own self.

Yankees-Angels game getting interesting, LAA just tied it up at 6-6.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 22, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Back to NYC for at least 1 more.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

(Shhhh...I think Mudge is asleep.)

TBG, I suppose Atlanta's saving "Threshers" for their soccer team.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta has a hockey team?

Posted by: nellie4 | October 22, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

RD_P, you had me laughing out loud. Well done, sir.

Wasn't the team named for the bird, not the farm hands?

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to see the Augustine Commission pressing for retaining the International Space Station until 2020. The Japanese lab sections in particular make it a useful place for doing science.

New Scientist already has coverage. Looks like Norman Augustine doesn't think much of Ares I.

Meanwhile, there'll be a few space techie types at this Saturday's palm festival at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 23, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Why is the Florida Institute meeting in Australia?

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: seasea1 | October 23, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Secret impromptu BPH at the 9:30 Club:

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Dang, I was hoping that link would go to Melbourne, FL. Ah well.,+FL&sll=28.248747,-80.822983&sspn=0,0&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Melbourne,+Brevard,+Florida&ll=28.118622,-80.608063&spn=0.288872,0.42984&z=11

Posted by: seasea1 | October 23, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Kewl, yellojkt and bc! My frenvy has no bounds. How were the bands?

Posted by: seasea1 | October 23, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, seasea! I get it (a novel experience).

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Gaslight Anthem was very good. Hard-driving classic-rock style songs with lots of hidden allusions. Murder by Death exceeded expectations by being macabrely funny.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

A friend forwarded an email to me about Pyrex dishes exploding. I thought it was the usual exaggerated stories even though there were pictures showing the damage. I googled Pyrex and then went to It turned out there were many stories about Pyrex dishes exploding inside and outside the oven. This is scary. I was thinking of getting a Pyrex dish. Not anymore.

The comment by the third poster about glass is educational :-

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 23, 2009 3:13 AM | Report abuse

An English countryside church in Japan….on the 21st and 22nd floors…

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 23, 2009 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Slower does not have to be bad. Like Metro, our space program needs a solid base of funds and a vision. Then it can wait for technology to build up to put a pound in orbit for a cost we will want to pay. Then we will have systems of air and water to support our people in space. And the energy we collect in space will pay for our travels. If not our other resources we gain in the Asteroids and the Moon.

It may take time, but steady and sure gains the prize.

Posted by: gary4books | October 23, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Morning. boodle. Back to the salt mines.

Soupy Sales, RIP. Bless his little kiddie show host heart.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Happy Friday, all. Still missing Cassandra.

I'm a little late this morning because Windows had an update, then Explorer wouldn't work, so I went to Firefox, which unexpectedly closed and then Explorer worked. Hey, I only live here.

I was rather proud of myself yesterday afternoon; I needed to print a form from my insurance company's website. Adobe asked for a file name. WTF? So I uninstalled the copy of Adobe on the 'puter and installed the latest, then I could print. Whew!

Busy day ahead. I'll be visiting the sick and getting ready for tomorrow's fall festival, then picking up Mr. T at the airport and meeting a friend for lunch. And that's just till lunchtime! Time to get started...

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

So long, Soupy... *SIGHHHH*

*TFSMIF-and-all-that Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

*extra-large-economy-sized facepalm*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Hola Boodle!

Here, spring is beginning to look like the season that never wuz. Not quite winter temperatures, but no relief in sight. BRRR!

The dollar keeps falling since my arrival. From over 600 pesos to the dollar it has fallen to 537. For me, that's the loss of 126 good lunches in modestly priced restaurants.

Been busy trying to steer Obama clear of trouble in the eastern Middle East, but he obviously doesn't read my stuff.

The moral to this is: If ya don't watch yer six o'clock, someone will stick it to ya.

Haff a gut day and a happy weekend, Boodlers!

Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! Today is Daughter's 16th birthday. Son of G is flying in this morning to help celebrate.

What were YOU doing on Oct. 23, 1993?

Posted by: -TBG- | October 23, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

As a once (and forever) loyal Birdbath member, and as one who actually met Soupy Sales (after all, I am from Detroit), I lift my hand onto my heart for a lovely guy and a wonderful comic. White Fang and Black Tooth ("don't kiss!") and all the rest are joining Snuke with a big, huge, pie-in-the-face ...... *SIGH*

Posted by: -ftb- | October 23, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm fairly sure I was sleeping in on a Saturday morning after a long week of college classes, etc. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday to TBG-Dot and anybody else celebrating a birthday today (and you know who you are).

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes of course, a VHB to DotOfG! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Very cool to see ol' yello down at the 9:30 club. Gaslight Anthem was indeed quite good, and Murder by Death darn amusing. I missed the opening act, but the second band, Loved, delivered a by-the- numbers set of pop punk, though they got an extra half-point from me by mentioning classic harDCore bands Minor Threat and Bad Brains (what, no Fugazi?). Still, I'd seen them do better opening for the Hold Steady last summer.

TBG - ha! Good question: What *was* I doing 16 years ago today? Heck, I don't even remember what I had for lunch yesterday.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

TBG, where are my manners?

Please give my best wishes to Dot'oG for a Happy Birthday.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

I don't suppose anyone can tell me why the WaPo front page opinions column, featuring K-hammer's piece on the war between the Fox network and Obama, has chosen to illustrate said column with a photo of...Keith Olbermann? He's not even ON Fox, fer cryin' out loud. The other head shot is of Bill O'Reilly, who IS on Fox...but is never mentioned in the K-hammer piece (neither is Olbermann, and neither is the Olbermann-O'Reilly feud).

I guess if Fox + "war" = Olbermann, then
NBC + "food" = Julia Child. Or something. Don't try to figure it out. I think the page layout people ought to try reading the columns once in a while.

Aw, man: RIP, Soupy Sales, 83, Pookie, White Fang and Black Tooth, etc. There's this interesting graf from the obit:

"Sales was born Milton Supman on Jan. 8, 1926, in Franklinton, N.C., where his was the only Jewish family in town. His parents, owners of a dry-goods store, sold sheets to the Ku Klux Klan. The family later moved to Huntington, W.Va."

You couldn't make that up.

The otherwise pretty good AP obit, at, neglects to mention the famous firetruck joke, perhaps because it is apocryphal. Snopes has a big article claiming that Sales never told all those risque jokes he is alleged to have told. But I firmly believe that whenever someone calls someone "Pookie" (Lisa de Moraes column, IIRC), that's from the Soupy show. When I was a kid, my brother and I always watched "Lunch With Soupy," ostensibly a kids' show, but wondered why my mother sometimes laughed when we didn't know why. Soupy loved puns, as did my mother, and I seem to have inherited the trait.

TGIF. Onward and upward. Excelsior!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Front page breaking news tragedy:

"Cerrato: Zorn to coach Redskins for rest of season."

*weeping piteously*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday to G-Dot!

You know, I have naught but a foggy and thoroughly indistinct memory of 1993 in general.

This worries me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, it doesn't say WHICH Redskins Zorn will coach, 'Mudge. There's still hope... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The shame of it is, Zorn's a very nice guy. I certainly don't hate him, and I doubt anyone does. The people who need to be fired are Cerrato and Snyder, not necessarily in that order.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, my only memory of Soupy Sales was on "What's my Line."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

G-Dot is 16? Oh my, where has time gone? I hope she has a wonderful day and a fabulous year.

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Happy b-day to TBG dot. Have a great celebrashoon y'all.


Posted by: Braguine | October 23, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, there's a reason Zorn's not being fired (even though I don't think the team's current state is entirely his fault) -- we just don't know what it is.

Could be that Snyder/Cerrato are afraid of scaring off any potential HC candidates by dumping Z mid-season (though the Sherm Lewis/play-calling situation is about the same thing in peoples' minds - those guys aren't fooling anyone) or that there's a provision in Z's contract that calls for a knee-weakening payout/settlement of some sort in case of his dismissal.

In either case, I don't know if Snyder is asking himself what's best for the team rather than what's best for himself.


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Sad news out of Pakistan *wink* this morning ...

More than nine women have been killed while wearing chenile robes made in Pakistan and sold in the U.S. by Pennsylvania firm Blair. The robes don't meet flame-retardant standards and most victims were in their 70s and 80s who were standing at their stoves cooking when the robes caught on fire. Blair LLC will now recall other chenile items made in Pakistan previously offered in its catalogs. (Did you know the word cheap comes from the Anglo Saxon *chepe*, meaning "to barter"?)

For women with more disposable incomes who have the time and inclination to travel to Sedona, Arizona, to participate in a $9,000-a-week new-age spiritual retreat, these women can literally cook themselves to death by participating in a sweat lodge ceremony. (Did you see the woman interviewed by ABC's Robin Roberts this morning? She, speaking from an undisclosed location in Texas, was still in brainwashed new-age-speak from the experience. If the outcome of this news story weren't so tragic, this woman's choice of vocabulary would be laughable.)

Posted by: laloomis | October 23, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Since John Kerry appears on the home page in a photo with HYamid Karzai, it begs the question:

Has anyone seen Richard Holbrooke lately?

Posted by: laloomis | October 23, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Howdy, and Happy Birthday to DotofTBG!

If October 23, 1993 was a weekday, I was at my newly-begun temporary job, and happy to be there after several months fixing up the house and looking for work.

Thanks, yello, for the Surprise BPH photo. Very cool. Why don't I ever run into Boodlers as I go about my business in the Greater OKC Metro Area?

Finally, with apologies to mo, let me praise the Angels. Keep it up, guys!

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 23, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

yanno, bc. You just don't see enough rock and roll cello anymore.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"Cheap" also meant "buy" and "market," and is also the root of our word "capital" (capitalism):

"Cheapside is also a common English street name, meaning "market-place", the word cheap referring to the Old English ceapan (the origin for the words capital and capitalism) meaning "to buy" or "market" as opposed to the modern meaning "low price" which is a shortening of "Good ceap", i.e. a 'good buy'."

The word appears in the names of streets and districts such as Eastcheap and Westcheap, which simply mean "Eastern Market" and "Western Market," etc.

"Cheap," the word standing alone, is the name of one of the 25 wards that make up the City of London.

The name Chapman, which means "seller" or "dealer" or "peddler," derives from it, as does the word chapbook, so named because of the peddlers (chapmen) who sold them. Chapbooks were once used as "bum fodder" (q.v.). You probably didn't want to know that.

There is no known association to Susie Chapstick.

This has been your incredibly obscure English etymology lesson for today. Tune in tomorrow for the Norse roots of "Pookie" and the etymology of "Black Tooth."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, there is Apocalyptica, which goes a long way to supplying the demand.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Faxing Mudge a large industrial hankie for sopping up the tears.

And faxing a bunch of flowers to the birthday girl. Happy birthday.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 23, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, dr. For we residents of the Washington region, the events of this season have been extraordinarily traumatic. And no light at the end of the tunnel.

Kind of like Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

O, dear. Joel, you missed a party, it seems:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

O double-dear. Either Ms. Hesse doesn't think we're funny, or JA's been hiding us all these years...

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't think she knows we exist, Scotty. Which I think is actually a good thing.

Also, I'm doubtful about the propriety of Wapo Reporter X writing about the contents of WaPo blog Y. It would smack too much of in-house incest. And it's no-win for anybody. If she praises, it looks like its because it's in-house stuff. If she doesn't praise, then it looks like some sort of feud or game going on. Who needs it.

She couldn't discuss Weingarten and his chats, either. She probably shouldn't/can't discuss anything related to in-house.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Well, Boodlers are not in-house stuff, 'Mudge, no matter what Rule 6 sez...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Well, true. But it is an in-house column. But I shall pout with you.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Hesse will be writing about online pouting next...

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 23, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

As someone who has passed the Gawker Media audition bar under at least three different aliases, I'm proof their standards for wittiness are fairly low.

And I stay as far away from Jezebel as I can. Those commenters are crazyy.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. A site for online pouting: Twit Your Snit.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Murder By Death and Apocalyptica have made my day. I suppose I could tell my friend the punk-rock loving cellist but he'd inform me he knew when they weren't cool or something. In any case thanks yello and Yoki.

I have to note that soaking people's clothing in hormone-disrupting chemicals to flameproof them may not be such a good idea after all. Perhaps efforts to not set your clothes on fire might be the better method.

A good friend was sucked into getting a so-called "rescued" dog from a puppy mill. Interesting scam. Abuse the pups, and then by definition when you sell them, they have been "rescued." Several internet savvy friends are closing in on the Missouri location, with interested newspapers and Operation Bark Alert soon to be on the case. Poor dog is in awful health, closing in on $1000 of vet care in less than a week after arrival. Friend was absent of malice, but easily fooled and misled.

Re the exploding cookware, I once had a brand new iron skillet explode. Since I know it's GOT to be a rare event, I got another one and have been happily continuing with cast iron ware.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

So, if chapbooks were used as "bum fodder," is that where the word "chapped" is derived? No wonder there's such a demand for the high-end, fluffed-pulp Charmin...

Posted by: laloomis | October 23, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

In good conscience, I find I must (reluctantly) pass on the following link to the Boodle, in the interests of science:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It is not uncommon for flawed cast iron to break when heated. There was just a big recall of [celebrity name] iron cookware.

Glad to hear you like Apocalyptic, Jumper.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

What did the offspring look like?

Posted by: bh72 | October 23, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, if you hear of any more exploding skillets, please let me know. It may be the start of a pandemic.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jeez. The opening salvo in Milbank's chat:

"First, this breaking news. Just in! Happening now! Congressman Joe Wilson's wife has H1N1. I do not lie! The CDC will undoubtedly be taking a very close look at this case because it was previously believed you could not contract the virus from close proximity to pigs."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I want Cruithne mission! (obligatory on-kit comment. Besides, I DO want a manned mission to Cruithne.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I had a pyrex pan crack in half on top of a warm stove. Not what I would call "exploding."

Jumper, would like to know more about that. Sometimes people "rescue" dogs and then abuse them (kind of like cat hoarders) by neglect, then adopt them out and spread lies about where they got them from. Some breeders have been burnt by wackos like that and have had to fight to sue to get the animals returned per contract (some just resold the animals at a loss, violating the contract so the breeders had a time tracking them down.)

It disturbs me that it's "trendy" to rescue abused animals and blame the breeder etc. IMO, even the worst puppy mill knows that fat, friendly puppies make for good sales to the public on average.

I'm convinced Wilbrodog's only abuse was his previous owner, who was likely a drug addict, and neglected him to the point he was really underweight, and apparently hit him with a broom once or twice.

It's very easy to neglect pets when you're high or looking for the next high.
It's not so easy to breed and raise animals for sale if you're high.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man, is THIS ever gonna open up a can of worms:

23 October 2009 by Kate Ravilious

Kate Ravilious is a science journalist based in York, UK, and the guilty owner of a medium-sized dog

Issue 2731 of New Scientist magazine

Editorial: Cute, fluffy and horribly greedy

[first two grafs:]

"SHOULD owning a great dane make you as much of an eco-outcast as an SUV driver? Yes it should, say Robert and Brenda Vale, two architects who specialise in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. In their new book, Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, they compare the ecological footprints of a menagerie of popular pets with those of various other lifestyle choices - and the critters do not fare well."

"As well as guzzling resources, cats and dogs devastate wildlife populations, spread disease and add to pollution. It is time to take eco-stock of our pets."

Wilbrodog, how big exactly is your carbon pawprint?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 23, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"More than nine women..."

So, is that ten women, or ten thousand?

Posted by: bobsewell | October 23, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Roxanne Wilson contracted H1N1 because of where she lives-

In 2006, SC was the 48th healthiest state in the nation, according to the UnivSoCar School of Public Health.

U of S. Carolina reported these factors leading to the low 2006 rank:
Low high school graduation rate: 59.7 percent of incoming ninth graders graduate within four years, dead last in the nation;

High violent crime rate: 761 offenses per 100,000 population, worst.

High prevalence of obesity: 29.1 percent of population, 47th.

High infant mortality rate: 8.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, 46th.

High incidence of motor vehicle deaths: 2.2 per 100,000,000 miles driven, 47th.

The National Center for Health Statistics, available through the CDC states that in 2009 SC has elevated rates in cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, kidney disease, diabetes, and infant mortality rate.

Of course, an alternative theory would be because of who she lives with...

Posted by: kguy1 | October 23, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I give back to the earth, Mudge, and it's all biodegradable. And I get to eat people food, too.

Why don't they go calculate the carbon pawprint of a grizzly or a human baby, or sumptin' like that?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 23, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This sentence jumped out at me from the "pets as eco-villains" piece:

"Pets definitely deserve attention: by my estimates, the energy footprint of a cat is about 2 per cent of the average British person's energy footprint - and it's bigger for most dogs."

Sounds to me like the problem is not the pets but the British people!

Posted by: kguy1 | October 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey yolljkt, a nice blurb for coach Paul Johnson & GT at SFGate this morning. Although getting praise from (avert your eyes, Ivansmom) Barry Switzer is questionable.

Posted by: bh72 | October 23, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

scc, yellOjkt

Posted by: bh72 | October 23, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the triple option is keeping all those pitch-outs from turning into fumbles. A bobbled forward pass is incomplete with no loss of yardage. A dropped lateral is a potential game-ruining turnover.

Nonetheless, I will be watching the GT-UVA game at the Greene Turtle in Columbia in case anyone wants to turn a GT alumni event into a BPH.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Roxanne Wilson has swine flu?

"Celebrities" are supposed to be immune from viruses? Well, on the celeb list with--or having had--H1N1 is Rupert Grint of Harry Potter movie fame, Marilyn Manson, Sanjay Gupta, Lisa Rinna. Ditzy Paris Hilton said that she'll never get it because she doesn't eat pork.

And lest we forget the first swine flu celebrity death that occurred on May 12. A shocker! Just a real shame that he croaked.

Posted by: laloomis | October 23, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Besides, dogs that have a job get a pass. Granted Wilbrodog's got a CUSHY job but it IS a job.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Here ya go:
I'm already gone.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Meaning that Pomplamoose had me at "hello."

Seems, however, there is a guest kit...

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I strongly suspect that I've got it. A low-level fever that's been coming & going for a week, lung congestion without any significant nasal sinus congestion, some shortness of breath.

It hasn't particularly incapacitated me, but it's getting old. If it's still hanging in there next week, I'll probably go see somebody about it, although I'm not sure there's a heck of a lot they can do about it.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 23, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually, bh72, I recently attended a ceremony in which the premier state children's museum honored Barry Switzer for his work with children and youth. For 36 consecutive years he's coached and parcipated in the Oklahoma Special Olympics. He's never missed a state games opening ceremony. He also joins the regional games and has traveled with the team to the international games several times. I'm not interested in OU football, and I don't think Ivansdad much liked his Cowboys coaching, but I came away impressed with Switzer the person.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 23, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

On Oct. 23, 1993, ScienceTim and I were on our way from the AAS Division of Planetary Science meeting in Boulder to visiting his family in Indianapolis. At that time Tim was in graduate school, and I still intended to get my own doctorate.

I was 4 months pregnant with ScienceKid #1. One day during the meeting I went hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with some of Tim's grad school friends, while Tim stayed at the hotel with a bad cold. The autumn day was crisp and cool, with frozen waterfalls already beginning to appear in the streams. I was amused to notice that the other hikers (all guys) made sure to keep me in sight. Apparently it's considered bad form to lose track of your fellow student's pregnant wife.

By the time we reached Indianapolis I had also come down with Meetingitis. The first day in Indianapolis was spent sleeping on his Aunt's sofa. We didn't have enough energy to climb the rickety spiral staircase up to the guest loft. While I felt perfectly safe hiking the Rockies, I was terrified of those stairs.

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | October 23, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ScienceTim was a postdoc in 1993.

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | October 23, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the sofa belonged to my first cousin, once-removed. Unless the family stories are true, in which case the kinship description becomes significantly more complex.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the "Puma Warning" signs. Staircases just don't provide that kind of risk-management perspective.

You can die by tripping and falling down a staircase, but if you die by tripping off a cliff or eaten by a puma in the Rockies, at least you won't become the punchline of a joke. It diminishes the performance anxiety when you know that even your failures will be individually notable, rather than statistically insignificant.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 23, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

New Kit! Tom Shroder! (for those who may have overlooked Jumper's pronouncement)

Posted by: seasea1 | October 23, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey! There's a new Guest Kit!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 23, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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