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'Government-run health care'

[Didn't I say, just last week, that someone should kick the computer that put Iowa at No. 1 in the nation? Yeah, they were number 1 until they ran into that perennial powerhouse Northwestern! Now we just need to do something about TCU -- whoever and whatever that is -- and the two computers that think Cincinnati is better than Alabama.]

Note this line in the official Michael Steele, RNC reaction to the passage of health care bill in the House (after some world-class grandstanding and obstreperousness by our esteemed leaders): "Today with help from their liberal House allies, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi finally got what they have been creating behind closed doors these past months - a government-run health care experiment that will increase families' health care costs, increase the deficit, increase taxes on small businesses and the middle class, and cut Medicare." Never mind the throwaway "liberal" slur or the silly "behind closed doors" confabulation: The last two words of the sentence would seem to contradict at least partially what has preceded them. Medicare is "government-run health care." If Medicare is cut, that would necessarily diminish the fiscal problems caused by the "experiment." Regardless of whether someone supports or opposes the bill, it is the height of disingenuousness to slam government health care while being reverential about Medicare. The fiscal dilemma of the moment is largely built around the rapid rise in Medicare costs. Social Security is a rounding error compared to Medicare.

Fred Hiatt blames Obama for not wanting to inflict any pain on the middle class to pay for expanded health care, but members of Congress in both parties are similarly pain-averse. But at some point the bill will come due and I don't think my kids should have to pay for programs that we weren't willing to pay for ourselves. (Although come to think of it, the youngest one does owe me some money.)


Check out Paul Krugman this morning on the difference between governing and rabble-rousing:

"Real power in the party rests, instead, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who at this point is more a media figure than a conventional politician). Because these people aren't interested in actually governing, they feed the base's frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it. So all the old restraints are gone."


The New Yorker tries to explain why Americans are constantly killing each other.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 9, 2009; 9:27 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Crazy vs. fanatical
Next: When to drop a dime


The 'government run health care' meme (read: Big Lie) seems to be a well-tested confabulation because all the Republican were using it on all the Sunday talking head shows.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Revenge of an editor:

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Now that the health Care (if you can call it that) bill is passed, we will see increases in our medical care, doctors leaving or retiring, long lines to even get care and an increase in ER visits. We know, we lived in the UK for 6 years and their system is broken. The elderly die early, the wait for surgery is too long and when it comes, too late. Most of their doctors had to be imported from other countries just to keep their hospitals open. My husband visited a UK hospital with appendicitis @ 04:00AM and by time they got to him, around noon, it had burst, giving him peritonitis. He ended up spending 10 days in the hospital. Is this cost effective? Had this happened in the states, he would have had surgery @ 05:00, recovered by noon and returned home the next day for rehab. Think about it. Vote out everyone that voted for this Gov't takeover healthcare in the next election and let’s get our country back.
A concerned RN

Posted by: rn1medic2 | November 9, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Yello, "Voluntary Separation Program" haven't heard that before.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, not even a Front Page Alert yet...

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Republican Naysayer?

Reactionary Nihilist?

Rotating Nonagenarian?

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Your first sentence perfectly describes the current US system right now. Speaking of importing doctors, have you always been that racist? Check out the staff rosters on most US hospitals. Lots of names I can't pronounce, but I trust the system that they are competent and qualified.

We took my son went to the hospital with a burst appendix at 8 p.m., he went into surgery at 2 a.m. and spent twelve days in the hospital. My anecdotal horror story beats yours.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

RN did it occur to you that those doctors might be immigrants, not exactly the white anglo-saxon/celtic nation of yore.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Raging Nutball?

Racist Nincompoop?

Radical Numbskull?

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Roboticized Nonsense?

Ridiculous Nuisance?

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"let’s get our country back."

From whom? (Like that I used that correctly? I am trainable.)

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I'm a little confused here, the Republicans are worried about Medicare? I mean, they actually care about Medicare? That's strange to me. I must be on another planet, wouldn't be the first time. Wolf Blitzer of CNN asked Micheal Steele if there is still racism in this country, and Steele answered, of course not. I know I'm in la la land many times, but I thought, what is he on.

I know I'm suppose to be back, but it seems getting back is getting even harder. I was up at five o'clock, and I'm still moving. And so tired and sleepy. Got the g-girl off to school, and got dad fed, now I'm washing clothes, heading to the laundry room. Perhaps some rest while waiting for the dryer to do its thing.

I do hope everyone here had a lovely weekend, and that all families are well. One of the soldiers shot at Fort Hood is from my neck of the woods. They call him a gentle giant. I think he's about seven feet, big guy, but a beautiful person.

Slyness, tried to look at the Panthers with my dad, ouch, that hurt. Richardson should have fired that coach a long time ago, like after he signed the contract. The Observer called it a "fizzle". And I know this was a good team(the opposing team), and they played(Panthers) well all things considered, but the formula they're playing with is doomed.

Time to get back "crackin". I think when I die, I'll have my daughter to have the funeral home to drive me by that laundry room since it seems I spend a lot of time there.

Have a wonderful day, and excuse my whinning.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 9, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

It's the notion that this represents some radical departure from past practices that annoys me.

I mean, in addition to Medicare we already have private and public options in this country for education, mail delivery, security services, transportation, and a whole host of other things.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Isn't there about a million cases where ruraltowns have hired doctors in the past? Using sacred tax money? So Republicans, being against government-run health care, would also desire to never have any town hire a doctor, get rid of Medicaid AND Medicare? That's their core goal, right? To achieve that plan.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

RN's post made me curious about life expectancy rates, US and England are the same.

What I noted was Canada is in the highest group, looking at the other nations in the group I noted we hear about the mediterranean diet, and the diets of Japan, but where is the Canadian diet the secret to long life - beer, poutine, chips - some respect please :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Good point, Jumper. A state medical school here heavily promotes a program designed to get doctors into rural areas, and some rural towns are enticing doctors to live and practice there with incentives including use of municipal funds. That seems to be at least gummint-funded health care.

I am annoyed by people who appear to believe that a gummint-guaranteed system will usher in a horrific era which includes (among other things) lack of care, long waits for appointments and treatment, and a shortage of health care providers. Hello! We have all those things now. Whether you experience them depends on whether you have insurance, what it covers, and whether you live in a rural or urban area.

At the moment, the clear group profiting from these problems is the private health care industry. Because they do profit, and because the persons suffering from the problems in the current system tend not to have a strong political voice and certainly have less money than the providers, there is little institutional incentive to reform the current system and fix the problems. In fact, the only institution interested in reform appears to be gummint, which tends to be on the hook for the economic inequalities fostered and perpetuated by the private, for-profit conglomeration we now rejoice in.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

First of all, I think Mike Steele should have capitalized "Liberal."

Secondly, the Republican legislative agenda at this point in time seems to have devolved to be more about political posturing and gamesmanship than it is about actually solving problems or providing tangible benefits for Americans that need it.

I wonder if within the GOP this heel-digging strategy is referred to as "ObamaBlock."

On a related note, I think I heard someone on NPR refer to some Conservative activists as "teabaggers." Thought to myself, "That's one heck of a Tea Party those folks are having..."


Posted by: -bc- | November 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

First of all, I think Mike Steele should have capitalized "Liberal."

Secondly, the Republican legislative agenda at this point in time seems to have devolved to be more about political posturing and gamesmanship than it is about actually solving problems or providing tangible benefits for Americans that need it.

I wonder if within the GOP this heel-digging strategy is referred to as "ObamaBlock."

On a related note, I think I heard someone on NPR refer to some Conservative activists as "teabaggers." Thought to myself, "That's one heck of a Tea Party those folks are having..."


Posted by: -bc- | November 9, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

At one time, I was willing to give Michael Steele the benefit of the doubt and describe him as "insane" -- a condition beyond his control, but which he might overcome by dint of considerable effort. I feel it's time for me to call things as they are: he is stupid.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

1. I have conferred with my 80s and 90s self and can report: birth control - I'm fer it.

2. RN- Rabid Nativist

Posted by: engelmann | November 9, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Off topic boodle comments sought, I saw this short article on the Hadron collider, my first reaction was, this article might just upset some people who already fear the worst when this collider starts up.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The Teabagger Anthem:

Possible not safe without headphones.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

yeah, bc. The integration of that word into the vernacular made me take pause. *L*

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think rnrundmc or whatever her name was had some good points, because god knows, in America:
--our medical care costs never increase;
-- our doctors never leave or retire;
--we have no lines in ERS and no long waiting periods;
--our ER docs routinely send patients with stomach pains directly into the operating room within an hour or so of admittance to slice 'em open to see what the problem might be (a fart lodged sideways? appendicitis? a tapeworm having PMS? colitis? stomach tumor? dead bowel syndrome? ilitis? ya just never know, and waiting for the tests to come back, well, who does THAT anymore?).

And god, yes, I want MY country back! Now, if I can only remember where I misplaced it, it was around here somewhere...Alice, have you seen my car keys?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Also, my former self wishes to advise that a remote possibility of developing latex allergies was not a significant concern, to say the least. In fact, during the Exploding Head Syndrome scare of '89, thought to have been caused by exposure to latex, our position was that anything less than 50% likelihood was considered acceptable risk.

Posted by: engelmann | November 9, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

As a follow-on to Tim's comment about being acquainted with a thalidomide individual...

After getting married in August '85, my husband and I decided to spend our first Chrtistmas together as newlyweds with his family in Kansas City. By Amtrak, there would be two legs to our trip: the first from San Jose to Los Angeles, the coastal route rather than the inland route, the second from Los Angeles to Kansas City.

On the day's trip from San Jose to Los Angeles, we spent a good part of the journey talking to a thalidomide adult, a man with no arms or legs, but having stumps for all four limbs. He used his legs stumps for locomotion. He talked to us in our seats while he stood, I'd say between three and four feet, in the passenger car's aisle. I remember that he spoke English fluently so conversation was no problem whatsoever, so I don't know if he was American- or British-born.

I do recall, that he had traveled a great deal. What I remeber most vividly is that he had collected patches of the places he visited, and I believe that they had been sewn to a backpack that he owned, the backpack stolen not long before we met him on Amtrak.

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

A sports shocker...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

And today would have been Carl Sagan's 75th birthday...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to give much credit to rn1medic2's comment when its one verifiable fact is, uh, wrong.

To wit, "The elderly die early."
Life expectancy in the UK: 79.01 yrs.
Life expectancy in the US: 78.11 yrs.

(Source: CIA World Factbook.

Posted by: byoolin1 | November 9, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

NYT covering the debut of the very new Texas Tribune--and whether or not the staff was quick enough to gather news about the Fort Hood rampage (they weren't) by Maj. Nidal Hassan (who, AP reports this morning, is conscious and able to talk at San Antonio's BAMC).

The Hasan story didn't quite fit their mission statement. From the article:

The Texas Tribune was conceived and devised to cover the politics and policy of Texas state government. During lunch on Friday at the Roaring Fork on Congress Avenue in Austin, seven staff members recalled the previous day, when the siren of a big story blew.

We ate at the Roaring Fork a week ago Saturday night since it's on the first floor of the Intercontinental Hotel where we stayed in Austin. Just a mention that there are three exciting, fabulous new restaurant chains begun very recently in Texas (and moving beyond our borders): Roaring Fork, my favorite Wildfish, and the newest, E.V.'s.

I did see press that John Thorton's and Evan's Smith new media venture aims to be like ProPublica, you may recall, begun by the founders of World Savings and Loan, Herb and Marion Sandler. Small, small world.

Tim, I did see an Antone's in Austin, but it was on Lavaca (and 5th, IIRC), not Guadalupe Street, as you mentioned previously. Just sayin'.

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

RN says that her husband "would have had surgery [within an hour], recovered by noon and returned home the next day for rehab."

Maybe, maybe not.

"Several employees of a Brooklyn hospital have been fired or suspended after a psychiatric patient died in the waiting room of the hospital.... Staff members ignored the patient for an hour before any type of aid was rendered.... Sources said that the woman had been waiting in the room for over 24 hours when the event occurred on June 19 [2008]."

Posted by: byoolin1 | November 9, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you weren't whining, you were venting. We all need to vent, especially women, so that poisonous emotions don't overwhelm us. I'm glad to see you have kept your sense of humor - loved the laundry comment.

If healthcare in Britain, France, Canada, etc., was as bad as those like RN say it is, wouldn't these countries have changed theirs to be more like ours?

Posted by: badsneakers | November 9, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

The kit was inadvertantly [sp??] truncated [sp??] before -- see updated version. Thanks.

Posted by: joelache | November 9, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

It's possible I misremembered the address of Antone's. I've only been to Austin once, 21 years ago, when the club was a youthful 13 years old. But it was a memorable trip, once we were inside the doors of Antone's. The web site lists 5th and Lavaca as the address. I still have my Little Walter T-shirt from that visit.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

From the Krugman column:

///Americans on the far right, [Richard Hofstadter] wrote, feel that “America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion.” Sound familiar?///

Yes. Yes, it does. It sounds very familiar.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The detruncation is noted.

Homicide rates in the US vary wildly, and they can change in a particular area, sometimes pretty rapidly. So it's unfair to say that slaughter of high school kids is a long-standing and unavoidable part of the culture in [name an urban area.

There's no reason for Ft. Pierce, Florida, to have nearly as many homicides as Portland, Oregon.

Even in 'safe' Portland, modest Powell Blvd in the unfashionable Southeast was marked by death. Suburban kid from Milwaukie at a gas station opposite a popular and much-respected music venue. Another at a bar, another at a fast food place. Mundane death.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 9, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

An Army Major took out my appendix in '64. Gummint run health care looks pretty good to them what has it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 9, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I think Krugman is completely correct. For many, politics has become a spectator sport. Many don't want bipartisan results, they want to beat their sworn enemies into the ground and then dance drunkenly in celebration.

It's like, I dunno, the Yankees and the Red Sox or Michigan and Ohio State. Or The Beavers and The Sagehens.

Although that last one has been oversold.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

It may have moved since your visit, MusicTim. The 9:30 Club is no longer in its original location as at least one fellow boodler can attest.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

mr. joel: have you forgotten that steele and his buds are the same guys who campaigned against the 'activist' supreme court until it appeared dubya was about to lose to gore, when it became their national duty to get the court to intervene and install the boy.

their current liberties with the truth are nothing compared to that abomination.

what do you suppose the current repubs would have done with the proposals to expand civil rights, give women the right to vote, etc?

still seems to me that if the repubs are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the passage of the health care bill there must be something good in there for the rest of us.

Posted by: butlerguy | November 9, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I should mention that when I say "it's possible I misremembered" I am suggesting the remote possibility that it was at a different location at that time. More likely, I have simply conflated two different bits of memory into a false simulacrum of detail. If I were looking for it now, I would go with the address given on Antone's web site.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

From the NYTimes:

///They were appearing at Antone’s, one of the most storied haunts on the Austin nightlife circuit. Established in 1975 by Clifford Antone, a blues aficionado and all-around colorful character who died just a few years ago, the club has weathered a lot of changes in the local scene, moving in the process from its original location on Sixth Street. (Its current home is a shotgun-style space on Fifth Street.)///

From Virtual Tourist:

///When I lived in Texas, during the 1980s, Antone's was known all over the state (and the country) as one of the top blues clubs in the country. Shown here is the club's old home on Guadalupe St. ///

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Holy Guacamole! I done remembered it rightly? Yee-haw!

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

One last item for RN, the cost of US medical errors. Medical errors happen every where, approximately 10% worldwide.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy... I always love your reasoned posts and often quote your notion that if the Republicans are against "it," whatever it is must be good for us.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 9, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I was troubled by the last paragraph of the article linked by dmd: "Starting Oct. 1, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will stop reimbursing hospitals for the treatment of eight major preventable errors, including objects left in the body after surgery and certain kinds of post-surgical infections."

I expect this is intended to signify "you made the mess, it's your problem to clean it up. Better yet, don't make the mistake in the first place." Unfortunately, I think it is more likely to be interpreted as "Fix it? Well, that's up to you." It would be more effective if the response were to withdraw payment UNLESS the problem is corrected, and to pay a substandard amount for the cost of fixing -- that is, make it fiscally painful to make the mistake, but less painful if the problem were corrected.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Um, it just occurred to me: how can "the elderly die early"?

If they die early, how do they get to become elderly?

*scratching my head*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Joel, Iowa was lucky to be undefeated. They barely escaped from N. Iowa ... blocking consecutive field goal attempts to salvage the win.

I don't think that Iowa's loss is as big a deal as people make it out. Football is like basketball now, in that you can run into a senior laden squad of div one players and have trouble ... no matter the matchup. Playing conditions are so much of a factor.

I hate to also mention the word parity around here.

Only a couple of schools can pick up all the recruits that they want. The rest are a jumble. After 3 years of training within a quality institution, football becomes a battle of equals. The rest is a PR battle.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

That New Yorker article is fascinating. I wonder if, perhaps, murder is also sometimes a side-effect of the high expectations and mindless optimism characteristic (I assert) of our society.

That is, homicidal rage can arise, I propose, from disappointments in love, in marriage, in work, in drug deals, or just in life in general. And only people who understand optimism can experience true disappointment.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

To Yoki only:

Yes. I draw the line at the blanket proposal that teenage girls should receive an implant, as Yellojkt suggested.

There are many conditions for which birth control is not an acceptable risk, and many may only emerge in the teenage years or young adulthood.

As I said, if people consider their risk factors acceptable, I can't tell them otherwise.

That is precisely because I don't know their medical history, and it's not my business to know.

Likewise, nobody knows mine, and it's none of their business to know, either.

I will say this: I am fully informed in considering hormonal birth control unreasonable for my risk factors, which may not be your risk factors.

I did come know those before birth control became an issue for me, but they could easily develop, overlooked, in teenage or young adult years while on the pill.

"Low statistic risk" is meaningless to anybody in the subset that is directly affected by the worst side effects.

Statistics can be manipulated. Suffering can't be.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

What the freak am I talking about!!!!???

It's college basketball season, anyway!


Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - if you want something to go just to Yoki then don't post it on the boodle. I suspect that there is a lot more to what you are presenting here. And this saddens me. Really is does. But I implore you to make a simple case regarding your personal experience and personal views and then recognize that other people's experiences and views may be different without in any way invalidating your own. Enough?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

You know, I hate to invoke the term recall elections, but after the latest blathering of Senator Lieberman, I wonder what the heck he thinks he is accomplishing by his "terrorist" craziness.

Unaware is the word for Senator Joe.

He is such a bubble boy.

This sort of behavior alone frightens me and wants me to team up with Brag to push us out of Iraq and Afghanistan faster and faster. We can't even manage our stupid brains, much less occupy other countries.

News flash, Joe, the Maine just blew up and it was THEM!!!!

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

RD, why doesn't everyone come by for a big speghetti dinner at my house! Sauce is on. No big deal. I just don't have enough salad for everyone. AND, we could use some garlic bread.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Works for me. I think I have a bottle or two of good red buried in the back yard.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I know you addressed your post to Yoki but I read it anyway. I think I've misunderstood your entire previous discussion. You wrote, "if people consider their risk factors acceptable, I can't tell them otherwise." That's exactly what I thought you've spent the last several hours doing: insisting that your information about oral contraceptives should convince everyone those risks are unacceptable. I thought you were vigorously arguing against the choice to use oral contracteptives by anyone, unless all other methods failed, given their known and potential unknown drawbacks. If all you meant was that you find the risks unacceptable in your circumstances, and suspect that others similarly situated might agree, that is very different.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Spaghetti at Weed's! Great! I'll bring some salad and some sauteed peppers n'onions.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll bring the garlic bread and a big bowl 'o salad.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Croutons too. The nice big crunchy ones.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Dang, my wife and I just polished off the last bottle of Two Buck Chuck (it goes great with pizza), but I'll find something good in the cellar to bring by.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Since Republicans respond to all their evils being exposed by simply accusing the Democrats of those very crimes, their latest monumental chutzpah has been to claim the "Democrats are DELIBERATELY DESTROYING America." To which I can only respond, "So which evil consortium is deliberately destroying the Republican Party?"

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

ivansmom, I hit the point where we only have 5 or 6 cups of good sauce left. (traditional think red sauce which simmered for 2 days). I have a cheaper backup sauce on that is "well seasoned." It got some marsala and some La Cacciatora Barolo 2005. I tend to make sauces with a bit of Louisiana trinity sauteed for starters. I find that it is perfect for pizza.

I used veggies from a couple of my favorite farmers. I have to say that the smell is wonderful. The sauce has been simmering for about 2 hours so far.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

*faxing weed a batch of emergency spaghetti sauce in case he needs it*

Oh, and save me the corks. We're running low.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks mudge! but, I am always a bit ahead of the game. We make about 50 quarts at a time of the good stuff. These are just side bits of sauce that I use for my creole cooking and pizza and my goofy test sauces.

Mudge, I happen to have a friend who works for a very good wine distributor. Nice to get a box of "samples."

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse


And before I forget, Happy Fall of the Berlin Wall Day!

The Boy thinks he knows all about this because he learned about it in school. Ivansdad and I were trying to convey to him how monumental it felt, how astonishing it was, what visceral sensations it provoked, why even now the recording of Bernstein conducting the Ninth at the site can make us cry. For people who talk so much we were surprisingly inarticulate.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

It's enough. I felt that my comment about not being able to dictate to others what was acceptable for their risk factors was taken completely the wrong way, as was my suggestion to do the research.

For any hurt or offense I caused by that comment, I'm sorry.

It's difficult to discuss such personal decisions in the abstract, because everybody has so many different factors that go into what they need to do.

Birth control pills can be an important tool, but they can exacerbate an underlying hormonal problem such as thyroid disease, Cushing' disease, etc.

Sadly enough, those same problems can show up as dysmenorrhea or other "cycle-related problems," prompting treatment with birth control pills, which might give some symptom relief at first.

I have a friend whose pills are no longer working for even that primary symptom that the doctors see. Her tests are all normal so far, but she is not normal.

She is suffering increasing fatigue and more frequent migraines, depressions, and sleep disturbances.

I feel there is a diagnosis the doctors keep overlooking in her case because they find it easier to prescribe symptom relief, overlooking that the pills have often aggravated other problems that are harder to describe, being mostly behavioral.

Her problem might not be hormonal even, but it is leading to a loss in energy, life quality, and activity she can do-- and she has a preschooler to raise.

It worries me a lot; I fear she will wind up being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease of some sort at last, or something else that is fairly rare-- but perhaps not soon enough.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Here is a cheapster idea... I love roasted red peppers. Only problem, buying them from market vendors OR from the store is an expensive outlay. While red peppers aren't cheap, they aren't nearly as expensive as the commercially prepared peppers. If I have the over on for something else, I will take a pepper or two and toss it on an oiled cookie tray for about 20 minutes, turning two times to get all three sides on the tray. I can run the oven up to 500 ...

I just plop the finished pepper(s) into a bowl and let cool. I pull of the skin (today was in three pieces which is good and quick). Then, I toss it into a partially used jar of commercially prepared peppers. Homemade is much better.

If I do them from scratch, I usually use a nice olive oil along with a touch of garlic, oregano, a couple drops of lemon juice and a very small splash of red wine vinegar. I might drop in a couple of grains of sea salt, as well.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

It is with extremely mixed emotions that I must report to the Boodle that the Tastykake [sic, technically, the Tasty Baking Company] Co. of Phila., Pa., a company with whom I have a deep emotional bond going back quite literally almost 60 years, has completely re-designed its packaging of its pies. Many of you will remember with fondness those top-opening boxes, with the pies themselves gently cradled in a suspended hammock of paper. Now, I hold in my hand the new package, a side-opening box of the same shape, but with a tan/beige hue isntead of the long-traditional blue and white. There is a perfed pull-tab on the side, which releases the top casket-like, and gone is that ingenious paper hammock. Now, the pie sits in its own little tinfoil tray, safe from harm, and somewhat less prone to the traditional structural collapse my beloved Tastykake pies were always prone to. (This tendency to fall apart prematurely was not something we true Tastykake amorati would have considered an outright "flaw," so much as a somewhat lovable but eccentric character trait, like maybe a dueling scar or a beloved's broken nose, or a Lindsey Wagnerish lip scar that simply highlights the surrounding perfection.)

Hidebound traditionalist though I often am, I kinda like the new box.

And my pie didn't fall apart. Methinks the top cover was a little thicker. There's never a pastry micrometer around when ya need one.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Have sauce if you want -- I prefer a good Italian gravy. And I'll be very happy bring some if folks want to try it.

Collegefootballwise, I've been watching Boise State with some interest for the last 5 or 6 years now. I stumbled onto one of their home games back then and spent the first quarter whacking my TV set because I thought there was something wrong with it, since the field looked blue instead of green. Kept watching the Broncos because they play darn good football. I'm glad I only hurt my hand and not the TV.

Clearly, what I thought should be was in fact, not. And all I ended up succeeding in was irritating everyone within earshot, wasting my time, and ruining my enjoyment of an otherwise entertaining game.


Posted by: -bc- | November 9, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I feel very bad for your friend. It sounds like a tragic situation and I hope that some sort of resolution can be reached.

I guess I bear some culpability in all this brouhaha by originally suggesting that all teenage girls should receive some sort of semi-permanent birth control device as a matter of course. That was clearly insensitive to the wide range of medical conditions out there and ignorance on my part of the many issues related to hormonal based birth control.

From now on I will revert to the previous advice I gave my friends with adolescent daughters: Lock them in the basement until their 25th birthday.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, yes, that is exactly what I meant. I apologize for the confusion. I do know I made it worse by sounding defensive.

I never would criticize anybody's decision to use what they need.

I just want to see people really informed on the risks through research for themselves-- because they might make connections their doctors haven't.

It's very common for patients not to think to mention symptoms to their doctor that don't seem related to their primary complaint at all, but in fact could be a very big clue.

I have myself been mistreated for 5 different major symptoms that were actually all due to one cause, because the doctors were focused on the symptoms in front of them, not what was already in my chart.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, just lock up all the men. Problem solved.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

bc, no fear, I have that, too. We make it in a commercial pot once every two months or so. Usually polished off with some ribs, Buffalo style. By the time we are done, it can hold up a spoon.

Report is that the tomatoes are starting to break up on the simmer. We are just 3 hours in. Not bad.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

For several years running if I turned on my television in December and saw a blue playing field I knew that I had stumbled upon Georgia Tech's best possible bowl appearance that year.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

So Mudge is bringing the Tastycakes for dessert?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Technically, the men don't even need to be completely locked up. Just partially. If you catch my drift.

Just tell teenage boys that it's... an "enhancement" device, that operates on the same principles as a slow cooker. It needs to stew until the correct hormonal mixture is achieved, at approximately age 25.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I hope that your friend's doctors can find a suitable treatement and cure for her problems. Sounds like a very difficult and frustrating sitation for her, her family, and all who care for her.


Posted by: -bc- | November 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse


It's highly unlikely the thalidomide-affected individual you met was born in America. The FDA blocked the drug in this country, so this was one of the only developed countries where the tragic birth defects didn't happen. Another example of the dreadful things that can occur when the U.S. government involves itself in it's citizens' medical care.

Posted by: rashomon | November 9, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

What do you call a trinity if it gets one more member? This is about russianthistle's point, not Wilbrod's.
Don't tell me you left out the celery just to make "three."

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Antimatter coincident with lightning flashes?

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

jumper! no, Louisiana cooking types say trinity is onions, celery and bell pepper. I had some garden grown Bell Pepper and Onion.

I did toss in a quick minced shallot, herbs and garlic saute with the Marsala wine and olive oil.

The sauce is within an hour of ready.

(heck, it is ready, now) I will start some pasta.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Celery? We're back to celery?

Roosted, roasted, roached, perched, poached, and now sauced?

Sauced and reeling, high-spirited or spiritous.

Saucy, sassy, smart-aleck of the vegetable world.

The Boodle: Celery at Roost. A Celebration, or a Cautionary Tale?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

A trinity with one additional member? A fortitude. Possibly a quad wrangle.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I'd heard some time back that there may be evidence of anti-matter and other weird particles with high-energy natural events such as lightning strikes.

I'll have to look into that, thanks.


Posted by: -bc- | November 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

rashomon, according to the Wikipedia page on thalidomide, 17 babies were born in the US with thalidomide-related birth defects, while 456 were born in the UK. It is highly unlikely for anyone to meet anyone born with thalidomide birth defects; once you've crossed that statistical hurdle, the probability of a native English-speaking thalidomide-affected person having been born in the US is not so prohibitive -- about 3.6%. 2500 German babies reputedly were born with thalidomide birth defects. Given the emphasis on English-language skills in Germany, the most likely nationality of the person that Loomis met was most probably German -- 2500/(17+456+2500) --> 84.1%. That would also be consistent with the backpack recollecting a wide range of travel, as it is well-known that US National Parks and other spots of natural beauty are visited almost exclusively by Germans.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim, are you suggesting that National parks draw Germans like pic-a-nic baskets draw bears?

(you were wondering how were going to make it all the way from celery discussions back to bears...)

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

And we're back to Germany and the Wall...

20 years ago, I was stationed in Germany, and my then-wife worked the night shift at a local health facility, so she listened to the "as-it-happens" coverage with increasing joy, she being German herself. She came tearing into the apartment that morning (a Saturday, IIRC), shaking me awake and almost yelling, "Die Mauer ist gefallen!"

"That's nice," I said as I fell back asleep.

And then my brain caught up with my ears...

I went shopping with our daughter later that morning, listening to a live broadcast from the Armed Forces Network in Berlin. The news folks were doing their best to describe the scene when the signal abruptly cut off.

"Perhaps they changed their minds," I thought to myself, but the signal soon returned, followed shortly by a wave of Trabis and banana shortages... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Die Mauer war gefallen während (while) Der Schnuke bin geschnoozen.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Genau, 'Mudge.

And I was very disappointed to have missed it, as satisfying as the "catchup" coverage was...

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic, except that it's food-related. One of our fave dining spots has been Jaleo, the Spanish tapas restaurant. Often hit the original one downtown when we go to the Shakespeare Theater. More often have gone to the one in Bethesda, being more convenient. Last couple of times at the Bethesda site, we've been disappointed either in the service, the food, or both. Last night, we waited over 20 minutes for the soup, and then they only brought one bowl instead of two. Then it took another 15 minutes to get the salad. One of the items I ordered was sea bass. It came out over-cooked and under-flavored. Worse, it turned out the price for that little 4 oz. slab of fish was $14.00. I'm thinking Jose Andres better pay some attention to his name
restaurant(s) before they start getting really bad rep.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 9, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hard to beleive that a wall takes the feminine article in German, but it does.

BIN??? geschnoozen? LOL!

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Die sind die Brüche.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

EBT, "food" is *never* off-topic around these parts.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, possibly that restaurant is trying to "wing it" without an expeditor in the kitchen. Sometimes, restaurants think that they can get away without one. If you have the time and inclination, you should shoot over to Grapeseed on the other side of Bethesda where you can watch a great expeditor at work. They call for the food and finish the plating and presentation.

The other nice thing that they do is use their total wait state to serve larger groups. That way, each course comes to the table at once.

I guess what you are saying is that you can't go to Jaleo these days and park at a one hour meter!

Try Grapeseed, if, for no other reason, you would like to be served properly. At those prices, it isn't much to ask.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse


If you check in, can you tell me why our guy from the eighth district decided to vote with the Republicans? I voted for that person. We could have kept the Republican if this new person was going to turn out to be a Republican. I didn't understand his reasoning. I really need to know what's in the health care bill in three words or less. Anything longer will surely tax me. Although, I'm kind of in the camp with butlerguy, if a Republican hates it, it's good for us.

The dinner sounds fantastic.

Posted by: cmyth4u | November 9, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry ... correction ... wait state is my private work world. That would be wait staff.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 9, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Today's Borowitz Report

November 9, 2009

Fox News Reports: Millions of Grannies Flee U.S. as Death Panels Loom

Glenn Beck: "Run For Your Lives"

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - With the establishment of government-mandated death panels just days away, grandmothers began fleeing the United States in record numbers today, reports Fox News.
"I am never one to yell Fire' in a crowded theater," said Fox News host Glenn Beck. "But run for your lives!"
Across the country, slow-moving caravans of 1980s-era Cadillacs with turn signals blinking were making the torturous journey to the Canadian border, their back seats laden with cats, knitting projects, and bottles of Ensure.
Fox News may have set off the mass exodus by warning grannies that if they did not flee quickly enough they would face government-mandated organ harvesting.
Elsewhere, anti-healthcare protesters objected to the language of the House bill, saying there were too many polysyllabic words. More here.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 9, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering if Antone's had moved within downtown Austin. Thanks for the update.

I knew that there were far fewer thalidomode babies in the U.S., compared to Britain or Germany. I can't remember our fellow train passenger's nationality after almost 25 years' time, sorry to say.

A thalidomide couple who planned to travel by Amtrak, written Jan. 2009.

In the future I will continue being a Woodcraft leader, giving lectures and doing my campaigning work on behalf of thalidomide victims round the world and Darren and I want to travel. Next year we plan to celebrate our first anniversary by flying to New York then going on an Amtrak train to Washington.

The German lieder singer affected by thalidomide, Thomas Quasthoff:

Posted by: laloomis | November 9, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Great story, Scotty.

Hi Cassandra!

Speaking of health care, can anyone think of a snappy comeback to folks that say, "I'd just go to the emergency room" when I ask them what they would do if they had no health insurance.

ebt, I've had the opposite problem at Jaleo. So many courses came all at once there was no place to put them on the table.

Posted by: Raysmom | November 9, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I have a Berlin Wall story: a group of international policy fellows were in residence for a semester at UMD. I taught a writing class for them. One student from East Germany spent three days enthralled and effusive about the news at that time. Recall, he had to watch CNN for the breaking events or keep an NPR transistor style radio on. At one point he simply announced. "I am outta here. Gotta go home." He did. He sent letters and photos to us all, which we posted on a bulletin board. He came back the following year to complete his fellowship. I have an astonishing b/w photo he took of a break in the wall. I have a piece of concrete/stucco that came from near Checkpoint Charlie. His name was Helmut.

I held a German citizenship option until I was 18. Scotty may like this story: I was born on a small road near Wurzburg, but not on the US base. (Opel station wagon on a dark and rainy poor, dear, brave 20 year old mother) Since I was born off-base, I have a Batten-Wurtenberg issued birth certificate. It is lovely: animals/trees on the boarder and lovely German script. I was ordered to the German Embassy in SF circa 1978 to renounce the citizenship. Sad. Would like that EU passport now that US cits can hold dual options now.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I remember being *glued* to the news nearly 24/7 when it became clear that the wall was coming down. Having been in West Berlin and in Czechoslovakia in the late 60s when things looked as grim as can be, it was a joyful experience.

I felt the same when the people of Romania rose up in '89 and took out Ceauşescu. I particularly remember one vignette when the soldiers manning a gun mounted on a truck-bed turned the barrel away from the protesters and onto the palace. Wow.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, ask them how they think they are going to get their prescriptions for lipitor refilled in an ER. Or Cialis.

Try telling the triage nurse you're going to need an erection tomorrow night.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 9, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- the various velvet revolutions are proof to me of the astonishing goodness and bravery of people.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom: "Good idea; they'll treat you at the ER even though you can't afford to pay for it. Doesn't mean they won't bill you for it, though. What's your plan for getting the collections agencies off your back and getting your credit rating back afterwards? Sure hope it doesn't cost you the house..."

When appeals to the public good don't work, go after the pocketbook.

Posted by: -bia- | November 9, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The same policy program brought us two students from China. And, what happened that year? Tienanmen Square. Their suffering, shock, fear, and conflict registered with all of us.

I suspect that one of them was considering not returning. He was young, without a "new" family. He did have parents and cousins, though. He looked to be in soul-wrenching torment. Both returned at the end of the semester. We did not EVER hear from them again. I like to think that they returned to busy-ness. I hope they did not return to danger or conflict.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom: for the moment, you could suggest that the ER this winter could be the transmission point for
h1n5 (birdie fluey)
hospital-acquired pneumonia
.......other ickies....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

CqP, you are absolutely right on the velvet revolution types of conflict resolution. It depends on so many factors, and so much courage and honesty. One would think it would/could happen in this country, but I must say that I'm more worried now about armed "revolution" here than I ever have been before. Like Wall Street, a lot of other infrastructures here are really a house of cards.

On the other hand, there's nothing like a great sense of humor and a great hideaway (bunker-like) with good friends and wonderful food (and perhaps a Great Dane or Golden Retriever to warm the feet on frigid nights), along with a Master Key hidden away where only "we" know to enter that kingdom/queendom . . .

. . . where was I?

Well, whatever. My back is complaining today, perhaps because I'm doing my exercises. More PT on Friday.

Work still awaits.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 9, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse


In one of those flashes of insight that, inevitably, happen a split second after hitting the "submit" button, it occurred to me that there had to have been American births to mothers who had received the drug in other countries. I didn't realize that the manufacturer had distributed 2.5 million tablets in the U.S. without approval -- a tactic legal at the time. Thanks for running the numbers. I've been a little surprised all through the health care debate that, while the roles of Medicare, the VA, SCHIPP and other government programs have been noted, I've heard almost nothing about the FDA. I wonder if the anti-government types would like to see that eliminated, as well.

As to national park attendance, how times change. It seems like only yesterday when it was well-known that they were visited almost exclusively by Japanese.

Posted by: rashomon | November 9, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Cassandra, I looked up your representative's House webpage and it shows nothing, nada, zero. So I don't have a clue. He wasn't the only Democrat who didn't vote for the bill, of course. You might want to subscribe to his newsletter; that would be the place for info.

CqP, the City's communications director happened to be in China during the events in Tiananmen Square. His photos and stories raised goosebumps all over me!

Posted by: slyness | November 9, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

When I was a child it was quite common in Canada to see what were known as "thalidomide babies" of about my age. Common enough that we thought nothing of it, most neighbourhoods had one or two. Shocking, really.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I grew up when things were tough - there was no food network! All we had was Julia Child, the guy who lost his soul to a cult, and the guy who... well, never mind. But then along came Justin Wilson. So yes, I know about the Cajun Mirepoix Heresy
but considering how the Cajuns who know how to cook have enough sense not to attempt something called "Cajun spaghetti" (although you WILL find it on the internet yet that proves nothing) I would claim that even the Cajuns know when to season an Italian dish with Italian seasonings. Which incorporate a bit of bell pepper anyway, just because they want to. But celery belongs in a spaghetti sauce. It's crazy - reckless, I say! - to omit it!

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The man Loomis met on the train may also have been Canadian.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, just saw your post now, missed it earlier, when I looked up the number of children with Thalidimide from their association it lists the number at 125 seems much smaller than I would have thought.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

From the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada website:
"Thalidomide became available in "sample tablet form" in Canada in late 1959. It was licensed for prescription use on April 1, 1961. Although thalidomide was withdrawn from the West German and United Kingdom markets by December 2, 1961, it remained legally available in Canada until March 2, 1962, a full three months later. Incredulously thalidomide was still available in some Canadian pharmacies until mid-May 1962."

I was born in 1960 in the most affected povince, so when I read "Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb" I didn't had to reach for the dictionary to get the meaning of phocomelus. Most schools I went to had a thalidomid kid or two.

What the TVAC website says about US victims in its FAQ:

Are there any victims of thalidomide in the United States?"
Yes. Although thalidomide was never licensed for distribution in the United States, it did not escape the drug’s wrath. Approximately 2.5 million sample tablets were handed out to 1,267 US doctors for ‘clinical trials’, while the pharmaceutical company was waiting for licensing approval from the FDA. These doctors in turn passed the tablets on to about 20,000 patients between 1958 and 1961. The actual number of thalidomide victims born in the US will never be known, but reliable estimates are that 17 were born of which 10 persons survive today."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Never mind. I was totally wrong.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 9, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

That does seem very low, given shriek's and my anecdotal experience. Perhaps a few kids really got around? Perhaps that is the number of victims still surviving?

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

125 seems awfully low. The kids "got around" of course, I remember a girl quite well. She was at one school I went to but in my older sister's class. Then I met her again later, say junior high, at my level. She had lost a year to her medical condition, as she was quite bright and in no need to repeat classes. She had partial use of one (short) arm so she could write.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The excellent article of the New-Yorker on American killing Americans (16000 a year!) sent me to the FBI yearly report. One of the many sad stats caught my eye was this one: over a third of female homicide victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. Ouch. The obverse of that coin is almost insignificant.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes. I knew victims as well, that is the associations number so presumably all victims may not be members? Also saw that many died in the first year of life.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

As to Loomis's question, I believe it was indeed Frances Oldham Kelsey who spoke to us.

It was nearly 20 years ago and I was only a teenager, so I can't remember everything but her story made a deep impression on me on how limited medical testing was back then, and how shocking it was when the rash of babies were linked back to thalidomide exposure.

She said, nobody realized that drugs could cause birth defects. Nobody tested for that kind of thing. That is what stayed with me.

Nowadays we are beginning to understand how cancer and other genetic damage can be caused by chemical exposure. We have recently begun to really decipher the genetics of how people metabolize drugs differently.

Heck, we're only now learning that parasites (of all things) may cause schizophrenia. Who could have imagined?

Who knows, maybe a belief in alien abduction will eventually be traced back to Daddy's glasses cooties.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I have never put celery in red sauce (for spaghetti). Nobody in my family, to my knowledge, has ever done so. Reckless living, that's for me! Who knew it was so easy?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Finely diced celery is perfectly acceptable in a good Italian red sauce. Adding carrots is heresy. Putting any amount of canned tomato soup in the list of ingredients should be punishable by death.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

My family has always used celery and carrots in sphagetti sauce, it's a recipe my grandma got off an Italian neighbor.

The veggies are chopped by hand and then in a blender. Add in crumbled ground beef, and it makes for a very thick sauce.

Glad you're living exotically, Ivansmom!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

If EYE had some of dbG's delightful celery (please please?) I would not be putting it in red sauce. I would be braising it in chicken broth, lemon juice and butter until it is translucent and tender and the braising liquid forms a glaze. This is *fantastic* with a nice piece of fish.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

According to two podcasters I used to listen to, if you don't have insurance, never give the emergency room your real name.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

It would seem that you've had quite enough celery, Ivansmom. You're becoming giddy.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 9, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Finally catching up - they check IDs at the emergency room now, Yello. I noticed they also ask you to recite your SSN, and then check the card, too. They tried to be inconspicuous about that, but I noticed.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 9, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yello, you've got it. Or if you do, make sure that you're consistently giving out a fake phone number, so at least the collections agencies can't find you, and they call me instead. (We seem to have gotten rid of the callers for one of the people who doesn't live here, and no, she never did, and I don't know her! Still working on the other.)

Posted by: -bia- | November 9, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The recipe that my great-grandmother got from her Italian neighbor calls for celery.

Posted by: -bia- | November 9, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Good news, Ivansmom! Oklahoma kids aren't stupid after all!


Posted by: slyness | November 9, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, or anybody else: What elements are used to determine the age of a meteroid by radiometric assay? A rather insightful student asked me this and I couldn't think of a good answer.

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Rubidium decay? Uranium?

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

1. The only thalidomide victim I recall ever meeting was a Swede on vacation in Cyprus.

2. Speaking of reasons to travel to Cyprus, I was serving at a base in Wainright, Alberta on Nov 9, 1989. While I am a truly a force to be reckoned with, I was surprised they packed it in only 16 months after my enrollment.

3. Speaking of firearms, sorry for the short comment on the New Yorker article, but I think it's all about the proliferation of handguns. We're the "control group" up here, and that's the only important variable.

4. Speaking of Canada, SD, are you available for an Ottawa BPH this Thurs or Fri?

Posted by: engelmann | November 9, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Jack, I'm no expert here, but I think there are several isotopes used for radiometric dating of meteorites, based on know half-lives of said isotopes raidoactive decay and an assumption that the Solar System is about 4.5 Billion years old.

I think you're right that isotopes of Uranium or something like that make the most sense since their half-life is so long, I think it may work well on those long time scales as compared to Carbon-14.

SciTim wrote something I found quite interesting about that in the Boodle sometime in the past couple of months -- you may want to Google the Boodle and look for it.

IIRC, the compostion of the meteorite also plays a part in asessing its age.

Of course, a lot of this *is* based on the asumption that these rocks orginated *in* the Solar System.

If not - well, then, your mileage may vary.


Posted by: -bc- | November 9, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Up in Lancaster County there was a fellow who grew celery that was partially hidden from the sunlight. This resulted in pale tender stalks of crunchy celery goodness. Of course, he also seemed to always have a wild gleam in his eyes.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 9, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

thanks, bc. I'm still chuckling over the teabagger thing.

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I've finally done it-gone and had my head examined, and have some stitches to show for it. Biopsy results to come in a week or so, probably just defensive medicine for a chronic but treatable skin condition. In the meantime I will enjoy lying to children and telling them this is what happens when you play hockey without a helmet. It's plausible, that's where I got the scar on my lip.

Purely anecdotal to be sure, but I love my gummint health care. Even though I don't have access to a military treatment facility and pharmacy, this whole episode has cost me $0.03 so far, for a prescription.

Off to a city council meeting, just 14 more to go, barring a mental lapse during which I go all Palin on people.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 9, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, hope everything turns out OK, good thoughts going your way.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

You can always blame the mental lapse on the head wound, frosti...

Get better! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 9, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Scott, you mentioned Carl Sagan's birthday earlier today. this is cool, and part of the Sagan legacy:

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Good news for male rabbits.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Off topic but for you die hard football fans out there, Joe Montana has just listed his house they haven't lived in for the last three years for $49,000,000.
He has moved to LA where his son is the QB on a number one high school football team.
The place is unusual in the Napa Valley as it doesn't grow grapes, olive trees.

I'm just a few bucks short of getting this place that would make me the most envious of all my 49er fan friends. That lawn looks like it takes a lot of upkeep though. note no leaves.

Posted by: bh72 | November 9, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

frosti, I hope all is well. I think you can carry off the scar with rakish charm.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Any one else having trouble logging on to the NYTs?
Doesn't seem to remember me and giving them be email address results in a system error message.

Posted by: bh72 | November 9, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I hope you're quickly back to health, frosti!

TBG, is Dr. G glued to the Carolina game like Mr. T. Not that it's much of a game, but still, it's the first of the season!

Posted by: slyness | November 9, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Help, had to pick up my younger daughter from a friends and missed the first 20 minutes of House, a recap would be appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Glued" is the perfect word, Slyness!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 9, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

well, two 16-year-old girls are waiting in line for a rock concert, and they budge the line, go to the front where they tell the bouncer that they're the dee jay's assistants, and call him 'he.' turns out he's a she, and as they're turned away, they catch the eye of one of the rockers, who invites them into the party as a 'plus one, no, plus two.'

Next thing we know, they're meeting their friends to recount the night, and suddenly one of the girls starts to blow up like a balloon.

There's a side plot where Wilson plans to go to a conventions, and House refuses to go...until Cutty says she going, and then Katy, bar the door.

I think that catches you up.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 9, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks rickoshea

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I cannot abide the person that is House. Makes me anxious and fretful. However, I can see the value in the show. I understand that most of my science writing students will admit to a House-addiction.

And, what is wrong with his head and character anyway?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I think I remember something about being wronged or harmed by his father. Rather a trite story line for establishing his brash but hurt persona.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 9, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

About 20 years ago Time magazine took a week at random and did a yearbook style list of everybody killed by a gun in that week. The proximate causes pretty much divided 50/50 between domestic disputes and drug-related violence. There were very few genuine killings by complete random strangers. That is when I decided that nobody knew their significant other well enough to keep a loaded weapon in the house.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Ric o chet

Don't let me keep you from TV. Thanks, though.

I think Frosti introduced us to six word memoirs several years ago. A former student just sent me a link to ILLUSTRATED SWMemoirs.

Look for the one that uses words beginning with B.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I've only watched House twice, to my knowledge, and it never occurred to me that there had to be a back story. Chronic pain and drug-addiction seemed like a good enough explanation for why he is bent.

However, I sort of like the way he says things that other people think but never express. At least, people like me who are miserable excuses for a human being, with a mean streak a mile wide.

It just occurred to me that "streaks" are always negative. You never hear about somebody having "a kind streak a mile wide" or a charitable streak, or any other positive quality.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

BH, perhaps the olive trees are a paean to Joe Montana's Italian forebears. The green gold fluid is a slippery aqua vita.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Yoki... you are a winning streak in my heart. :-)

Posted by: -TBG- | November 9, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Winning streak, hitting streak, scoring streak - all good things, just like you Yoki. Miserable human my *ss.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I really wasn't fishing for compliments, but I'll take them! Any other bidders?

Thanks, dear ones.

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, search on Hair Streak. Tis gorgeous and natural and a reinvention and is so

Yoki (dear) You.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 9, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm a cuddly streak
yea high, less wide, very long
Rushing through gnomes' lives


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 9, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

As we say in this family that has a huge streak of red heads, les roux sont tous des tarés. (all red heads are degenerates). They all know my beard and moustache used to be red before they turned white and that most of the aunts/great aunts are red heads. It's a deep inside joke aimed at the extremely dumb VLP (who is a red head&body and a degenerate).
So streak is negative.

We do watch house but I missed the first 15-20 minutes. He was probably an a-hole.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

That's a tough question, CqP. His father was one of those tough and demanding perfectionists, and nothing House ever did was good enough for him. Then, House is by nature brilliant and arrogant and sarcastic. His brilliance is a problem because he is addicted to puzzles, and he is so smart he is easily bored by nearly everything. Because he is very insightful, he is very manipulative of others, not so much because he wants to but simply because he can, and it amuses him.

He was once married to a lawyer played by Sela Ward on a couple of shows. He was apparently pretty difficult to live with (imagine that), but she did her best. Be that as it may, when he injured his leg it came down to a life-or-death decision on how to save his leg and his life. Since he was often unconscious and in great pain, she as next of kin made the decision, which resulted in saving his leg, but at the cost of the constant pain and his having to walk with a cane. He claims to believe she made the wrong decision, against his wishes, and that she is responsible for his leg. (She isn't, of course.) So they divorced. She re-married, basically to a nice guy, and that fact infuriates House as much as anything else. (In one episode, House even had to save his life.) In that same series of shows Sela Ward was on, she offers herself to House to get back together, and House rejects her, yet again.

(It says quite a lot that any man who rejects Sela Ward not once but twice must necessarily be a certifiable raving lunatic right there.)

All that being said, the people who work with him respect his abilities tremendously, and at some level they tolerate his eccentricities and brusqueness because they know at some level he is a damaged person who can't help himself. They feel sorry for him.

House tends to respect only those people who stand up to him and ignore his crap (Thirteen is the best one at this). House likes to play mind games, and his best friend, Wilson, is nearly his equal, in a defensive sort of way, as is Cuddy.

Somewhat in his defense, House uses his abrasive nature to prod his people into thinking harder and better. In that sense, his manipulation has some higher purpose.

As an actor, Hugh Laurie is brilliant.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 9, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't decide whether "streakers" is a good thing or a bad thing :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | November 9, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Part of the charm of the show is just waiting for House to say something amazingly offensive, sort of the same way Archie Bunker used to do.

However, there have been a sizable number of shows where you see underneath House's surface, and that he really does have a lot of good in him, which he always tried to hide. There was a show where he dealt with a 19- or 20-year old rape victim, and it took the entire show for him to get her simply to talk about what had happened to her. An amazingly good show. If you'd seen that show, you would never say a bad word about the show again, or about House.

There was another, a Christmas episode, where he was treating a young woman who had what he suspected was an STD, possibly caused by having sex with an animal-- and the woman let him go on thinking that and making very offensive remarks. And at the end, he figures it out, and goes to visit her where she works-- in a church. She's a nun, and in the Christmas pageant she plays Mary, and is riding a donkey in the Xmas pageant. That's how she caught the disease from the animal. Great show.

House's biggest, deepest, darkest secret, the one he doesn't want anyone to know -- is that he's a nice guy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 9, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Bad dmd, very bad. Remember, mostly they were guys showing off their shortcomings as David Niven famously said.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

My favourite radio ad was one for a new rock station in town.

"X 92.9. If it had an odour, it would smell like depravity."

Posted by: Yoki | November 9, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I watch House rather fitfully. Half the time I can't remember when it's on, sometimes the constant invasive medical procedures make me nauseous (or nauseated), and sometimes I find it boring. If truth be told, I mostly watch for Chase (Jesse Spencer), and usually he's not in the show that much. I like Hugh Laurie (wish they would let him be a Brit).

I remember that Christmas show - but is it really possible to get an STD from riding a donkey? Seems like a toilet seat would be more likely (and I didn't think that was true). Details, details.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 9, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I guess that I'm easily amused. I've split my time this evening between laundry, dog chores, and Big Time Wrestling. I would agree, however, that Hugh Laurie does a great job as the lead in House, and that the story line always has a surprise or two.

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking D, I read "canned tomato soup" and stopped in horror. Putting canned tomato soup in red sauce would be like using mashed-up green peas instead of avocados in guacamole. I've seen it done, the theory apparently being that both substances are green. I was glad I saw it being made so I knew not to touch it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

It really wasn't an STD, seasea, but House said that just to be offensive. Yes, it came from a donkey, but just through normal contact, nothing weird.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 9, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Ah, ok then.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 9, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

eh, red is red.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 9, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Wheezy has me pegged at giddy. And over celery, too! Salubrious. [Okay, but say them both out loud quickly. There's a similarity. Really.]

Thanks to slyness for the fivethirtyeight smackdown on OK kids. I KNEW that original survey had to be wrong. I was up till now unfamiliar with Rep. Cannaday but I'll be seeking him out to congratulate him.

Frosti and ScottyN have both had their heads examined. A Boodle trend!

bh72,I had that problem with NYT today.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 9, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

jack, I know enough about radiometric dating to describe the general principles, but not so much that I'd want to commit to educating a kid who feels serious about actually learning something. The short answer is that there are several different nuclear decay sequences that can be used, related to the composition and the age range to be investigated. One example that requires only one radioactive species would be looking at the crystal dislocation tracks created by fission events. Other methods compare parent radioactive species to their daughter products. This really only works if you can set a limit on the daughter product concentration. For example, if the daughter product is a gas, like argon, then you can be sure that the argon content at the time that the rock solidified was zero.

You teach high school, right? Then your student should be able to comprehend what he'll get from Googling "meteorite radiometric dating". However! The very first item that comes up in exactly that Google search was this piece:

I was taken aback by reading the title: "Radiometric Dating:
A Christian Perspective", as I feared that it would be some wretched Creationist pseudo-science. I was wrong! While I have only skimmed it, it appears to be a thorough defense and explanation of radiometric dating that specifically addresses the canards and falsehoods common in the fundamentalist community and makes the point that there are plenty of serious scientists working on this who also happen to be people of deep spiritual conviction (for the sake of his audience, he specifically labels them as Christian). I'm not going to take the time right now to read the whole thing -- I recommend you read it before you bring it to your student's attention, just to make certain that the author doesn't try to pull a fast one. However, my skimming suggests it will be a useful and serious document.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 9, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

*&^%$#^%$ I just went upstairs to warm up a cup of coffee in the microwave, with the Steelers on the 40 yardline. I come back and the Broncos have scored a TD. What happened?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 9, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, SciTim. Our text discusses radiometric dating of fossils based mainly on C14 decay, and goes on to describe the same for determining the approximate age of the Earth using Rubidium and Uranium decay. I'll follow the link in an attempt to gain a better understanding of how meteorites' age is determined, then get the information into a form that my students can use. Thanks again.

Posted by: -jack- | November 9, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

And then there is THE Streak.

Don't look Ethel!!!

Posted by: yellojkt | November 9, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Six and a half minutes to go, Scotty, but this game's over. *sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 9, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from "An Evening with Barbara Kingsolver." Have to go to sleep now and will be busy tomorrow but hope to recap the event on my blog sometime tomorrow afternoon. Kingsolver is one of my favorite writers and it was great to be in her presence. She signed my Achenblog bookbag. I also got Mitchell Kaplan to sign it--he's a hero to booklovers in South Florida, owner of "Books & Books" bookstores and a prime mover of the Miami Book Fair. (Not to mention, a heck of a nice guy.)

Posted by: kbertocci | November 9, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Best wishes with the radiometric dating, Jack. It's always impressed me that radiometric dating methods can get you from dates that have been verified using tree ring data, all the way back to somewhere around the start of the universe.

Congratulations to Post reporters for bringing in relevant information about Dr. Hasan.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 9, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

kb, that's great! I'm really disappointed I couldn't go to the book fair this year with you.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 10, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind House in small doses. I get bored waiting for him to be a nice guy and a genius, and end up flipping channels to watch something else.

I'm not watching many of the new shows. Except Castle and so far, its middling. Last weeks episode was great, but this week, yawwwwn. They need to beef up the writing a bit.

Posted by: --dr-- | November 10, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I watched Castle for the first time tonight. It's kind of interesting - and they talk very fast. You're up late, dr!

Posted by: seasea1 | November 10, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Another warm day is in store for us.
Chuck and Camilla are in town, it's about time to finish my "Vive la République!" sign.

"Alone and adrift on an ice floe" in the Arctic,
Jupi Angootealuk even had to fend off Polar bears.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 10, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. I was prepared for rain this morning, but it hasn't appeared yet. Now, do I take my walk or ride the exercycle? Decisions, decisions! Either way, it's a good day to stay home and revise my chapter so I can get that off my list.

Since there's nothing pressing this morning, I think it will be Belgian waffles with various syrups in the ready room. And market bacon. Enjoy, folks!

Hi Cassandra!

Posted by: slyness | November 10, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning everyone.

Hmm. Waffles and blueberry syrup. Our way of knowing that God wants us to be happy whenever we shouldn't be drinking beer.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 10, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

*facepalm facepalm facepalm*

I know we've been beating the dead horse of declining journalism standards for awhile, but this is a doozy, even though it's only a movie review:

Take a close look at the photo of Harrelson's character, and then check the writer's description of the character. And this on the day before Veteran's Day...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Some people just have to be different.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 10, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Took me a second, Scottynuke, because I wasn't looking for the right clue at first. In the real Army, I imagine, such a confusion could getcha in a lotta trouble.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 10, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Great story of courage. I can't wait to see the movie version.

I don't get it. Woody IS a hippie, but he seems to have cleaned up well. That's why they call it 'acting'. Is there some distinction between the technical definition of 'soldier' and the uniform he is wearing? He appears to be a captain in the Signal Corps but my knowledge of Army insignia is a little weak.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

'zactly, yello. He's clearly a captain, but the NYT writer calls him a career sergeant... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Yeah. A big difference. My grandfather was signal corps under Patton, so that is the only reason I recognized that.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but there IS a reason why you don't eat oysters in months without an 'R'.

To squote Scotty:

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Don't squote me!!!

*looking around for a giant foot or 16-ton weight or something* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Have you guys seen this clip? It's really quite spectacular.

It's a girls HS (or middle school, not sure from the ages) jump-rope team performing during the halftime of an Army/Navy basketball game somewhere in Ohio. Really amazing.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Oyster Death Panels, anyone?

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 10, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, Dems da Firecrackers from down by Cincinnati. If you want to know more about them, check out:
If you check out their upcoming schedule you'll see that they are coming your way in April to perform at the Cherry Blossom Festival. They are ten times better in person than on screen.

Posted by: skiohio | November 10, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this one:

The probabilities of having everyone coming out of this situation unscathed would seem rather low. How many boodle sighs this a.m.?


Posted by: -jack- | November 10, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, that was awesome. Thank you for posting it. I've sent it to everyone I know.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 10, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Oysters with a dash of lemon juice in months with an R or a dash of bleach in months without an R. Voilà.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 10, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I'd venture to say that we've killed far more oysters than oysters have us.

Posted by: Yoki | November 10, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Trouble sleeping? Be glad you don't live next to this couple-

Posted by: kguy1 | November 10, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The bacteria in that oyster story is vibrio vulnificus, and the article says that people poisoned by it have about a 50% mortality rate.

I had a case of vibrio vulnificus in my lower right leg five years ago; I caught mine by swimming in the Severn River (a mile or two north of the U.S. Navy Academy at Annapolis). When my wife took me to the ER at Georgetown 36 hours later, I was borderline toxic shock, and borderline septicemic. Had I developed full septicemia, they told me, I had a 50-50 chance of dying. I was quite lucky: inside of 10 minutes of arrival, I had gone through triage and was hooked up to three IV antibiotics. Later that day I got a PICC line (semi-permanent IV hookup leading directly to the top of the heart) and was on intravenous IV for 6 weeks. Was hospitalized for 6 days, and leg swelled up twice normal size. Worst pain I ever had in my life, nearly impossible to describe. Put it like this: it took me 15 to 20 minutes to go from lying in bed to standing upright next to the bed. The second my leg went off horizontal the pain was so intense it took two or three minutes just to lower it 5 or 10 degrees. Just excruciating.

The vv led to my permanent lymphedema in my leg, and was the source of all my various leg troubles ever since. (Lymphedema spread to the other leg, too, and still have it in both legs.) The article says: "Vibrio is one of the most horrific infections we know about. Fifteen people a year die from this. It's excruciating. And the people who don't die suffer life-changing injuries." Well, I can testify to that part.

I don't think the article does a very good job explaining that vv lives in all the oceans, rivers and seas all over the world, everyplace, everywhere. It is omni-present, and everyone of you has been exposed to it. Most of the time it does nothing, but once in a while it gets into oysters, crabs, clams, whatever lives in the ocean, and once in a while it enters an open cut on someone's body (my leg). It is just one more germ that lives out in the world, like tetanus or anthrax or whatever.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, skiohio. Yes, bad, they are rather spectacular, aren't they?

I'm actually sympathetic to the oyster people who don't want their oysters treated. I think it is just one of the risks of living in the world. The article says about 15 people die every year from it. But then, 15 people die every year from just about any and every other small, one-in-20-million activity, from falling down stairs to taking an aspirin to choking on a pretzel.

Just FYI, when I was in the hospital, one of the docs told me that vibrio vulnicus has a cousin, another type of vibrio that lives in the mouths of sharks. When people get bitten by a shark, they often are infected with this other vibrio germ (assuming they survive the shark attack, which most do) and have to be treated with antibiotics. (Moral of story: try to get bitten by a dog rather than a shark.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I knew that Vibrio was nasty. I'm glad that you have related this, 'Mudge, as I will be more careful on several fronts from now on.

The school hostage thing *did* turn out well: A suspect is custody, and nobody was injured.

Posted by: -jack- | November 10, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Eek, Mudge. Thanks for the story and the advice. Dog over shark. I'll remember. Here in freshwater OK I really would have to work hard for that shark bite.

The Boodle truly is the nexus of the universe, or at least of this one.

I'm pretty sure I got hepatitis from eating raw oysters, but it was an "R" month.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 10, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog liked that jump girl rope clip.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 10, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' Wilbrodog a scritch 'cuz I miss da big lug* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, tell Wilbrodog that I'd be quite happy to have him bite me rather than a shark bite me any day of the week. (I assume he's had his shots...)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

firescrackers. Wow. Just plain wow.

Posted by: --dr-- | November 10, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Somebody pass the word to the WaPo layout desk that this particular Hasan spells his name with only one "s." From the chat menu: "Fort Hood: Dana Priest on Hassan's Views."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I used to love raw oysters - until today. I suppose the odds are still in my favor and I'll probably still eat them but not until the memory of Mudge's ordeal fades a bit.

I have been pulling out old miniature rose bushes from the side of the house by the garage. Got all but one, "S" will need to use an axe to sever the root on that one. Those dreaded violets were intermingled with the roses and there was also an ivy plant that was invading everywhere and trying to climb the side of the house. I have pulled everything out but come spring I know there will be little shoots to tackle. Yardwork uses muscles I didn't know I had.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 10, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree that 30 cases a year is putting the bar pretty low. That would probably be a slow week for e-coli from processed meat.
There will be 15 statistical homicides in the US in the next 8.2 hours.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 10, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

That does sound like a horrendous ordeal mudge. I'm glad you survived so that you could last another thousand years.

We had the risk benefit ratio talk right here on the boodle just recently here. I eat raw oysters once a month at a charity event in December. It's a risk I'm willing to take. My take away lesson from mudge's tale is to not swim in open waters with open sores. Particularly if there are sharks around. And sharks are everywhere it seems.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Oysters -- I cannot imagine why anyone would want to eat a food that resembles mucus -- and not one's own.

I wrote a story 8 years ago (I recall it was part of my internal mental therapy, a few weeks after 9/11) about how all the roses in the world were widely dispersed by a young witch named Beulah to ensure that unicorns would always have plenty to eat. The story turns on the notion that the best of intentions can turn toward evil when we lose sight of the effect our actions have on the world.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 10, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

bad, the illness you get from eating oysters or other seafood with vibrio is somewhat different than if you get it in your bloodstream. If you get sick from eating, you get the stomach and gastrointestinal problems, in a way similar to other kinds of bacterial food poisonings. Getting it directly into your blood stream directly (as in by way of a cut) is somewhat different.

And it isn't just oysters, nor is it just raw seafood; if the seafood is only lightly cooked, some vibrio can survive and still cause sickness (you've heard of people getting sick from a clambake?).

Sushi sometimes has a cousin, called Vibrio parahaemolyticus. But whatttaya gonna do? Can't outlaw sushi. Another cousin, Vibrio cholerae (ordinary cholera, to you and me) is found in mussesl, as are vulnicus and parahaemolyticus. If we banned mussels, our BPH sessions at McCormick & Schmicks would be uninhabited.

Apparently, V. cholerae and V. parahaemolyticus have strains or variants, of which some are "benign" while others are toxic; whereas pretty much all vulnificus is bad doo-doo.

The experts say the danger from eating is not nearly as great as the danger from swimming in waters carrying the germs, and getting them in a cut.

So you can still eat sushi and oysters, but don't swim in the ocean with an open cut unless you cover it and put some ointment on it.

On the list of things to worry about, ocean-born germs rank way behind land-born creepies such as Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, and Entero-pathogenic Escherichia coli (good old e. coli), which cause 90 percent of all food poisonings. As you may know there's a couple kinds of "staph," and it is everywhere, as is e. coli.

Best place to catch a staph infection? Try a hospital. You can catch more bad stuff visiting your relative who has a broken leg than at just about any other place. Far as I'm concerned, they ought to shut those places down. Yucky. (And the food is awaful, even when it's well cooked.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, CPBoy had Shigella in his ear once. Very bad systemic infection. The doc said that would have been better to have it gastrointestinally....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 10, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

SCC: once a year in the month of December.

My wife couldn't put up with me if I were eating oysters once a month. But I joke. Their aphrodisiac properties are much over-rated. The last time I ate a dozen oysters only seven of them worked.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

And for (fellow) fans of erotic art, here is this No Duh story candidate in WaPo:

Shorter version: Lots of art has nekkid wimmin in it.

It also talks of the "Etant Donnés" exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art I saw a few weeks ago. Not for the faint-hearted.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 10, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm unsure of the health insurance laws at this point. Is it legal for me to buy a health insurance policy from a corporation in New Zealand, or say Brunei? If it is illegal in North Carolina, but the country does not have a particular treaty making it illegal for THEM to sell me a policy, what will North Carolina do? Imprison ME? Petition Congress to declare war? What?

I'm getting online with Singapore today, screw this crap.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 10, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This Singapore company claims to offer international coverage of many kinds; I'm still looking at it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 10, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the explanation Mudge. I don't eat sushi and only eat raw oysters and clams occasionally. I'll be careful with the swimming thing. I know too well staph infection dangers, having gone thru it with #2 last year. Speaking of #2, she called a while ago to tell me she'd been bitten by a deer tick and had a circle around the bite. She's going to the doctor this afternoon. There is always something out there just waiting to get you!

Posted by: badsneakers | November 10, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Sounds yucky, CqP. Pretty much anything that gets into your blood stream is pretty dangerous, compared to having the same infection on your skin.

yell, one of the consequences of the risk ratio business were all those one-in-a-million horror stories about people's bad reactions to swine flu shots, such that a major portion of the public got too scared to have them. I blame the media for that one, and the consequence will be that some people are going to die of swine flu complications because they didn't get the shot (assuming the damn vaccine ever becomes widely available). But the media has done a damn good job of convincing people the shot is more dangerous than the flu, which of course is nonsense.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 10, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

HEY! Called to get H1N1 shot next week. HUZZAH for CPBoy. Not for me, though, "caregivers" of vulnerable are way down on the list.

CPBoy! Hey, don't breathe deeply and use the sanitizer liberally.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 10, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, raked leaves this am. Two ticks...look like dog ticks...sigh. Rosanna D. moment: "It is always something."

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 10, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it's late in the season for ticks. Yuck, if/when I get to heaven, I'm gonna take God to task for ticks. Whatever purpose do they exist for? That, and 40 weeks gestation for homo sapiens; it shouldn't be any longer than 32!


I hope all your leaves are down now, CqP. Ida has arrived, and the leaves are coming down with the rain. Naturally, the lid to the rollout garbage container fell open when it was emptied this morning, so I had to run out and close it before it filled with water. Yep, always something.

Posted by: slyness | November 10, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse


Anyone know if there's going to be a Blue Angels or Thunderbirds flyover for area ceremonies tomorrow? Just saw a "finger four" formation of fighters heading sorta towards Andrews.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 10, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I have always gravitated to West Coast oysters because of the taste, but I think the colder water also keeps the nasties (like vibrio) in check. I always assumed that this was the reason for the "R Month" conventional wisdom--bacteria have higher mortality or reproduce more slowly in cold water--but a little Googling suggests that it's also related to the fact that Atlantic oysters spawn in the summer, so they don't taste as good. Taste trumps infection risk, I guess. I don't like when you get one of those big dinner-plate sized Florida or Louisiana oysters. From a pure surface-area perspective it seems riskier than a petite little Kumamoto.

Denver (where I live) seems to be something of an epidemiological hot spot for many nasty bacteria and viruses. I would assume that the physical barrier of the mountains has something to do with it. There is supposedly the highest concentration of flesh-eating bacteria infections here (necrotizing strep). One of my high school friends woke up one morning last year with a sore throat thinking he might have strep throat, "crashed" within a couple of hours and went into a 30 day coma (and woke up missing all the flesh on one leg from butt to ankle).

Things like that and MRSA (and what they imply about antibiotic-resistant bacteria) are reasons alone to oppose factory farming and buy meat from small, local producers even if you're not convinced that there are global warming implications that go with the conventional food supply system.

Posted by: Awal | November 10, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

The ads for the KC-45 tanker aircraft keep tweaking my sense of what an aircraft should look like, during that short moment between the funny-looking winglet-laden wingtip entering the field of view, vs. the boring old Boeing 727 fuselage (IIRC). This (eventually) leads me to wonder which of the following you would prefer:

(1) flying across the country in 4.5 hours like we do now (except nobody can afford direct flights anymore, so it really takes all day in multiple legs) in a cramped and packed aircraft. Or,

(2) flying across the country in about 18 hours in a single aircraft, nonstop, with plenty of room on board. Heck, walk around and look out the picture windows. You'll only be going about 150 mph, so it's pretty leisurely.

I have never shaken my fascination with the notion of leisurely air travel -- it's why I have such a zeppelin fixation. I think I would be willing to give up a lot of speed in exchange for a big increase in comfort and enjoyment. If only I weren't cursed with the ability to see the down-side: you need to pay pilots and crew for that whole period, using the proceeds from flying just one passenger-load instead of several; the actual passenger load has to be smaller, in order to increase roominess; you need to carry more consumables like food (and the inevitable byproducts of consumables -- "wastables"). On the other hand, if you use a zeppelin, you can decrease fuel consumption enormously, before motorized action no longer is the primary source of lift.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Didn't read the oyster/raw seafood article, and I don't know if I'm gonna.

I love being at the top of the food chain, and I like food. And I'll eat darn near anything if it's prepared well (and that includes 'raw').

I think life's too short not to taste it, try it, do it, think it, dare it, enjoy it. Something's going to kill me at some point -- I might have cerebral hemmorage while I'm writing this, and I might live another 50 or 60 years. I don't know. When my number's up, it's up, and while I don't often take what I consider to be unnecessary risks, at times I do take what I consider to be acceptable risks.

And I *do* love oysters -- raw, baked, fried, etc.

And yello, thanks for that laugh -- next time maybe you'll share an oyster or two with your wife instead of keeping those seven to your self? Must have been a good 10 minutes for ya, anyway.


Posted by: -bc- | November 10, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Dudes -- new kit.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 10, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"before"? I meant, "because."

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 10, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Answering Weed from yesterday - We have been to Grapeseed, and it has generally been very good. With our recent disappointment at Jaleo, it's probably time to renew the acquaintence. We're kind of holding our breath re: our local hangout, the Royal Mile Pub. It recently changed hands after being run by the same family for like 25 years. We've noted a few kitchen changes, but so far they haven't been a real problem. Hope for the best; there aren't many "joints" around any more where you can pop in, get a decent feed and beverage, and not spend the week's paycheck.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 10, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I believe the oysters should be bracketed by concentrated ethanol. At least that's the excuse I will use next time I am confronted by a plate of raw oysters.

A friend who died recently had peripheral artery disease which led to phlebitis and other complications which killed him in the end. Of course he had no health insurance, and resisted hospitalization when his leg became infected, because of the bills he knew would come. He finally entered hospital and racked up $20,000 in several days whereupon he checked out, determined to not be charged any more. He died several days later alone at home.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 10, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Was it Mencken who said that eating a Chesapeake oyster was like eating a baby?

Maybe Jefferson.

Posted by: Boomslang | November 10, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

A quick off the top of my Lighter Than Air filmography:

Zeppelin- so so WWI spy flick
The Hindenburg- and we know how this one ends
Wizard of Oz-the Wiz leaves Oz in a balloon
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade-Indy and Dad leave Germany in a zeppelin
Around the World in Eighty Days- Phileas Fogg's balloon
Rocketeer-climax on a Nazi airship
Black Sunday- terrorists attack the Super Bowl by blimp
Danny Deckchair- spacey Aussie in homemade balloon borne lawn chair
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines- Franco\Prussian duel with balloons and blunderbusses (over a manure heap)
Map of the Human Heart- love scene in a WWII barrage balloon

Posted by: kguy1 | November 10, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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