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Obama the deliberator

[My story in today's paper.]

President George W. Bush once boasted, "I'm not a textbook player, I'm a gut player." The new tenant of the Oval Office takes a strikingly different approach. President Obama is almost defiantly deliberative, methodical and measured, even when critics accuse him of dithering. When describing his executive style, he goes into Spock mode, saying, "You've got to make decisions based on information and not emotions."

Obama's handling of the Afghanistan conundrum has been a spectacle of deliberation unlike anything seen in the White House in recent memory. The strategic review began in September. Again and again, the war council convened in the Situation Room. The president mulled an array of unappealing options. Next week, finally, he will tell the American public the outcome of all this strategizing.

"He's establishing his decision-making process as being almost diametrically the opposite of the previous administration," says Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel who served as Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's chief of staff. Wilkerson, who teaches national security decision-making at George Washington University, says the Bush-Cheney style was "cowboy-like, typical Texas, typical Wyoming, and extremely secretive."

Stephen Wayne, who teaches about the presidency at Georgetown, said: "He's not an instinctive decision-maker as Bush was. He doesn't go with his gut, he thinks with his head, which I think is desirable." Referring to the Afghanistan decision, Wayne said, "I don't think he is an indecisive person, I just think this is a tough one."

But to his critics, Obama's prolonged Afghanistan review suggests weakness rather than wisdom. Former vice president Richard B. Cheney lobbed the "dithering" accusation last month. Then last week, former senator Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.) said on his radio show that Obama has waited so long to decide on an Afghanistan strategy that the war is now lost. "The president does not have the will and determination to do what's necessary to win it. His heart's not in it, and never has been," Thompson said.

Obama's style has been attacked from his left flank as well. Liberals have zinged him as being too cautious, too much of a compromiser. Some of his supporters would like to see him show more fire in the belly and recapture the energy that propelled him to victory last year.

"I think the Obama we've seen as president is a very different Obama than we saw during the campaign. He doesn't seem to be connected, he doesn't seem to have the passion, he doesn't seem to be conveying the grand and inspiring vision," says the progressive historian Allan Lichtman of American University. "If you want to be a transformational president, you've got to take the risks."

Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton, says Obama has suffered from unrealistic expectations among those who put him in office. "They kind of were sold Utopia, and they bought it, and it didn't happen," he says. "People were comparing the candidate to Abraham Lincoln before he served a day of his presidency. Nobody can live up to that."

As commander in chief, economist in chief, diplomat in chief and figurehead in chief, the president has a job description nearly as long as the tax code. He is in the Situation Room one night, holding a state dinner in a South Lawn tent the next -- and pardoning a turkey in the Rose Garden the following morning. His portfolio of responsibilities covers much of the planet; no president has seen so many countries so fast. But critics are not satisfied. The reaction to his recent trip to Asia was, in effect, that he went all the way to China and came back with only a lousy T-shirt.

With multiple crises on his docket, the president has much to contemplate as he enters the holiday season. The economy has shown signs of growth and the stock market is up, but it's a jobless recovery, unemployment is at the highest rate since he was in college, and there are fears of a double-dip recession. The dollar is down. The national debt is oceanic. Obama's health-care plan is imperiled by the whims of a handful of lawmakers. His approval rating has dipped below 50 percent. Even once-Obama-friendly "Saturday Night Live" has taken to mocking him as a do-nothing president. This follows historical patterns: New presidents always experience a drop in popularity as the romance of the campaign trail gives way to the mundane bill-paying and grocery shopping of governance.

The public debate over Afghanistan has focused on whether Obama should authorize more troops. The actual decision is vastly more complicated. Whatever the president chooses to do, he must bring on board as many allies as possible, which means getting a buy-in from Congress, his Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bean counters who budget military action, NATO, various dyspeptic European leaders, the generals in the theater, the troops on the ground, the sketchy Afghan leadership, the Pakistanis and so on. He must also sell his plan to the American people, convincing the right that he's tough enough to fight and the left that he knows where the exit is.

Obama told Chip Reid of CBS News, "I think the American people understand that my job here is to get it right, and I'm less concerned about perceptions, about process, than I am at making sure that once a decision is made everybody understands it, everybody is on the same page, and we're able to move forward with the support of the American people."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked Monday if the president had anguished over the Afghanistan decision.

"I don't know if he's anguished through this process," Gibbs said. "I just think the president understands that there are a lot of different layers to our involvement in Afghanistan, how it relates to the region, what its impact is on our forces, what its impact is on our fiscal situation."

Obama discussed his professorial leadership style in a recent interview with U.S. News & World Report. He said he is not afraid of doubt and is comfortable with uncertainty: "Because these are tough questions, you are always dealing to some degree with probabilities. You're never 100 percent certain that the course of action you're choosing is going to work. What you can have confidence in is that the probability of it working is higher than the other options available to you. But that still leaves some uncertainty, which I think can be stressful, and that's part of the reason why it's so important to be willing to constantly reevaluate decisions based on new information."

This past spring, Obama was asked by "60 Minutes" to describe the toughest decision in his first few months of office. He quickly said that it was the decision to deploy 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The increase had been requested by military commanders during the previous administration. Obama signed off on it.

He noted the grave responsibility of sending young men and women into harm's way. But he also expressed discomfort with the process.

"I think it's the right thing to do," he said. "But it's a weighty decision, because we actually had to make the decision prior to the completion of a strategic review that we were conducting."

No one can accuse him of rushing the decision this time around.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 25, 2009; 6:56 AM ET
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As I said in the previous boodle, I find the president's decision-making style reassuring. I like to see important issues thought through carefully.

Posted by: slyness | November 25, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Moving with care is exactly what this situation needs. No grandstanding required, just calm, thoughtful steps.

A conservative approach to a thorny problem by a liberal thinker. What's not to like?

Posted by: --dr-- | November 25, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Just a warning not only front page, but one of the items on mine (and probably others) WaPo link on iGoogle.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

This is an excellent, excellent analysis, Joel. Truly one of the best pieces I have ever read on the nature of this President.

For me, the key thing about Obama is that he is not only smart, he is wise. That is, he doesn't appear to be blinded by strict ideology or other cognitive filters. This allows him both to see the world as it is much more than might others, and to develop unique long-term solutions not dictated by some philosophical rulebook.

The other, thing, of course, is that Obama has patience. He is able to plant seeds and wait for them to grow. He knows that there is a difference between a tactical victory and a strategic victory. Although all Presidents count on the verdict of history, Obama does so as a motivation for his policies and not as a hopeful source of absolution.

Which is not to suggest that he is either infallible or guaranteed of success. He has, and will, make mistakes. And some problems, like Afghanistan, simply have no good answer.

But I am still just as enthusiastic about him and his deliberative, thoughtful, and patient approach as I ever was. And I am profoundly thankful that he is our President.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I see this is linked to the front page. In case things get bumpy let me suggest a drinking game.
Which can be played mentally, of course.

One shot for each "bow," one for each "socialist," one for each "apologist," and one for each "dithering."

And if the phrase "birth certificate" comes up we make 'em doubles.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

How about triple bonus points if Communist makes it :-), better yet Comrade.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hee hee. Good point dmd.

We'll see. This is, of course, the busiest travel day of the year down here, so we might not get too many 'mericans commenting at all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

You know if you Americans stretch your Thanksgiving holiday out anymore it is going to be a week long event. I am guessing todays travel day is an "unofficial" holiday?

We Canadians could learn so much from you people. Heck just having the big meal on the first day of the holiday rather than the last is sheer brilliance.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

RD, your analysis is right on target, and I too am wholeheartedly grateful that Barack Obama is president.

Posted by: slyness | November 25, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Myself, I like the big Sunday dinner with the following Monday off. But I'm usually the cook so it may influence my thinking.

Almost missed the very funny sliced bread kit & boodle, that one fled through quite fast.

I'm home with a doozy of a cold. Witch no.1 got it first then no.1, then Mrs. D and now it's my turn. I'm in the exploding sinuses phase. I think I'll walk the dogs, fresh air may help unplug the head plumbing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 25, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

SCC Witch no. 2 and unclog

I need to brew more coffee.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 25, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

As usual RD, you've nailed it. I'm one of those people who expected too much from the President, perhaps because the past eight years had been so unrelentingly miserable to live through. I still wish Obama had gotten rid of DADT right away, but I understand how much is on his plate and how important it is to get health care reform passed. He can't do everything in his first year.

We will be having multiple Thanksgivings this year. Tomorrow will be just the two of us. Friday "S" goes to NY with his ex and son to celebrate with his daughter and Sunday we will gather at #1's for turkey. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: badsneakers | November 25, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Indeed, President Obama's deliberative style contrasts greatly with his predecessor(s), and would add this to that.

Our Internet-wired 24-hour-a-day information-moving society has changed the game in a couple of ways.

1) This President probably has more information and analytical at his disposal to consider in his decision-making process than President before him. Information from the field, from foreign governments and media, from Internet-insta-polls, from domestic media, from emails and website comments, from military and state department applications and tools, etc. Granted, the President's not doing all if this himself, but there's a *lot* of information to review if he cares to. If he's willing to go do Dover and to Arlington as he's working his way through this, it sounds like he wants to consider everything he can.

2) I think Western Society has become faster-paced in general (see that 24x7 information cycle above), and there are expectations that with so much information available, decisions could be reached quickly. If folks are used to seeing immediate results for Dancing With the Stars even if they're not watching it on TV and have to pull it from their hand-held devices, the idea that it could take months to decide on anything may be unthinkable...

The recent news clips showing the President at military services and the Cabinet-level meetings are good for reminding citizens that there are processes to consider strategies and tactics for the Afghan situations as a means of mitigating the pent-up expectations for *something* concrete to emerge, but as JA points out, there will likely be something for media and politicos on any side of the debate to dislike, and it can't come fast enough for any of them to get the First word in. I'm sure on the day the President's decision is announced, fingers will be poised over "enter" keys, ready to unleash a Torrent of Punditry at the first sign that the text of the announcemnt is posted by the WH, much less delivered verbally by the President.


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

Good morning, all.

Indeed, President Obama's deliberative style contrasts greatly with his predecessor(s), and would add this to that.

Our Internet-wired 24-hour-a-day information-moving society has changed the game in a couple of ways.

1) This President probably has more information and analytical at his disposal to consider in his decision-making process than President before him. Information from the field, from foreign governments and media, from Internet-insta-polls, from domestic media, from emails and website comments, from military and state department applications and tools, etc. Granted, the President's not doing all if this himself, but there's a *lot* of information to review if he cares to. If he's willing to go do Dover and to Arlington as he's working his way through this, it sounds like he wants to consider everything he can.

2) I think Western Society has become faster-paced in general (see that 24x7 information cycle above), and there are expectations that with so much information available, decisions could be reached quickly. If folks are used to seeing immediate results for Dancing With the Stars even if they're not watching it on TV and have to pull it from their hand-held devices, the idea that it could take months to decide on anything may be unthinkable...

The recent news clips showing the President at military services and the Cabinet-level meetings are good for reminding citizens that there are processes to consider strategies and tactics for the Afghan situations as a means of mitigating the pent-up expectations for *something* concrete to emerge, but as JA points out, there will likely be something for media and politicos on any side of the debate to dislike, and it can't come fast enough for any of them to get the First word in. I'm sure on the day the President's decision is announced, fingers will be poised over "enter" keys, ready to unleash a Torrent of Punditry at the first sign that the text of the announcemnt is posted by the WH, much less delivered verbally by the President.


Posted by: -bc- | November 25, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Apologies for the double-post.
Clearly, the browser was in too much of a hurry, too.


Posted by: -bc- | November 25, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I have yet to hear a single word of apology or even a simple confession of error from the McCain camp or anyone on the Right about all that bull---- during the campaign about Obama being such a wild-eyed flaming liberal who was going to turn the country into Albania overnight.

There were a few thoughtful pieces during the campaign that suggested that being a flaming radical wasn't really his style, but everybody on the McCain side laughed at or ignored those kinds of pieces. So imagine the absolute horror when the university professor-type guy turns out to be...uh...well, a university professor type guy. Who woulda thunk it?

And god knows, the very LAST thing we need in a president is a cool, calculated, thoughtful, deliberative kinda guy. I mean, much better to have a guy like Bush, who makes judgements based on his intestinal system -- and the outcome of which was pretty much what you'd expect to get out of somebody's digestive tract.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

There is a lot to be said for careful consideration, research into topics before you speak. Unlike say, Ms. Palin. But perhaps she can see Canada from her home as well and that makes her an expert.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Mudgekins -- very well put! Brings to mind the "garbage in, garbage out" line.

My views of Obama haven't changed much since he was elected (which were and are highly favorable, of course). I just thrilled that there is finally an ADULT in the White House, who behaves like an adult and is not afraid of acting like an adult.

Too bad that there are far too many little brats running around.

Anybody see SYTYCD last night? Very, very good show. Some terrific dancing. Don't know who they can boot tonight, everyone did so well.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow. They've upgraded Joel's story from fifth position to top story. Good. It's nice to see a country boy like Joel making good and leading off the WaPo for a change instead of that drivel Dan Balz writes. (And hey! where *was* Dan yesterday when we needed his input on the Scientific American piece?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

dmd, about Thanksgiving as a week long holiday -- my students expect it. I teach on Tuesday afternoons, and you should have heard the moans last week when I announced that, yes, we would have class on the Tuesday before T'giving. (That said, attendance ended up being not much less than normal, so I shouldn't dump on them too hard.)

ftb, I watched SYTYCD, and I agree -- a really good night. I'd send Mollee and Nathan home, myself. They're both talented, yes, but that talent doesn't always seem to be realized in the performances, and they're pretty much the only ones left who have had real clunkers. They probably have the votes to keep them safe, though, since they're so cute. More likely it'll be Victor and Karen -- really good dancers, and a good night last night, but they don't seem to have the fan base.

Posted by: -bia- | November 25, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I think bc has got it just about right. We've gotten so used to instant info, instant analysis, insta-punditry that we now expect instant answers to really tough questions. Obama was handed a ship of state that was listing badly and in danger of running onto the rocks. The fact that the economy has in fact started perking up a bit only a year after the worst crash since 1929 is something almost none of the public appreciates. Yes, unemployment is over 10% and isn't going to go down for a good while, but no one considers that if not for the stimulus and the bail-outs unemployment might be up around 15%. Did they get everything right? No, probably not, but it could have been WAY worse. And I hope that some of the Dems in Congress can look past their cremasteric muscles (those that have it, of course)and get health care reform through.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 25, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

A quick review of gut decisions: warrantless electronic surveillance; invade Iraq; engage in country building; allowances for enhanced interrogation techniques, among others. I think I prefer President Obama's tendency for a more thoughtful decision making process. I left a fried turkey , a pan of cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, fatback seasoned green beans, giblet gravy and some rolls in the bunker. Happy early thanksgiving.

Posted by: -jack- | November 25, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I agree, bia. Although I do like Mollie, but really not so much Nathan. I think he's a little too full of himself. And, I'm pi$$ed that Kevin got tanked last week in favor of Nathan. I think he was *much* better than Nathan. Nevertheless, this is the kind of choice by the judges that makes me think there is a bit of "rigging" going on. Karen is very, very talented, but I agree that the fan base appears to prefer "cute fizzy-popping teeny-bopper" to "woman".

I must say that Kathryn has surprised me, as has Ellenore. They are incredibly good dancers.

It'll be interesting tonight.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

One more long meeting and then I am outta here.

I hope all the 'mericans have a great Thanksgiving. And special good thought to those who must struggle to find things to be thankful for.

I shall celebrate, as is traditional, with copious calories.

Of course, one could make the argument that just because I am presented with moist turkey, savory gravy, copious quantities of delightful side dishes, and several baked dessert products does not mandate that I must actually consume them all.

But if one knows what is good for oneself one will keep such killjoy comments to oneself lest one end up gagged with duct tape.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Obama is going to pardon two turkeys this afternoon [insert your own Abramoff joke here]. And on behalf of vegetarians, he's going to pardon a pound of tufu.


Borrowing Scotty's schtick while he's traveling, I shall heave a sigh at the following:

And for you Canukis marveling at the length, depth and breadth of our Murikin T-day, please note the following:

Yes, the Feds get an "early out" this afternoon, usually about 2 p.m. I note with special chagrin that lowly contractors, we third-class gummint schlubs, do NOT get an early out. (Because then we'd be charging the gummint for work we really didn't do. Insert your other joke here. If you can't think of one, you're probably one of those people in a coma but who aren't really.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

from the article:

"The increase in climate skepticism is driven largely by a shift within the GOP. Since its peak 3 1/2 years ago, belief that climate change is happening is down sharply among Republicans -- 76 to 54 percent -- and independents -- 86 to 71 percent. It dipped more modestly among Democrats, from 92 to 86 percent. A majority of respondents still support legislation to cap emissions and trade pollution allowances, by 53 to 42 percent."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Iran may be a more intellectual country than the USA. Tea anyone?

Posted by: Emmetrope | November 25, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

If you've got 5 minutes to spare and you'd like to smile, watch this-

Posted by: kguy1 | November 25, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Just added cranberry sauce, assorted pies, whipped cream, and of course, some proper coffee, to the buffet.

Posted by: -jack- | November 25, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Democrat from Wisconsin David Obey (and Senator Levin, too), chairman of the powergul House Appropriations Committee, who is calling for a war tax aimed on the rich. Although last night, I heard soneone opine that the war tax should be levied on all Americans. Let's all bear the obscene cost of this war equally.

I'm flabbergasted about the comment in the Kit from professor Sean Wilentz, Princeton history prof, who said, first, that American voters were "kind of" sold Utopia and bought it, and, second, that people were comparing the candidate to Abraham Lincoln. The public wasn't "kind of" sold Utopia; they were outright pummeled with the message from the Obama campaign machine on a daily basis--hope, change we can believe in, blah, blah, blah. The other correction to Wilentz--or little white lie--is that Obama did everything to *sell the public* on his supposed similarity to Lincoln. Numerous, numerous examples abound. Of the Obama most like Lincoln, I think people need look no further than Michelle Obama, who really calls up the spirit of Mary Todd Lincoln, with her endless need of wardrobe.

As for the astounding comment by a Boodler that truthtellers are joykillers. Well, so be it. Nothing like being an ostrich with his head in the sand on Turkey Day.

Posted by: laloomis | November 25, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Fine article, Joel. RD put it well. And Mudge is right - where is the acknowledgement that Obama is not a flaming revolutionary?

I'm working in a ghost town here. There's nobody else on my floor. Granted, there are only six offices and six workstations up here - it's a "secret" floor - but still. We have three administrative assistants, two judges (instead of five), one front desk person.

I do not travel this week, unless you count the couple of hundred yards to my cousin's house. This afternoon I'll bake pies and maybe a cake, for non-pie people. I'll get ingredients ready for Yoki's olive balls and some date/pecan/bacon morsels, and chill a lot of wine. Tomorrow, sing the morning Thanksgiving service and then we let the festivities commence.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh, cool, Joel has a live chat about to start. Quick, everyone, let's come up with some good questions for him.

Posted by: -bia- | November 25, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Ah, kguy, I am so laughing at that. And back atcha: this is for fellow Scandanavian ftb and also for Don from I-270:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

There are non-pie people? How can there be non-pie people? That absurd. (Perhaps they are those alien reptile things on "V"?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, jack and Mudge. The Viking skit is silly fun and the Rhapsody is brilliant. Muppets at their best. It's a rare privilege to have eight minutes of smiles.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Yoki just appeared in Joel's chat. Thanks for not mentioning the invasion plans.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Let's see... frosti, too. Who else?

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Me. tee hee.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Of course!

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

What it all comes down to is the results.

What do we do next?

So far, both Presidents are on the same track.

There is no substitute for victory.

How to the partisan word warriors explain that?

Posted by: gary4books | November 25, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Me, too.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

And dbG?

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

No substitute for victory. Jeez, I wish I'd thought of that. So simple! How;d we all miss it?

All we gotta do is win. Now it all becomes clear. Why, it's like a veil was lifted from my eyes!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Me twice.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Defrosting a boneless leg of lamb. Any ideas/suggestions?

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Thought I recognized quite a few of the boodlers, great questions on short notice - not that I am surprised.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

RT.. yes...

Preheat oven to 350F.

Butterfly the lamb and make sure it is a uniform thickness.

Heat up a heavy nonstick pan with olive oil.

Rub garlic powder, oregano, pepper and onion powder all over defrosted lamb.

When oil is very hot, brown/sear the outside of the lamb all over.

Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and roast at 350F for about a half hour, checking to make sure the internal temp doesn't go over 135-140.

Take out of oven and keep under a tent of foil for about 15 minutes before slicing and eating.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I was too late for my comment to make Joel's chat. However, I am in favor of recycling, so here it is:

I am perfectly happy to have a President who thinks before he decides, and decides before he acts. What we never did in Afghanistan and Iraq is think about what happens and what we have to do if we were successful in knocking off the government that troubled us at the time; plus, of course, we never gave enough consideration to the question of whether we were right to be attacking Iraq. In both cases, we successfully obliterated a sovereign government -- albeit an evil and unjust government -- and then we were startled to discover that that made US the government. The reason they are both wars of necessity now is that we made them our problem. We don't have the luxury of wiping our hands and declaring that it's their own problem if they can't figure out how to run their own country. As Powell said "You break it, you buy it." We broke 'em.

Before deciding what to do next, we need to decide what we want to have happen, and what we will do with that situation. Only then can we decide what to do to MAKE it happen. Too much of the Bush Administration's pronouncements on military and political actions in other countries included phrases about what we hoped would happen, what we hoped our antagonists would do. Strategy is about working to compel desirable action, not hope for it. To make OUR preferred option be the only tolerable one, and to be ready to inflict injury if the other guy chooses a bad option.

I am encouraged by having a President who is working to create hope, not depend on it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 25, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I am really unhappy with this headline on the home page:

West Point to provide backdrop
Obama on Tuesday will try to explain why he is escalating war in Afghanistan.

Um, no, He *will* explain it. He will *try* to persuade the people and politicians to agree.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 25, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Two additional thoughts.

(1) I wonder how generally sincere and "real" the criticism is of Obama's decision-making. I suspect a good bit of it isn't really very sincere at all; it is just a lot of "noise" coming from the other side, and to a large degree it is simply an attempt at making this a no-win. If he decides too soon, he made a "rush to judgement." If he *doesn't* decide quickly, then he's a ditherer.

(2) Isn't this all rather like criticisizing the NFL referees for how long it takes to resolve instant replay disputes (one of them last week took over six minutes). If the refs make the call right away, you criticize them for not being careful and thoughtful and too impulsive. If they take it to instant replay, then you criticize them for taking too long (even though they are likely going to get the play "right"). So would you rather have a correct call, or a quick call? Do you want Obama to get the call right, or do you want him simply to make a snap decision -- just because *you* (not he) lack the patience to get it right.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Excellent criticism of that headline, Tim. Plus, it claims to know what his decision will be.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Loomis for calling my comment astounding! I do try you know.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG... thanks ... one of my favorites! I am thinking of braising the lamb. I found some interesting Provencal recipes ... red wine and broth. I can serve over braised veggies and mashed potatoes.

I may still butterfly as you suggested. I may marinate in yogurt, tonight, just depending.

I could grill and also grill some tomatoes and onions. ... Rice Pilaf.

Again, TBG... love your suggestion.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

So much for the notion, propagated during the Reagan years, that a president doesn't have time to deliberate, so it's best to have a leader with clear, strong, fixed ideas. Preferably from Readers' Digest.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 25, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Weed: Irish Stew

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, only if I had a good Irish woman to share with. Hey, I'd take a bad Irish woman.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The latter are a dime a dozen.

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I have a quarter, can I have two and get some change?

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey!

Posted by: seasea1 | November 25, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Good Irish woman:

Bad Irish Woman:

You decide who you want to invite for dinner.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I was also thinking something N. African. Have you ever ventured that direction in the kitchen?

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

good Irish woman
good, Irish woman = good and Irish woman

good-Irish woman

good Irish-woman

Oh, the possibilities.

Yoki, there are no bad Irish women, Tis a myth. A falsie perpetrated by the wannabies.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 25, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Weed, a nice couscous is a great fall dish. Better yet if you can put your hand on a fleshy pumpkin/potiron.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 25, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

CquaP, shhhhhhh. You'll ruin my reputation.

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the notion that because some are suffering, no one can be thankful for anything.

Those who are suffering would usually be better served by actually being helped rather than defended with words and attitude.

And thankfulness is not associated with things, either. I am thankful for the things I have with no real material value: my family, my friends, the boodle, my community and the opportunities it provides me to meet, work with and volunteer with some amazing people.

I am also thankful that my husband and I both have jobs that put food on our table and a roof over our heads--and pay for college for Son of G.

I am thankful I am "wealthy" enough to share what I have with others and "healthy" enough to lend a hand where needed.

And to stay on kit... I am thankful that we have an intellectual, caring president who takes the time to make decisions based on a long-term outlook rather than a short-term bump in popularity.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"A jungle however is no place for a cellist and Virgil soon learns the facts of life."

I must move on ...

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

to mr. joel and all the fine people in the boodle, my sincere wishes for a good thanksgiving holiday. i am thankful for mr. joel's writing, and for the thoughtful, funny, challenging commentary i often find here at lunchtime.

i am also thankful that this great nation opted for mr. obama and his vision of hope, flawed though it must be. and i am thankful that this good man continues to try to do the job to the best of his ability, and not to placate his 'base' or to address his oedipal issues, or to prove his manhood, or to complete his mission from god, or any of the other ridiculous and tragic motivations driving the previous president. and i am thankful for the men and women in the armed forces who keep us safe. and i am so, so thankful to live here.

Posted by: butlerguy | November 25, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

RT... I gave up trying to compete with the great Ethiopian restaurants and carryouts in town, but if you can stop by one and pick up some injera and spices, this looks good...

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Sounds interesting ....

I like this TBG,(don't think I have run across this before)

"Tumeric to taste"

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

What TBG and butlerguy said. Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving and safe travels.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 25, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

What a lovely post TBG, one of the nice things about being part of the boodle is I have two great oppotunities to thing about what I am thankful for ours and the US Thanksgiving. I do however, try to be thankful everyday.

Today I am beginning the big clean in preparation for our Christmas party and the Christmas season. Just cleaned the top of the kitchen cabinets - no one will ever see how sparkling clean they are now but I am pretty thankful it is done.

Seriously I have so much in life to be thankful for, wonderful family, friends, and this place that very nicely lets me join in.

I am also thankful for the live webcam of the Olympic Torch relay, enjoying it and it is an incredible time waster - currently it is stopped a CFB Gagetown - made me a little misty eyed to see the torch on the base - thinking about the people there who do so much to protect my and all Canadians.

Lastly I am thankful for your President, those of us from other nations appreciate his thoughtful considerations before taking action in other countries.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. In fact, with everything that is going on around us and sometimes sadly involving us, we do have much for which to be thankful.

I want to thank you all at the boodle for helping me find a comfortable place to share a laugh. I can tell in my everyday reactions with folks that our spirits are certainly frayed.

Finally, I want to thank you all for the mountains of emails that have been pouring in from Irish women.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Spell check FAIL.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Aw, butlerguy and TBG, you make me misty-eyed with your Thanksgiving notes. I will piggy-back onto that (um, maybe tomorrow *after* having eaten) and wish all sundry (more or less) a wonderful Thanksgiving day. May we stretch that into the year 2010. Hell, while we're at it, let's give it energy to zip through the millennium, and may we all see it on the other side of that. Well, Mudge and I are likely to be old and wrinkled by then, but the rest of you youngsters can bring us a mighty wedge of pumpkin pie (with whipped cream, please, as it has calcium to ward off osteoporosis) -- just be prepared to buckle up your jet propelled jumpsuit and fly it on over to The Olde Lady Lawyer's Home (and dear guests who aren't lawyers, but still acceptable). I suspect that the current millennium will not last as long as I would wish.

But I digress . . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC (with gravy): all *and* sundry


Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Just finished making three wreaths. Two for a friend who owns a B&B and one for #2. What a mess.

I am thankful that altho' I'm out of work, I'm not in danger of being either totally broke or homeless. I am thankful for the good health of all my family and friends. I am very thankful that four or so years ago I got up the nerve to post here and hit send because I've gotten to know (and in many cases meet) a group of unique people. And I am very very thankful that "S" is in my life, making me laugh and doing all the handy manly things that I either cannot or do not want to do myself.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 25, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

All the best wishes for a great holiday to everyone here. We get to celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss this weekend, too.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 25, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, do look at the "pardon" of the turkey by Obama, on the front page. It's really funny in many parts.

ebtnut -- Happy Anniversary!

*throwing streamers and confetti*

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary to ebnut & nutSpouse!

Thanks to TGB and butlerguy for those fine "thanks" comments. What they said. I particularly like the idea that thankfulness is an appropriate response all the time, even in the face of poverty, illness and hopelessness. I'll go further and say that finding joy is also appropriate, always. Life is a gift, and the best way to accept gifts is with grace and thanks.

I'm almost ready to flee this popsicle stand I call "office" for some serious baking. I'll check in so y'all can help.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary to the Nuts!

ftb, thanks the Pardon was amusing.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

NFLer discovers Curling!

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations ebtnut!

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Was there a link to Obama's "pardon the turkey" speech? If not, here it is:

Its pretty good, and he has some jokes (especially at the ends when he spooks Malia).

Regarding Thanksgiving: what TBG and butlerguy and everybody else said. Wish our friends in Canada and in the far Pacific and Chile could share in our holiday. So I'll be faxing some leftovers (but not too many) tomorrow to Brag, rainforest, and all our Canucki cohort, Yoki, dmd, shriek, and all the other gang tomorrow, at least until the giblets in the gravy jam up my fax machine.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The sun is actually trying to put in an appearance here in mid-Montgomery County. Maybe it will hang in there through most of tomorrow. Tired of driving around in the wet. Don't know when the county is going to finally get around to picking up the leaves. REALLY looking forward to a 4-day holiday! Got to patch the kitchen ceiling after getting the pin-hole leak fixed, and get the gardens mulched for the winter.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 25, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and thanks for the kind words re: our anniversery. Going to see "As You Like It" at the Shakespeare Theater for Saturday matinee, then special dinner at Nora.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 25, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations ebnut & spouse!

I sort of watched the turkey pardon while doing other things. I like Obama's sense of humor, dry and understated. Hope he gets a chance to relax for a few days, he's been very busy (yeah, I know it's his job but still).

Posted by: badsneakers | November 25, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm envious Mudge. I can't see the Pardoning of the Turkey video here at work.

Maybe while he's at it, Obama could pardon some other turkeys, like our SC governor. Yeah, well, ok, maybe not.


Posted by: DLDx | November 25, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The sun has made an appearance here too, finally, but the rain comes back tonight. Some of my newly planted crocuses have shoots - maybe a bit too eager - or maybe it's a sign of an early spring!

Posted by: seasea1 | November 25, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Have a happy Thanksgiving you'se all Murricans.

Obama was funny. Jeesus, how tall is that daughter of his?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 25, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

For those too frazzled by holiday multi-tasking, I offer the world's simplest pumpkin recipe.

Posted by: rashomon | November 25, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, Fred Thompson. Obama has lost the Afghan war. A war with no real battles, no real front lines, no real goal. It is now lost, because of 8 weeks of review. How silly and partisan and stupid. How very neoconian of him.

Posted by: steveboyington | November 25, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Tim, they changed that awful deck: "White House officials say Obama's speech Tuesday will outline a modest endgame for Afghanistan."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, thanks for bringing that to my attention. That's a pretty sharp change. The previous deck (forever after known as "The Awful Deck", with capitals) implied a difficult struggle to justify an unjustifiable action to do something dramatic and precipitous. This one does a better job of not trying too hard to anticipate the outcome of real-world events.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 25, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, I had exactly the same reaction to Malia's height. She seems almost as tall as her father. I also think Sasha looks like her mother, but my glasses might be dirty (a usual happenstance). She has her father's eyes, but her demeanor seems to be her mother's. Malia seems to have her mother's eyes, but her father's demeanor.

Or vice-versa.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody!

I enjoyed reading the transcript of Joel's chat, having been stuck in a lunch meeting for a loong time. Great job, everybody!

The older I get, the more I find to be thankful for. Now I understand Augustine's wish to spend all day in prayer and praise.

I am thankful for this unique, wonderful place and all the friends I have made here. Thanks for the windows into worlds I never would have known otherwise and all the knowledge and wisdom of the boodle. And many, many thanks for the silliness and laughs and fun we have.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Posted by: slyness | November 25, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Just watched the President pardoning the turkey. Man, does that guy have a genius for tone or what? And he still can bring a manly tear to my eye with his simple eloquence.

Wow, Malia is sprouting up. Well, they do make women young nowadays. I just love the way those two ladies seem so natural and comfortable around their dad. Did you notice Malia's little wave? What a charming image.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I think Sasha has her father's sense of humor, too. Eight year olds can be pretty funny -- knowingly so. Malia's little wave got me, too RD_P. Good kids, both of them.

BTW, and completely off-kit (don't rush at me, now!), Bob Ryan on local Channel 4 news yesterday warned that this winter will be colder than usual (yay! Hope it will kill all the pollen until it storms back at me!) and that we're in line for a nor'easter which expects to dump an inordinate amount of snow on us here in DC (and probably all the way up the coast) -- so that's a DOUBLE YAY!!!

I don't ski (with my knees?) and I don't skate, but I love the big snows anyway. In a somewhat perverse sort of way, it reminds me of a short story that I read in high school called "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" -- perversely, because IIRC, it was about a boy with either schizophrenia or what we would now call a form of autism. Don't hold me to any of this, though, since 45 years have passed since that reading.

*still capturing cobwebs in the brain area*

To all my fellow boodlers, I again wish you a wonderful holiday. I am certainly that I found you all and that you have this tendency to make me snort with laughter and shed a tear now and again (when appropriate). There is certainly no blog like this one.

*throwing more confetti*

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I like that the NY Times is doing carnivore stories for Thanksgiving. First, the Chicago commodities trader who vacations in Massachusetts, hunting for tuna in a kayak.

Then turkey hunting on Long Island, which not so long ago didn't have any wild turkeys. (The restoration of wild turkeys in the eastern US is an impressive story. They nearly disappeared. Success was achieved by relocating wild birds rather than captive breeding. I suppose that captive breeding techniques have improved sufficiently that they might work today.)

Then, today, there's people in Charlottesville, Virginia, learning how to be locavores by hunting deer.

In the name of disclosure, I got the best possible introduction to turkeys, years ago, but never got around to hunting them. Dabbled at deer and elk, not seriously. Fish? Not even trout.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 25, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Know what I liked best about Sasha and Malia? Their clothes: normal, everyday semi-sloppy hangin'-around-the-house kid clothes, certainly nothing fancy or special or "dress up" to impress anybody, certainly not the cameras or a national audience. Just normal kids. Which is exactly the way it should be.

And yes, the wave. Totally unpretentious "hiya, guys" wave.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 25, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Dave!!! Imagine my surprise when I discovered Wild Turkey inside my house!

Posted by: russianthistle | November 25, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I loved the wave (and the kid-clothes) too. She seems very like her Dad, to me. I don't get any real sense of the wee Sasha.

And wasn't Obama's smile on full wattage? Made me quite woozy.

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"And then there are days like this, when I pardon a turkey and send it to Disney World."

Posted by: -TBG- | November 25, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The first pumpkin pie is in the oven. I keep forgetting how easy it is to make those things - a good thing, really. This is the Libby's-canned pie; next up is the home-roasted pumpkin. Same recipe. I'm curious which people will like more, but also keenly aware that the quality of the fresh is only as good as the pumpkins I used. They seemed pretty good but this can't be a definitive experiment.

I liked the way Obama mixed the goofy pedestrian turkey-pardon with the not at all goofy Thanksgiving message. It is nice to see someone be unapologetically serious and funny at the same time. It may be just me, but I thought Obama was really having a hard time getting around that turkey-at-Disneyland thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Gonna make my Spinach-Tomato-Cheese casserole (both of them) tomorrow morning during the parade. One of them is changing a bit, since the cracker crumbs now have to be made with gluten-free crackers. Luckily I was able to find them at Whole Foods. Perhaps I'll take out the rolling pin this evening and make the crumbs, which then won't make it so time consuming in the morning.

Looking forward to the dog show, though. I want to see the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. They are really sweet doggies. And exceptionally smart, too. But I think a whole lot of time is going to go by before one of them gets to be Best in Show.

I agree, Ivansmom, about Obama's being funny and serious at the same time. And, Yoki, his smile is really, really dazzling. Not at all smirky like "little boy". In fact, one could look far and wide to find a smirk in Obama.

I may dream of pumpkins tonight. Yes indeedy.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 25, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Three pies done: two apple (rustic style), one classic pumpkin with a mystery Swedish twist -- cardamom. Raspberry filling on stove reducing for an open face tart.

I keep humming two holiday hymns. This Stephen Foster one helps us be grateful but aware of the plight of most.

Written in 1854 and sung on both sides of the bloody Civil War. Lyrics:

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh Hard times come again no more.

Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.

There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o'er:
Though her voice would be merry, 'tis sighing all the day,
Oh hard times come again no more.

Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh hard times come again no more.

Version, plaintive and haunting, here:

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, Rod Paterson, with concertina, cello, bass....lovely.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 25, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Missed the pardon, read the news clip.

One question: why is PETA quoted here?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 25, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The McGarrigle/Wainwright clan is a national treasure. Darn they're good.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 25, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Sasha seems to wear her emotions on her face, which is nice and normal for a 7 to 8 year old. I bet she thought her dad's speech was way too long - she smiled when she was petting the turkey. It is one of the least dignified things the president has to do, but I thought he did it well. Malia would tower over me, already.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 25, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The other one is the classic
We Gather Together to Ask the Lord's Blessing

The lyrics reflect the God-Is-On-Our-Side culture of long ago and far away -- still here, too :0 --. The tune is lovely, being a Dutch hymn dating from about 1587 or so. The tune, Kremsser, is frolicky singable. I recall it on a Rosanne episode and a Thirtysomething episode....

The Wikipedia entry says that during WWII, the lyric about the "wicked oppressing" was taken to be against Hitler.

Here are the Celtic women singing the hymn at a good clip:

And, the lyrics:

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 25, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

SD -- I agree!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 25, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Like this version of James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma performing, Hard Times No More - saw it when I viewed CP's link.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, TBG, you there? I heard on NPR a little while ago driving home that the White House wine list at the state dinner last night had THREE mistakes in it. They misspelled "grenache," they misspelled "Willamette," and the left a hyphen out of a hyphenated French name of a Virginia winery (Thibault-Janisson Vineyards). Wanna race to see who can get their resume in to Obama's copy desk first? (I'd have caught the first two and fact-checked the third one.)

But it ain't just the WaPo copy desk that's gone all to hell, I guess. *sigh*

I can't talk about it here. but boy did I come across a concentrated bunch of errors in a report I was editing this afternoon. I got a hunch somebody in Arizona is gonna wind up fired by the time the you-know-what hits the fan.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 25, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Hard Times, CqP. It's a lovely plaintive song with a beautiful tune. He also wrote "Slumber My Darling", one of my all-time favorite lullabies.

I like the "Gather Together" too, but I'm afraid you've got one of the lyrics wrong. I think the line as sung on Thanksgiving is, "The wicked oppressing will soon turn into dressing." In fact, I can think of several deviations from the lyrics I'm familiar with (though not necessarily the ones I sing).

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, we may sing that first verse (oppressing to dressing) as grace at the table of
two Christic atheists,
three liberal and gay Mennonites,
two justice Catholics,
five cultural Jews, two of which keep kosher so will come with some separate dishes,
two questing agnostics and about twelve other peeps of various stripes...your very apt change is fine, save for the two teenage vegetarian teens who cannot stand veggies...not sure they will approve of eating wickeds....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 25, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- fab!
Ivansmom -- I looked for some heartfelt, in-Church, but well-paced singing of We Gather...but did not find a YouTubie. So, I imagine you, dear JennyLindofthePlains, singing for us all.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 25, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. I can do two things at once but not three - cut in shortening to pie dough and phone-order my boss's office holiday present yes, set the timer on the currently baking pie, apparently not.

I'll have an extra crust's worth of dough left over after the pecan bourbon pie. I wonder if I should take some of that maceraing Christmas cake fruit, enclose it in the dough, and do some turnover-type thingies, pasties, whatever. Thoughts?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

As I was listening to Mudge's link for O Holy Night today, I remembered a girl in our high school a year or two behind me, we were practising for the Christmas concert and she was singing O HOly Night, the rest of us in the choir just stood quietly and listened and then cheered at the end - it was a goosebump version.

I mention this because that memory made me think of Ivansmom - and what I imagine would be a similar experience where I lucky enough to hear her sing it live.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Whatever you decide Ivansmom, fax me some of that pecan bourbon - love pecan pie but I am the only one in the household so I rarely have it.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to wrap my head around "liberal, gay Mennonite." Not very successfully.

But then, no one said this would be easy.

Major hint/alert/reminder: Glee at 9 p.m.!!!!

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 25, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey ftb, I made your spinach-tomato-cheese casserole last night and meant to thank you for the recipe. It was very good, we had the leftovers tonight. As tomorrow is just the two of us I didn't go all out but I did make a chocolate cream pie - low fat version with sugar free pudding and cool whip. Also the usual dressing, creamed onions and cranberry sauce. Friday I will be making a pumpkin cheesecake to bring to #2's on Sunday.

Now I have to go talk "S" into practicing dancing. We need to reacquaint ourselves with the tango (there's a dance Saturday night).

Posted by: badsneakers | November 25, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

What do you find incongruous in that, 'mudge? In my experience, Mennonite (mennonitism?) is as much cultural as it religious. Rather like... say... Judaism! And Mennonites have always been free-thinkers beyond the dominant culture. So liberal gay is not a very big stretch, to my mind.

I wish I was a Gleek. I haven't caught a single episode, and won't tonight, so suppose it has escaped me.

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Good Thanksgiving Eve to All.

Ivansmom, I believe that I have expressed my great admiration for pumpkin pie made with canned Libby's pumpkin, for it is the taste of my youth. I am a simple man that way.

This evening we watched "The Merchant of Venice" because my son was assigned it as part of his film appreciation class. And you know what? It was really, really good. Funny talk and all.

But come on. I don't care if she did have on fake whiskers. No way I'm buying that pretty redhead as a guy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

RD_P: Three (Four!) words... Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Easier then than now, then when women just *did not* dress in men's clothing. Or, apparently, use spirit gum to stick fake beards on. And, I guess, boys had flutey voices well into their twenties.

Ok, I give up. It wasn't even sustainable then.

Posted by: Yoki | November 25, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Which version did you watch RD? There are some great one, one with Al Pacino is outstanding. Studied that play twice and loved it both times, saw it live once as well as several film versions.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

'twas the 2004 version with Pacino and Jeremy Irons.

Hmmm Yoki. I guess one could then claim that the Superman/Clark Kent bit has literary roots.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, boys played women.

So those women-as-men helped show off their nice legs and also provided titillation for those who never got to see under a real woman's skirt.

Or so a drama teacher told me. Queen Elizabeth had a real butch thing going, too, which kind of helped sell the "ambiguity". She began referring to herself as a prince and a king in her later years, don'cha know?

Mudge probably remembers.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 25, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that bit about men playing women may be true, and I would bet my life, and that of my entire time zone, that Yoki knows all about it. But that doesn't have anything at all to do with what I found so funny, or Yoki's tongue-in-cheek explanation.

The things is, in that play the plot requires a man to not recognize his new wife because she is dressed in men's clothing, has a wig, and fake whiskers. Which I find a bit silly. But that's okay.

I never figured out how the Terminator fit into the clothing he took from those skinny guys either. It's all about suspension of belief.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 25, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I may finish my knitting my afghan from h e l l this Thanksgiving. I started it probably 10 years ago as a wedding present for my niece...or nephew...or maybe this was supposed to be a practice one in preparation for that. At any rate, I got part of it done, and then it languished in a bag for many years until knitting Boodlers got me interested in knitting again and I went through all my bags. It was too pretty to rip back, so I figured out where I was in the 30-row-repeat design and got going again. It's worked with 2 strands of worsted weight yarn on very big plastic (ugh) needles, so it becomes hand-wearying fast. And it's too heavy to work in the summer. So it's been in its bag again for the last 6 months. But I'm near the end - nearly on the last skeins. It's too big to fit in a bag, so it's living on the couch till it's done - when it will live on the couch for good.

After that, I will be down to 1 work in progress - a lace scarf I started about a year ago. Having time really is wonderful.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 25, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I suspect your drama teacher might have been a drama queen, Wilbrod. Yes, it is true that QE1 (Bess, as I called her when we were alone) had a kind of tomboy thing going for her for a while, but if you ever saw how she and Bobbie Dudley looked at each other, you'd know. I mean, there was just no question.

When she was younger (14) she used to fool around with Tom Seymour, who was 40 and sort of a Humbert Humbert, if ya know what I mean. They had a thing goin that got pretty kinky (he liked spanking her, and she liked getting spanked. 'S'Truth!! upon my soul!) But that didn't last too long, because the gossip got around town in a Newgate second.

No, the truth is that Bess and Bobbie were childhood sweethearts ever since 2nd grade, and there's no getting around it. That it didn't work out is a whole different story entirely (I may tell it some time). And anyway, the biggest, most hilarious joke of all is all that "virgin queen" nonsense. She was about as much a virgin as Madonna was the madonna.

No, the butch you had to be careful with was Joan, the Maid of Orleans. Not that there's anything wrong with that. She had me and the English army running all over France, I'll tell you that much. And at the end I covered her trial for the Tyburn News-Register. Worst, most rigged trial I ever covered (and believe me, I sat through some dillies). Made me feel sorry for the poor girl. She was smart, and sassy, and quite brilliant, and a very worthy opponent. She deserved much better than she got.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 25, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Glee has got to stop making me cry!

Posted by: dmd3 | November 25, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, crap. The "Imagine" number on Glee. Now that's just not fair.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 25, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh drat! I forgot all about Glee tonight because my house is overrun with guests, and we just had to go out for the traditional Thanksgiving sushi. I missed my craptastic (or is it crapfabulous?) favorite hour of TV. Will it appear on my computer tomorrow?

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Have I ever told you that I'm thankful for all my friends here on the boodle? I am.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | November 25, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Nah, Mudge, he never said Bess was queer, just a gender-bender of her time.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 25, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Glee can be viewed off the web at or other sites, I believe.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 25, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

RD-- that's opera for you.

I have always assumed the basic explanation for opera is that everybody is slightly drunk with leaded wine all the time; that's why they sing so much, cross-dress, and fail to recognize each other.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 25, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

RD, I myself am fond of Libby's pumpkin and I suspect it will be the favorite. I just couldn't resist trying the fresh pumpkin, since I had the opportunity. I added lots more spice to that one, including a little cardamom (thanks CqP) so it should be tasty if not quite "pumpkin pie". The bourbon pecan looks good.

I may make those fruit tartlets tomorry. The olives are drained and dough is made for the olive balls, and everything is set out to put the gingerbread cake together tomorrow morning before church. I'll be glad to fax portions to all and sundry.

Better chill that wine, then I'm off to bed. Look for a sentimental Thanksgiving wish from me tomorrow.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 25, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Just made it into Savannah after leaving Baltimore after work yesterday. That makes it about 30 hours door to door which includes stopping in Petersburg for the night, lunch and shopping in Gaffney (the Big Peach, yanno) and swinging through Atlanta to pick up my son.

That puts the one-way distance just under 1,000 miles. I kept telling my wife that we need to go back to Savannah someday, so she made reservations at Paula Deen's restaurant since they only book in advance for holidays. My wife will do ANYTHING to avoid having to shove a bird in an oven on Thanksgiving. We've been somewhere other than our own house for Turkey Day every year since 1993.

Time to backboodle.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 25, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I used to make at least two pumpkin pies from scratch each year, but when the jack-o-lantern tradition went by the wayside, the pies did too.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 25, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving, Boodlers!

One of my favorite days of the year, I'm happy and grateful for many things, including being here with my imaginary friends.

Posted by: -dbG- | November 26, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Bruce Springsteen has frequently played 'Hard Times' on his recent tour, including the Baltimore show. He usually intros it with a plea for the local food bank wherever he is playing. Here is the Denver performance:

It's a very moving and sincere part of his show because he has been championing the cause of the working man and supporting food banks at his show for a long, long time. The Maryland Food Bank was very visible at the Baltimore show collecting both canned goods and cash donations.

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

The Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody is just as funny as it was when I linked to it yesterday. But I also like the less polished Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theater version:

Posted by: yellojkt | November 26, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Windy's comment and link from two kits ago reminds of this classic DaVinci's Notebook song:

Warning to those within audible range of work supervisors with disciplinary authority or who are caring for impressionable children or who have domestic partners with overly uptight senses of humor, the above clip contains frequent and repeated use of a word referring to the male reproductive organ that, while a perfectly respectable and proper word, has been known to cause excessive giggling in five-year-olds.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 26, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Finally, I keep misreading the title of this kit as "Obama the defibrillator" which keeps causing bad Dick Cheney flashbacks for some reason.

There. I am completely backboodled. I apologize for boodlehogging, but on the upside, it's easier to ignore me all at once.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 26, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Wow, yellojkt, that is a long way to go at Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a great time.

Oh, I keep meaning to mention that The Road, the bleak apocalyptic movie with Viggo Mortensen, was filmed near Mt St Helens, Astoria, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 26, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Opera is, really, just about the fine music. And sweet voices, or powerful voices. But, mostly, the score.

Posted by: Yoki | November 26, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Yoki said, "It's all about scoring!"

Yuk, yuk.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 26, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

heehee! No. The transliteration of music to music notation, bobsewell.

Posted by: Yoki | November 26, 2009 3:21 AM | Report abuse

The great song

Posted by: Yoki | November 26, 2009 3:25 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. I don't have anything to defend myself.

Posted by: Yoki | November 26, 2009 3:36 AM | Report abuse

I was torn. I was either going to run a deep riff about the various points of psychic mapping between good music & good life, or I was going to delve into juvenalia so shallow that Beavis & Butthead would be ashamed.

I chose the latter.

I'm gonna try to shoot nine holes at Henson Creek (some of you D.C.-area Maryland residents probably know where that is, just off of the Beltway & Indian Head Hwy) at around 9:00. Yes, I mean five hours from now. Then more cookin' & much eatin'.

Happy November 26th, y'all!

Posted by: bobsewell | November 26, 2009 3:53 AM | Report abuse

"... filmed near Mt St Helens, Astoria, Oregon, and Pennsylvania" leaves my head spinning ever-so-slightly.

What location fills THAT bill?

Posted by: bobsewell | November 26, 2009 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope everyone have a great holiday.

Posted by: rainforest1 | November 26, 2009 4:15 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving to all the American boodlers - enjoy your day.

It will be quiet here today, the torch relay is taking a break today - I might have to get some actual work done today - having seen the Thanksgiving day line up for football that will not even be worth the distraction.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 26, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Happy T-day, everybody.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Come on dmd, our Lions will face the Packers that,s a game right there. Not exactly a clash of Titans but the kitties will be bent on revenge following their 26-0 loss the last time they met Green Bay. Or not.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving morning to all my friends! 'Tis foggy and cool here in the Piedmont, although the sun is shining in the high country.

Yello, Lady and Sons for Thanksgiving! Wow, that will be a calorie or two. Yum! Enjoy enough for all of us. Yesterday we had lunch with a friend who said they have reservations at Biltmore House for Thanksgiving. Another wow!

I'm almost ready for the descending hordes. They are not so many as in years past, which is fine with me, but there will be enough food to feed several hordes. We'll be eating it for a couple of weeks, I'm sure. Such is the reality of the holiday.

Posted by: slyness | November 26, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I am very thankful that I did not have to get up at 6 am to stuff a turkey. The sight of innards and fat that early in the day used to make me queasy. And I prefer chicken anyway. There, I've said it, so sue me! Happy Thanksgiving.

Can someone tell me why the Muppet Bohemian Rhapsody clip has suddenly been everywhere? I do love watching it, just wondering why the resurgence.

Posted by: badsneakers | November 26, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving, Boodlers near and far, U.S. of Amurrican and otherwise. Among my many blessings I count the Boodle. Y'all provide a mixture of intellectual stimulation, laughter,seriousness and friendship which is truly unique in my life. This includes you, Joel - you're the Kit but you're the Boodle too. Thanks to and for you all.

yellojkt, thanks for the Springsteen "Hard Times" clip. That was great. I love the way he turns it into a defiant anthem, while losing none of the meaning. That's part of the beauty of music - it is a living and evolving thing. I think I'll round this out with the James Taylor/Yo Yo Ma version on the way to church.

Ginger cake is baked. I'd like to point out that there's nothing like the smell of pure Kentucky sorghum first thing in the morning. It'll wake you right up.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 26, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I fully expect everything to be deep fried including the turkey, the stuffing, and the cranberry sauce. I took a reconnoiter down to the waterfront and back. Now I am watching the Macy's Parade while my family sleeps. We have a friend whose daughter is marching with the Towson University band.

I want to wish a Happy Thanksgiving Day to all our boodlers, domestic and foreign. We as Americans have much to be thankful for. We live in a country full of freedom and bounty. We must share these gifts unselfishly.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 26, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

That does it I am hopping a plane to Ivansmom's house, pecan bourbon pie and ginger cake - so worth the cost of a flight.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 26, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Mmm. Pecan pie with bourbon is one of my favorites. A beloved great aunt of my wife's used to make it just for me. Or so she said. Sometimes I think she made it just as an excuse to purchase the bourbon.

Anyway, I hope that all the turkeys, be they roasted, toasted, boiled, fried, spatchcocked, or tofu end up suitably delicious.

I am, as always, thankful for this little island of sanity.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 26, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving to the Boodle!

I haven't been around much lately. Too much chopping, grating, stuffing and mashing going on here.

I am thankful for many things, one of which is this wonderful place.

I'll check in later (if I haven't exploded).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Moose13 | November 26, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ivansmom. Bruce does like to rock it up and it was one of the most emotional parts of the show.

Another song Bruce does nearly every show on this tour is 'American Land' which has a great Irish folk dance feel to it.

You just don't get enough rock and roll accordion. For the Baltimore show, he also brought out drummer Max Weinberg's daughter, Ali, for this song, taking the total number of squeezeboxes on stage to three.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 26, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning and Happy, Happy, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

I'm resting my back before I get into the kitchen and do what I need to do. I expect that I will be sitting and resting said back from time to time during that exercise.

Sneaks -- I'm so glad you like the spinach casserole. It is indeed a keeper and a passer-around. It also makes a terrific main dish for vegetarians.

Shriek -- GO LIONS!!!! *ouch* *sigh* But who knows? They might just beat Green Bay . . . . . *snort*

And speaking of *snort* -- Yoki, my dearest, yet flagging, Red Wings are in a slump and may very well lose to your Flames tomorrow. We'll still be friends. . . .

And the Pistons are now in last place, as well they should be, I suppose. It's difficult emotionally to build a team back up from the dregs. And so many are injured. *grieving*

I'm having mixed feelings about Glee. I've seen it a few times, but I'm neither completely into it or completely out of it (so to speak). It may take a bit more time to grow on me.

I was disappointed, however, last night that Nathan wasn't booted off SYTYCD instead of Victor, who I think is a superior dancer. As we suspected, however, Karen got the boot. It's an interesting top 10. It'll be even more interesting when Ashley and Ryan get to dance together (for those who are not followers, A & R are actually married to each other and apparently are spectacular in Latin dancing).

I'll bet that Mudge and QEI did a mean Argentine Tango!

*gobble* *gobble* *gobble*

Posted by: -ftb- | November 26, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Neat meteor falling over South Africa filmed by CCTV systems:

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

People need an excuse to purchase bourbon?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 26, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

And Mudge, I think you were right about non-pie people being aliens. I should have just brought a box of hamsters.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 26, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Happy Thursday to our international friends! And Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

Posted by: -TBG- | November 26, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

We're big on regulatory harmonization with the US. Maybe I can negotiate not a full day of leave but an early out in the name of harmonization.

You get Columbus day on our Thanksgiving after all.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, forgot to remind everybody to take lots of photos today -- pix of food, pix of tables and tablescapes, pix of family, etc., for posting (linking) here.

Turkey's about 20 minutes from done, Mama Stamburg's cranberry relish is done (and yanno, it is actually pretty good). Dressing is all done (put a bottle of Icehouse beer in it), only needs to be heated. My wife is doing the ham and the mashed, and my son is doing bacon-wrapped asparagus. Daughter brought an incredible (but store-bought) pumpkin cheesecake adorned with walnuts, dried apple rings and dates.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

You make my stomach grumble Mudge.
I just had a salad at my desk while talking on the phone about shipping used, non-fully decontaminated colonoscopy equipment. Perfect timing of the guy's part, calling at 12:00.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

I'm picking the Packers over the Lions today, because of Stafford's shoulder, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if they win -- they tend to do well on Thanksgiving (except last season).

For those of us celebrating Thanksgiving, please enjoy the food, the drink, the football, but most of all, enjoy the people you're sharing it with.

Including the Boodlers.


Posted by: -bc- | November 26, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving, boodlers and Joel, one and all!

Posted by: woofin | November 26, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing, sd.

Happy Thanksgiving, Boodle! To echo everyone, I'm very thankful for this internet home.

We're spending the day hanging out just us -- very relaxing not to have to do the big travel thing, since family is all far away. We'll see them all in December instead. Today we'll roast some chicken and pretend it's turkey and maybe go out for a walk in the crisp sunshine. Not a bad vacation day!

Posted by: -bia- | November 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh look. Doggies on the television.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 26, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The casseroles are made (one gluten-free and one not) and in the fridge for later. Saw part of the doggie show (including the Great Dane, which I absolutely love -- they are so sweet, especially when trying to climb on one's lap when they're 185 pounds . . .). And, now, I'm just relaxing. Will go through the paper leisurely this afternoon and then get up and go around 5-ish.

Whatta day!

Posted by: -ftb- | November 26, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Chicken breasts in the oven, football on tv, "S" is outside making a frame out of copper pipe for the blueberry bushes, a very untypical holiday but that's fine with me. Wish the sun was out, but at least it's not too cold. Hope everyone is enjoying the day!

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

Yoki's olive balls are done and smell wonderful. I did try the bacon-wrapped pecan-stuffed dates, and they're looking tasty. I may have to try a few, just to make sure I don't poison my family.

I just love all this cooking stuff. And I feel so fortunate to be able to do it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 26, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Sd, re: your 12:25, a keyboard killer. I'm voting for holiday harmonization too.

To everyone, have an absolutely splendid day.

Posted by: --dr-- | November 26, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Should have gone to the beach....

Did get around to clearing the front yard of leaves. Should sneak out and install the flower pot for winter nasturtiums.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 26, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Bacon-wrapped pecan-stuffed dates", eh? I'll bet they'd be tasty deep-fried.

Posted by: bobsewell | November 26, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different . . .

The Lions are Losing . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | November 26, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

"China sees huge rise in garlic prices ... Speculators accused of cashing in on people's swine flu fears"

Darn the luck. Just last month I was shuffling some of my investments around, and considered buying garlic futures. But, NO, that seemed silly!

Posted by: bobsewell | November 26, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I also thought that Chinese garlic stank as an investment.
And it's not a lot better in the kitchen; bring me local or California garlic instead for most things.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

That could mean *so* many things Mudge....

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 26, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Full, Padouk. Very full.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Eh, it's not even dinner time yet. The Lions have folded early and fast. *sigh*
It's so warm here I'm going to BBQ some pork chops to go with the curly endive wilted in oil.
No special dessert but the reportedly excellent cicci datti Mrs. D. did last weekend. I think they were batch no. 2 of Christmas cookies, after the cat turds in their litter made 2 weeks ago. There is the Guinness soaked fruitcake but it's not ready yet.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

SCC Cucci datti

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The two casseroles are all packed in towels in the duffle bag. All I gotta do is put on a coat and set off.

*thank goodness for elastic waist pants*

Posted by: -ftb- | November 26, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Sports Illustrated on the Lions:

"You think it's tough watching the Lions once a year? Try watching them every week. It is hard to fully appreciate the ineptitude of this franchise unless you see it on a weekly basis. It is the difference between using an outhouse at a music festival and using an outhouse as your everyday bathroom."

Read more:

I concur.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Ment to cook the turkey breast I have in the freezer to reduce some of the Thanksgiving envy I have. But I got busy painting and forgot, so instead we are having a kid friendly meal of Sloppy Joes - having a hard time getting enthused about it.

Please fax some sweet potatoes and any leftovers :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | November 26, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Happy Turkey Day to all the Boodlers! I know you're just about done eatin' back east but we're just getting started. Turkey just went into the oven and the house is starting to smell mighty nice. Blue skies and breezy tradewinds today. Can't ask for much more.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | November 26, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Who woulda thought it. A Scottish Terrier.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 26, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Happy Thanksgiving to the U.S. boodlers!

Posted by: engelmann | November 26, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Pretty cool PSA toward the end of halftime of the Dallas games. It's a T-day message from the NFL. It opens with a shot of New Orleans QB Drew Brees, as seen from behind. But he's on the lawn of the White House, which is in the background, and there are some kids, say in the 8 to 12 range, running downfield from him as he begins to throw a pass. Everything is in slow-motion, and you don't know who Brees is throwing to. There's some voice over and yadda yadda, and then Brees throws the pass, still slo-mo. More talk. Then a figure begins to run in from the left, downfield, on a crossing route. It is Obama. He's wearing bluejeans and a dark blue lightweight jacket of some sort. He's the receiver. Lots of slow-mo shots of the football off his fangers, etc. And only then do you wonder if any of the kids previously seen might have been Sasha and Malia, but it's too late to go back and look.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

We didn't even get to the sweet potatoes. We have lots of leftovers. Oy, oy, oy. *burp*

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 26, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

How was the turkey-shaped tofu roast Tim?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | November 26, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Ha! We don't do that imitation stuff. Real turkey for the immoral people, and vegetable pot pie, mashed potatoes, green beans, brussels sprouts for the vegetarians. And, of course, the sweet potatoes that nobody ate.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 26, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Vegetable pot pie! *That's* what's for supper. Thanks, Tim.

Posted by: Yoki | November 26, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

*burp* Turkey liver.
*burp* Turkey meat *burp* carrots
*burp* turkke-- *collapse*

-Wilbrodog aka Fullbirduggh-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | November 26, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Obama football PSA:

At least, I'm guessing that's it.

Yep, stuffed. Now for the cleanup.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 26, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Yup, that was it, seasea. Good find.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Just a reminder to all the folks who aren't vegetarians, but didn't eat turkey today... pick up a cheap bird at the store tomorrow.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 26, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Many delicious foods were eaten, copious wine was drunk, some dishes were done, leftovers parcelled out and it is time to rest.

Somehow we would up with several teenage boys at our house playing video games. Not for long. I swear.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 26, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Sitting in my jacket in the mountain place. Mr. T decided that he wanted to come up the mountain tonight, instead of in the morning. I wish he had given me a little more warning on that. The place has warmed from 53 to 65 in less than half an hour, so I'll be warm enough to take the jacket off in a few minutes. We didn't bother with supper, and I'm not the least bit hungry now. Maybe by breakfast I'll be ready to eat. Many leftovers, too many to bring with us.

Posted by: slyness | November 26, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Sounds nice and cozy, slyness. Well, it will soon.

Hope you all had a great day. We had a wonderful day at my sister's house. Of course, the one-year-old was the star of the show.

Settling in at home now thinking about the four-day weekend I still have ahead of me.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 26, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, everybody.

Had a really nice Thanksgiving with the family, and even got some work done at my Mom's house.

Now I'm utterly, completely stuffed, and just stuffed my fridge with leftovers -- yay!

Watching the Giants / Broncos game, and caught a little of Broncs head coach Josh McDaniel exorting his players on the sideline -- I don't know if any of those players within two meters that have any facial hair left. The NFL Network apologized for broadcasting the live feed, but the Broncs did march down the field and scored a TD on their next possession to go ahead 13-0.

I may consider scolding at least one of my cars in such a manner.


Posted by: -bc- | November 26, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Would that such scolding would work, bc.

It's starting to get warmer in the house, thermostat is up to 67.

Thanks, TBG, we had a lovely day. Mr. T noted that my brother's kids, the nine-year-old twins, were very well behaved. My nephew is now in a private school for kids with dyslexia and he's thriving. His outlook on life has done a 180, now that he's not frustrated and angry about not being able to learn like the other kids.

Hi Cassandra! I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Posted by: slyness | November 26, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout dem Broncos, bc?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 26, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, how bout dem Broncos!

Posted by: Windy3 | November 26, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Hello to all Boodlers and happy Thanksgiving. We're safely back home and well-fed. I actually made an apple crumble from a recipe at the $30/week site *after* we got home because we have no leftovers here and we weren't sufficiently stuffed. Now we are, and then some.

Sci Tim, the veggie pot pie sounds like a good idea. Everything everyone made sounds wonderful, really. I've been dieting (except not today).

Did anyone see the news about Dubai defaulting (the government of Dubai is pretty much synonymous with its largest business, Dubai, Inc.)? They can't meet their December debt payments. Europe's markets didn't like it, and it looks as if ours won't, either. It took everyone by surprise, and the market's too fragile to handle negative surprises very well right now. I guess maybe this wasn't the right decade to build artificial island resort communities shaped like a giant palm tree. Who knew?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 27, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of the 30/week site - anyone else think Tina might be pregnant?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | November 27, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy11, Yes, been following the story. I personally fear that this could be a start to another banking crisis. The Franz Ferdinand murder of banking. We all know that commercial real estate is heading towards a crisis here in America (and around the world) with loans that cannot be repaid or rolled into other instruments, but not from the land that bleeds oil.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 27, 2009 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Looks like US market (Dow) down 300 or so on this news and other implications. Folks may just "call it a day" and run to the sidelines again--meaning a market dive.

At first, I thought that we are OK, since many traders are "away," but this might very well become a trigger day based on the fact that large numbers of investors are very freshly aware of the feeling of riding a market down to the depths.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 27, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

If someone deliberates a long time over an issue, it doesn't necessarily mean that the ultimate decision isn't a poor one...or that the deliberating didn't worsen the situation or improve the decision-making process. Instead of giving Obowma a gold star simply for deliberating on Afghanistan for four months, why don't we wait to see if he made a good decision? It may be that his deliberation was the equivalent of typing "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" ten thousand times.

Oh, and it wasn't that people of their own had unrealistic expectations of Obowma as President. Remember, this was the guy who said, upon being nominated, that this was the day that the oceans began to recede and the earth began to heal or some such utter nonsense as that. So he has only himself to blame...although he's not capable of that sort of self-reflection or humility.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | November 27, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Obowma. That's a good one. Who came up with that, Oxy Limpbaugh or 'Falafael' O'Really?

And a belated Thanksgiving wish to all the trolls who keep life interesting.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 27, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Obama himself was the inspiration for my referring to him as "Obowma." I mean, he bows readily to royalty, does he not? (Except, of course, British royalty, since he despises all things British). And his supporters don't see anything wrong with it, correct? So how would "Obowma" be anything less than a play on fact, if not an outright compliment? It's kind of like "Fearless Reader." Our intrepid leader doesn't go anywhere without his trusty teleprompter, so how could it be an insult to refer to him as such?

Again, it wasn't me who said that, on the day of his nomination, that history would record that that was the day that the oceans began to recede and the planet to heal. It wasn't me standing among the throngs and fainting in his mere presence as liberal women seemed to do on a regular basis. It wasn't me who was awarded (and accepted!) the Nobel Piece Prize for doing exactly nothing. No, it was our Fearless Reader Obowma.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | November 27, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Redder, don't you believe that the decisions about Afghanistan have more to do with changing directions away from occupation than how to win? We suffered from huge mission creep on that one. It seems clear to me that there has been huge damage done by involving ourselves into the government and propping it up. A large majority of Americans would like to leave the country, while the plans presented to the President seem to extend and expand our involvement.

There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong. H.L. Mencken

As odd as it may seem, our country is still justifying billions of dollars of military expenses and the continuing losses of life and terrible injuries for a goal to reach and extract retribution a small band of people who aren't even involved in the current conflict in Afghanistan. (directly involved). As the months go by, we have strengthened the resolve of the Taliban and created a large group of Afghan sympathizers.

Redder, the impending collapse in Afghanistan was not caused by the current President, but the President who seemed to never spend more than 10 seconds to think his way out of his paper bag logic. By taking the easy way out each morning of his Presidency, he left a mess.

It took a lot of work (thinking of this in Physics terms) to create the problem and now we face the potential energy in the affair. It is very easy to suggest that a man Like Colin Powell supported Obama just because he was black. More likely, he came to understand that Bush and next McCain were easy answer guys and the easy answer is just put more troops into the region without taking the losses into properly weighted consideration.

The group of officers surrounding Gen. Petraeus, have pushed their way into influence, but their support is eroding within the military, itself. Their goal is to succeed on the ground fighting a group with which we don't have a bone to pick.

(or at least we shouldn't have)...

Sadly, we do now. I am wondering if you would support a President making a really tough decision which makes you feel like a loser. Can you wrap your mind around the fact that, for 5 years, our leadership floundered and erred and created a disaster?

Here is another Mencken quote:

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

It's point seems more vivid now than in 1924.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 27, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Good lord, there's not even a front page alert. Where do these people come from? (Don't answer that!)

Good morning all. Hi Cassandra! Hope you are warm and comfortable.

The forecasters were correct about the wind in the high country. It howled all night and is still going strong. When I got up, there was a light dusting of snow on the porch - but it's all been blown away! It's cold enough to make snow, and I see the ski slope across the valley has started up the machines.

Happy Black Friday and safe travels to all!

Posted by: slyness | November 27, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Russ, there are many conservative reasons for leaving Afghanistan, and many conservative reasons for having never gone there in the first place except as necessary to retaliate for 9/11. Just because I despise Obama and think he is an incompetent and a fraud, as well as a narcissist and sociopath with no depth or character, doesn't mean I think everything GWB did was good and correct. I always had misgivings about Iraq and reluctantly took the word of the administration that it was necessary to prevent another 9/11. I see no hope in transforming Afghanistan into any kind of functioning country. Islam and the tribalism that results from centuries of cousins marrying cousins completely precludes that. GWB was also incredibly disappointing in the way he ran up deficits, but they pale in comparison to the damage Obama is doing. I believe that, on our present course, this country is going to suffer a complete economic collapse, and that will be 90% Obama's doing.

As I said in an earlier post (albeit with much sarcasm), why don't we wait and see what his decision is before lauding him simply for deliberating? Will YOU be supportive of this decision, made with great deliberation, if it means he sends 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, or even 30,000 troops?

Posted by: RedderThanEver | November 27, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Redder, I am an old codger and have learned that I am going for a ride, no matter what. The dangerous thing is that you may consider the running up of deficits when he should have been collecting nuts in May as GWB's major mistake.

Labeling SCHMARTS as conservative or liberal doesn't really do much for the discussion. Conservatives like liberals have to look out for the well-being of the country. By the way, in the old days, conservatives used to believe that the total success of the country is built upon a foundation that our less well off are doing OK. The folks we have to watch are the large corporations. We don't watch them to be unfair, but only to make sure that, beyond their PR teams, we have our corporations acting as good citizens.

Obama is not the government. AND, for all you folks (including many of my friends) who find the fact that he is President and he can't be a worse person in the world, there are more who support him, even with any faults.

You as an American (I assume) should support the President as I have, in the past. Where I worked hard was against policies that we didn't like. A bit of economic studies would tell you that the fear that spending will bankrupt our country are currently overshadowed by the fact that as many of 20% of our working class is unemployed.

90%? WOW, I have a hard time getting my mind around that. I have one word for you: Hoover.

The second thing that I would recommend is that you are better of electing folks who work together to manage the affairs of state rather than just obstructing. Be willing to be a helpful minority.

Redder, here is the major problem of the Bush administration, we had a huge wealth and earnings transfer from the poor and lower class and even the middle class to the rich. The basic and easily disprovable assumption was that creating a super wealthy class would drive the economy. Talk to a knowledgeable market consultant these days, and what you here is that we have Trillions of dollars "on the sidelines." Wonder what the number one problem facing businesses today and it is working and developmental capital. Banks are not working for basic businesses.

That analysis is shared by almost everyone. The only companies that are functioning are the banks. Everyone else is just throttling back at the expense of their shrinking and under-employed labor force. The big story of the week is the Dubai situation. If the emirate, sitting on trillions of dollars worth of oil can't figure out how to pay their credit card bill, then what does that foreshadow for businesses here in the USA?

Redder, our big challenge is starting to just rear it's ugly head and that is the commercial real estate crisis. We will see so many deals in default that it won't be funny. Our banking industry is dysfunctional. If a building owner in the middle of the DC business district can't refinance, then how will John Doe?


Posted by: russianthistle | November 27, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse


Banks are running off of free money from the US Treasury. What does John Doe get for a rate when he tries to borrow? If he is lucky, maybe prime plus 20.

All this was not caused by Obama. You can't just ASK the rich to give the money back. They have it and they have moved it offshore. So what do you, a conservative, do? It ain't doing you too much good over there in Switzerland.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 27, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse


Reporting in to the chief cook.

My plans went smaller and smaller as the day wore down. I had the lamb marinating for a day. For me, I just steamed some green beans and dressed with some lemon juice and sea salt and pepper. Roasted some potatoes in paprika and olive oil, s+p. Tossed in some carrots in honey and vinegar.

Took the lamb and tossed it into my stove top grill pan and gave it a nice char, then into the very hot over after flipping the lamb to finish off. I added a roux to the marinade and reduced to top the potatoes. I also made a yogurt and sour cream dressing with mint, oregano, lime juice and garlic, a dash of mustard and salt and pepper. I prepared the dressing a day before to let the flavors meld.

I love the grill pan... I am amazed that so many folks don't know that tossing it into the oven is the way to go so you can get that proper finish on a thick cut of meat. Just like using a Salamander in a commercial kitchen.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 27, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

You GO Weed! *faxing **hearts** to Weed*

Oh, man, did I overeat. I try to justify it as being only once a year, but even that didn't help. A container of leftovers was given to me at evening's end, so I get to enjoy Thanksgiving for another couple of days. The evening was full of little cousins (boys 11 and 7, and girls 7 and 5 and another boy of 17 months who clearly stole the show, even when he was in "meltdown" mode).

The Dubai matter is very, very troublesome. It's gonna be a long, hard slog to get this country's economy up and running (at least before another Rethuglican comes in and ruins it again). The real horror story will be when China calls in its debt and we'll all be required to learn Chinese. . . . (kidding on the last part, but grateful that I'm highly facile in learning languages).

Not going to *any* stores today, man! I'll check out Amazon instead, while drinking a nice warm cuppa tea.

Cya later, all!

Posted by: -ftb- | November 27, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

And while I was posting, Weed, you posted about your lamb and I just had to fax you many more *hearts* even if I am a vegetarian (mostly -- I forego red meat, but not poultry or fish). That meal sounded fabulous, even if I'm still stuffed from last night.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 27, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Amazon has the Glee soundtrack for $6.99.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 27, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

rt - It may not be just the commercial real estate market. My boss was telling me about a friend whose kid (and spouse)was doing very well, two high powered incomes, with a really nice home in Austin, and a house at Lake Travis. Then their jobs tanked. Although the lake house is in foreclosure, they were relieved that the bank is giving them more time on their home loan. My boss's view is that the bank simply couldn't afford any more foreclosures on their books this year so they. he expects the foreclosure rates to rise again after the first of the year, and commercial just a part of it all.
Did anyone else see the Frontline earlier this week on credit cards? It reminded me of a point brought out in the "Ascent of Money" about how we have an entire industry in this country based upon milking the poor (that was in the section that included payday loans, J.D. Byrider auto financing, etc.) Food for thought.

Posted by: km2bar | November 27, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Ivansdad and the Boy are off to shop, while I am not. To each our own. I know they'll come back with something useful because they'll get dog food.

I realized yesterday that, though I certainly ate more than I needed and felt very full, I didn't eat lots of helpings, or all the desserts, or otherwise show obvious gluttony. Apparently it takes less to fill me up than it used to. This is a good thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 27, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Aliens = Grumpy Republicans - who knew?

Posted by: dmd3 | November 27, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Love the phrase "respected scientist". Has talked to Klatu?

Posted by: km2bar | November 27, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I almost put a note say I thought the paper was using the term "respected" lightly but perhaps he has done some legit work in the past?

Of all the things for aliens to be ticked about - Cosmetics?

Posted by: dmd3 | November 27, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

New kit.

Posted by: km2bar | November 27, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The headline should be: "Obama the dullard."

Posted by: Jerzy | November 30, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The headline should be: "Obama the dullard."

Posted by: Jerzy | November 30, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

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