Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The commies

[Split wood last night and this morning my back is sore. Also am sore from gym Saturday. My feet hurt. When did I become an old man??? Oh, to be young like Brett Favre! Seriously, I don't know why people say you should exercise when the body quite clearly rebels against such. Are you sure that sedentary isn't the way to go? I've said it before: who speaks for sloth?]

[Iowa is No. 8 in the AP and No. 2 in the BCS computers. Look very closely and you'll see that one computer, that of Peter Wolfe (methodology described here), has Iowa in the top spot, ahead of my Gators. What do the computers know that we humans can't perceive? Isn't there a way to program the computers so that they know that Iowa should not be taken seriously as a football power except in dire emergencies?]

Paul Hollander's opinion piece today in The Post argues that Americans paid little attention to the crimes of communism and barely batted an eyelid when the Soviet Union collapsed. Really? We weren't aware of all that Darkness at Noon stuff? Aren't the crimes of Stalin and Mao cemented into textbooks? Isn't the collapse of European communism on the very short list of the most important things that happened in our lifetimes?

The evil that can come from idealism was the subject of two classic Orwell novels more than half a century ago. That communism repeatedly manifested itself as totalitarianism is pretty much burned into our consciousness. Sure, the Holocaust gets more attention than the Gulag, but it's hard to diminish the evil of a government-organized genocidal program. And the Nazis were flamboyantly imperialist, giving the documentary makers endless dramatic footage. The Soviets and their ilk tended to repress their people out of sight, in the dark -- a drab brutality that did not want its criminality exposed. But we know it happened. And we won't forget.


This is cool, from Bad Astronomy: The flag still stands at the Apollo 17 landing site on the moon.


Some interesting Blogworld reaction to my essay on narrative last week.

Here's Jason Fry:

"...long, mediocre stories never worked in print -- or in any other medium. (Picture a bunch of ancient Greeks walking out of a tavern in the middle of a dull tale, leaving behind a blind storyteller you've never heard of.) If the Web has put more pressure on long-form narratives to pull their considerable weight and engage readers, that's not a bad thing."

I think that's right. The lean years will boil away much of the self-indulgence of the past. Everyone has to get better or get out of business.

Here's a post from a journalist in Charleston , Dan Conover, who has thought long and hard about these issues:

"Journalism schools have taught view-from-nowhere, AP Style-compliant, mass-media-voice long-form feature writing for decades, and readers just aren't interested. Educating another generation of students to file 75-inch profiles of local United Way executives, written for the annual press contest judges who determine next-year's promotions, just isn't much of an answer to the market-side questions that demand our attention."

Do j-schools really teach kids to write long, boring stories? I hope not!

A final thought: We need to know our market. And the web allows us to know with great precision what people are reading, what they want, what they like, or at least what they seem to like in this narrow slice of time. You can count the clicks. But it would be a mistake to let page views be the only criterion for what we produce. You do that and you wind up as AOL News with its tabloid slant and made-ya-look headlines.

[See also Steve Buttry on narrative etc.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 2, 2009; 7:43 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: My Office, Which Is Mine
Next: Caitlin's Story


The Florida eye pokers?

Posted by: russianthistle | November 2, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, re: the pundit contest, I thought they were supposed to write something original, right?

*eye roll*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Shorter Pundit Contest:

Mara Gay: I, I, I
Darryl Johnson: Palin, Palin, Palin

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Darryl makes Bill Kristol sound like a member of the DNC.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh jeepers. The notion that Communism isn't something we paid attention to is simply ludicrous.

I grew up in the Cold War, with clear memories of nuns telling me to hide under my desk should the big one fall. And this pervasive fear of being fried alive was inextricably linked with notions of Communism. What became muddles as time went on is just what Communism was.

At first we had the simplistic view of Communism ad Pure Evil with stories in the Reader's Digest about how when the Commies come over the mountain the first thing they will do is shoot all our puppies.

Then as the seventies groaned on we had the vision of communism as an obscenely inefficient joke where people pretended to work and the government pretended to pay.

Finally, of course, the notion of Communism as simply an alternative world view gained some traction through sheer exhaustion. The theory was advanced that if we just traded enough consumer goods and hosted enough foreign exchange students we would all get along peachy-like.

What I had a hard time envisioning is the notion that Communism would end. Growing up the Berlin Wall was as permanent and seemingly eternal as the Grand Canyon. And the day the Wall fell is one of the most memorable of my life.

I recall with great clarity sitting around with coworkers and trying to absorb the notion that the world really had changed forever.

Watching the Wall crumble was so exciting and so epic that, good capitalist that I am, I eventually purchased a chunk of it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 2, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

JA question: "who speaks for sloth?"
Answer: John Leguizamo

Posted by: skiohio | November 2, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I spent my middle school years on a military base and all my friends came from the mindset that communism was the most evil system ever inflicted and that the US was in a vital struggle against totalitarianism.

My cohorts had made a pact together to become partisan provocateurs within Soviet Russia to foment rebellion. We even had a cover organization, Soviet Police Youth (and we regretted that the acronym did not translate properly in Cyrillic), to disguise our interest.

In high school we had to take a class called Problems In American Democracy which was the successor to the more overtly named Americanism Versus Communism class it replaced. The honors level version I took had us reading and nit-picking The Communist Manifesto.

So I don't know what hippie commune Hollander grew up on, but in my world the Soviet Union was never portrayed as being the least bit warm and fuzzy.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Well put, RD. My memories are similar to yours, without the nuns. As time wore on people disagreed about the extent to which Communism was really an active threat to the U.S., but it was always present as an enemy, an alien and un-American system of government.

"Communist" also entered the lexicon as a relatively nonspecific pejorative. In the sixties and seventies in Oklahoma, soccer was viewed askance as a communist sport (of course, by the nineties, every kid played soccer). Using any condiment other than mustard on a hamburger was also communist (mayonnaise, in particular, was cause for deep suspicion).

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 2, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

In my fantasy collegiate rankings I have to wonder where Georgia Tech would be had they not dropped a game to Miami. Definitely higher than Boise State and TCU. Hopefully better than Cincinnati and giving Iowa a run for the money.

Below the top 3 this is the all-Cinderella BCS. And don't forget that either Florida or Alabama will crash and burn in the SEC championship.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

All of the Russian communists with whom I have dined, preferred to slather their foods with large quantities of hot sauce.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

WTF did that guy want us to do, put the Russians under citizen's arrest? Send them to the International Timeout Corner? (And weren't the Germans in that corner a good bit of the time?)

Sweet jaysus, the quality of thinking on the Outlook and op-ed pages gets more and more dismal every day.

(But yes, mayo on a burger is not only communist, it is deeply Trotskyite and petiit-bourgeoisie counter-revolutionary with anarcho-syndicalist tendencies.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The old exercise mantra used to be "No pain, no gain."

Somewhere along the way, I'd say about halfway through, it changes to "If it hurts, stop immediately! You may be doing yourself permanent damage."

Heck, I don't even stoop for quarters anymore. It's not worth the health risk.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | November 2, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

My mother has told me that as a child in the early '50s, she had a neighbor who regularly went out jogging. The rest of the neighborhood agreed that he was clearly a communist.

Posted by: -bia- | November 2, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

So far, the pundit contest is convincing me that I really dropped by the ball by failing to enter myself. I have tried to make a comment to each pundit column that elicited at least a bit of interest or reaction from me. I assume (probably wrongly) that the number and character of the comments to the columns will play a part in determining the outcome.

Mara Gay's column simply did not speak to me. I believe she was addressing a sense of womanly solidarity and generalizing elements of her personal experience to understand a societal experience. However, I got stuck on the pettiness of her viewing the election of Obama rather than H. Clinton as a specific repudiation of women in the leadership. If Clinton had won, what would be her answer to the understandable sense of grievance that African-Americans (including herself) would have felt concerning race in politics? Somebody's identity politics had to take a hit on this one -- geezer-Americans, gyno-Americans, African-Americans, mukluk-Americans, May-December-Americans (Kucinich), nutcase-Americans (Paul, Gravel). The question should not be "whose identity best represents the nation, or best redresses past grievances?" The question in an election is "who do you think can best meet the challenges we face right now?" I am comfortable with the choice that we have made.

Darryl Jackson's column, on the other hand, spoke to me quite directly. What it said is: "I am an eloquent speaker with not one original opinion. All I have to say is 'Go Team!', but I prefer to say it more long-windedly. 'Analysis' of 'facts' and 'circumstances' is for wet-behind-the-ears children. I already know all the answers to questions that have not yet been asked, so shut up and let me tell them to you."

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Would it be going to far to say that Jackson is a tool (in the commonly used pejorative sense of the word)?

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Which suddenly reminds me to propose a theory:

It is quite commonly held that expansion of the leagues and creation of many new teams has either (a) ruined, or (b) diluted the quality of both baseball and football, because there just are not enough high-quality players to fully staff, say, 32 football teams in the NFL, for instance. Back when we had 24 teams, say, the argument goes, quality players tended to be a bit more concentrated.

Every sports enthusiast is familiar with this concept, and while it may or may not be universdally agreed to, it seems to be generally accepted and isn't very controversial.

So let us adapt this phenomenon to, say punditry and the quantity and quality of "opinion" found in places like the Outlook section, Hiatt's op-ed menagerie, and all the other TV, cable, and Internet sources for punditry and cemmentary.

If we posit that there are only X really good baseball players or football players, and we have to distribute them over 32 teams, we're going to have a lot of mediocre teams.

Likewise, if there are only X really high-quality pundits and commentators and op-ed writers, doesn't it stand to reason that spreading them out all over the expanding internet is going to do exactly what it does to baseball or football? Doesn't it mean that the generally high quality of contribution to "Outlook" has been watered down over the past decade or two?

America's Next Great Pundit is likely to be about the same quality as, say, Rex Grossman. Or Cade McNown (who?). Ryan Leaf. Joey Harrington.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Ah, well . . . . I've always been of the opinion that one needs one's enemies desperately. I can imagine that when the Berlin Wall finally fell, there was a huge *sigh* from the right, continued with the *expletive* of choice and "what are we gonna do now????" kind of thought. Osama bin Laden is the enemy now -- no matter whether he is dead or alive. Bush didn't seem to think that it was better to go after him and his cronies, since it was more useful to have him alive, armed and dangerous.

I remember the time when people would say with explosive fear in their voices "do you want your children to learn Russian???". Well I do know a bit of Russian and once you get over the alphabet issues, it's not that awfully hard. But these are the same people who fulminate over Cuba as being a COMMUNIST country and then think China (somewhat larger than Cuba) is an okay place to park our debt. Linguaphile that I am, I have learned a bit of Chinese, but I consider it a wee bit more difficult as a whole, and it's much more tone-specific, thereby making it much, much easier to make a mistake (like calling your boss a pr0stitute or something). Maybe they think that Cuba's being geographically more in our backyard than China is, but China is richer (thanks to us) and, well, much more powerful.

Totalitarianism is a control-freak's dream on the macro level. I refuse (JE REFUSE!) to take part in the fear mongering. But then again, that would probably make me a communist in someone's bloodshot eyes.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 2, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

SciTim, I deliberately didn't enter the Pundit contest precisely because my first column would say that there are already too damn many pundits and commentators, that "opinion" in general is entirely overrated, if not bogus, and that the last thing the world needs is

So I didn't. I tell ya, it's damn hard being a Man of Principal. But I just couldn't get around the contradiction that I truly believe there is too much commentary and punditry already.

There is a very old, rather profane saying you've all heard, that "Opinions are like [sphincters]; everybody has one." Well the problem isn't too many opinions, it is there are too many [sphincters] espousing them all over the place.

Except on the Boodle.

(But also, quite candidly, that whole "America's Next Great...whatever" theme was just so tacky and derivative and cheesy Reality Show rip-off I just couldn't bring myself to take part in it. And now they have those poor b@st@rd pundit contestants jumping through hopes. Really. Is there no dignity?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Saying "Je refuse" definitely makes one a commie, ftb... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Case in point: this sentence from Hollander is simply indefensible:

"The media's fleeting attention to the momentous events of the late 1980s and early 1990s matched their earlier indifference to communist systems."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Re: Twitter challenging storytelling. The last man on Earth sat in his room. There was a knock on the door.

Twitterable stories are countable on one hand. I wouldn't worry.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 2, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Merci (and mercy), Snuke.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 2, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivansmom!

Another thing I was thinking is that the horrors of Communism are hard to separate from the horrors of individual Communists.

That is, were the obscenities perpetrated by leaders such as Stalin and Mao a natural result of the Communist system, or were these individuals intrinsically corrupt and simply exploited Communist ideology as a means to the end?

(And wasn't that a frighteningly long sentence?)

This is an important distinction, I assert, because, as we have all observed, a belief in the intrinsic evil of Communism can be used to justify a belief in the evil of expansive government as a whole. Which may be what this is all about.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 2, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

What Mudge said about the pundit contest X10.

Just a quick drive by to thank Mudge, and everyone else, who some months ago encouraged me to give Grandma Frostbitten's ring to the dott sooner rather than later. Am preparing to have it cleaned and resized in time to give as a Christmas gift. I feel great about it!

I suppose Hollander is paid to say provocative things, but don't they take away for stupidity?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 2, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

During the Cuban missile crisis, I was living on a B-52 base not too far from Cuba.

I don't recall hearing anything flattering about the Soviets, much less the Chinese, other than the vaunted Soviet competence at educating kids so they'd become great scientists and engineers.

Later on, grad school, I discovered the T.D. Lysenko fiasco that banned genetics and put an end to plant breeding in the Soviet Union. If plant breeding was banned, why should physics and electrical engineering fare much better? Surely there must have been Socialist Physics where neutrinos sacrifice themselves for the collective good, just as Lysenko's corn plants had.

On the other hand, I wonder about political persecution in the US during the cold war, and to what extent Canada provided asylum.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 2, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hiya all...

My first rule of thumb is "never sweat on purpose (except for sex)".

My second rule is... wait-a-minute... better not go there.

As for the "commie" thing... it was due to them that I learned to "duck and cover" and believe a school desk would save me from a nuclear bomb. That said, I think Joel made an excellent point about idealism being the real culprit. We all have ideals and they're surprisingly similar. Maybe it's the devil in the details that causes all the trouble.

Anyway, happy Monday to all and a big "peace out"...

Posted by: martooni | November 2, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Toon! So you went trick-or-treating as a detailed devil??? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

For Halloween 'Toon decorated himself with a bunch of his elven doors attached all over his body, and went out as a goblin high-rise condominium.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I was well trained to be a fierce communist-hater as a youth. I read a lot, too, so I seemed to have learned about the gulags long before Solzhenitsyn's book which I read.

The cognitive dissonance came in the '60s when Nixon began using all the sneaky KGB tactics, along with J. Edgar, troops started gunning down protesters in multiple cities, etc.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 2, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

RD, I'd almost forgotten about Readers Digest. How the mighty have fallen.

Under Khrushchev, the Soviet Union stopped being so evil. Eisenhower realized as much. Maybe even Nixon.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 2, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you
I don't subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Communism is not an inherently bad idea -- somebody should try it sometime. So far, however, it has not received an honest test.

I wouldn't say that the atrocities of Stalin and Mao (as just the most egregious), are an inherent part of the Communist system. They are, however, an inherent part of humanity, and inherent to Communism only to the extent that the so-called Communist states that have so far existed have tried to rely upon individual Great Men in whom ultimate power is vested. The problem is that the screening methods they use to find Great Men are really screening methods that select for ruthlessness, hunger, and megalomania. Once you pass the test, you get the power; woe unto those who might like to replace the Great Man.

I remain awe-struck by the cleverness of creating an intricate, self-defeating, self-limiting, system of governance in which ambition is best served by serving, and compromise is the only way to get even the most obviously necessary work done. In other words, our own Constitutional democracy. Bad people have, throughout history, hijacked organized systems of control -- religion, government -- and bent them to their own ends -- which is why people who consider religion to be a source of evil in the world are totally off-base: what they despise and fear is humanity, more than religion. Religion is just another victim. Systems of state-sponsored atheism have been no better, and have lacked a tradition of dissident prophets to rein them in.

In a system in which the most power accrues to the most ruthless, corrupt autocracy is well-nigh inevitable. No, sorry, strike that: it is ABSOLUTELY inevitable. What works about our system is that nothing gets done unless very many people agree that it is necessary and appropriate. Without compromises, all you have is argument. Bush#43 was an aberration and a demonstration of why streamlined government is a bad idea. We are presently very close to having a streamlined government of the opposite stripe, forcing us to rely on the goodness of the Man-In-Charge, because there's not enough loyal opposition to keep him in check. I am prone to the sense that that may be what's necessary to un-do the work of the last autocrat -- that, plus the fact that the Loyal Opposition feels more loyalty to itself than to its nation. Streamlined government is not a good way to keep things, however. Divided government for me, please.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Spot on as usual Toon, Miss you here for my daily uplifting.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hi all,

1. I will accept blame/fame for Iowa, as I appeared to have accidentally the rest of my year's supply of mojo in Iowa City, based on the performance of Local Sporting Teams. I think I heard their running back is out for the season now, so they may be in more trouble than 9-0 appears. Iowa-Ohio State in mid-Nov will be a good game.

2. EYE deny a blind spot for communism in practice, but lots of Canadians and continental Euros had one, IMHO. One of my gripes with Trudeaumania arises from my perception that he saw east-west as morally equivalent.

Posted by: engelmann | November 2, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I always have to counter the "Communism is a good idea in theory, just not in practice" meme. As an erstwhile hard-core libertarian, the entire misplaced emphasis on the proletariat is wrong-headed on many, many levels.

While some profit-sharing and a decent standard of living as cajoled by trade unions is a good idea, the intellectual capital of the entrepreneur will always be necessary and under-rewarded under any quasi-communist system. Hence the self-defeating transfer of mental energy into politics under any totalitarian regime.

Communism has NEVER been tried in an industrial society as Marx and Lennon imagined it because it could NEVER work. Not to sound like a Ron Paulian, but Rule of Law and Property Rights are the cornerstones of capitalism and have been historically more successful as witnessed by the material chasm that 'Western' democratic culture developed over the command economy.

In my years in the real world, my faith in market forces has dimmed mostly because there are no more any pure free markets than there are pure democracies or pure communism. Moderation in all things and all. But I abhor communism both as a historical force for tyranny and as a philosophical dead-end.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

All through the 1960s and later, I always found it ironic that the people who yelled the loudest about communism and its ills knew the least about it. Your average right-wing 1960s John Bircher was about as ignorant as they come. Ditto a good number of Cold Warriors. Back then "know your enemy" didn't have much credence.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

No more so than the average modern wing nut knows about the teaching of Islam. I would argue that Jane Fonda was just as ignorant about communism as any Bircher, just in the opposite direction.

On the other hand, ignorance of something doesn't make that thing necessarily any more desirable. You can oppose something for all the wrong reasons and still be on the side of angels.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

DaveoftheCoonties, you are obviously very healthy and never visit doctor's of any kind. I last saw the Reader's Digest at my ophthalmologist's office -- the LARGE PRINT edition.

Posted by: nellie4 | November 2, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Also, Mandrake, a lot of people aren't aware that the Russkies are out to steal our precious bodily fluids.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't count on Democrats getting as much done as they hope to no matter how commanding their position. They are Democrats after all.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Right you are, Buck Turgidson.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room."

My parents still don't have fluoridated water.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

oh, yello, please don't jump on that mindless Jane Fonda Hanoi Jane nonsense. If you wanted to argue that point, you'd be wrong. You mistake head-up-one's-butt-misguided for "ignorant." Not the same thing. See Will, George, or Buckley, William, or Vidal, Gore, etc.

There are smart misguided people (on all sides) as well as dumb misguided people. It helps to be able to make fine discriminations in various shades of gray. All that nonsense still comes down to us today in the form of that rightwing suspicion of "pointy-headed" liberals and "Eastern elites," the notion that if you went to some highbrow eastern college you are somehow suspicious. Anti-intellectualism tends to track as right-wing. You find very little anti-intellectualism on the left. A lot of other really irritating stuff, sure. But not that.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

curmudgeon says: "You find very little anti-intellectualism on the left." Sadly, I cannot agree with that. The whole crystal-healing/New Age/nebulous "spirituality" movement is distinctly leftist, and distinctly opposed to anything like actual knowledge, intellectual rigor, or philosophical seriousness. I would, however, accept a mildly amended version: "You find very little anti-intellectualism on the politically-effective left."

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Iowa City was 2nd grade for me. I recall going to basketball games, no football. Our house had previously been occupied by a Writer, who'd worked in a shed in the back yard.

Years later, someone pointed out that the USSR's best farmlands had climates similar to Nebraska, so Iowa and Illinois gave the US an unfair advantage.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 2, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not buying any arguments touting Jane Fonda's intellectual capacity. Business savvy, I'll give you, but smarts-wise she's barely above par by Hollywood standards, which is a mighty low bar considering how many Scientologists there are. Joan Baez was smart enough to eventually figure out she was duped and apologize.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Joel, good list of kit weekend items to get the boodle going. But you left out one. Man Food

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Help in bird identification department:
This morning we saw a bird by the bird feeder not seen before.
A robin size bird, white body with a black head. Fairly long black beak. The white on the body looked like it had been put on with a paint brush.
Couldn't find anything close in the Audubon field guide to Birds, western Region.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love Hiaasen-

Posted by: kguy1 | November 2, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

bh72, could this be a magpie?

Posted by: kguy1 | November 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Do you guys know about this? From Politico, verbatim:

"Fists Fly at the Washington Post"

"Henry Allen punched Manuel Roig-Franzia in the face on Friday in The Washington Post newsroom, FishbowlDC confirms.

Fishbowl spoke with the paper’s HR Monday morning “and confirmed that both reporters are still employed at the paper.”

Washington Post’s Director of Communications Kris Coratti: "I can't discuss private personnel matters but that doesn't mean we haven't taken this incident seriously and addressed it appropriately."

Apparently, Roig-Franzia elicited the reaction by saying, "Henry, don't be such a c***sucker." Executive editor Marcus Brauchli “was then forced to intervene.”

The Washingtonian's "Capital Comment" reports, "Allen’s contract is up later this month. Few Style writers expect to see him again."

Brauchli is "on travel today," according to the Washington City Paper. Roig-Franzia, meanwhile, hung up when the City Paper reporter identified himself."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Joan Baez may be an unfair standard to set for intellectualism in the arts, as she grew up in the household of her father, a widely-respected X-ray physicist.

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


I was just reading the same thing on Washingtonian via Gawker:

Who says there is no more hard-hitting journalism?

IMHO, the sidebar article was pretty lame, but nothing worth fighting over.

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

kguy, maybe. never saw one around here. will check out google magpie. thanks

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I do see your point about the New Age mumbo jumbo, SciTim (and few people get as irritated at it than I do). And I'll agree to some sort of compromise with you. I tend to see the New Agers as people who are fairly well educated (hence the mystery to me why they are as they are), sometimes even highly educated. And heaven knows, they are "open-minded," almost to the point of ridiculousness. They read books, they study, they accumuklate all sorts of "knowledge" and "wisdom" (never mind that it is bogus), whereas I don't see the right-wing know-nothings quite the same way.

I dunno, maybe it is just semantics. The New Agers, for all their faults, want to "learn" and "grow," and "explore" this and that, and expand their chakrahs, whatever the hell they are. One seldom hears that kind of thing from the other side, which tends to be very complacenet with what it already thinks it knows.

Perhaps there is a human element to it: I find New Agers to generally be harmless and pleasant (if otherwise a little charmingly wacko), whereas I find the rightwing antis to be harmful and unpleasant as people.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I also find right-wing wackos to be unpleasant as people. But delicious as stew.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Aah, ScienceTim is picking up one the man food thread.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

New agers are harmless right up to the point that they talk you into dropping the chemo for an aura realignment. Of course, a good Christian Scientist would have never gone on the chemo in the first place. We as humans have an infinite capacity for replacing rationality with hope.

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

Both Baez and Fonda are unfair examples; one can argue about an entire large segment of people and then use one specific person as the example; that was my objection to yello's use of Fonda. I don't for a NY second agree that she is somehow "representative" of the people I was generally characterizing. One doesn't argue from a single anecdote or a single example. (If yello wanted to dispute my general notion, that's fine. But "Jane" isn't a proper rebuttal.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, Mudge. Some of the younger New Agers seem to have closed their minds rather than opened them. Partly I suspect this is the result of the tendency of youth already to know everything there is to know, thus their ability to be more open to Higher Truths and Deeper Experiences. There does seem to be some rejection, in some New Age circles, of that elitist book learning (also patriarchal and imperialistic, as I recall). There is also the idea that they know what they know, and it is much more Important and Lasting and Connecting with Universal Truth than the things those of us who are less enlightened know. Not so far, in fact, from some of the reactionary know-nothing blather.

Plus, this variety of New Ager lacks common sense. If nothing else the sweat lodge debacle proves that. Anyone willing to pay $9000 to participate in a mash-up of pseudo-Indian rituals, without any connection to the traditions and purpose of those rituals, and carried to the point of illness and death, has no sense.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 2, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

According to Pulitzer Prize winner (do they give those out in the vending machines down there?) Henry Allen, the second worst Style feature in 43 years:

I dunno. I've seen worse in the past week.

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

kguy, that was great, I especially liked number 9 "Our copy editors are still struggling to sort out the many colorful characters in your manuscript. In one chapter the children are called Bristol, Piper, Track, Willow and Trig, yet only 44 pages later they appear as Caribou, Cessna, Herring, Juniper and Scrod."

Posted by: badsneakers | November 2, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

To serve man:

Roasted, with a few French fries, broccoli, horseradish sauce...

As long as he's definitely dead, that is.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "talk you into dropping chemo" and other Darwin Award-winning behavior:


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Carl Hiaasen that called those universally unread multi-part Pulitzer-bait think-piece exposes 'mega-turds'?

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of serving man, The first episode of the 'V' remake airs tomorrow. I'm going to skip it since I never saw the original (which in the case of Battlestar Galactica proved a mistake). Any guesses on if the reptilians eat any mice in the first episode?

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

yello, I'm just weary of arguing with you and reading your posts, so I'm walking away from the discussion before I do a Henry Allen on you, to whit:

The source of the fistfight: sooooooooo on-kit!! Long-form journalism seems to have played a hand! And Henry made Monica Hesse cry.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I was not the one making equivalences between Jane Fonda and William F. Buckley if we are going the reductio ad absurdum route. I just assert that there is no a priori intellectual advantage to being a liberal. You can be smart and wrong and vice versa.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

You mudged me. I graciously accept your concession and will speak no more of it.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

And thanks for relinking to the exact same article I posted at 2:10. That way the people that refuse to read my posts on principle can follow the story as well.

And I have to put making Monica Hesse cry in the unanticipated benefits column.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

now now boys.
Sticks an stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I *would* like to know what is the number 1 bad story in Style (in Henry Allen's professional estimation).

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Interesting observation of equal employment.
The highway department supervisor called this morning and said he had received a report that I had reported a dead bear by our mail box. He said his litter crew. Monday Morning Dead Animal patrol had been by that area this morning and hadn't seen anything.
When they arrived in their dump truck there were two guys and one girl. One guy was about six feet, 200 pounds and seemed well suited for the job. The other young guy about 160. The girl probably five feet and weighing 75 pounds wringing wet in her clothes.

Maybe the girl had an extra ability of sniffing out dead animals because before I could get down the hill to point out where the bear was in the brush and the guys were roaming up and down along the road, she homed right in on it even thought it was hardly visible from the driveway. I only found it because out airedale sniffed it out when I went to get the mail Friday.

Then she was the one that put on her rubber gloves and went in to verify it was dead, road kill and not a fish and game issue.
After the guys dragged it out, she operated the tail gate lift controls while the guys got it over on to the lift. They had already picked up a couple dead deer.

She said this was the fourth bear they had picked up recently. The bear pop must be on the upswing.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, kguy, for the Hiassen piece. Risible.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 2, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The magpies we have are far larger than a robin.

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Yup, bh, each according to our abilities...or something like that. My commie indoctrination was a long time ago.

The comment section on the Gawker article is betting that Sally Quinn was the author of the worst Style story, which seems likely to me.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 2, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, seasea,
The Gawkeratti also peg the "second worst" locution as a rhetorical device to avoid accusations of hyperbole. And to leave room for Sally Quinn's many contributions to the genre.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What a charming if slightly morbid vignette. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

But, but, what about the rarely seen and near mythical Siberian dwarf magpie? OK, I made that up, but seriously I don't know another bird of the western US with white body and black head and longish black bill anywhere near robin size except the magpie. Immature bird?

Posted by: kguy1 | November 2, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

This is the second time that I've seen reports of Monica Hesse becoming teary after harsh criticism of one of her pieces. I suspect that harsh criticism is rather common and I doubt she is being singled out as a particularly poor writer. So, I would like to know why the Post ombudsman and this City Paper reporter thought it useful, relevant, or appropriate to mention her tears? They could have said that she was "visibly shaken" or "distressed" or "very emotional" and it would have been appropriate to the moment. Getting yelled at bothers anyone, but culture and personality affect the way that individuals react -- some weep, some hurl vile invective. Henry Allen is reported in the City Paper article as being unhappy with his situation as a contractor, possibly encouraging him to verbally abuse a junior colleague. But instead of thoughtful writing and human insight, we fall back on lazy stereotype that women weep at the drop of a hat, while men (great big burly manly men) weep only for matters of consequence -- and they're not ashamed to admit it! I will tell you now that I have wept as a result of verbal abuse when I thought myself among friends and respected colleagues. If anyone had broken that implicit bond of trust and played my loss of control for a joke, my life would be much different today.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm recovering from being the first person--but certainly not the last--at Austin's Book Festival to be thwacked in the head by the C-SPAN mic boom on Saturday morning during the first book talk I attended. And the incident was caught on camera, with a lawyer in the crowd--the lawyer inadvertently being the third person to be smacked in the head. *wink...I was thumped pretty good on my noggin, but no real recovery was or is required. We are both quite sore from pounding Austin's pavement, though and worn out from an exciting, activity-filled weekend.*

Staying on Kit and speaking of communism, it was a fluke (explained momentarily) that I caught author Kati Marton's presentation late Sunday morning in the capitol's Senate Chamber about her latest and seventh book, "Enemies of the People."

Kati explained during her presentation that she had read yesterday morning (could have been in the wee hours since she remarked that she had caught some of the madcap mayhem of the Halloween parade on Saturday night that took place on Sixth and thereabouts) the New York Times review of her book in Sunday's edition, and the review was nothing short of a rave--every writer's dream. She was very elated--and radiant--yesterday, saying that she felt that she had just been given an Oscar, a comment that prompted me to begin the round of applause. For an intimate family drama that unfolds in Stalinist Hungary, I don't think narratives come better than this.

Kati did become quite choked up during her talk at one point, as was Dayton Duncan gripped by emotion on Saturday. Duncan nearly came to tears several times, according to my husband, who attended Duncan's session about the national parks.

I caught Kati's presentation because on Sunday a male author broke my heart, while at the festival's end, another male writer caused my heart to soar.

*We* are on staycation this week, so tales of Austin will have to dribble out, I'm afraid. Joel, thanks for the heads up on the latest from Montana's Hell Creek formation and the activities of paleontologist John Horner.

Posted by: laloomis | November 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Huffington Post has a rather funny piece on the fistfight which allegedly includes a photo of the fistfight just seconds after it happened, under the headline, "Washington Post Employees Now Just Beating Each Other Up At Work."

The photo is priceless.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Tim, you have my word that I will never intentionally make you cry. ALTHOUGH, I am not responsible if you come by while I am cutting onions--that's on you!

Posted by: russianthistle | November 2, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

vignette, learned a new word today on the boodle.
we looked up 'magpie' nope. Our bird didn't have black wings.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Here is a beautifully written semi-long form essay about New York that just happens to use Yankee Stadium as a metaphor.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how it is nowadays at big city papers like the Post, but I can personally attest that in the 1960s and 1970s it was not only common but "expected" that desk editors would generally abuse reporters and other lower life forms when their work was bad. I have seen (and once been the victim of) an editor who read a piece of copy, crumbled it into a ball, and bounced it off the reporter, saying, "This is a piece of s---. Do it over." People yelling was not uncommon.

Of course, the noise level in a big newsroom on deadline used to be pretty loud (now probably pretty sedate), but if you saw the movie "The Paper" with Michael Keaton, that was pretty much how it was back in my early days, and only a wee bit hyped or exaggerated.

I suppose nowadays it is deathly quiet and sedate, and so Henry was just reverting back to his roots. And quite frankly, I'm on the side of any editor who says, "This is a piece of crap. Do it better." I have a suspicion that it was Roig who jacked the situation up with the CS remark, and I'm guessing it wasn't just the word but some attitude along with it.

I'll bet my last dollar Ben Bradlee made more than one person cry.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

Smart people can have differing opinions about things, and sometimes get things wrong.

Einstein really disliked quantum mechanics (argued endlessly with Bohr, et al), introduced a 'fudge factor' to one of his most famous theories, and had notable issues with his hair and the women in his life.

Brilliant guy - possibly the most brilliant ever - but I don't think he never quite got the hang of a comb, scissors, or even an artful tousel. (Graph paper, he had - what about mirrors?)

Anyway, we're all wrong about something -- in my case, my listany of mistakes and misunderstandings (ahem) is getting longer every day.

On to Hollander for a minute - I disagree with him on the media perception of the human cost of the Communist empire/s of the 20th century, and I think he's missing something important. First of all, I think there were LOTS of western media attention paid to the atrocites and human crimes that took place in totalitarian communist nations.

However, the Western world got to see the Holocaust up close right after WW II. Allied soliders went into the camps and see what happened there, and recorded the horrors for all time. Our soliders occupied the former Nazi empire and tried to clean up the unspeakable wreckage. Then they went home telling stories and writing about it, sharing pictures - the folks who could bring themselves to speak of it, anyway - and letting the world and the free press spread the word.

The atrocities in the Soviet Union, Communist China, etc. were behind walls and iron curtains, and we don't have nearly as good a recount of exactly what happened in the gulags and camps. I don't think it's because we didn't care, but because we weren't in there to see it for ourselves in the same way.

But I don't think anyone is sweeping the millions of victims - and possibly part of the problem is that there seems to be no good agreement or estimation on how many - under a rug.


Posted by: -bc- | November 2, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Aztec thrush?

Posted by: kguy1 | November 2, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

To RD, sounds like we grew up in the same time warp. I was given a bit of he Berlin Wall by a German grad students. I also have a photo he took of this.

Thinking about the Bh Blackbird.

About the newsroom Mudge. I mighta cried at that but done it in the ladies....


That unholy trinity is the bigger story. Sigh. Let us again say a prayer for the dying newsbiz.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt that verbal abuse and tough language are common. What chaps my britches is my sense that the terms used in reporting on this particular individual's reaction to the situation have a misogynistic aroma to them. Yeah, sure, people cry, and there should be no shame or prejudice in that. Except, of course, there is: stereotype is that women are wimps who cry to get their way, whereas manly weeping is rare and noble when it happens. If I were her, I would already be looking for another job, in another city. These people are not her friends and they are not trustworthy colleagues -- they are rat-bastards who would belittle a junior colleague for the sin of being human.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

SciTim -- you nailed it. This should NOT have come out into the larger press. Wonder who reported and how that happened.

I guess some younger reporter could not resist.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 2, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree, no one should have reported that Monica got teary. That should have been out-of-bounds.

It may be true that some reporter couldn't resist, CqP -- but some editor shoulda caught it and nixed it. I blame the desk (or lack of one). So much for the Age of Instant Everything, where there's no time to properly digest things. Also, so much for the Age of Raw Meat, where everything is fair game.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 2, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I have just seen a reasonably authoritative source that states a numerical value of much interest in debunking stupid Moon-hoax conspiracy theories: the number of people required to build and fly Apollo was "nearly half a million."

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, there IS NO DESK. Not really. Something called two-click editing. And, even that means that one of the clicks might mean that you check your own article once, then send it on.

ACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK I run from this all in horror....I have two friends at major papers not old enough for buyouts. They are horrified about this all. For their jobs, yesk, but the industry will not be able to serve.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 2, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, there IS NO DESK. Not really. Something called two-click editing. And, even that means that one of the clicks might mean that you check your own article once, then send it on.

ACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK I run from this all in horror....I have two friends at major papers not old enough for buyouts. They are horrified about this all. For their jobs, yesk, but the industry will not be able to serve.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 2, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Two click boodling. Mea culpa.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | November 2, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Gee, bh. I hope I used it correctly. I'd hate for anyone to blow their LSATs based on my rather Humpty Dumpty-ish impressment of words to mean whatever I want them to mean.

I'm no Jackson Pollack of the English language, but I can fling it with the best of them.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

As a general rule a vegan will make a better dinner.

Odd thread whether tears are newsworthy. There's no crying in news!!

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 2, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, don't you get better marbling with the omnivores?

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 2, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I looked it up on wiki and your use seemed correct. Although there were many meanings depending on the context.

Kguy, close but my wife remembers more white and maybe a longer beak. Appreciate the effort.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the gym (you heard me right -- and all on my own, too), and so I've back-boodled a bit. Actually, SciTim for your 4:55 post not only do I *heart* you, but I *most sincerely heart you in perpetuity* because you nailed it completely and prodigiously. Yes, indeedy.

Now I think it's time to decide what to nuke for dinner.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 2, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

And, one more thing. I downloaded the NY Times Magazine article on the Obama's marriage -- 16 pages. It was written well, and it was interesting, but part of me thinks that the state of their marriage is none of my *expletive* business, nor is it the business of anyone else. This celebrity fixation this country has, along with wanting to know everything about everybody leaves us with no privacy or respect for privacy whatsoever. The whole thing is sad as much as it is maddening.

Posted by: -ftb- | November 2, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

What is an Eastern Kingbird, Alex?

Posted by: engelmann | November 2, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the problem with reporting that Monica Hesse was in tears, unless it was made up. If she was crying, that's the fact, and so what?

I read the NYT article over the weekend - didn't realise it was 16 pages. I found it very interesting, because the Obamas have such a mature, clear-headed view about marriage and how difficult it is.

I have to find something other than Wolf Blitzer and Jack Cafferty as background noise. They drive me crazy. Maybe Henry Allen could go punch them out.

Posted by: seasea1 | November 2, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

First rule about the Post newsroom is don't talk about Post newsroom.

Posted by: engelmann | November 2, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

What is an Eastern Kingbird doing in Oregon, Alex?

Posted by: nellie4 | November 2, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm for dinner??? What?????

*hiding under the... wait, better not say* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The Pulitzer Prize winning East Valley Tribune is closing its doors.

No word on whether anybody cried.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I went to the library today which means that I'm finally getting smart and 'renting' rather than buying books. If you haven't read 'The Wordy Shipmates' by Sarah Vowell, it's worth reading. Very entertaining and educational too!

Posted by: badsneakers | November 2, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I have two days left to return The Lost Symbol. I was able to renew the new Michael Lewis book. I also put myself on the wait list for SuperFreakanomics.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

sneaks-loved The Wordy Shipmates, but must admit I bought it. I should just pre-order everything Sarah Vowell writes. Assassination Vacation is my favorite.

Good news on the job front-looks like a couple part-time, work from the home office, opportunities are lining up-and most of the time it won't matter if the office is Chez Frostbitten, St. Paul or Tampa. Could use some of that sweet boodle mojo before I'm forced to wear grown up clothes 5 days a week. Things were so dire I was considering buying pantyhose (last worn July 9, 1999!)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 2, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

No pantyhose, frosti! Much mojo heading your way... whichever way that may be at the moment.

Posted by: -TBG- | November 2, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

All this dustup on whether Hillary was changing the US position on Israeli settlements in the west bank is interesting. When we heard the words settlements, one thinks of tents and plywood shacks.
Take a look at the pics #1, 2 11, 24, 26 30 and 35 from this Boston article.
These people aren't going anywhere and some people are making big money building these. Also ironic that they are being constructed by Palestinan workers.

Posted by: bh72 | November 2, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Sending off every bit of mojo I can find Frosti, no one should be subjected to pantyhose.

Posted by: dmd3 | November 2, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Pantyhose? *Pantyhose?!* Horrors. Though I do approve of stockings...

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, fingers and toes crossed plus all my mojo (it's not helping me - but a change of scenery might be what it needs to work).

Posted by: badsneakers | November 2, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

sneaks-perhaps what it needs is some chilling. It's supposed to get down in the teens here tonight.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 2, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all for the mojo, and the shared horror at pantyhose.

Toodles and sweet dreams. The time change has sucked the life out of me this evening. Dark since 5:00PM. I don't believe humans have evolved sufficiently for this environment.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | November 2, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, there is crying in news if it's Walter Cronkite. I think Walt set the standard for when it's okay to cry. That's the rule: if it wouldn't have made Walt cry, don't do it. Although that's pretty arbitrary.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 2, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Falcons v. the Saints on MNF, then the Yanks & Phillies on the PiP.

Kinda wish I were seein' Bruuuuuce tonight, but hey, it's probably for the best.

There's a big beautiful Moon out tonight, and the last thing they need down at the Verizon Center is *another* guy ripping his clothes off, throwing his head back and howling, and leading the Phonebooth's security folks on a merry chase through the crowd (probably ending in a Chinatown dumpster).

As it is, I think it's going to be a hairy evening...


Posted by: -bc- | November 2, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, you know, this sounds regressive, but it was a good lesson for me, the environment of competitive law firms. I was taught, by the managing partner of a major firm many years ago, to Never Cry Where They Can See You. It is OK to go for a walk afterward, and weep. It is marginally acceptable to run to the Ladies' and lock one's self in a stall and stifle the sobs but let the tears flow. But Never Let Them See You Cry.

And I have been grateful for that education more than once.

People will be people, but being strong and seen to be so is good career strategy. It isn't honest, or genuine, but what in the professional context is, reely?

The thing I wish everyone would remember about tears is that they aren't weak. They are a physiological reaction to any sort of stress; eliminating stress hormones that might otherwise kill me, in a flood. So I might have tears from sadness, or depression, but equally from anger or aggression or exhaustion or joy. If everyone knew this, acknowledged it, we would all be a lot better off. And they would be a *lot* more careful. Can you imagine if my interlocutors knew, from the get go, that I was mad as heck? Scary.

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

Yep, Yoki. I learned that lesson too. Very true. I got so mad once at work that I cried - then I talked to the person who made the mistake that made me mad, and she cried. Not because she was mad. Tone of voice can really be something.

Of course, I was at an advantage because I grew up knowing that A Lady Never Cries In Public. Of course, A Lady also Always Carries A Handkerchief. This is true although these strictures are somewhat contradictory - particularly because I don't think A Lady would blow her nose in the handkerchief. I seldom cry in public (and never on professional time), always carry a handkerchief, and blow my nose liberally as necessary.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 2, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Just so.

Posted by: Jumper1 | November 2, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Big Bang Theory just made a joke about Texans thinking that European soccer is a commie plot. They're probably right.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, a woman crying can also be a very disconcerting experience for any man who may happen to be in the vicinity, for the very reason that even if he had nothing to do with "causing" the crying, he still may not know what the proper response may be in any given circumstance. (Women crying at weddings and funerals notwithstanding, because those events are self-explanatory.) A very wise woman once explained to me the curious (and disconcerting) phenomenon of why some women cry after (good) lovemaking -- not exactly the response the guy was looking for. (Especially when he's thinking, ya know, that maybe whistles and applause might be more appropriate and warranted. And what does he get? Tears. Which makes it hard to light the cigarettes.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 2, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Matt Groening's boyhood milkman later theorized that the 'collapse' of the Soviet Union was a big trap. They had built underground airports and were going to conquer us.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 2, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone. Long day today. Work ok, but evening a stretch. Back story... I discovered yesterday that I had no bowls to use to whisk over a boil to make sauces. I told someone that I would make a classic sabayon sauce today, but I was without "tools."

On way home from talking to a friend who was caring for a struggling parent, I stopped at a couple of restaurants who "balked."

Last place, I had a basic bad reaction. Too many mistakes by these guys.

Within a minute a top kitchen in the area gave me a bowl. I don't know.... someone took my box of bowls. What can I do?

We just had a dessert party ... I whisked 5 egg yokes over a boil along with a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of Marsala wine until I had a thick custard.

My friends took some nice frozen fruit along with sugar and brought that to a nice warm temp.

The fruit was spooned over vanilla ice cream in a bowl.

Back to the sabayon. I took some whipping cream and hand whipped that to peaks (struggled on this step) . Then encorporated that into the basic sabayon to lighten the custard.

The mixture of sauce and whipped cream was poured over the fruit and vanilla ice cream.

I guarantee you that it was a 12 dollar dessert. AMAZING.

... and so simple. Just work.

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

Correction: that's one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of wine per egg yoke. Some folks add a bit more sugar along the line of the whipping process and also add a citrus.

Posted by: russianthistle | November 2, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like something you'd wanna smoke a cigarette after, Weed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 2, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Ivansmom. Quite so. Also, remember, that a lady never smokes or chews gum on the street. Now that they've left us nowhere else to smoke or chew gum, I don't know what a lady is to do. Except rely on the kindness of strangers.

'mudge, it would be much easier for men to deal with women's tears if they knew that a) they are a reaction to strong emotions of any kind; and, b) they don't have to *do* anything about us (hard lesson, most of the men I know think they need to fix and advise, when mostly all they have to do [and would be better off doing] is acknowledge and validate). That is a wise friend! Very wise indeed.

And, sorry, guys, men's expectation of continually ringing bells and praise for even base-normal courtesy gets a bit wearing, when it doesn't come back. Give more, get more, is my motto. I think frosti pointed this out, some months ago.

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, I said she was very wise, Yoki.

BTW, knowing of your interest in the baseball, Cliff Lee is again pitching a heckuva game, Fullies leading the Yanks 6-2. But I'm guessing you were glued to your TV and already knew that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 2, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

If the Phillies win does that mean no Glee again?

So glad I am not a "Lady" too many rules :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | November 2, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody, I'm home and conference is over!

Ivansmom, I started carrying a handkerchief when I got to perimenopause and everything, I mean EVERYTHING, made me weep. I cried, my kids rolled their eyes. One day it will happen to them and I'll laugh. Now that I'm postmenopausal, I'm not so emotional and weepy.

I was always of the don't let them see you cry school, Yoki. Only cried at work a couple of times, closed my office door, and then went about my day. One thing about firefighters, you can't take yourself too seriously, or you'll never survive.

Posted by: slyness | November 2, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

'Fraid so, dmd.

Fullies second baseman Chase Utley just his his second homer of the night, tying Reggie Jackson's record for most homers hit in a series (5).

Of course, Ryan Howard just tied the record for most strikeouts. *sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 2, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but RT, no matter what the effort, a real Sabayon is sublime.

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I say constant small praise for a guy provides continual reinforcement. Think of it as clicker training for dudes. We are very trainable. You just have to know how.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Trying desperately but unsucessfully to stay awake to watch both a football and a baseball game, but unable to do it. 'Night, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | November 2, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

The Commies sounds like the name of an awards show where Barack Obama recognizes the community organizer of the year.

Posted by: PopSocket | November 2, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

But yello, the thing is, it could be returned.

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of scoring, the Saints & Falcons are racking 'em up pretty nicely -- Atlanta's missed two field goals and New Orleans one, and it's still 28-21, Saints, midway through the 3rd quarter.

Arrg - getting ahrrrrderrrr to type with these long fingerrrnailssss... ressisting the urge to howlll....grrrrrrmmmmmph....


Posted by: -bc- | November 2, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

North Korea is no longer Commie. It's Army. So writes the Post's Blaine Harden. Fits with info at the New Yorker and elsewhere. Over at the Daily Telegraph, their usually-pessimistic finance editor (who wrote some fairly wacky stories about President Clinton back when) is wondering about Japan defaulting. Who woulda thunk it back in the late 1980s when Honda seemed destined to bankrupt all of its competitors.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | November 2, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I firmly believe the USSR was also Army, at the end. Especially during the war in Afghanistan and the final depression at home.

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Grrrrr.... mmph.
Arrgh... toooooo bad...I rrrreally liked that shirrrrrt...

Must resist chewing my shoes... or at least take them off first....

Arooooooooooo! Arrrrrrr arrrrr arrrrr arooooooo!


Posted by: -bc- | November 3, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I generally don't believe things just because people tell me. Two plus two equals four? I'll accept it, but only really believe it when I see two objects and two more objects put together and I can count and see there are four. We did drop and cover drills in the 50s up through Jr High, but they were something to do, not a fear to internalize. I was not convinced when my college roomate forecast possible nuclear war during the Cuban missile affair, even though we could hear the B-47s taking off from March AFB. So when people said it's so terrible that Cuba is COMMUNIST, I thought it might not be good for the Cubans, but why should that bother the US, bother me? And it was clear the USSR and its whole area was a house of cards, so why did we all get excited when it collapsed? Probably because it was a concept (=evil) rather than a reality (an inefficient, or too-hard, way to organize a society, at least in the pre-computer age). Now that we are in the computer age, we can be organized in ways we don't even know, although over here it's called capitalism.


Posted by: Jim19 | November 3, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

LTL, you free-thinker, you.

Posted by: Yoki | November 3, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

In the late 1990s, Singapore decided they didn’t want to depend solely on workers from their neighbour, Malaysia. Factories in Singapore started employing a lot of workers from China. Those workers gave the factory managers a lot of headaches. They were absent a lot and sometimes they just work a few days out of a week. When reprimanded, they staged a sit-in inside the factory. Eventually, those who participated in the sit-in were sent home.

Apparently, in China, in the early days, whether they work 6 days or 3 days, they get paid the same. It didn’t occur to them that that kind of working schedule was not tolerated outside China even when the factories need only to pay them for the days they did work. The conclusion of the factory managers was that communism foster lazy workers.

There was a lot of schadenfreude on the other side of the border.

Posted by: rainforest1 | November 3, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Reading your comments on commies reminds me of watching Krushchev banging his shoe on the table, appalling at the time...... then again, so was Nixon, in another sort of way, even tho I didn't know it at the time. The Cold War, The Berlin Wall, The Cuban Crisis, real stuff to me and mine in our young adulthood.

Krushchev....probably the flat out ugliest leader/dictator I can remember.

If you live in Virginia or New Jersey get out and vote today, it's a privilege.

Posted by: VintageLady | November 3, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

I think I will vote on my way back from the walk, VL. We're in the midst of a close race for mayor, the first time in a decade and a half. Lots of other local races to be decided today also.

The Cuban Missle Crisis was the first international event I remember vividly. I had never experienced the fear we had during that time. I disagree with the premise that we ignored communism. When I was in high school, I got involved in debating. The first year, the topic was communism and the Vietnam War, so it was front and center for a year of my school life.

Good morning, everybody! A lovely fall day in the Carolinas. I'll have to wear the heavy jacket on the walk, but the temperature is supposed to be in the upper 60's this afternoon. The full moon was lovely last night; I hope bc got through the evening okay.

Still missing my friend Cassandra.

Posted by: slyness | November 3, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodlers!

To stay on topic, I say:

Boodlers of the world arise!

It must be remembered, the Holocaust had 12,000,000 victims.

The Communist regime in the USSR produced 51,000,000. Even if we discount 21,000,000 Russian (and other etnicities)dead during WWII, the barbarities committed by the Communists lead as the greatest crime against humanity in world history.


Posted by: Braguine | November 3, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

When ranking genocides and mass murders (Stalinist Russia, The Holocaust, The Great Leap Forward, Pol Pot, Turkish Armenia, etc.) you have to give Hitler the gold for sheer single-mindedness and precision organization. Anybody can kill millions just by starving the peasants or by inducing a reign of terror or just through pure ineptness. It takes a mad genius to organize something so intrinsically and efficiently evil.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 3, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

New kit, featuring none other than Caitlin Gibson!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | November 3, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company