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Afghanistan: Firm commitments and wiggle room

An email from Joe Biden this morning seeks to rally the faithful to the president's Afghanistan plan, saying, "the President has authorized the rapid deployment of 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan, with a firm commitment to begin bringing our troops home in 2011."

But, as Dana Milbank points out today, that "firm commitment" is gelatinous. We now hear that the July 2011 date for the beginning of the "transition" will be reviewed in December 2010.

Administration officials in their pre-speech conference call Tuesday sought to emphasize that the July 2011 date is just the start of a process that has no end date. This raises the obvious question: How is it possible to declare that we don't have an open commitment and then say that our commitment is for as long as it takes to get the job done.

"Which is it?" McCain asked yesterday when the Cabinet heavies were on the Hill.

"It's got to be one or the other. It's got to be the appropriate conditions, or it's got to be an arbitrary date. You can't have both."

"What we're talking about is the beginning of the process, not the end of that process," Gates answered, and both he and Mullen said the July 2011 date was a benchmark blessed by the military as a reasonable point to assess the effectiveness of the strategy.

Answer: The commander in chief declares his firm and absolute and unwavering commitment to maintaining as much wiggle room as possible in order to deal with events on the ground. And that is non-negotiable.

Deploying mixed signals is how you survive when you have to deal with diverse constituencies -- when you're forced to gather a little support here and there and yonder for an iffy proposition. This is Strange Bedfellows territory for the administration. Whatever happened to polarization?? That was so much easier to manage!

May you live in interesting times.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 3, 2009; 9:06 AM ET
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Next: What those Hubble images are telling us


Raysmom! :-)


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

In my view, Obama must have some wiggle room, non negotiable sounds just about right. McCain needs to desist; nobody pays much attention to him anymore, he holds no sway with me, anyway.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 3, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I cannot possibly be first, can I?

I cannot fault the President - or his cabinet and staff - for being unwilling to predict a definitive time for the situation in Afghanistan to be resolved to the point where the US can bring troops home.

Some suggest was overambitious to assign even amorphous target dates and timeframes, as they can be used as measurements of failure by all sides, but I can see the rationale for doing so. As a self-acknowledged procrastinator, I know I focus on my work better under deadlines of any kind, and in this case it will offer degrees of motivation to many.

BTW, the cutback to Jon Stewart wearing the gas mask during last night's Daily Show was hootful.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"Reflect, Rejoice, Renew."

From previous boodle, many times I hit the tail end. There's a little comfort in consistency, very little, tho.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 3, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Well of course there has to be wiggle room. Fog of war, and all that. Maybe by the end of next year there will be no functional government in Afghanistan. Then we have to decide if the country is going to be a colony of the U.S., annexed into Pakistan, given over to the Taliban, who knows? Now Pakistan says Bin Laden isn't there. Bottom line, the administration has to set some sort of deadline date to keep most of its party on board. The surge throws a bone to the GOP hawks who still think there is going to be a "win", though any rational person understands that the only thing that can be done is to try and tamp down the radicals as best we can and hope that there is enough resolve in the Afghan government to keep them tamped down.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 3, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I never labored under the mistaken impression that the 2011 date was going to be a hard-and-fast cutoff. Any redeployment takes an extensive amount of time, and no serious person would expect a plan drawn up today to account for contingencies 18 months out.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

On wiggle room...

Andrew Bacevich in his Washington Post op-ed several days ago: "The gap between the president's words and his proposed actions is wide enough to drive a truck through."

George Will rightly calls it a "surgelet" in his op-ed today.

Nick Kristof at the NYT quotes Greg Mortenson, both men asking the important question:

So why wasn’t the Afghan population more directly consulted?

“To me, what was most concerning is that there was never any consultation with the Afghan shura, the tribal elders,” said Greg Mortenson, whose extraordinary work building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan was chronicled in “Three Cups of Tea” and his new book, “From Stones to Schools.” “It was all decided on the basis of congressmen and generals speaking up, with nobody consulting Afghan elders. ..."

I still like Bacevich's reasoning best: that Obama's arguments are so loopy that one could drive a Mack truck through the logic.

Other people might call "wiggle room" by other words: "the fudge factor" or "little [or big] white lies."

Fudge, apparently originating in the mid 18th century as an exclamation of disgust or irritation, acquired a specific verbal sense in printers' jargon of the late 18th century, meaning to ‘do work imperfectly or as best one can with the materials available’.

So, why not just tell the American public the truth: We're going into Afghanistan for some time. Almost exclusively the southern and eastern portions. We'll give NATO troops the western and northern areas, where little military action actually occurs, because troops from various partnering countries have their hands tied behind their backs. We'll shoot up the place a bit (sorry, civilians), try some nation-building activities. We don't know what, if anything, we can accomplish. But after a number of months (Is it 18 or 30? I've read both.), we'll figure out if anything is working. Your guess is as good as mine.

Posted by: laloomis | December 3, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I nominate VintageLady's "Reflect, Rejoice, Renew" as our Official Boodle Holiday Slogan.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to ask Wilbrod to stop making up fictions about me. Yesterday she said that she had at times struggled with loneliness, and projected the same to me. On another, previous occasion, she characterized my husband's body weight and shape as something entirely different than it actually is.

My life may be "less peopled" than some others who post here, but less peopled doesn't translate to lonely, at least not in my case. On many, many days, I look forward to--sometimes revel in--long stetches of quiet time to create or to read.

So, please, no more fictions or second-guessing. Thanks.

Posted by: laloomis | December 3, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I second TBG.

Loomis the Canadian troops are NOT in an area where little fighting occurs

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I, too, figured that an organized withdrawl of *all* of the troops in Afghanistan would reasonably take years.

As I'd pointed out, and RD_P explained by bucket and broomstick, there's nothing the President could do or say regarding Afghanistan that someone won't be able to criticize. Existing situations there are going to be disrupted, and the actions are not always going to go according to plan.

When reassembling a complex piece of machinery, such as a car engine, I never tighten all of the fasteners - nuts, bolts, what have you - for the larger pieces or other components all the way to torque spec immediately. I leave things with a little wiggle room, so that I can accomodate and adjust for imperfections in the components or my own assembly, and everything fits together right. Otherwise, one piece fitted only slightly off can stop the process, requiring disassembly and reassembly.

There's less wasted time in allowing for adjustments along the way (and to be sure you're doing the job right) than having to stop and start again from the beginning. Incremental progress is better than none and far better than wasted or retrograde motion.

Granted, a country is not a car engine, but they are both complex and require a lot of pieces to work together smoothly in order to function well. So, is Obama is advocating for taking a measured, craftsmanlike approach to Afghanistan?

Sounds like it to me.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

psst, TBG, it's the White House theme, and it is entirely appropriate as our slogan.

Speaking of fudge, here's the recipe I always use.

Foolproof Dark Chocolate Fudge

3 6 oz pkg. semi sweet chocolate chips
1 14 oz can Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
dash salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (can be left out)
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with Eagle Brand and salt.

Remove from heat; stir in nuts and vanilla. Spread evenly into wax paper lined 8 or 9 inch square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off paper and cut into squares.

Store loosely covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

You can melt chips in microwave, but I don't bother to. If you have a double boiler, use it.

Also, yield of pieces of fudge depends on how large you cut them. :-)

Posted by: VintageLady | December 3, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

VintageLady, your last line reminds me of one of our favorite family lines: "Please cut the pizza into 8 pieces; we can't possibly eat 12."

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Yup, same with tole house cookies, bake until you get tired of baking, your size will vary. :-0

Posted by: VintageLady | December 3, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I think embracing the war in Afghanistan was his biggest mistake yet: how do you plan to succeed when the local government is neither ligite nor functioning and the local population does not support you. This is an expression of either American hubris or optimism, I don't know which. Our president probably cannot sell this open-ended military commitment and by trying to please everybody he also alienates his base. is already campaigning against the escalation of the war and our local peace groups are up in arms, pardon the metaphor. Finally, our Nato partners' response is lukewarm at best because going after Al Qaida in one particular country when they are spread all over the world is not reasonable and can in our case be best understood as an emotional response, which we cannot afford on any level.

Posted by: notquite | December 3, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

O.K., dmd3, how many Canadians are presently based in each of the most dangerous provinces in Afghanistan: Kandahar, Kunas, Helmand, Khost, Gazni? A quick Google search shows that Canadians have been deployed--and died--in Kandahar.

How many have served? How many losses? Present troop commitment? A graphic about one-third of the way down in the Wiki link below, if you scroll and look for the numerous, colorful flags, shows the troop commitment for the International Security Assistance Force and provides a number (dated Oct. 2009) of about 2,800 for the Canadian force? Is this current--and accurate?

Posted by: laloomis | December 3, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I think you're right.
As I understand it, Canadian forces are in southeastern Afghanistan, a very volitle area.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Alas, laloomis, that's just one of those burdens that fascinating people like yourself have to bear. When you try to carve out a little niche of privacy for yourself, jealous persons of no importance will fill in details of their own imagining.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse


Perhaps you missed the donut of security discussion, where the Canadian troops will be part of the circle around Kandahar, where they have already been for quite a while.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Well put, bc. Lawyers, whether in practice or crafting public policy, are famous (or infamous) for looking at all sides of an issue and refusing to be locked into specific outcome promises or projections. I think of this as cautious pragmatism: here's the current situation, here are the factors we can't control, here are outcomes we hope to achieve, here are options for action, here are the actions we intend to take, here is an estimated timeline. This appears to be what the Administration has done in deciding our immediate future course in Afghanistan.

As I've said, I realize how little I really know about the situation there, and that makes me very reluctant to say that this course will or won't work. All I know is what I read in the (national) papers and can find on the Internet. Internet research skills, and good reporting sources, may be helpful for a broad overview but that doesn't amount to knowledge in foriegn policy or anything else.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 3, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I continue to find it fascinating that those who pontificate to most and the most aggressively don't seem to acknowledge, or even appreciate (its perhaps not ever occurring to them), that they don't know what the president knows about every single inch/centimeter of the situation. Now, that doesn't mean that nobody is allowed to have an opinion about it (thereby taking me (and presumably George Will) away from the dreaded march to the ombudsman (with comments)). My point is merely that (1) we don't know what he knows; (2) I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point; (3) I still think he's the first real, certified adult we've had in the White House for too many years to count; and (and perhaps this should have come first) (4) I am not fond of absolutes. Absolutes have never interested me, although I'm also not fond of roller coasters.

Let's add the word Resilience to Reflect, Rejoice, Renew, shall we?

If one has a choice to take negative things personally or not, I tend *not* to do so, thereby giving me more, well, "wiggle" room to pay attention to good stuff. Other stuff I tend to stick in the "ignore" file. And, look! The sun is out. See? *SEE?* Told ya.

Frosti, I agree with you that Ryan is out next. I do like his shoulders and biceps, tho. *shudder with joy* I suspect that Jacob will win. He reminds me of Brandon from last season, who was so lyrical with his dancing. Just a joy to watch. I'm getting tired of Mary Murphy's screams, tho. It's her shtick, but it's getting old to me. Nevertheless, it's the only so-called "reality" show that I watch, so there we are. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

If we are harvesting quotes, here's one from yesterday defending Obama's strategy.

"Simply put, among a range of difficult choices, this is the best way to protect our nation now and in the future."

-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 3, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "pontificate *the* most"

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse


Hi Al, have been busily catching up after almost two weeks out of the office (vacation, not illness).

On kit, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the July '11 date is the *beginning* of a withdrawal process that will take some time. Did anyone really think that all the troops and equipment would be teleported immediately, Star Trek style, on that date? And of course there is the need to protect those remaining once the withdrawal begins. *Yawning and waiting for some new news*

Posted by: Raysmom | December 3, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

RDP -- I'm looking forward to seeing you (maybe "meeting you" since I don't think we ever have yet) at the upcoming holiday BPH. Come germ-free, please.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Oh sure, Raysmom, flaunt a vacation and don't share any details, fine.


Hope it was very relaxing! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

bc writes:
"Granted, a country is not a car engine, but they are both complex and require a lot of pieces to work together smoothly in order to function well."
As someone mentioned the other day (apologies to said person, couldn't find the post this morning, but you know who you are), Afghanistan is a country only on a map, and the vast majority of its pieces do not work together smoothly.

As to why the President didn't ask the Afghan people what they wanted out of all of this, I don't recall him asking the American people either. I suspect that he would have gotten a cornucopia of responses in both cases, much of it probably not helpful.

My personal view is that the President doesn't see much that's winnable here. Afghanistan has defied change from the outside for centuries, would-be terrorists won't be dissuaded by any action we take there, and it's easier to herd cats than Afghan tribal leaders.

Therefore, the President's primary objective is to leave ASAP while still giving Karzai a chance to get his act together. Hence both the target dates and the wiggle room.

Thanks to VintageLady for the fudge recipe. Anyone else have a good one to share?

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Cruise in the Southern Caribbean. Fab weather, fab food, fab company, very relaxing. Didn't want to rub it in too much.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 3, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ah, but we can always live vicariously, now can't we Raysmom? :-)

*only just a little jellus*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

VL - I going to try the fudge, I've never made any). Here's a recipe for cookies made with cottage cheese or ricotta. I usually give them as Christmas cheer at the office, etc., and an always asked for the recipe. Considering how many recipes I've gotten from the boodle, I thought I'd try to pass the favor on.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cream together in mixer:
½ C + 2 Tbs. Butter
1+2/3 C Sugar
1 C. ricotta (or drained cottage cheese)
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
*If using cottage cheese, use blender to mix cottage cheese with eggs and vanilla until smooth. If using ricotta, just add to creamed butter/sugar mixture and mix until smooth.
Sift together:
3 C. all purpose Flour
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp.Salt
1 tsp. Baking Powder
Gradually add sifted dry mixture to bowl. Do no overwork or dough will be tough. Stir in 1 package white chocolate chips and chill dough in refrigerator several hours or overnight.

Form into 1" balls (small scoop makes this much easier). Roll in granulated sugar and bake at 350 deg. on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 15 - 18 minutes (12 - 15 for convection oven). Cookies should be lightly browned on edges, and somewhat soft when taken from oven. Cool on rack.
(Chocolate variation: replace 1/4 C. flour with ½ C. cocoa. Use semi sweet or dark chocolate chips instead of white. This variation can be made by rolling in finely chopped nuts but this won't give the crunchy sugar crust.)

Posted by: km2bar | December 3, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Our countertop installation is beginning now, with the island being bolted to the floor, then in an hour or so the top will go on.

Then the cookie fest will begin, found the recipe online for Starbucks Ginger Molasses cookies - will start there, I will be baking with my daughter from scratch - this could be interesting. Tomorrow is a day off for the kids from school so we will make cookies most of the prepared dough variety but we will decorate as well, after that assembling pre-baked mini gingerbread houses and decorating same.

I am not much of a cook so the pre-made help a lot.

Who knows maybe this island will inspire me to take up baking, think cooking is out of the question - my husband is quite territorial in the kitchen :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Also nicely put, MsJS.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 3, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Fear not ftb. The germs have been sent packing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 3, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

How about making your own bread, dmd? That works, too, with such a nice space to knead the dough on. None of that bread machine stuff for me, man! I love kneading dough. Also, if you read the labels on a lot of different breads (although, gratefully, not all), you will find the dreaded HFCS. Sooner or later, unless we all go back to our agricultural roots for everything, all prepared food from agri-business will be loaded with HFCS, among other earthly delights.


Glad to have you back, Raysmom. Will you be coming to the holiday BPH on the 14th? Do say yes'm, oh do. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

After a little lie-in (went back to bed when the baking was finished) awoke when the puppy said enough sleeping already. Lowest temp of the year so far, 25F. Everything sparkley like the stuff they put on Christmas cards. Sunny with the frost lighting up all the trees.

Posted by: bh72 | December 3, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

One more for Loomis, the history of Canadian troops role in Afganistan, troop fatalities, third highest among nations involved.'s_role_in_the_invasion_of_Afghanistan

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Ftb, I agree with you on all points but one: When it comes to the loss of life and limbs, not to mention mental health, those who most certainly know more than I do should be able to explain to me why those sacrifices are necessary, and they haven't. Therefore I am left to my own devices, as insufficient they may be.

Posted by: notquite | December 3, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Those sneaky Canuckis have nanotechspybotradiotransmittering coins. I knew they couldn't be trusted!

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 3, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Me chiming in. laloomis, Wilbrod didn't come up with fiction about you, and I don't think she projected. She suggested that perhaps your reactions might at times drive others away. Considering the piling-on you endured the other day, Wilbrod, I think, was reaching out to you. Not putting you down, or suggesting anything other than perhaps your actions do in fact precipitate others' reactions. She wasn't slamming you...more laying out the buffet with some food for thought, if you will.

But then you made her point. Your post today sounds so....offended. Angry. Which makes others want to put up a defense. Which brings us back to the same thing. My guess is you were looking to put it to rest, and here it's still going on.

I've found that when someone reaches out to me and I wish they'd just leave me the eff alone, the way for me to get from that Point A to my Point B is to respond (not react) in a polite yet pointed way. You know...'Thanks. I'm sorry to hear you've had experience with that, and I'm glad you worked it out, but I don't think that applies to me. But again, thanks for thinking of me' kind of deal. Leaves them nowhere to go, but away. A recitation of the details seems to make it worse, but that might just be me (a mistake I continue to make...big duh).

I too appreciate my alone time, more than you can know. Sometimes, for the wrong reasons. But I still appreciate when the odd person says 'hey baby, you need to get out more.' People do that because they care.

I do hope the Holiday Season is a good one, for all of us.

The rest of my day seems to be back to back meetings, and I gotta get my picks in...I want that tiara back for the BPH.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 3, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, notquite. I will admit that I haven't explored the issue in depth, but it has always been apparent to me from merely grazing that once the soldiers come back home (and even probably during and after WWII), the re-entrance into society has never been seamless. There seems to have never been the opportunities nor the accessability to resources to help them -- especially on the mental health front. I see Vietnam vets on street corners panhandling all the time.

As for sacrifices generally, ever since the draft disappeared the notion of nationwide sacrifice (not to mention *duty*) seems to have disappeared, as well. Those who send others off into battle don't ever seem to be the ones who do battle themselves (apart from "turf" battles), yet they are the ones who bandy about "hero" for the fallen soldiers (BTW, I really hate the word "troop" as used currently for a single soldier). Nevertheless, I suspect that Obama has more insight into this than Bush ever did (and, truly *Dick* Cheney ever could).

To me, this is all a game -- on a lot of sides. It's a conflagration of "mine is bigger than yours is" as passed through the template of different cultures, different religions, different whatevers.

Gonna go make some lunch now, but I'll be back to (well, perhaps) finish the thought.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Colin Powell:

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

As soon as something actually happens, plans change.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

BPH outlook is good, ftb. I may even be able to convince Raysdad to come.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 3, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

If the poppy coins worried the Pentagon, wait til they see some of the Olympic coin collection :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

What size pkg of white choc chips, please?

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

here's the thing that is (call me crazy) potentially inspirational about all of this--mr. obama actually believes in the democratic process. he gets it that he is supposed to make decisions and that people are supposed to talk about them, criticize them, argue about them, etc. it's how the country is supposed to work. it's messy, but it's democracy in action. he keeps asking us to act like citizens in a democracy (responsible adults) and maybe eventually we will.

you will notice his staff are not labeling critics of the plan as unamerican or supporters of our enemies, or undermining the troops, or any of the crap we heard from the previous, self-appointed 'decider', who apparently believed in royalty as opposed to actual democracy.

i HATE this plan, but i support this president.

Posted by: butlerguy | December 3, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, I would think as large a package as possible, of course. :-)

Bravo, butlerguy, well said.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, dmd3.

Colin Powell. Much surprised that he was one of the speakers yesterday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio--along with George W. Bush. Since I don't know the schedule of yesterday's speakers, perhaps Bush spoke in the morning and Powell in the afternoon, or vice versa. ???

Is there political enmity between them? I have no way of knowing. I simply thought that both showing up together was strange. Perhaps the profit motive for both of them trumps any ill will one may have for the other, if there is any whatsoever in either man.

ftb wrote at 12:28: Those who send others off into battle don't ever seem to be the ones who do battle themselves (apart from "turf" battles), yet they are the ones who bandy about "hero" for the fallen soldiers.

I'm working my way through Tim Egan's very recent book, "The Big Burn" and loving it. Wish I could have said the same for Pipkin's "Woodsburner" (pedophilia, pornography, sex with pumpkins, and repressed desires..and a hint of the then near-future conservation movement) but it's an interesting experiment to read one big-fire book after the other.

There are two interesting passages in Egan's work:

p. 24: He [Teddy Roosevelt] despised politicians who talked of war and sent others off to fight.

p. 40: "There is not in the world a more ignoble character than the mere money-getting American, insensitive to every duty, regardless of every principle, bent only on amassing a fortune." Roosevelt, shortly before taking office...

Wall Street today?

Posted by: laloomis | December 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

MsJS - 12 oz. package. I usually use Nestle's. I once found another brand, think it may have been Hershey's, which had macadamia nut bits in the white chocolate chips. It was really good. For best flavor, don't skimp when you're rolling dough balls in sugar. The caramelized sugar on the outside makes a big difference in flavor and texture.

Posted by: km2bar | December 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Bring 'em home" and "Don't leave until finished" translates, in my mind, to "reinstate the draft" which would at least allow the current tired troops some rest. This would if effected qualify as "living in interesting times."

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 3, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Add another 'bravo' to butlerguy's posts, please.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse


I know people who seem to honestly believe that the only serious-minded course of action for a decent person as President woould be to remove all our troops from Afghanistan within a week or so (because, after all, we're there at their request, right?), do the same in Iraq, fix the health-insurance crisis by fiat ("I now declare us a single-payer nation!"), and make money fall out of the sky by force of will, alone. Anything less than perfection on every one of these fronts makes him just a typical lying politician who doesn't mean anything he says, who actively desires to use military force to expand empire, who doesn't give a hoot about the uninsured and starving, and who has childish and unrealistic notions of paying for it all with loans form China.

Needless to say, the fellows who believe these things have never held a position of actual responsibility.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 3, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Bravo from ftb to butlerguy!

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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

Afternoon, friends. Yeah, it's that lost person showing up. I'm on my way to the doctor's office, I got rear-ended last night at the traffic light, and the culprit hit the gas, and kept going. It was raining and messy, so I didn't get a tag number. A very nice lady stopped and helped me. I don't think it's anything serious, just want to get checked out. I tell you, I'm from one thing to another, and believe me when I tell you, prayer works. I'm living proof.

Scotty, Mudge, Yoki, Martooni, Lindaloo, and all the gang, it's so good to be able to talk to you guys, although not like I used to, but good anyway.

Slyness, can somebody show Jake and that coach of the Panthers the county line? I tried to look at the last game, hurt too much.

Well, everyone is talking about Tiger and his indiscretions. I told some people last Sunday, Tiger will never look at a golf club in the same way. It will hold memories for him that I'm sure he'll want to forget, yet sad for the family.

We love you, Achenblog. I'm including my dad, too. My sister's already in on the Achenblog. Hopefully I can get back soon.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 3, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Let me say that I think that this whole package is a mistake... probably a very significant mistake. At the same time, I would rather have Obama at the head of a mistaken approach than Bush or McCain.

I have also gotten to the point that I wouldn't know who would be worse, McCain or Bush. McCain is 90% politician and all over the place. Bush, a simpleminded ex-President who may very well be entertaining at a dinner party, but no leader of substance. So, I put a bet on this Obama plan and nailed it. He will do the wrong thing, but try to do it right.

My guess is that he will do a better job of monitoring the information filtering back to stateside--even sending more observers to Afghanistan.

Sadly, this decision to spend more money in Afghanistan is going to really bog down the party which, up to this point, could make a strong argument that it was turning the country around to head it in the right direction--now, not so much.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Thanx to Scottynuke for outing me as a chocoholic and to km2bar for clarification on the recipe.
And to butlerguy for reminding us it's ok to debate and discuss like adults, even if it's messy. Is it permissible to snarf down cookies while debating if I promise not to get crumbs on the boodle?

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Cassandra!!! So sorry to hear that! Please take care of yourself and hope everything is OK.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, Cassandra! It really is one thing after another. You're smart to get the doctor to check you out -- here's hoping there's nothing major to find. The body matters more, but transportation matters, too -- is the car okay? I'm hoping you get a nice calm stretch for a while after this -- not too much to ask, is it?

Posted by: -bia- | December 3, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

.. we need another Tiger Woods kit Joel!!!! LOL

Posted by: MissToronto | December 3, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Jumper1 | December 3, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, so sorry to hear about the accident. You're smart to go to the doctor. I sure hope your family's luck starts to change right this minute!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 3, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

bph! bph! bph!!!!!!!!!

*skipping around the boodle*

YAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'm in!


Posted by: mortii | December 3, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

So sorry to hear that Cassandra, wishing you the best.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I, too, send my good wishes to you. I hope you'll be able to get some neck massages if you experienced whiplash. That certainly helped me.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea - that nytimes article about the site Gliider had the writer traipsing around PANAMA!!! yippeeee - i've been to all the same places and let me tell ya! beeeyoooootiful - tho driving the two lane road across the continental divide was a little pulse-pounding - the driver of the bus was a speed demon - woooshhhhhhh!

i can't eat venison.
or rabbit
or deer
or moose
or duck
i can't eat cute animals... or animals in disney movies. it's illogical and stoopid i know but there you have it... i unnerstand why ppl have to hunt but i don't like it - so there!!!

jack and yoki - do y'all ever sleep?

i'm going to go out on a limb here and say that i think russell may win sytycd - i know, he's a krumper but can you see how amazing he is in all dance styles? and HUGELY popular - at least final two. i think legacy and ashleigh are next.

no WONDER dmd gave me a tooney - OF COURSE!! she's a canadian spy! dmd! tsk tsk...

Posted by: mortii | December 3, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Methinks we might need to actually reserve some BPH tables this time around...


CASSANDRA!!! *extra-gentle HUGSSSSS*

MsJS, welcome to the Boodle franchise of Chocoholics R Us...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Wish I could transport myself to the holiday BPH :-(

I have been avoiding comment on the Obama Afghanistan decision because I can’t decide how I feel. Memories of Viet Nam coupled with what little I know of Afghanistan - huge opium crops, tribal infighting, illiteracy rate of 85-90%, overwhelming corruption, oppression of women - lead me to wonder if there is anything we could do that would work (RD’s bucket and broomstick). I come back to what someone else said about Obama knowing more than we do. This is a comforting thought until I remember that I’ve been skeptical of thinking this way about a president for many years now(see Viet Nam, Iran Contra and anything having to do with W).

I agree with Butlerguy post and guess I agree also that I’m not sold on this plan, but I appreciate how long and hard our president worked to arrive at it. And as he is way smarter than I am, I’ll support him - for now, but I’m very concerned that we’re just throwing more money and more lives away.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 3, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

It looks like I'm in for the BPH.

Posted by: Moose13 | December 3, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

No joke, s-nuke! While it's never a good idea to count on me until I've actually passed through the revolving door, I'm tentatively planning skip out on my bowling team and attend the BPH. Sounds like a pretty substantial turnout is coming.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 3, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

We could accomplish a lot in Afghanistan with a few good spies. Even with a pro-U.S. government, we will need the spies anyway. I guess Obama won't be talking about spies.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 3, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

mo, hehehe! It is always the people you least suspect.

Serious BPH envy.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Hi Cassandra, sorry to hear of the accident. I hope your checkup goes well.

Mo and everyone else BPHbound - I'm looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Scottynuke, I like the idea of reserving tables for the BPH, but we need to be able to see at least some of MNF, don't we?

loomis, that 12:27 was food for thought for me.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Here, via Dave Barry's blog, is the clarity we all seek on the burning issue of the week-

Posted by: kguy1 | December 3, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

dmd - it's not like you CAN'T come down here!

cassandra!!! *gentle hugs*

Posted by: mortii | December 3, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra: Take care o' you, 'k?

badsneakers: How do you know the President is way smarter than you? You write an intelligent-sounding post. It's clear and I can easily see where I agree and where I disagree. For what it's worth, MrJS says you're right to remember Vietnam. Eventually, what starts out as wiggle room can grow into an abyss.

Scottynuke: It's been 10 minutes since I last lapsed.

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, my idea of wiggle room starts with fitting all the appropriate pieces together loosely, then tighening everything down in order. If you don't tighten everything to torque, it will indeed loosen right up as you try to operate it.


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

Two, zero, six, and five (or three depending on the redundancy).

Posted by: yellojkt | December 3, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't really sleep, Mo, it's more like estivation. Sound sleep is a rare thing for me.

I'm sending good thoughts your way, Cassandra.

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

*trying to type to MsJS around a handful of M&Ms* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

kguy, thanks. Keith Olbermann showed that the other day, and it cracks me up. Not quite sure why.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 3, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Looked at the photos of Christmas decorations at the White House. The California Dried Pepper Berry Tree was creepy. "Brazilian pepper" (Schinus terebinthifolius or possibly S. molle in California) is apparently well-behaved in California's Mediterranean climate. In Florida, this small tree is a horrific pest. The dried fruits are used as "pink peppercorns". Considering that the plant causes poison ivy-like rashes, I've never tried the peppercorns.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 3, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm just too, too shocked to note that the House doesn't want to tax people too much...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks MsJS, but trust me, the president is way smarter than I am.

All this talk of cookies has me starting my yearly Christmas cookie list. Some cookies are a 'must' and others vary yearly according to how much work I want to do and how adventurous I feel. Swedish bread, gingerbread men (and little houses for the granddaughters to decorate), and either sugar cookies or spritz, and fudge are for sure. I did see a new fudge recipe that I'm going to try. Usually I make the one with the marshmallow fluff. Baking starts next week when my freezer will have a bit more room for storage.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 3, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra! I'm so sorry about the accident and I hope all is well.

Add a bravo from me to butlerguy.

MsJS, Boodle crumbs are always acceptable, if the food was good. Thanks for your reference to MrJS. I'd vacillated between reading your handle as Ms. JS or Manuscript JS. I'll go with the honorific.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 3, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Looks like George S. may wind up hosting GMA after all. Still not sure he shouldn't stay with This Week. If he does in fact switch jobs, wonder who will be in line for the new TW host? Gibson would be good, but if he's really retiring then may be not available.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke: only one handful?

bc: I fully understand the tightening by degrees idea. It can be a useful paradigm in a lot of non-mechanical situations. My dilemma w/ Afghanistan is that, for me, the pieces don't even start to line up, much less stay in one place long enough to be tightened in turn.

As Mr. A said at the end of his blog, "may [we] live in interesting times."

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Bill Ayers no longer pallin' around with Obama.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | December 3, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

badsneakers: But can the President bake like you?

Scottynuke: I almost fell out of my chair reading your link. Had to drop my double-chocolate cookie to catch myself. crumbs everywhere.

Ivansmom: Yes, you got it right. MrJS is grateful.

ebtnut: Let's get a fresh voice at This Week. Anyone want to submit their resume?

Posted by: MsJS | December 3, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks! Sneaks! *waving hand and arm wildly to catch her attention*

Can I be on your cookie list? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Can I?

*stomach growling in anticipation*

Besides, the rule is that if nobody sees you eat it, it has no calories.

I used to bake a lot back in the day. Don't anymore.

I *do* have to finish writing that article I started. It's not gonna be a long one, but my gumption level has reached that *thud* point.

Really looking forward to the BPH, I gotta tell ya.

And, where's Mudge today?

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I will vouch again for the magnificence that is badsneaks cookies.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

MsJS: Not sure who in the ABC pantheon would be good in the job. Elizabeth Vargas, maybe?

Posted by: ebtnut | December 3, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Mudge is in the ombudsman's office, or cleaning erasers.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 3, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I'll give you a list of all the baked goods when I have it finalized. Then, when they're done, I'll fax some to all of those who make a request ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | December 3, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

There's about 40% chance I might make it to the BPH - depends on whether I have to work that night, and wife of Nut's schedule.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 3, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

MsJS... sometimes we subsist on crumbs... the more the better. So, thanks!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Fudge, yum! And cookies! I'll send you my fax number, Sneaks...just let me know when.

Cassandra, sorry to hear about the wreck (It's NOT an accident, somebody did something STUPID in the rain.) I hope you and the car are okay. Your sister is reading? She needs to post so we can welcome her.

It seems to me that the president is making the best of an impossible situation, and I hope things go his way. The quagmire that is Afghanistan, well, looks like it will stay that way for a while. Wonder if we could bring all the women and children away, so the men could fight it out and be done.

Sanctuary is decorated and looks lovely for the season. It helps to have a talented interior designer on the decorating team.

Posted by: slyness | December 3, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Bob S- "persons of no importance?"

I'd suggest "gnomes of no importance", but then, that'd be redundant.

Back to working on my magnum opus:
"The Big Book of Spousal Insults."

Erhm. where was I? Ah yes.

"Chapter 20. Libellous Physignomy."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, slyness re: Afghanistan. I ordered a copy of "Three Cups of Tea" and waiting for arrival of same, along with a couple of other books.

Ah, well.

The rest of the article shall wait for tomorrow's finish and review of same and then shoot over to the other people in the firm for their review and lovingly snarky comments. Good people and good writers all.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 3, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Badsneakers Hermits were excellent. I made a batch and I think I ate most of them myself!

Posted by: nellie4 | December 3, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

CqP, as I recall you're a fan of Christopher Alexander, as I am.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | December 3, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Aaaahhhh... home from work, day off tomorrow, Thai food being delivered for dinner tonight, plans with rickoshea tomorrow night... what could be better?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I would turn to Joe Biden if I needed the rapid deployment of verbiage. Troops, not so much.

On an unrelated note I thought yinz were ruthless carnivores but now you're flogging cookies (please don't utterly disillusion me and tell me you're having them with milk...I haven't had milk since Janis Joplin died).

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Dunking them in milk, douglas. Full immersion. No survivors.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

I would comment more fully but I am currently fully engaged in warding-off gestures intended to keep cookie-wielding pietistic anabaptists at a safe distance.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Chocolate cookies dipped in milk - such a good thing.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber, the boodle is omnivorous. You should catch us in the bunker sometime, the food is varied and excellent. We do a great weekday breakfast too.

Posted by: slyness | December 3, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Gnomes have importance
To hungry dogs needing treats
for furr-nace purposes.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Cookies, milk, great roasted haunches of elk, it is all grist to the Boodle mill.

Posted by: Yoki | December 3, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Wanted: Boodle Mill job
processing elk, milk, cookies
I've true grit for grist.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 3, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

We're watching last night's Daily Show on the Tivo. Great line: "The sad thing about President Dangerfield is that he never garnered the respect he deserved."

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Surprising news about cats.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | December 3, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I think I've become addicted to egg nog.

Disappointment of the day: I went to the post office to get Christmas stamps for cards, and all they had were the Madonna and Child. I'd rather have the snowman, gingerbread man, etc...I would feel less hypocritical. Sigh. I suppose I should remember to order some online next year.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 3, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Laughing. No, I didn't spend the day behind the WaPo building clapping erasers. I was deeply emerged in a project (but monitoring the Boodle), and then had to leave early to go show a prospective tenant our vacation house (which he wants to rent). So that was a few hours in the truck driving hither and yon.

And I figured out what Obama is up to. The answer is very long and complicated, but I think I got it. Can't summarize it. And the trolls hate long and complicated. But I've got to finish it first anyway, and then give it an edit and some sleep. (I'll tell you how "bad" it is: there's an analogy to Fermat's Last Theorem in it. No football analogies [not yet, anyway].)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 3, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

seasea I feel the same way when I go to buy stamps and they only have ones with the queen on it - have been known to turn them down. Thank goodness most places have lots of variety now.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

But ros, how do we know the cats didn't modify their behavior because they were being watched?

Posted by: seasea1 | December 3, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

But I thought Fermat was starting at QB for the Lions this week...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 3, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to think about what the connection was between Janis Joplin and milk, and then I remembered her old classic, The Milk:

Some say milk, it is for cookies
To soak the crumbly bits
Some say milk, it is for breakfast
Goes great, with Alphabits

Some say milk, it is nutritious
A thing, all bodies need
I say milk, it is for all times
To you, it’s baby’s feed

Just remember, in your water
there is, no calcium
So drink up, your glass of milk, son
and obey, your wise old mom

Posted by: engelmann | December 3, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea, there may be quantum effects at work. Perhaps the cats are both looking out the window and not looking out the window until the camera takes the picture, and then the wave function collapses. Or something like that.

Posted by: rashomon | December 3, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

These queries are way above my paygrade.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | December 3, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

RicoS- thanks. I use Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language to teach comp: words, sentences, paragraphs, document templates, argument patterns. Thanks for that.

Engleman -- Boodle-Lariat again.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 3, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Excellent early version of that classic, e-mann. I applaud your unearthing of it.

Alas, I prefer the later Amanda McBroom version of "The Milk" (she wrote it, yanno), as sung by Bette Midler.

(Conway Twitty and LeaAnne Rimes also had versions, which is quite problematic for me. Janis never sang it-- she was only the model for the flick of that name, in which Bette Midler played her as a tragic, misunderstood macaroon rejected by the Beaumont, Texas, quality control inspectors in the Nabisco factory where she was first baked.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 3, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"'Secretary' is a little degrading to women; I help with office-y things around the office."

Posted by: -TBG- | December 3, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Quantum kitties: now I understand why they are different than doggies.

Doggies = classical pets

Kitties = Quantum entities

Thanks, now my understanding surpatheth that of ten parsecs ago.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 3, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. rashomon, I think you nailed it.
The Observer always influences the experiement, particularly where cats are concerned.

Schrodinger obviously never liked his, was always thinking of putting it in a booby-trapped box.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Except Secretary of State.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 3, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I am *so* glad that Comcast now has the NFL network as part of the basic package now.

Watching the Jets and Bills now - all things considered, that ain't bad.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

bc, I'm picturinge a bunch of PETA activists chasing Schrodinger down the street while he's waiting for that atom to decay...

Posted by: rashomon | December 3, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

My reference to Janis Joplin and milk referred to Southern Comfort in milk which she was allegedly fond of, thereby leading me, wisely, to swear off milk.

A neighbor in Utah gave me some elk steaks, they were the T-bone cut, and they were so so good if you could resist the urge to incinerate them.

Those Christmas cookies that are made with finely chopped nuts - what are they called? feminist delights? russian tea cakes? Tiger paws?

They're good, in any case.

But you won't catch me drinking milk. It's well known that it's a gateway vice.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

That explains a lot, douglaslbarber. I drink several glasses of cold skim milk a day...

Posted by: Yoki | December 3, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, engelmann. I used to sing that song but I couldn't quite remember the words.

douglaslbarber (howdy, y'all!), hows about a late supper of red wine & Little Caesar's cheese pizza? Perhaps followed by eggnog, or not.

I don't know - eggnog is often consumed (at least here) with rum or brandy. Does that make it, too, a gateway dairy product?

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 3, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I'm on my way over for the wine, pizza and egg nog - and surely after that, Yoki will confess those sins which cold skim milk led to.

Oh mercy, egg had to bring that up. (Holds out his empty glass) I am powerless to resist pure creamy nutmeginess.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Red wine and pizza? Eggnog? Now that's the right combination for December! I'll be along shortly, Ivansmom, don't let the Boy consume all the pizza.

Posted by: slyness | December 3, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I am CqP.

I am a cheese-freak. Like Yoki, I moved from milk to cottage cheese to hard colby and longhorn; eventually, I supped and nipped at the sofies Brie, Camembert and that faux but intriguing Boursin.

Then, that day, smutting my mug with the ashes on the loveliest log of chevre....sigh. I AM HUNGRY.

Now, I hit on Wensleydale with cranberries, if I can score some. Sigh, now I will dream of fromage of the night.

(E-man, can you do something with fromage of the nacht -- Music of the night and a Phantom thingie?)

Somebody will cue up MP's Cheese Shop, no doubt.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 3, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, you used to sing "The Rose"?? *getting the vapors*

Why did you stop?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 3, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Pizza and eggnog. I think I gain weight just reading these comments.

Posted by: rashomon | December 3, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Curmedgeon, I've always wanted to gallantly fan someone suffering the vapors. May I?

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber, in my house we call "those Christmas cookies that are made with finely chopped nuts" --- "Nut Cookies."

We are masters of the obvious.

Posted by: nellie4 | December 3, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of cheese and all I have is large bricks of uninteresting domestic... the best I can do is some Feta on my salad.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 3, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Mexican Wedding Cakes
Russian Tea Cakes

and, what my CPBro4 called them one year: more whittle white powda donut cookies, preeze. Dank U. (1972, I think)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 3, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

You can hustle as many troops as you want into Afghanistan. It's to no avail when you order dijon on your burger.

Positivists and empiricists are the experts when it comes to applying science to the questions that bedevil us, but without an understanding of the metaphysics of condiments, we're doomed.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Say cheese, turophile,
so I may capture your heart
in mouth full of chevre

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 3, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, the song ended.

DNAGirl, nice pome. Cheesy (in a good way).

Douglaslbarber, and everyone else, c'mon over. The Boy has already consumed his share.

The metaphysics of condiments: the Boy is the only teenager I know of who actually routinely uses the word "condiment". While it is much faster to say "no condiments" than "no mustard, no ketchup, no mayonnaise" it does seem to disconcert people. He also says "utensil" and "beverage". Clearly we're providing fodder for years of adult therapy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 3, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I've opened my snail mail address for cookie reception from nellie4 and CollegeQuaParkian1.

My memory lately seems like the BIOS of an old 64K machine. At this rate I'll remember "nellie" for a month but scratch my head when trying to recall "CollegeQuaParkian1".

So don't be trying to get your government involved in my medicare!

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

douglasbarber, do you subscribe to the Many Condiments Interpretation of Grilled Meat Mechanics?

I won't get into Cheese Theory here, String or otherwise.


Posted by: -bc- | December 3, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

CqP, if you are into ash-covered chèvre cheese keep your eyes peeled for the Cendrillon. It's a very nice goat cheese.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 3, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, all; buenos gnocchis and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 3, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

welcome, dlb. As one of the keepers of the night shift, I often do this. Kind of a keeper of the vault thing.

just because you mentioned janis.

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

bc, as one whose mother sometimes served him grilled cheese sandwiches made with swiss, I'd be inclined toward string theory were it not for subsequent
encounters with Germans. (The sandwiches were good, by the way).

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 3, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge. how goes it?

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

-jack- what a fantastic link! Raw. Thank you very much.

I've only been here for two days. Even so it feels like a refuge.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Now that jack has sent a link, my evening is completely perfect.

Posted by: Yoki | December 3, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

It goes well, jack. You?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 3, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Jack loved the link, as I was scrolling through the related videos, mostly other versions of Me and Bobby McGee, until the end then is was Wagner, Flight of the Valkyries - one of those huh moments.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

We're beginning to stage the house for the holiday. Nearly the entire family will cross the threshold this year, and although the exterior screams restoration, the interior has come quite a long way. We rearranged the dining room this evening, and it caused a visual trick that makes the room seem twice as large. We started stripping all of the t/g wainscot, and plan to strip the mantle and built in china cabinet. A heat gun is the preferred method at this posting, but burned hands have compelled us to seek a solution with chemical strippers. I have my doubts that the product will live up to its advertised performance, but it's worth a try. The tree is up, and we had a Griswold moment with two strings of C9 lights, each blowing out in spectacular fashion when they were energised. It may be time to get new lights. I'd rather not temp the fates since the house is made of fat wood.

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

old, but good:

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Apparently others have noted the relationship between dairy products and quantum mechanics.

Posted by: rashomon | December 3, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Same, Etta James' turn:

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

When I was knee high to a grasshopper my family took a vacation through the Gaspe peninsula in Canada. Part of the fun was a long ferry ride, where Janis "Cry, Baby" was on the jukebox.

I'd never heard anything like it.

Somewhere around that time we went somewhere that had Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant Bar and Masacree on some medium where I coulod play it on demand. By "around that time" I mean within two years.

Arlo Guthrie rules still apply in politics. "You can get any thing you want at Alice's Restaurant".

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 3, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

...and to complete the musical triptych, a rocker:

note the twirl girl

Posted by: -jack- | December 3, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Now I want to watch the Commitments again, love that movie.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 3, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Goodness gracious, how musical & cheesical were y'all tonight!?!

Sorry I missed it.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 4, 2009 3:14 AM | Report abuse

It's clear to me (at least part of the time) that it's possibly advantageous to (at least some of) the Afghani folk (as conditions allow the illusion of such an entity to be entertained) that a U.S. military presence (or some loosely-fashioned substitute thereof) participate in the (messy, actually, awful) process of ,,,

Sorry, I can't keep a straight face anymore.

Please treat each other well until I return, eh?

Posted by: bobsewell | December 4, 2009 5:09 AM | Report abuse

It is a rare sensation to stand with feet firmly planted on solid ground as wet fog washes over at 40-60 mph, freezing onto solid objects and onto the ground. Nevertheless, we made it down, and now it's time for bed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 4, 2009 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like starting the morning to Janis Joplin. Thanks, Jack!

I bumped the thermostat hard last night as we were taking the wreaths and outdoor Christmas trees out of the attic last night. This morning, it didn't come on. Ruh-roh.

Good morning and happy Friday, all! Hi Cassandra and Cassandra's sister! Mr. T is still happily abed but I woke up at the normal time, oh well. Onward into the day...there is fine Christmas music to look forward to, and I do.

Posted by: slyness | December 4, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse


Not the AchenMascot!!!


*not-feeling-so-much-like-a-Friday-now Grover waves*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

That is sad, Scottynuke. Perhaps some other arrangements might be made. I'm thinking the Salahis in cunningly-realistic panda suits. Heck, I hear they'll do anything for fame.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 4, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

As usual, you have a terrificly elegant solution, RD_P. I bow in your general direction.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Uh, you DID mean offering the suited Salahis to the panda preserve, yes?

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, yes, Scottynuke, that was the original idea.

But if the Chinese would take them in lieu of Tai Shan, well, I could probably live with that too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 4, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I think I misread you Scottynuke. I originally thought about putting the Salahis in the Natinal Zoo. But I agree that your idea of sending them to China is pretty good too.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 4, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Not only could they have a boffo reality show, they could probably get a Food Network adjuct show on all the wonderful bamboo recipes they come up with...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

SCC: adjunct... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

CqP's dirty cheese talk got me quite worked up this morning. The mere mention of chevre can turn me bleu with envy.

The last time I tried to research string cheese theory it caused quite an incident.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yes, when I saw that Tai Shan story this morning I knew there would be weeping and tears on the Boodle. I think someone needs to go gently break the news to mo and be there to hold her hand and pass her tissues, as needed.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Not Butterstick!

When Scotty said mascot, I thought he meant this salacious picture of the WaPo dog in a compromising position.

Note: The url is NSFW, let alone the link.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Is there a quantum theory about Grateful Dead twirler girls? Is conservation of spin maintained? Are they close coupled with other twirlers? When twirler girls are around, do miracles happen?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow, have you guys read Howie Kurtz's column this morning?

Mr. Chairman, I rise to request a standing ovation for Andrew Sullivan (quoted in kurtz), who wrote regarding his defection from the Conservative movement:

"I cannot support a movement that so abandoned government's minimal and vital role to police markets and address natural disasters that it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.

"I cannot support a movement that holds torture as a core value.

"I cannot support a movement that holds that purely religious doctrine should govern civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.

"I cannot support a movement that is deeply homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that its share of the minority vote remains pitiful. . . .

"I cannot support a movement that would back a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified and duplicitous because of identity politics and electoral cynicism.

"I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.

"I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.

"I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.

"I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.

"I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck."

Go, Andrew!!! And Kurtz names another defector, Charles Johnson of Little Green Foothills who can't tolerate:

"Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)

"Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.)

"Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)

"Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.)

"Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.)

"Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.)

"A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.)"

A second standing O for Johnson, if you please, Mr. Chairman.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Don't look now, but there's much whispering of that most wonderful of words for tomorrow in and around D.C. --


*major Snoopy dances* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I have wondered about those very things, yello. The thing that baffles me the most is the hand twirling. That behaviour has no adaptive value.

Posted by: -jack- | December 4, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse


Scotty said the S-word!!!

*runs screaming from the room*

My company's Christmas Party is tomorrow night, the Wilson Bridge is undergoing repairs and there will be a 4-to-6-mile backup (I have to cross it or bypass it), and there will be an inch of snow on the ground, meaning the entire region will panic instantly. So instead of a Snoopy dance I suspect Scotty will pardon me if I descend into a Charlie Brown gloom.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and they're saying the snow will be heaviest south of town.

Guess which quadrant I live in.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, the stuff at the bottom of Kurtz's column provides a bit of journalistic whiplash, as it were...

I totally agree with him -- the idea of a newspaper's editorial staff reporting to ad sales managers reeks. I'm shocked the WSJ got so sloppy as to let some serious plagarism get through its copy desk. And hooray for Andrew Cohen for calling out all the crappy "legal coverage" we're seeing these days.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh, absolutely. That reporting-to-sales-managers was nothing short of appalling. I wouldn't be surprised if it sparks a staff revolt and some departures. That's just beyond the pale.

The plagarism doesn't surprise me that much, although yes, it is a calumny. And yes, hooray for Cohen.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like I picked a good weekend to quit sniffing glue, er, take a vacation to Tampa. I'm hiding in my dad's den to avoid my mom and her oatmeal cookies with just a little too much baking powder.

My dad's den has it's own powder room completely decorated in an airplane motiff. There are airplanes, mostly biplanes, on the towels, wallpaper border, light switch covers, and bath mat. There is a toy biplane hanging from the air vent. And best of all, on one wall is an authentic five foot long wooden propellor.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

On the stairs to my dad's den, he has various plaques from the organizations he has served with. The most impressive to me are the one commemorating 2000 hours of F-4 flight time and another for over 100 hours over North Vietnam as a FAC. It also seems that in 1972 he was the 27th TFS Top Gun, Top Strafe, and Top Dive Bomb.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

And tell me this wasn't entirely predictable: "Merger plans for Comcast, NBC ignite battle over television access."

"The roughly $30 billion deal set off immediate reaction from consumer groups and lawmakers in Washington, heralding an epic regulatory battle over concentrating so much power in one company. Almost one in four cable subscribers in the U.S. is a Comcast customer. NBC Universal owns cable networks such as Telemundo, MSNBC and Bravo, TV shows such as Jay Leno's, regional stations such as Washington's WRC (Channel 4), and Universal movie studios."

"Critics worry that the consolidation of the two big companies could drive up cable TV bills and make some content off limits to anyone who doesn't subscribe to Comcast's services. The Philadelphia company has said it wants to keep NBC and Univeral entertainment available to the widest possible audience. It did not address the cost issue on Thursday."

"The deal also must overcome the poor track record of previous mergers between media giants, most notably the disastrous pairing of AOL and TimeWarner." ...

"NBC Universal owns 34 TV stations around the country and 13 cable networks, the biggest of which are USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Syfy, Bravo and Oxygen."...

"Comcast will contribute its cable-network group to the marriage, including such channels as E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, Versus, Golf Channel, Major League Baseball channel and 10 regional sports networks. Among the latter is Comcast Sports Network in Washington, which carries the Capitals, Wizards and University of Maryland basketball and football games locally."

Nothing good can come of this.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Mudge is, in my humble opinion, absolutely correct... the only people who benefit are the stockholders and the execs. (and the lawyers). Jobs are lost and growth and synergies hardly ever appear. If one of the companies were about to disappear, an argument may have made sense to the affirmative, but, at these depressed economic times, we are hurt by this and just to line the pockets of a few.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 4, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

IIRC, TBG mentioned the s-word last night, and someone else started the "bread, milk, toilet paper" chant.

And how about that NFL game played in Canada last night? CFL football tends to be relatively wide-open -- it must have been interesting for Canadian fans to see a game dominated by defensive play. I would *not* have wanted to be a quarterback for either team in that game - ouch!

To Kurtz' point, it's interesting how so many folks are jumping political ship - at least saying so in print - from the right and the left these days.

Maybe it's time for me to start a political Party, The Disappointed Unmotivated Middle (aka, the DUMmies). Well, I would, but I'm too disappointed and umotivated to do much about it.

Hmmm. This is how extremists gain political footholds, is it not? People throw up their hands and walk away from politics, leaving vacuums behind. And nature fills a vacuum with abhorrence, doesn't it? Or something like that.


Posted by: -bc- | December 4, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Although I'd certainly agree that the Beltway seizes up after a single flake, the forecast I saw seems rather tolerable:

"Expect a mix of rain and snow Saturday morning with a change to all snow by the midday and afternoon. Up to 2 inches of snow is possible mainly on grassy surfaces, but a few slick spots will develop on roads by Saturday evening. Snow accumulations will vary depending on the amount of rain mixed in with the snow. Trace to half an inch is expected in southern Maryland where temperatures will be slightly warmer, and it will take a little longer for the change over. Overall, a 'frosting' is likely in most areas."

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

That's a slight change (for the better) than what I'd initially heard, Scotty, which was that the worst of it would be south of town. But if they have changed it somewhat, good.

It's still gonna be a mess driving to and from the Xmas party, though. Normally about 90 minutes in "perfect" conditions. God knows what it will be in imperfect. (And being the driver, it means I have to stay relatively sober, and be cold sober when we leave. Pretty much a one-drink limit, and that one early on.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm telling ya, the sex and violence, especially directed against women, is just getting out of hand on TV:

Check out the hand on the booty.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

We are expecting cold and lots and lots of snow, up to 20 cm (just under 2') in my area today. I imagine, Scotty, that the little resort to the west will get at least that much, possibly more. I'd be happy to post the Lake Louise snow report...

What is it like in your neck of the woods, dr/engelmann?

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

There she goes again... *SIGHHHHHH* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

El Dick de La Madera Y Las Muchas Muchachas
(also known as La Caza de El Tigre)

Rachel Uchitel, why won't you tell?
You have a lurid, dark story to sell?
Cancelled your presser with L.A. lawyer Allred
Did you really take golfer Tiger to your bed?
Fun was the trip to the Land Down Under?
No thoughts of tearing Tiger's marriage asunder?

Kalika Moquin, most silent of the alleged trio.
Las Vegas tryst must require mucho brio.
Tiger by now hoisted on his own petard
Your story true, or just a campy canard?
One of the 31 most influential in Vegas nightlife.
No thought of sex games causing marital strife?

Jamie Grubbs, what was up with the red blouse?
Were you unaware that Tiger has a darling spouse?
Lots of intimate contact in the desert's Sin City?
Would an apartment paid for kept you sitting pretty?
Was that really Tiger's voice calling your little cell phone?
Proud of your escapades when you become an old crone?

Alas, for young blonde au pair model wife Elin Nordegren
Did you think marriage would keep Tiger tamed in his pen?
Rumor is Tiger wants to significantly up your pre-nup
Will money tame your roving, rambunctious Tiger pup?
To take the big mils will prove you c'n be bought
Tragedy! When it's love you probably originally sought.

Posted by: laloomis | December 4, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Scotty. Not really.

Today is #2's 21st birthday. It seems like no time at all while, at the same time, it is hard to image a time when her delightful self was not part of our lives.

We done good.

She and her roommate a hosting an open-invitation party tonight at a local pub for their joint birthday celebration. They published it on facebook :-0!

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Well, they ARE thoroughly modern maidens, right Yoki? :-) Hope they included BYOM[oney] in the invite!! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Two FEET? of snow? We've barely had a week of below-freezing lows. A city south of here had a surprise wet snowfall during our rain recently, but we have nothing resembling snow. We probably won't accumulate two feet over the course of the winter.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

We've had only a dusting earlier this week. There is nothing left on the ground. There was not enough cold nights for the ski centers to run the snow cannons either. It's a very slow start for the ski season.

I'll install the winter protections on the plants next weekend even if the ground isn't frozen yet because me may have a late but roaring start so late in the season.

The Canadiens hockey team has its 100th anniversary game tonight against the Boston Bruins. The Glorieux were clubbered in the past two games against weak teams. It doesn't look good unless they get help from the Forum's Ghosts.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 4, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

*Whistles a strain of G&S*

She is the very model of a modern maiden technophile.

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

bc, I briefly watched some of that game last night, it was 3-3 at the point I watched, little to hold my interest. Hubby was watching at a bar with a friend, when I asked how the game was he replied brutal. That said probably more NFL than CFL fans in Toronto so really wouldn't make a difference, we see as many games as you do.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Snow? We haven't had a hard freeze yet - I think we broke a record. It's going to snow a bit here tomorrow night, might help get into the Christmas spirit. Tomorrow is our semi-annual trip to P-town. It's fun at Christmas time.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 4, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, looking at the webcam from Quebec City - a little shocked at the lack of snow.

No snow in our forecast til maybe next week, rather amused that DC will get snow before us this year, OK a lot amused.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday.."

That line always gets me. Thanks, jack, for the link to one of my favorite songs, heard at a slightly different angle.

douglaslbarber... it is a refuge here.. stick around. We also meet physically every once in a while and are planning to on Dec 14 at McCormick & Schmick's at 1652 K St, NW. We usually start trickling into the bar area around 5:00 or so. If you're in the area, drop on by. Despite our obsession with food, we won't bite... I promise.

Off to enjoy my day... a visit with an ailing aunt, lunch with a dear friend and dinner and a show with another! Hope y'all enjoy your days, too!

Posted by: -TBG- | December 4, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

We are to have our first hard freeze of the season tomorrow night, predicted low of 27. Been a wet fall around here, and the prediction is for a cold and snowy winter. We haven't had one of those in over 20 years, so we'll see.

Posted by: slyness | December 4, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was surprised too when I looked at the Olympic Doobie relay yesterday. They got plenty of rain though. Q City will get a white Christmas anyway, they always do. I missed the part in Wendake/Village Huron, I wish I had seen that as I lived a few years across the river from the reservation and I know the place well.
This bloody work thing works well financially but it interferes with my TV viewing schedule.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 4, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom -- I finally finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night. Very, very well done. I found the ending to be perfect, but I don't know how it might have been translated into English (I mean I know how I would have done it, but I don't know how it was done).

Sad news, however. I woman I first met in Sweden in 1965 died on Monday. She was 90 years old, which I think was a good sign. She was a lovely woman, and I remember her fondly. In fact, little vignettes of memories have been washing over me this morning. I've exchanged emails with her oldest son, whom I've known since then, as well. Makes me miss my own mother even more. If that's possible. . . .

Ah, well. Life is what it is, and it is incumbent upon us to take it by the veritables and use it for good, rather than not good.

Glad you're back Mudge. Are *you* coming to the BPH?

Posted by: -ftb- | December 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

And I missed the Sagenauy portion, real difficulties with the internet since they entered Quebec, even in Quebec City still a little sketchy. They just posted a fabulous shot from Levis looking towards QC, with the Chateau Frontenac in view trying to find a link. That website is a serious time waster.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

There's an Olympic doobie race now? The 400- and 800-meter munchie? The 100-meter sprint-for-the-brownies?

I had no idea.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

And now little adorable Butterstick will be leaving us?


Posted by: -ftb- | December 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

See the Tom Toles cartoon, titled "Tiger's Hole in One"?

Circulating joke on the Internet: While many golfers strive for a hole in one, Tiger strives for one in many holes.

Posted by: laloomis | December 4, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Back? I wasn't aware I went anywhere, ftb. (Memo to self: am I having blackouts?)

No, sorry, can't make it to the BPH. #3 is moving the next morning to a new apt., and we have to load up my truck the evening before (which is the BPH) with her stuff. We're also spending the entire weekend right before in Williamsburg, going to our annual "Breakfast With the Chefs" event at Williamsburg Inn on Saturday, and whatever other "Xmas in Williamsburg" stuff there might be.

Last year the main guest speaker was the retiring/outgoing chief White House chef, who was very good.

So I'll be churchmouse poor, tired, and would have to leave work 2 hours early to attend BPH, then would have to drive home to face wrath of TWO She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyeds.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I always get a kick out of folks who grow grumpy about an inch or two of snow.

Sorry to hear China wants its panda back. Can the American people swap some Senators and Congressfolk in exchange for Tai Shan? Just a thought.

Regarding the Comcast/NBC deal: The objective is to become too big to fail, thereby automatically qualifying for federal bailout aid.

I was thinking that if we ate lots of holiday cookies this year, maybe we'd become too big to fail, too. How many billions should we ask for from the govmint, and how should we spend it?

Posted by: MsJS | December 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Fifteen. One.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I like RD and Scottynuke's plan to dress the Salahis as Tai Shan and send them to China.

It beats my idea, which is just to neglect to return him. "Where's Tai Shan?" "Oh, sorry. We lost him. He was right there, then we turned around to get his crate and he disappeared. We promise we'll send him as soon as we find him." We can have excuse-hardened teenagers deliver the message; this might help avoid an international incident.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Shriek since I know this is the area you grew up - noticing on the torch route map a town called St-Helene-de-Breakyville, did St-Helene get her achy breaky heart broke?

Sorry everyone school day off here - sanity has flown the coop.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

RIP Richard Todd

Posted by: kguy1 | December 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Preliminary casting for the Tiger made-for-TV movie? Tina Fey as Gloria Allred?(Interesting client list, Gloria's, including Amber Frey of Modesto.) I think the facial matchups for the main cast members are pretty darn close to the real faces.:|htmlws-main|dl1|link4|

Posted by: laloomis | December 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

It used to be called Breakeyville, from local big shots; the Breakey family. My godfather/uncle still lives just down the road in Charny.

There are no cowboys with broken hearts in Breakeyville but lots of horses as they hold a national hunter/jumper event at the old Breakeyville equestrian center. This is Q-city horse country.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 4, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh, no, Mudge. It's just that yesterday you seemed to be incommunicado. . . . Say, you weren't in the ombudsman's office, were you???? I will admit that I did hear some muffled screams when I passed his door, but I couldn't figure out whose they were.


Yeah, kguy, I read Richard Todd's obituary in the Telegraph (and, yes, I know, it's a conservative paper, but I don't bow down to it -- I merely graze it and the Guardian from time to time).

Posted by: -ftb- | December 4, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

They are in Charny now Shriek, and thanks for the explanation.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 4, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Nope, no ombudsman's office, no Marcus Broccoli's office, no nothing. Heard not a peep from anybody. Maybe they're having trouble getting the warrant. (If I see any SWAT guys creeping up to my cubby, I'll let ya know.)

Meanwhile, I'm just enjoying the he11 out of those Tiger kneeslappers. Jeez, what a laff riot. Lawdy, lawdy.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 4, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, 20 cm is less than 1'. It was a mess. I just got in a little while ago. There were several cars that couldn't make it out of the river valley.

Muse, instructions requested please. Cheese in the sense of being critical of PotO?

Oh, and new kit!

Posted by: engelmann | December 4, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

New kit...Be the first on your block to read the Sunday magazine. It's like time travel.

Posted by: joelache | December 4, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

20 cm is more like 7.8 inches, Yoki.

Now, if it was 2 m, that'd be 6.5 feet.

You'd have problems peeping over even in your tallest heels.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 4, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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