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Gilbert Arenas, Deborah Howell, etc.

I'm getting organized, throwing stuff out, making lists, honing plans, nurturing ambitions, and in generally drinking too much coffee as we get this new decade rolling. Here are some random Saturday morning notes.


You probably saw the Krauthammer column. Now read Andrew Sullivan's. Reminder to everyone: We don't torture. That is not what we do in America. That is what the bad guys do. There should be no confusion on this point.


I'm shocked and saddened by the news about the death of Deborah Howell, who was just getting rolling on her retirement. She was a dedicated journalist who kept her head and her civil demeanor even as she endured more than her share of brickbats during her Post ombudsman tenure. Before she had that lightning-rod job, she had a long and distinguished career in newspapers and was one of the first women to run a major newspaper in America.


The lede on the NY Post story on Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton allegedly drawing "heaters" on each other: "Guess they're still the Bullets at heart."

I just hope they were 15 feet apart because we know they can't hit anything at that distance.

[FYI, the Washington Post story casts doubt on the gunslinger element of NY Post story.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 2, 2010; 9:47 AM ET
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Next: Jim Zorn's valedictory game



Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Mr. A, but we do torture here in the U.S.

Allegations of police brutality occur frequently, and some turn out to be true.

I'm one of those people who believes torture is neither humane nor particularly effective, but I can't claim it doesn't happen.

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Repost of my Howell Tribute from yesterkit:

That is very, very sad about Deborah Howell. She was a very spirited woman who took a lot of unmerited flack for being the public face of the Washington Post. Perhaps that was her biggest problem. An ombudsman is generally perceived as being the reader's advocate towards the paper, a bulldog with the right of subpoena. She saw it a little differently when she started her first column by saying:

"I have two goals in this job: to foster good journalism and to increase understanding between The Post and its readers.

My mission, as I see it, is to encourage improvement and to deal with the needs of readers. I want to create a dialogue with readers and the Post newsroom. While I can't promise to resolve every reader's complaint or query, I promise to tackle in my weekly column the ones I find most frequent and significant."

Because she spent so much time explaining the news gathering process, she often came off as a mouthpiece or an apologist even if she was independently pronouncing her own opinion.

For example, here she is discussing WaPo's wholesale dismantling of the copy editor's role in the paper:

While I often thought she was not aggressive enough in tackling serious outrages, she was always comprehensive and civil, which may be what frustrated her critics the most. In an early column of hers, she had this suggestion:

"Let me give you a couple of tips on how best to use your ombudsman. First, be specific. Don't just tell me that The Post is mistaken or biased. Tell me how and where and when. Second, be civil. I didn't bother to open the e-mail that bore this subject line: 'Gutless, slime-sucking bottom feeders.' On that note, I must say thank you to Charnya Fisher, a Bethesda reader, who called me during my first week to say that she knew I was going to be bombarded by negative comments and she wanted to say something nice. She loves The Post's coverage of the baby panda."

That quote was discovered by the much missed Tom Fan who made the observation here:

Tom fan made one small error. The columnn she quoted from is presumably from October 30, 2005 since Howell's inaugural column was on the 23rd and is available here:

The column Tomfan quotes has vanished off the interwebs and cannot be found either through Google or the WaPo archive search. More's the pity that these wonderful words only survive through the keen observation of an Achenbach boodler.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 9:38 AM

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Even Comics Riff is in on the Howell memorials:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Regarding torture, the point is it isn't policy. It is no longer accepted as a legitimate element of the toolkit. And I agree enthusiastically that it doesn't need to be.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 2, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. First, a hearty happy birthday to RD_P. Will you get a present? Ivansdad's birthday is Monday and the Boy and I are trying to figure out what to do (other than the traditional chocolate cake). We should have saved something from Christmas.

It is much colder here than I anticipated - only 18(F) when I finally struggled out of bed, and below freezing for the high. It is supposed to stay like this until mid-week, when even colder air comes in. Our TV forecasters like to call it "Arctic Air". They show big pictures of Canada, colored purple, with dark blue swoops down the Midwest to us. Our kids may or may not be able to find Canada on a map but they know to blame it for cold weather.

I saw three movies within 24 hours: "Three Kings", "Sherlock Holmes" and Tim Burton's animated "Nine". [Hey, I didn't say they were all new movies.] I'm not sure my brain can stand it; normally that quantity would take me two or three months.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 2, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

MsJs, I think Joel's re. torture "That's not what we do in America," was about policy, practices and law. There are of course, instances where Americans commit criminal acts, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Posted by: -bc- | January 2, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Headline I never thought I would see:

Ante up, Virginia.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The Post's Arenas story is a relief.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 2, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

How do you pass up the chance for a Pinball Wizard headline here?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I understand the policy vs. occurrence thing. Sticky stuff, that.

Just trying to point out that even in the presence of an official institutional policy the practice at the local level, far away from the corridors of officialdom, may be different.

In full disclosure, I once headed a small branch office of a huge multinational conglomerate. Often I was not inclined to follow official company policy. None of it involved torture, thankfully.

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

For people who like the source material, here is Arenas's twitter feed.

There are some Liz Kelly worthy gems in there.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Would Pinball Wizard let us hold a BPH amongst his many machines?

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yello, I'm sure you know how to check on the safety of a 20-year-old crib. There's a recall list somewhere on the web, isn't there?

A most happy birthday to you RD-P!

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 2, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday again, RD_P!! (gotta cover as many Kits as possible)

And I got a late Xmas present in today's mail. The county assessor has now made it official -- the NukeAbode is now worth less than 70% of the purchase price. *SIGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Less feverish but achy still, especially in the broken rib spot of last year. Oh RoS. I think somehow you took upon yourself the break-bones possibility of the boodle. As in, you broke so as to save others from bad breakage. Thank you. And take are. We all owe you a range of ablutions:

real rubber hot water bottles
Advice on tap
brie, sliced, and wrapped in filo

good books.....and what you wish for.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 2, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Have a very happy birthday, RD!

Posted by: -pj- | January 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, MsJS.

One of the pecularities of human existence in the fact that there are as many realities as there are humans, each with their own interpretations of what they percieve.

This, in turn, motivates individual actions, which are also open to interpretations. I think it is important that we stand up (individually and collectively) and address those we perceive to be engaging in behavior we believe to be contrary to the interests of an individual, a group, or society as we feel appropriate.

Thus, we try those believed to be engaging in toruture (as we define it), try them according to our laws, and if found guilty, penalize and ostracize them.

All of this can be a slippery thing when applied to "the situation on the ground," and people doing the wroing things for reasons they believe to be good. It can be easy to lose sight of simple ideals like, 'We don't torture,' and it's good to say them aloud, and to think about what we're saying, perhaps as a guiding principle.


Posted by: -bc- | January 2, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Yello... Virginia's smoking ban began on Dec 1. We were ahead of North Carolina.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

HBTY Padouk! I, too, saw Julie & Julia last night. I thought it was cute. Meryl Streep completely owned that role. I wonder what the real Julia Child would have thought. And Stanley Tucci was adorable. I've got to find my two volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I think I know where they are (*yeah, sure*).

I have done all my errands this morning -- the farmers market (finally back after Xmas recess), gassing up the car and a grocery store run for all the other stuff. Well, most of the other stuff.

It is incredibly FRIGID outside, especially during a wind gust. Geezos-Peezos! I don't think I'm going out at all later on today. Unless MotP invites me over for a luau and it's still warm out there. . . . .

Terribly sad about Deborah Howell's death. I enjoyed her columns a lot. It's a tough gig being ombudsman/woman and I thought she comported herself with a tremendous amount of dignity.

CQP -- I'm faxing more healing karma to you. There's *always* an abundance of chicken soup, of course, but for a change, you can always try turkey soup.

I once read a fabulous Far Side get-well card -- so fantastic that I bought one to keep. It's of two chickens - one in bed with a bowl of soup on one of those short tables you can put over your legs, and one chicken in an apron by the side of the bed (wife/mother type). The chicken in the apron says "Oh, stop complaining and eat it. First of all, chicken soup is very good for the flu. Second of all, it's nobody we know!" That's perfect, I think.

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm ready for a dose of Spring Fever. Anybody with me on that?

Posted by: -ftb- | January 2, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, RD Padouk!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

bc: I agree. The more each of us walks the talk (or in my case wheels the talk), the more we can change things.

Off to find some football-god-approved munchies.

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

ftb -- yes on the fashion meet up. Can be so easy and so perfect. Let me get over the flu-bug, although am working on a guide in a post or two that will help all.

The guiding principles are
less is more
buy high quality long term pieces in dark neutrals and classic shapes
update with a few colors you like and like you

Strike the best posture you can: helps the mood, helps the drape, and top off with smiles.

Not all smiles are gut busting. Think Mona Lisa...

love all the fortifying soops...danke and tag.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, about that crib donation: be careful. That's all. You're giving up a talismanic protection, better watch out.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 2, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

If you read the article, VA exempts places that put in separate AC systems for smoking vs. non-smoking areas. HoCo had this rule in place for years before the statewide MD ban and it was atrocious and honored more in the breach. It does not work. If you have to be asked smoking vs non-smoking, you are not in a clean air building. There is NO safe level of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

If CA, NYC, DC, and now NC can go cold turkey, VA could have to.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I got a trojan on my computer when I went to the Boodle BDay list. I didn't actually click on anything on the page. Don't think I'll be going back there. Just know that my birthday is in August.

I seem to have cleaned my puter well enough, though.

I know I'm late, but feel better MrJS and MaggieO!

Happy birthday, RD!

Posted by: Moose13 | January 2, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Posted by: Moose13 | January 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh no, I also forgot to wish Joel a very happy birthday.

Happy belated birthday, Joel!

Slinking away in shame....

Posted by: Moose13 | January 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

A blast of Canada's here. -32 last night and -22 again tonight.

Right now it's a balmy -17 as noon nears.

It's a day not to go out needlessly, but to cocoon with tea and books and a hyper dog obsessed with toys.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 2, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

These baby product safety recalls are a conspiracy on the part of manufacturers to destroy the secondary market for baby furniture and accessories. I would be surprised to find out if this crib hadn't been recalled at some point.

We are taking a pretty big risk. Those hot flashes can't come soon enough in my book.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

We are likely to be +32 for the next three dawns, thanks to freshly imported air from Canada. As of now, I'm not bothering to cover the bromeliads or bring the orchids indoors, though an ailing Christmas cactus is sitting behind me.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 2, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer should seek me out for my advice and wisdom. I'm not hard to find. I could carefully and inexorably explain to him, with crystal clear logic, why and how he is an idiot.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 2, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

There does seem to be an ad-based Trojan on the WetPaint server.

One would hope the administrators rectify the situation shortly.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Pirate cash suspected cause of Kenya property boom"

Sheesh! Have these people learned nothing from the economic news of the past couple of years?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 2, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Californians are always late to the party -- Happy Birthday, RD!

Posted by: nellie4 | January 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

And in the Cognotive Dissonance Dept.:

One of the current teaser photos shows a person eating a "Paleolithic diet."

With a stainless steel fork.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, RD! I thought about the half birthday thing too.

Interesting about the wetpaint ad. I didn't have any problems when I went to the site a couple of times. Also interesting that they have no staff on hand to work a reported problem like this. They're based in Seattle and I have actually applied for a job or two with them, to no avail. Sigh.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 2, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I use AVG Free and have had no reported incidents. I am doing a full computer scan now ahead of the weekly scheduled scan for tomorrow and so far no alerts other than the usual cookie warnings.

There are plenty of sites that pop-up those fake virus alert warnings. Do NOT ever click on one of those, even in the close box corners. Use task manager if necessary to close the browser entirely.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned the palindromic nature of today. Here's a whole article about it:

Posted by: seasea1 | January 2, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I pulled the crib out of the garage and there were some spots where my son had gnawed on the railings and exposed the arsenic treated particleboard underneath. But I found some lead based paint in the garage to touch it up with. Besides, it was made in Canada, so how dangerous can it be.

Seriously: I did run a Google search for the brand and model number. It did bring up a recall for certain designs made between 1993 and 2009. My crib predates that and does not seem to have the plastic pieces that caused the problem.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

day tics as city ad

*feeble attempt at original palindrome to honor the day---anyone else wanna try?*

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

'Course in some parts of boodledom, palindrome day won't be until Feb 1. So we get to celebrate twice, right?

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm very sad (but entirely unsurprised) to say it only took three comments for the lowlifes to show up at the Ombudsman's tribute to Ms. Howell. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the birthday greetings!

The wetpaint problem seems to be embedded in a clickable-Ad, and not the site itself. This is why sometimes a problem is reported when visiting it, and sometimes not.

Just don't touch the ads. Goodness knows where they've been.

It's nice when New Year's gives you a three day weekend isn't it? As Joel points out, it is a great opportunity to really jump-start the new year.

Although the only thing I have really accomplished so far is the drinking too much coffee bit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 2, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I cleaned out a cabinet altho' there wasn't as much to throw out as I'd hoped - but it's neater. I've done laundry and am slow cooking tomorrow's dinner. Now I'm on the sofa with a cup of chai tea and Dirty Jobs on the TV. I love Mike Rowe. I may read my book, Wolf Hall, or I might nap. I do have other things on my todo list, but they can wait til later. It's still snowing but lightly. A nice lazy afternoon.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 2, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I have sorted through and pared down all of my Christmas decorations. I have filled a nice sized box with stuff I hope someone else will enjoy.

Now I must take down the tree, which I find to be very depressing. Perhaps I can have one more day of tree enjoyment. Yes, I think I can.

Posted by: Moose13 | January 2, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Happy happy, Padouk.

That Andrew Sullivan piece Joel linked is really, really excellent.

Returned a little while ago from Virginia. It is pretty cold here, but the real news is the wind. There's a wind advisory until tomorrow, with gusts up to 50 mph. On the way to VA we saw two trees down across the road: one on Rt. 301, a major four-lane divided highway. Right lane completely blocked, left halfway. Then down on Rt. 3 same thing. Called to report them both.

I thought Milbank's column used the strongest/best language yet on what a total [redacted] Glenn Beck is, but then the thing kind of trailed off. Among other things, it gave no numbers, and didn't really examine the nature of that poll it quotes. The methodology alone is clearly suspect.

What I'm waiting for any day now is a major cover story in Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, Atlantic, Harper, whoever, explaining how and why something like 20% of all Americans (my rough estimate) are complete, total, insane wack jobs. Who they are, why they are the way they are, what to do about them, and what to do (if anything) about the Internet and media culture that have given them both voice and exposure.

We also need to see a 2009 summary story that lists all the apocalyptic things that were going to happen during Obama's first ye4ar in office, listing who made the prediction and following up. For examply, my own wack-job brother (one of the proud 20% lunatic fringe) predicted to me the Communist Chinese would take over the country by December. I'm not sure how much slack to give him on that unmet deadline. Maybe I'll e-mail him from my favorite Chinese restaurant here in town, as I eat chow mein and orange beef. Also, Obama's armed militia has been noticeably absent, at least in my neighborhood. Maybe they are just quietly arresting people in the Red States. You'd have thought there'd be press releases, though.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 2, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The wind just blew the front door open, I jumped and ran to shut it. Since the temperature is a balmy 13.8 degrees, I didn't want to try to heat the whole outdoors!

We're back from lunch and a trip to the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, where I found Geekdottir a pair of fleece-lined moccasins, just what she wanted and a decent price. So we have done our part for the local economy today.

Posted by: slyness | January 2, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I'm just hoping the wind leaves my chimney alone! :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Most predictions are indeed inaccurate. They are, at that moment however, quite useful for reasons that are beyond accuracy.

I'm guessing that pointing out the inaccuracies isn't going to sway a lot of minds from one point on the ideological spectrum to another.

That said, I make no attempt to dissuade Mudge from his beliefs and sincerely hope the Chinese food is awesome. He and I can disagree politely and respectfully on this one.

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Not sure how the select those polled (I imagine that Gallup considers that something of a trade secret), but I think the methodology is straightforward: They ask folks to name the man & woman they most admire. No prompting by providing a list of names.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 2, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-- insufficient health care coverage would explain much of it, as well as fast food toxins.

Saw a little of Moore's Sicko, and observed one french doctor's theory that Americans are afraid of the government, while in France it is the reverse.

There's something to be said about that idea. There's nothing wrong with wanting moderation in government, but when it comes down to it, I really don't trust corporate managers more than I trust government employees.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 2, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

That 20% figure may be a bit low Mudge. Living in a very blue state I think at least 20% of our population is certifiable. So it's gotta be much worse elsewhere.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 2, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Pat Summerall still has the 'ol announcing chops, lucky for the Cotton Bowl crowd. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Disagree on what, MsJS? I don't follow...

Paging LiT: do your homework, ma'am. Only about 21 hours left.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think pretty much by anyone's estimation at least 20% of everyone else are total whack jobs.

It is likely that that in some people's estimation you might be, and I can tell you fer damn sure that in many folks' eyes I most certainly am.

One person's Whack might be another's messiah. And, being social animals by nature, folks cluster and reinforce beliefs where they find resonance (sometimes out of sheer loneliness), no matter how completely out to lunch others may consider them. People always want to be in an "us" crowd, and "us" always needs a "them," doesn't it?

Today's myraid of communciations vehicles assures that nearly any idea or train of thought can find a sympatheic ear or some sort of resonance amongst Billions... and radical or paranoid ideas do tend to stand out in the noise more than ideas like, "We should all live together in peace."


Posted by: -bc- | January 2, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks: I agree. Living in a red state that keeps electing Mitch McConnell, I think the percentage of the certifiable is much higher.

I did all I could to get rid of him at the last election, but they wouldn't let me vote but once.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 2, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So, I understand that inaccurate predictions do not persuade the predictor and his/her adherents that they are wrong. However, I am wondering about predictors with an unrelenting (and predictable!) track record of success. Like, say, lots of pesky liberals (like me!) during the last administration and predictions of the probable level of success and likely unintended consequences of various policies.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 2, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I just don't see anyone as a whack job. There's a lot of anger and frustration in this country right now, but there is also generosity and community and willingness to support.

Guess what I try to focus on?

Posted by: MsJS | January 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I see plenty of whack jobs... In a professional capacity, of course. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 2, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Wise, MS, as long as they're not beating down your door.

I often think it is terrible how people will quarrel based on second-hand or third-hand knowledge of national affairs.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 2, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Me too ScottyNuke. Typically regarding scientific breakthroughs that have been suppressed by the Establishment. Usually involving stuff like Anti-Gravitational Platforms powered by Quantum Foam.

Although I will say that when mixed with a modicum of Gran Gala, Quantum Foam is surprisingly zesty.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 2, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

RD, I bet that Quantum Foam makes good cake icing too.

Alas, I also see a fair amount of wingnuts (like whack jobs, I bet) in my professional capacity. I must say, if the Administration is arresting folks in red states they're keeping it pretty quiet. Of course, I'm living in pretty much the only pocket in the state which went for Obama.

One of my colleagues got one of those "virus scan" boxes at work and clicked it. Two different branches of IT people spent days trying to fix her computer and see whether the numerous problems it created entered the system. I never click any box which shows up at work because I'm worried I'll break something.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 2, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, I got quite a bit done. There's less stuff on the floor now and I'll try to keep the momentum churning for tomorrow. And all to the dulcet and fabulous tones of Eva Cassidy. Definitely.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 2, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Do whack jobs vote? Probably.

I'm doing meatballs in 'gravy'. In honour of the Sopranos' sixth season I got as a C-gift. I have the first 6 episodes covered.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 2, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Got to go. I have parmigiano to grate.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 2, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

rdp, a very happy birthday to you! those scots know how to party (auld lang syne and all that), so they need an extra day to recover. well, it's a theory anyway.

Posted by: LALurker | January 2, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

re: howell - that's awful.

Posted by: LALurker | January 2, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I am home and in one piece, in an hour or so I should be warm again.

I do believe I put on an awarding winning performance for being the klutziest person on the ice today. I had not one but two spectacular wipe outs, the first when I stepped backwards onto one of the stones, which then move sending me up and then down bruising a knee, wrist and destroying all dignity. To add emphasis to the embarrassment I was skipping the game and standing in front of the viewing glass for the lounge.

My second wipe out was when I went over an ankle while sweeping sending me airborne, landing on the non cushioned portion of my left hip.

Despite all that it was a lot of fun, great people, a fundraiser for an excellent cause.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 2, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

re 20%: i had this conversation in pennsyltucky.

mom: oh, that's a xmas card from my congressman. i met him once.

me: really, how?

mom: i went to a tea party.

me: ?!?!? when, where?

mom: in november in dc. [princess sparkle pony] called one at the last minute.

me: *burying my head in my hand*

sister: who's that?

mom: she's a congresswoman from wisconsin.

me: *head still in hand, cursing in head* minnesota, she's from minnesota.

true story. in mom's defense, she's always been a fiscal hawk (scottish lineage at work), and she had almost no idea who bachmann was. but oh. my. god.

Posted by: LALurker | January 2, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

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

Evening,friends. It is sooooooo cold here. I mean seriously cold. Too cold for man or beast.I'm not going outside again, if I can help it.

Happy, happy, birthday, RD.

I think sometimes people just want to fit in. Sometimes we hook up with people just to keep from being lonely, as bc suggested. I think this is especially true in church fellowship sometimes. Those that have been there awhile tend to be clannish. Of course, that is not the way a church body should be, but keep in mind we're talking human beings here, not saints, not yet anyway. Many of us that profess to be Christians have a lot to do in that respect, myself included. As for myself, I feel left out so much of the time because of the disability. And that includes the church as well as other social organizations. People have a tendency not to care for those "shorts" that can be seen or ones that impose on them, such as having to repeat or require a little more time.

Yet it's a great life at times because although it has its down side, there are plus(s)? too, such as, were you talking to me or I'm sorry I didn't get that, and my favorite, I'm sorry I totally misunderstood what you said,you wanted me to do that?(smile)Keeps peace a lot of times. God is good.

In the picture of Mrs Howell, I envisioned her to be a smart woman. After reading some of her writing, I was right.

Have a great evening, and stay warm.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 2, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi all! Had a wonderful Extended Family Christmas today (postponed due to snow). Wonderful to see all the sisters and everyone and of course the 14-month-old was the star of the show.

Yello... the way I had it explained by a local bar manager, the smoking section must not only be on a separate ventilation system, but have a separate entrance AND fire exit.

The local Hard Times Cafe has their nonsmoking section downstairs and the smoking section upstairs. You go in and out of each through a completely different set of doors. It's really more like two separate restaurants. As far as I know, it's the only place around that still allows smoking.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 2, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Late, as usual....

In re: Ms. Howell. Her poor son. It's hard enough losing a parent, but out of the blue really bites.

RD, Happy Birthday. I hope someone sprung for a decent bottle of wine.

bc, good points, but you missed some, a whackjob *is* a messiah.

Mudge, thanks for the head's up. I'll get to that tonight.

Happy New Year all.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 2, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

OMG, LALurker, that's funny. Well, to me, because it's not my mother, it is.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 2, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Faxing heating pad and goose-down comforters (plural) and foot warmers and piping hot tea to dmd3. Dignity, too. Because you deserve it! Pooooooor puppy. . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | January 2, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

You know the holidays are officially toast when it is tuna/noodle casserole for dinner. Of course, Yoki's involves no canned soup (nor canned tuna for that matter).

Cassandra again (yet, again) brings us her wisdom, carefully couched and multi-layered. I take her words to heart. Cassandra, I love you, and even though we disagree on some fundamentals, I consider you my guide to the better person I could be. Even hope to be, if I pay attention enough and live so long.

Not bad for a year only 41.08 hours old.

And last year was pretty good, if I laughed so hard I snorted *that* many times!

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yoki -- here's a new year's *snort* to ya!

Posted by: -ftb- | January 2, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Alas, LiT,no wine this year. But I did receive a bottle of my all-time favorite liqueur: Gran Gala.

For those tragically unfamiliar with this sensual delight, it is an Italian flavored brandy similar to Gran Marnier but with a more complex flavor.

I like to drink it warmed to slightly above body temperature. I take a small sip and hold the liquid as the vaporized essence infuses my mouth and all the various cavities of my upper respiratory system.

This must be done slowly.

I would describe more, but children may be present.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 2, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

LOL, thanks ftb!

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if TBG ever got out of her pajamas, or does she plan to spend the whole year in them?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 2, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Surely not the Whole Year, just All Year.

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is the Gallup poll for "most admired":

It is as Bob S said, the person is asked for a name, not given a list. So it turns out Beck got 2%, tied with the Pope and several others. I think Dana was stretching on this one.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 2, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Just dropping in to say that an old-fashioned potato masher mashes potatoes much faster than a mixer, etc., and no sticky goo.

Must run, pork tenderloin slices almost done (butter & oil). Gravy to be made.

More later.

RD, I will fax you some Shiraz.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 2, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

A chairload of de-accessioned books is awaiting disposition. Or, plainly, the bookcases were getting crowded, so anything that hadn't been read in a while or that seemed likely to go unread in the future got piled on the chair.

Some technical books that might be useful for someone else were spared. Now to find people who want them.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 2, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Hahahaha! (as Weingarten used to say). Refer to a guest kit by "Stampede." Good luck with that....

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Some people are whackjobs with wild hypotheses that show little perspective on reality, but others see their vital interests and longstanding habits being eroded, and use polemical, confrontational, exaggerated debating points to draw attention in the hopes that someone will stop the bleeding.

Just sayin'....

Posted by: woofin | January 2, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

RD, we must fix that!

Yoki, so sorry to hear the holidays are over for you. But the joy of the season lives on here....we follow the traditional calendar, so we've still got a few days left. After that, I think I can quit eating for the rest of the month and still have a shot at breaking even.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by: LostInThought | January 2, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hello! Happy new year!!

I am finally digging out from being away for so long, first at my parents' house and then DC. Laundry's done, house is relatively clean, and the kids are somewhat back on schedule for starting school on Monday.

I really enjoyed the BPH. I hope to get back up to DC more often this year, and I'll try to plan more wiggle time in my trips.

Yello, thanks for the compliment. My kids did behave, didn't they? They usually do. My husband, although he seemed to be checked out, took in every word. After we left M&S we went to Georgia Brown's (I think that's the place) for dinner. Throughout he kept saying things like, "So, BC said..." and "Yello was driving to..." and "MO's acting career..." and "Scott sent you pictures?"

He also asked about the one negative aspect of the conversation. In reply, I mentioned a co-worker of his. He nodded and said, "I understand perfectly."

BC made the most amazing impression on my girl. She raved on and on to my mom on the phone about "Mom's friend with the neat car" who knows about NASCAR and raced her down the sidewalk. My boy wanted to know which one of you four wrote for the newspaper. I said, we all kinda do write for the newspaper. He didn't like that answer.

I will try to backboodle after I carry out my duty. The kids are having a sleepover in the office, sleeping bags and blanket fort included. I have to remove the snacks and other assorted stuff and then turn off the light.

Posted by: abeac1 | January 2, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I heard about the healthcare bill about to pass on Christmas eve, and that Obama would sign it in law, but this wacko who didn't even get the job done has pushed healthcare reform off the radar.

What's the latest?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 2, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Popping in from reading about the Hell Creek Formation, B. rex and evo-devo to share this:

First two grafs--and a mention of Howell's San Antonio roots:

Deborah Howell, 68, a pioneering woman journalist with deep Texas roots, died Friday after being hit by a car while vacationing in New Zealand.

The daughter of legendary San Antonio newspaperman and broadcaster Henry Howell, she led the St. Paul Pioneer Press to win two Pulitzer Prizes in the 1980s and later worked as ombudsman for the Washington Post.

Howell's story about her parents arrived in San Antonio and why they left:

Posted by: laloomis | January 2, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

LiT, thanks. I would love to know Epiphany, but don't. You are a fine friend, and I love you, as women do.

Posted by: Yoki | January 2, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Supper cooked and consumed, dishes done. Beatrice frolicking. Ivansdad deeply involved in Dr. Who. I am about to sit with a cup of tea and a mystery novel, "Critique of Criminal Reason" by Michael Gregorio, which features Immanuel Kant assisting the detective.

Our local news had a story on the Wizards gun foofaraw. They quoted Gilbert Arenas as saying something which, if correctly quoted, endears me to him. They said when asked whether he was in a gun incident in the locker room he replied, "I don't know." I laughed and laughed. Among all the possible answers, that's the one we know for sure is not truthful. "Yes", "no", "I wasn't there" are all possibilities, but not "I don't know." I told Ivansdad, I want that man for a client.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

FTB, I have Julie and Julia paused upstairs in the DVD player. Streep is really great, isn't she? It is especially nice to watch the movie after having seen Julia's kitchen at the Smithsonian just a couple of days ago. Her Larousse is there. She unwrapped the present in the movie, and I jumped up off the couch yelling, "I saw that book!!"


RD, I hope your day was fantastic!

Posted by: abeac1 | January 2, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Or there have been so many gun incidents in the locker room that he frankly can't say yes or no because he doesn't know which one was meant, Ivansmom.

But that quote IS pretty funny.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 2, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

dmd, your double wipeout might redefine the phrase "hack weight." :-)

Weakerthans - Tournament of Hearts

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 2, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

D*k Van Dyk*s - Curling*k-Van-Dyk*s/Curling

(Secret decoder ring clue: "i before e.")

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 2, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, check the fax for bourbon balls.


Posted by: LostInThought | January 2, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

That Washington Press Club Foundation interview with Deborah Howell is neat stuff. Thanks for the link, laloomis.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 2, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Actually byoolin, we had an inhouse band for the bonspiel. Four of the women from this band were one of the rinks we played against.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 2, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

abeac1, I'm glad you and your family had a good time BPHing with us the other night. You are a charming bunch, and your children are just wonderful. Hope you can join us again soon, and if I'm down in Richmond anytime, I'll be sure to let you know.

I'd like to take your kids for a ride in any fast cars I happen to be in (or let them check out race cars I may be trailering), and please tell your daughter I want a rematch. [That young lady is rather swift!] Plus we can talk NASCAR, IndyCar, anycar, whatever.

LiT, I realize that I wasn't very clear -- the point you suggested I overlooked was in fact the one I was trying to make. It would be wonderful to spend some quality time with a good editor. I'm sure my writing would become measurably better.

I'm going to be eating like Mr. Creosote for quite awhile (long after Epiphany), gauging the stockpile of leftovers in my fridge and the stacks of Holiday sweets on my counter.


Posted by: -bc- | January 2, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

We're back from taking the neighbors out to dinner. They are the full-time residents of the street and bore the entire burden of cleaning the road after the Christmas Day ice storm brought down trees and limbs, making it impassible.

*I* had eggplant napoleon, my fave at this particular restaurant. It was so good I practically licked the plate...

We are fond of this place, but our original thought was to go to the restaurant across the street. When Mr. T called to make a reservation, the person who answered said he wasn't sure they would be open this evening, as business was slow. (A Saturday night in Blowing Rock? WTF?) Sure enough, the place was dark when we got to town. I suppose all the tourists have finished their holiday vacations and gone back to Florida.

Currently 7.9 degrees F on our porch. I will be glad to go home tomorrow.

Posted by: slyness | January 2, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The more interesting stat is that Glenn Beck ranked higher among 'independents' than Republicans. I don't know whether that says the most about Republicans, independents or Glenn Beck.

'I don't know' is a perfectly honest Clintonian answer. It all depends and what the meaning of 'incident' is.

Georgia Brown's is a great place for dinner. You do not go away hungry.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Slyness about the same temp here, as we drove to the bonspiel this morning when we got just west of downtown Toronto at the waterfront all you could see on the lake was the mist rising as the cold air met the warmer water - boiling water effect quite stunning. On the way home we watched drove into a soft sunset, an orange globe softened by misty clouds, very pretty.

And I haven't even mentioned all the characters that looked like extras from the red green show at the bonspiel. It was a plaid heaven.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 2, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

And I wasn't even there.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 2, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I see that they've apparently shut down the comments on the Ombudsman's remembrance of Deborah Howell. The hyenas were getting a little too bloodthirsty. Sad.

Good Weingarten magazine piece. Compares observations about his own geezerness with some stories of his grandparents.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 2, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Comments are gone from the main articles as well. I don't blame WaPo, but it's a shame they had to do that.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 2, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

The only communication I ever had with Ms. Howell was an e-mail I sent her letting her know that (without exception) every message I had ever sent to a Post writer had been replied to in a timely and responsive manner, and her very gracious reply that polite and humorous missives like my own were a joy to answer. [She was rather overstating both the humor & politesse of my original message.]

Neat lady.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 3, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

dmd - Ohbijou! Very cool!

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 3, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I pray that Ms. Howell rests in Peace and I pray for her family and friends.

However, she was the worst Ombudsman ever and Mr. Alexander is on a pace that will extend her debasement of the Ombudsman role to even lower depths. Ms. Howell's piece on the Abramoff was typical of her and the Fred Hiatt right wing Post.

Even when the GOP did things wrong, Howell and Hiatt and Broder issue a "Plague on both their houses" condemnation that allows the GOP to escape responsibility.

Howell was obsessed, as Alexander is, with bringing more right wing bias to bear in a deluded attempt to be fair and balanced.

Howell was a shoddy writer who wrote in cliche's ("the newsroom stopped on a dime") and her thinking was abysmal.

Her death is a personal tragedy. Her career at the Post was a shame for a once great newspaper. And everybody knows it.

It is one thing to be loyal, but Howell made you Post writers the object of well-deserved scorn. She wrote as if she were 168 and as if the Post were a Wealthy Family's summer newsletter.

Too many Post Editors are Fred Hiatt and Jackson Diehl right wing war lovers, but Howell wanted more war lovers and more Limbaugh addicts.

Charles Lane is typical of the "Liberal Bias" that Deborah Howell "perceived" and fought when she was not cheerleading "hard nosed" editors.

Lane wants poor people to be poorer, as he wrote an editorial urging the LOWERING of the Minimum Wage.

Howell never noticed the Post is a nest of vipers. I am sad that she died but she and the current Editors of the Post have killed a once great newspaper and I am far sadder over that.

Posted by: wapoisrightwingrag | January 3, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. I woke up at about 3:30 am to a gusty wind, a wind that has been loud and strong for close to 24 hours. The poor birds, how do they survive? No trees down, no big branches on the deck. Still dark outside, just me and the gusty wind.

Posted by: VintageLady | January 3, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. I woke up at about 3:30 am to a gusty wind, a wind that has been loud and strong for close to 24 hours. The poor birds, how do they survive? No trees down, no big branches on the deck. Still dark outside, just me and the gusty wind.

Posted by: VintageLady | January 3, 2010 5:42 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the duplication, folks.

Posted by: VintageLady | January 3, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

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

Good, good, morning, friends. It is cold here, but warm and snuggly inside. I've had the coffee, and getting ready to "jump" in the bathtub. Can you imagine me jumping in anything,kill the the thought. Ouch, that even hurts to think about.

Yoki, I love you too.

And Ivansmom, had to laugh at your comment concerning the shooting. The answer, "I don't know" reminded me of my children and grandchildren. It's their favorite saying. And when they throw it out, I take it in the same context you took that one, only sometimes I'm a tad ballistic.

Slyness, Mudge, Martooni, Scotty, Yoki, Lindaloo, and all the gang, have wonderful day, and by all means, give God some of your time.

Vintage Lady, I hope yours was a wonderful holiday and that you are well. I've been up for awhile too, just getting to the computer.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 3, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh, no apologies needed, VL, a double dose of sanity is welcome after a troll.

Woohoo!! Negative-1 wind chill! Winter at last! :-))) Although I hope Sneaks is safely ensconsced and enjoying the near-blizzard outside her window! :-O

The portents are not good for the ex-Texas Tech coach:

Particularly because the Red Raiders beat Michigan State. *shrug*

abeac, so glad you all had a great time! And which pictures? :-)

*off-for-another-cuppa-coffee-and-no-need-to-blow-on-it-just-hold-it-next-to-the-drafty-window Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Regarding bitterly cold blustery weather.

I'm agin' it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 3, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!

Scotty, remember we mentioned your co-worker and how you do or do not look like him?

The wind seems to have died down a bit this morning, or maybe I just tuned it out. I have not looked outside.

I've got to squeeze the most out of today. Tomorrow it's back to school. Not that I mind going back...I have an unfinished project on the other computer and my mind's been drifting to that every so often during the break.

Enjoy your Sunday, Al, and stay warm.

Posted by: abeac1 | January 3, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Much better to turn your back to it and go with the flow, RD_P... As long as you're not driving a big rig, I guess. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, gotcha, abeac... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm catching up on my other reading and found this link on TUAW. It is an interesting concept video from 1987, with voice commands, touch screens, videoconferencing, screen sharing, the equivalent of Google Voice...

Posted by: abeac1 | January 3, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Our house is designed so that the kitchen sticks out the back. This way, you know, it can be more conveniently chilled. Although I have attempted to install additional insulation, only so much can be done without resorting to major remodeling.

It is especially entertaining to note that in weather such as this dishes and bowls kept in the dishwasher overnight emerge ice cold. This could be useful should we spontaneously decide to install a buffet, but is otherwise annoying.

The same goes for the microwave, which can double as a handy flash chiller should we be suddenly overcome with the desire for a refreshing beverage served in a frosted glass.

And it is important to always wear slippers, or at least heavy woolen socks. Because when your feet freeze to the floor the bits of residual flesh can be tricky to remove.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 3, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle.

TWC is about 0 dee grees (F) at the moment, not factoring in wind chill. Had thought about going out, but my wheels are prone to freezing to the pavement (refer to RD_P 9:43 comment about why this is not good).

Georgia Brown's sound like a nice place. D-ya think they'll deliver to the central time zone?

Lucky for us, we live in a relatively draft-free bldg. Easier to stay warm.

Today looks to be a quiet one here. Looking forward to the cookie bake-a-thon with Niece#3 tomorrow.

Posted by: MsJS | January 3, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Started off at 13 degrees here this morning, now a torrid 19. Brrrrrrrrr.

My feet were cold here at my desk last night, even though I had the gas fireplace on.

Carry on.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 3, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Yes indeedy RD. When Ivansdad saw our forecast predicting temperatures below 5(F) later this week he said he was sorry, but he would have to move.

Our house has the bulk of its length north-south. We have been unable to re-insulate the north walls, though we re-caulked and re-glazed the (original to 1950) windows several years ago. While no single room suffers the effects found in your kitchen, clothes left overnight in the dryer are quite cold. The den closet is a perfect pantry in the winter, as it keeps beverages at refrigerator coolness. And you do have to watch out for bare feet.

I bet some real estate maven could turn your cold-weather kitchen description into an attractive feature which justifies a significant increase in the price of the house.

I have a friend whose father used to say he wanted to get a snowplow and drive south until people said, "What's that?" He planned to settle there.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 3, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Our kitchen is over the garage, so the floor is a slippers-only zone all winter. And some sort of draft keeps our plates pretty cold as well.

We have a very bad habit of leaving restaurant leftovers in the car and having them spoil. Last night at midnight my wife remembered her pasta dish from Vyne in Rockville (anybody been there? Pretty nice.) We decided there was no urgency in moving it from the car to the refrigerator. Not in this weather.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

A bone-chillin 4.5 when we arose, about 8:15, plus wind. I am ready to come down the mountain, even if it's cold at home. Now up to 5.7. I'm boodling while the Geekdottir washes the rest of the dishes. I could get used to having her around.

When the dishwasher's done, we'll head out.

Posted by: slyness | January 3, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Upside down weather - sort of. It's a warm 22 degrees here. Of course we've got a stiff breeze so windchill temps are lower but not awful. It's been snowing here since Friday night but it comes in bands resulting in maybe 6" so far. It has drifted a lot in places and some areas from Boston north along the coast have had closer to 12."

Our house is warm enough unless you get close to the drafty old windows. Even the storm windows don't do much to keep the chill out. Of course in winter, all cabinets on the outside wall of the kitchen are like mini refrigerators, that is just a fact in these parts.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 3, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

NEW KIT! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 3, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

You never know it's possible to sweat at
-32 F until you do it.

It was a long morning involving scraping frost off the inside of my windshield, backing up into a pile of snow, and having to shimmy in and out of my truck a few times to shovel the snow around the tires, and finally getting help to back the truck out while I signalled as to the tires.

That was just getting out of the driveway. All else went well after that, but I must say I am grateful that Canadians know the value of a hot cuppa tea.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 3, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

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