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Lost moon

Watching the snow fall...hoping for a blizzard but happy to get even a couple of inches...and thinking about the moon...

We're not going back to the moon.

We've known this since the summer. We had a front-page story saying approximately as much (the lede: "NASA doesn't have nearly enough money to meet its goal of putting astronauts back on the moon by 2020 -- and it may be the wrong place to go anyway"). There's lots more on this at NASA Watch, in the Orlando Sentinel , and from the AP. See also Ed O'Keefe's blog.

Although President Obama has said hardly a word about his vision for space, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that the moon is no longer on the NASA manifest and the Constellation program championed by President George W. Bush and former NASA boss Mike Griffin is effectively kaput. This strategic change has been months in the making, since Obama appointed the Augustine Committee last spring, and it becomes official with the unveiling of the president's budget on Monday. The White House wants to put money into a commercial space taxi to carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

What happened? Well, that's a long story and I'll be reporting on it in coming days. Partly it's just money: It costs a lot to build rockets and moon bases. Partly it's that we have this orbiting laboratory, the International Space Station, and there wasn't any money in the budget to keep it in space and doing science. It was slated to be a fireball over the South Pacific in early 2016. Extending the ISS life means pouring billions of dollars into the station that might have gone into a moon program.

I think a more basic problem is that the public was never fully vested in the moon program. And blame for that may lie with political leaders who never rallied the public to the "Vision for Space Exploration" and the NASA strategy built on top of it.

Let me see if I can dig up a clip from about 5 years ago...everyone stand by...OK, here we go:

The Vision has no official price tag, because it claims that NASA won't need any extra money to go to the moon and Mars. We'll go slowly, on the cheap. A skeptical observer might wonder how the government could inexpensively send people to another planet when it can barely afford to run trains from Washington to New York.

The Vision emits a whiff of conflict avoidance. It's almost a stealth program, an attempt to tippy-toe to the moon and beyond by noncontroversial increments. In the near term, there's no singular moment when we decide, as a country, that we're definitely doing this. John Logsdon, the sage academic who runs a think tank called the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said: "If you're really cynical, you could say that this plan makes that decision without a decision . . . If it works, one day we're there."

It's, like, Oh, by the way, we're back on the moon.

"We have to take this in spirals, take this in steps," NASA official Terri Lomax told an audience of university professors in Columbia recently. "Spirals" is the buzzword of the moment. Returning to the moon for a couple weeks is only Spiral 2; setting up a moon base for 90 days would be Spiral 3. This kind of talk scares some space folks. A spiral, they point out, is not exactly the shortest path between two points.

The incremental approach puts the Vision at political risk. At the moment, NASA hasn't decided on the design of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, and even when that decision is made, the plan could be killed by Congress or a future administration. NASA is already making internal changes in homage to the Vision (most notably, cuts in aeronautics research), but most of the big-ticket items would happen long after President Bush is gone. Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and a proponent of rapid colonization of Mars, argues that Bush essentially said, "I think it's a good idea to go to the moon and Mars, and whoever is elected in 2012 can work on it."

Zubrin says that we could go to Mars right now if we had the political will. It's a long, dangerous trip (maybe six months one way, unless someone invents a really fast spaceship). But it's not clear that the public is sold on the idea. James Cameron told the Disney crowd that the space community needs to build public support for this bold agenda, because otherwise "the dream will die with the first budget overage or first setback."

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 30, 2010; 8:45 AM ET
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Mmmmmmmm. Takes me back to the first moon landing and the moonwalk. Even to the news of Sputnik and the monkey, providing incentive to this country to ramp up its own space program. Nuthin' like a little old fashioned competition to get the creative juices flowing.

As for political will, um, nope -- not to do anything.

Now, designing a spacecraft with the total gumption to arrive at the Boodle intact and unscathed, well now, *that's* an accomplishment. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | January 30, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I really don't much care what the rest of you do. I'm going back to the moon, dammit. If I have to buy a horrendously expensive ticket from Richard Branson, or if I have to build a really tall ladder, or if I have to shove a bunch of firecrackers up my bum, doesn't matter.

I'm going back!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight Moon

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Because I love a little rough treatment and the moon is, after all, a harsh mistress.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, you beat me to that Lunacy.

Seriously -- there will be NASA folks and others summoned to the Hill to give emergency tesimony when the Chinese land someone on the Moon, possibly this decade.

I wonder if they'll quote any of Joel's articles on that topic?


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Got 'Mudged...

Cooper Black Italic??? ITALIC??? But that means I'm not allowed on the Boodle!!! :-O

And yes, I knew this Kit was coming when the Bad Astronomy blog starting posting the rumors. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I didn't get in the middle of the TOS/TNG debate because I'm a DS9 guy. Yes, the cult within a cult. I like my space opera messy, Machiavellian, and with just a hint of mysticism. TOS today seems so delightfully earnest and idealistic. TNG is so hyper-competent with its crew full of Mary Sues.

Voyager was Gilligan's Island is space with Janeway as Captain Mom. Enterprise was completely unwatchable. That leaves Deep Space Nine with its complicated astropolitics and running storyline where alliances shift from season to season and characters grow and change.

Sisko is my captain and Terok Nor is my spaceship.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the page formatting is all verklempt...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

From last 'boodle - rickoshea, that rant from the SF Chronicle was superb! Joel may want to consider having an open-carry gun rights kit in his pocket, because the gun piece linked to within that rant garnered well over a thousand comments. Gotta feed the spiders!

By the way, have we all clicked on an advert or two today? I click on at least one every time I comment or laugh out loud at someone else's comment. In addition to actually buying the paper (because I can), I figure that's price of admission.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I would suggest waiting till Monday when the full plan for NASA will be unveiled before concluding that "We're not going back to the moon". While the particular Constellation program architecture looks to be canceled, it appears that its replacement will include a new heavy lift vehicle that is intended to support deep space missions to the Moon and elsewhere.

The original Vision for Exploration required that NASA's missions stay within politically sustainable budgets. Constellation failed that requirement and deserved to be canceled.

To stay within a limited budget requires either stretching out a program or using innovative low cost approaches. The plan to use commercial launch services, which will involved a competition among several players and fixed-price contracts, to transport crews to low earth orbit is certainly a huge cost-saving change. With such innovations, there is in fact a good possibility that the new program will not just get us back to the Moon but sooner rather than later.

Posted by: HobbySpacer | January 30, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I am Universal. I liked most of the other fonts, but a few were a bit out there for even me.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I am Archer Hairline.

Posted by: Moose13 | January 30, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like we are just going to have to wait fifty years or so for Zephram Cochrane to come along.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not sure what typeface I should use to make my statement, but I know what I wish to say:

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..."

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Oye, I'm a Plastica: Does that mean I have neo-Nazi tendencies?

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 30, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused that three or four boodlers are Universal.

C'mon, are we really that understated?

We snort, we state our views. Methinks we are not as understated a crowd as we think we are.

Besides, the game has only 16 choices. Out of all the fontific diversity in the universe, how come we're all shoehorned into 16 options?


Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I want Cruithne Mission! And under "Flexible Path" we can have it. S**w gravity wells anyway. Let's leapfrog into the future and colonize and mine some asteroids and comets. See you on Phobos Hilton.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

To me the Constellation program always seemed like a remake of a great movie, but with better special effects.

The Apollo program was magical because it created a sense of awe. And awe is a tricky thing. It requires something that is just on the ragged edge of possibility. And, ironically, because of Apollo returning to the moon isn't something that anybody really questions we can do. It would be cool, sure, but not truly inspirational. For that we need to look elsewhere.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 30, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming that if they asked more than 4 questions, we'd have more font options, MsJS.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I assume there'll be a Chinese moon base within a decade. Mars seems a far sketchier proposition. It's been pointed out that getting people back from there is vastly more difficult launching them back from the surface of Mars.

In the current teabag atmosphere, I wonder whether we'll even have a Space Station beyond 2016.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 30, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Cooper Black Italic.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

We're back from a ride in the snow. Mr. T estimates there are 8 to 10 inches in our driveway, but I took my boots off and am too lazy to put them back on so I can get an accurate measurement. Driving on snowy backcountry roads is always an adventure with him...

The storm really cut into the numbers for Winterfest, a shame because the roads up here are clear. We watched the brave souls/idiots (take your pick) jump into 38 degree water at the resort lake. It's for good causes, but standing in snow for an hour isn't my favorite activity, my feet hurt when they get that cold. The chili cookoff wasn't as crowded as in past years, so we got to sample all the offerings, amazing the variations on a dish so basic. There were some excellent chilis and some that didn't appeal to me at all! The silent auction was cancelled, darn it, but we'll go to the pancake breakfast in the morning. It benefits the fire department so we can't miss.

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice to share such fontic company, I-mom. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 30, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, how do you know that the silent auction was canceled? I mean, if they held a silent auction in the snow, and you already had your boots off, you'd never hear about it, would you?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Robin Givhan writing about the fashion moments about to unfurl in the WintyOlys:

words: spandex, skort (should not be allowed ever and I agree), ruffled, spangled.....

I almost wrote spankled. That should be a word. Transports me immediately to skaterland....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Rest assured the performers should be fine Opening ceremonies are indoors (for the first time).

Posted by: dmd3 | January 30, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I like to think of myself as Lucida Handwriting. Sometimes Broadway when I really want to make a splash.

The test reminds me of all those games on Facebook: what Shakespearean character are you, what is your Native American name, etc.

As to the moon, until we learn to pick up after ourselves and not litter the place, we should keep off it. Mr. A, how much has NASA budgeted for clean-up?

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Ha,Bob! The auction was supposed to be in the school cafeteria, we went to the gym for the chili cookoff and they told us there...

Just made snow cream (Paula Deen recipe - 8 cups snow, one 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla). It's pretty good, even if I do say so myself.

Posted by: slyness | January 30, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Is there such a person as Paula Deen? I see Deen stuff at Walmart and have supposed they invented a fake kitchen maven.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 30, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it close to a full moon tonight? I used to love it when there was snow cover and a big bright moon when I lived in west by god.I would go for a moonlit walk and it was so peaceful and bright.You could see everything for a long ways too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 30, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Paula Deen is the silent auctioneer, the lead huntsperson at snipe hunts, the chief editor at the newspaper printed in invisible ink...

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Just shoveled the drives and sidewalks (light, powedery pixie dust snow - relatively easy shoveling), cleared the cars off and took the snow car out for a quick spin in the stuff -- no plows yet, and there's about 5 inches of it now, where it's not packed onto the roads.

Whee! That was fun, like WRC Rally Finland. Power-on cascades of snow in the turns, catching the tail when it whipped out a few times.

Wouldn't recommend driving around here (DC area) right now if you're really not comfortable with sliding a *lot.*

There were a few accidents around the neighborhood, where folks misjudged turns and made it around 45 degrees of a 90 deg. corner. Stopped to help a couple of guys push a car out of the middle of the road where he'd looped it coming down a hill hard on the brakes (hint: gentle and smooth with the throttle, steering, and brakes. Flailing elbows and stomping pedals will come to tears.).

Part of me wants the plows to come, part of me wants to enjoy a moolnight drive later when there's no other cars on the road.

I'm all for a new heavy-lift human-rated booster. Er, which design are they going to pick *this* time? I think if we just go with something and stick with it, we can make it work. It's more about commitment than capability.


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Paula Deen is the Mistress of South Carolina food porn. If heaping piles of lard-infused bacon-covered gustatory overkill is your cup of tea, (buttered tea, that is) then she is the demonic temptress of your cardiac doom, the serpent in the garden of porkotopia.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Universal here, too. A font which I can't imagine using under any circumstances. I'm, generally, not a big fan of decorative typefaces. (Although I could imagine using the Expanded Antique.)

The Pistilli Roman took me back. I remember setting that stuff letter by letter from huge 2" film fonts on a Photo Typositor.

Posted by: rashomon | January 30, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The most incredible recipe I ever saw on Paula Deen's cooking show consisted of the following ingredients:
A glazed raised donut
An egg fried over easy in butter
A sausage patty, cooked
A rasher of bacon, crisp and cut in half
A slice of your favorite cheese

Slice the donut as you would a bagel. Layer as follows: donut slice, sausage patty, egg, bacon, cheese, donut slice.

My cholesterol level is spiking and my arteries are clogging just writing about it.

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

GWE, Full moon was last night. And throw in a very bright Mars as a bonus. (And, hereabouts anyway, heavy cloud cover to obscure both.)

As for cancelling the moon, I remember having the distinct feeling when His Previousness GWB announced it that it was little more than something positive and hopeful to put into his State Of The Union address. By then even he'd recognized that "Iraq's gone to heck in a handbasket, so we're making a brand new handbasket for Afghanistan" was not going to sound particularly positive or hopeful.

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 30, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I think she operates out of Savannah, but that's close enough to South Carolina that most folks wouldn't notice.

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Is "spankled" when all the girls are wearing Spanks? Or is it Spanx?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

By the way, "Lost Moon" qualifies as sufficiently evocative under Mudge's rules, although I think he'd be tempted to thumb it out for being cutesy.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Spankx the brand is NOT an official WinOly sponsor so we go with the generic spanks support garments.
However, spankled means that said supporting and smoothifying garment worn on the OUTSIDE of a person's southr'n nethers is also dusted with pixie dust for a subtle effect.

Variation; full bore sequins.....for a Vegas on steriods statement.

I keep trying to work Jumpers porkology and porkopolis ideas but I am yet a editor....not an august writerly type.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"Lost Moon" was the book that the movie Apollo 13 was based on, so I think that removes it from the realm of "cutesy," Wilbrod.

I think "spankled" refers to a form of punishment in which a person is locked in a room and forced to watch Our Gang comedies for hours at a time.

Posted by: rashomon | January 30, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Slyness would endorse this:

Paula Deen recipe
8 cups snow
one 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix and eat. Not sure if this freezes well. Of course, remember the Frank Zappa proviso on buttercream-colored snow.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse


You're in the garden of eatin'
where rivers flow milk and honey
and the odd Edam down from cheese glaciers

In the land of Cockamanie
Sausage cats stalk
Roasting birds singing cuckoo
nest in donuts right over your campfire

Out in wildest Porkatopia--
A jealous tree hog, swinging
dreadlocks of bacon, with one snuffle
attacks the prowling cat's links

Sausage and bacon fly,
And egg, nest, and parent
All tumble sandwich'd into your pancake pan.
You burp, and call it Paula Deen.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The last couple of nights were clear and the moon was spectacular. It made the snow glow blue. It's cold up here, of course, as it should be when the Eastern Seaboard is getting snow.
We need a few inches of fresh white stuff. We haven't had much since New Year.

Your Deen stories remind me of Maïté, she had a cooking show on the International French channel TV5. Being from the Périgord region she was in the habit of adding foie gras every time a dish was threatening of being too lean or too "dry". Some of the stuff she was making was unbelievable. An orgy of butter, cream and of course foie gras. I could have killed a distant cousin, or even a lesser-loved sibling, for some of the dishes she was making. I'd love to have a block of foie gras in the fridge at all times but at $100/kg-$45/lb these days that would be expensive.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 30, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

SD, You can do the same effect with creamy egg curry. My cholesterol hit skyhigh levels while eating that too regularly.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Rasho -- I knew a family whose mother had been an Our Gang extra....I hear that when VHS came out of these sessions, they were assigned to sit with her and look for each of her appearances. They were spankled.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I'm trying to see if I can find an image of that famous painting "The Land of Cockamany"-- I think it was not spelled correctly. It has roast fowl laying themselves on plates, running eggs, food from trees, and full people lying around.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I was wrong. But Wilbrod, you are cracking me up.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I had Thanksgiving dinner at The Lady and Sons in Savannah but did not see Paula Deen in person, so I can't vouch for her actual existence.

As a souvenir I bought a hand towel with her macaroni and cheese recipe. It requires cheese, butter, milk, sour cream, and eggs. I made it for Christmas dinner. It was a big hit, but I doubt my cholesterol score has recovered yet.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

OK, that WB, for working in the cholesteroloopazalla....

WE MUST BY SPANX in many sizes. And, ramp up the production line for ManSpanx. Real men, etc. eat quiche and wear what must be done to contain and constrain the bigger gutted (butted) man.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse


I swear the refresh routine posted that bot-ically.

Self Castigation Curses times seven

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

In a somewhat morbid attempt to stay on-kit, I'll point out that the Moon seems like a fine place to establish a body farm (like the one operated by University of Tennessee) in order to gather forensic data on corpses exposed to varying conditions in vacuum.

After all, shortly after our eventual leap into larger-scale colonization of space, there will be homicides, bodies will be stashed out of sight, and times of death will need to be established.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

8 inches and 14 degrees here and no sign of stopping.

Ginger-marinaded salmon and Monterey Steak seasoning spiced asparagus were excellent.

I don't think Lost Moon is remotely cutesy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh, great, bob. What's the point of going to the moon if you can't knock someone off with relative impunity?

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Watching Elvis Costello interviewing Springsteen.

Bruce: "The greatest rock and roll men [writers] are desperate men. You've GOT to have something bothering you. All. The. Time."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Costello brought it up, and Bruce agreed with him: the one event in their careers they both get asked about more than any other show -- was the time they both did the Roy Orbison Black & White concert.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess it would be wrong of me to mention that we have yet to have more than an inch of snow on the ground this year.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 30, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

It's not a lost Moon.

I just left it in my other pants.

Watching hour 4 (live) of the 2010 Daytona 24 hour sports car enduro. The green flag flew at 3 PM in a pouring rain. The track has dried out enough for most teams to change from treaded rain tires to dry weather slicks -- the sun's down, so things are getting interesting there. 4-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmy Johnson is doing the race as a one-off (he's been doing this for a few years now), and had an accident on practice on Thursday that didn't allow he or his co-drivers to quaify on Friday (while the team rebuilt the back half of the car), and thus had to start from the rear of the field. He's looking quite good in his current stint, moving up to 4th place. Another driver started the car in something like 53rd overall. On another note, actor Patrick Dempsey and his team are having a solid run his GT-class car. For all that, there's just under 20 hours to go in the race, and things tend to get very interesting during these races in the wee hours...


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Ginger marinated salmon sounds wonderful, but since I have a freezer full of things that are not salmon, (Things That are Not Salmon would make a great book title), I am making stew.

Nothing fancy, just plain old fashioned thick rich stew. There will be dumplings, the light and airy kind favoured by my mother, rather than the spaetzle kind mrdr's mother made.

The stew will simmer for a couple hours but if any one has a hankering for something hot warm and right for this cold weather we are all having, you are most welcome. Just remember to drive with a little gusto up the hill and you will be fine.

And I suppose I could make the spatezle kind of dumplings too should you be wanting them.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 30, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Something Not Salmon is a fabulous handle.

The play this afternoon was *fantastic.* Just, wow.

I can't believe I missed Costello and Springsteen. Like Ben Johnson and Kit Marlowe, had they had television.

Oh, and...

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn has just become the Balmer Ravens new quarterback coach.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that was awesome!

Yello, I think Paula now has two or three shows and three restaurants. Lots of territory to cover.

Mudge, glad the asparagus worked out. Sounds yummage.

All you who are getting snow: take it easy and stay home if you can.

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"Phobos Hilton" = the most frightening of the Hilton women. The inspiration for Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Aw, dammit, Yoki, here I am trying to get some writing done, and listening to the Boss, and now I gotta go and read "Two Gentlemen of Lebowski."

That's just not fair.

Hilarious...but not fair.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I seldom comment upon the poesy of boodlemates, 'cuz my judgment is not to be trusted in these matters. But I definitely found Wilbrod's "PORKOTOPIA" to be wonderfully evocative.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry 'mudge. Just think of it as a frivolous diversion to be easily abandoned in the service of Your Art.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Part 1 of the Costello/Springsteen isn't scheduled for a repeat, but Part 2 will be on Sundance again tomorrow at 7.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 30, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I heard Paula Deen (or a voice actress playing the role) on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" a few months ago. I am inclined to think she is real, though I cannot imagine she will be much longer in this world, with her dietary preferences.

I rather liked the idea of a return to the Moon. Science is a tough sell as an argument for manned space flight -- people-as-cargo push the cost way up, they pose a source of contamination that must be controlled, and they are unable to go to the most interestingly hostile places. These problems can, eventually, be reduced if we learn how to live and work in space routinely -- the ability to do man-tended science is a freebie result of learning how to make space our home as a matter of general preparedness for a dangerous future. Permanent facilities on the Moon could have taught us those skills - especially the ability to extract resources to support operations and maybe one day to assemble spacecraft on the Moon and fabricate components from lunar materials.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

dr - I was actually a bit intimidated by one of the Reuben sandwiches pictured in the superb link presented a couple of days back (by 'Mudge, methinks) until I realized that the side dish was spätzle noodle kind of stuff.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - What the heck are we supposed to be able to assemble from endless supplies of green cheese?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Was she unnaturally cheerful? Loud? Terrifying? I think that was the Real Paula Deen (Dean?).

That woman scares me. Her vivacity is intimidating. Not mention she's probably going to drop dead on camera, live. I hope not to witness it.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Somthing always bothered me about the Leather Goddesses of Phobos, *Tim.

They're planning to invade Earth, yet...


Of course, one could argue that they did make things rather interesting *here.*


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn that's cool,can't wait til we play the Redskins again!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 30, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I just assumed that was sauerkraut. But I didn't look too close. All that exposure to sauerkraut can't be healthy for a person.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 30, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, you know I'm with you on the Moonbase Alpha thing (or Ft. Luna, home of the GW Bush Presidential Library, if they'd had it done during the McCain/Pailin Administration.).

I don't think the idea is over, it's just off the table for the balance of the decade, while we design and build new boosters/spacecraft and flight systems. Slowly. If there's really useable water in the polar craters up there, keeping people there might be a less difficult proposition. Still, it's probably going to take something big to get people interested again. Maybe if the Chinese land on the Moon and set up shop right over the water we found, that'll raise a few hackles and get folks thinking that we need to go back. Unfortunately, I think the notion of 'protecting our interests' might go along for that ride. Oy.


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

greenine, If I were you, I wouldn't get too hyped up about Zorn going to Baltimore. Do you really want Joe Flacco to be another Matt Hasselbeck?


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I pretty much always root for the 'Skins unless they're playing the Falcons (and even that is a judgment call depending upon division standings at game time), but I definitely will be pleased for Zorn if things go well.

Disliking that man takes more discipline than I possess.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

bc, I think you may have hit on something. And bob earlier when he talked about forensic science.

Maybe humanity and the Moon are better off for the time being just gazing at each other from afar.

A lot can happen in a decade or two. And SciTim, you're in a primo position to instill the love of space into the scientists of that future era, for many of them are kids now.

Posted by: MsJS | January 30, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree, bc. No one has said "never."

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 30, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I found that painting-- it's the Land of Cockaigne by Pieter Brugel the Elder.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 30, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Spaetlze AND sauerkraut? Yes. Thank you, mum.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 30, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

And the results of the experiment. If you forget NYT no-knead bread dough and let it rise for 39 hours (instead of 18), then finish according to recipe directions, you get: Bread!!!

It's apparently a very forgiving recipe.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 30, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

This was the picture of the Reuben with the side dish that I found a bit unsettling until I figured it out:

And (for anyone who missed it earlier) this is the link to the most impressive gallery of Reuben sandwiches I've ever heard about, let alone actually observed:

curmudgeon6 has my eternal gratitude for digging that one up. Curmudgeon5, if you could pass that on to him or her, I'd be grateful!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I think that manned exploration of the solar system is going to remain on hold until we find a cost-effective way to climb up out of this very deep gravity well in which we live. A breakthrough material that makes a space elevator possible may be the only technological hope within any foreseeable future. It's either that or anti-gravity powered by unobtainium.

Posted by: rashomon | January 30, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

(By the way, my comment was intended as a silly throw-away tangent to the spätzle reference, not to reinvigorate any Reuben discussions. But I think that particular sandwich was the highest-rated of the rather large batch reviewed at that site. Certainly it was way up on the list.)

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

rashomon - Well (heehee) if gravity's the problem, you gotta give the edge to the Chinese. They definitely still tend to heave about less mass than the average NorteAmericano.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Bob, Mudge6 says you're very welcome, and he is glad to have been of service.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 30, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

They need fewer supplies and less oxygen, too. Maybe the !Kung will turn out to be homo cosmos.

Posted by: rashomon | January 30, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm already checking on the viability of plans to have my name legally changed to "Joshua Quince" in time to get a new passport before the Olympics. It doesn't look good. Darn it, Yoki, why couldn't you have shared that little gem earlier in the week?

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Gems held back, are, just, more precious.

Posted by: Yoki | January 30, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Hi all... it's not snowing or sleeting in Charleston, SC, but it was raining here all day and it's really, REALLY cold.

Son of G and I are exploring this wonderful city. We've met some great folks and eaten some great food. We'll be heading back up to Charlotte tomorrow and then I'll be driving home on Monday.

I hear the weather's been kinda crazy, non?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 30, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I think he will be alright bc,Hasselbeck always seemed very hyper to me. Joe is very laid back and cool I think.Now we just need to get him some weapons to throw too.I am excited about his future and the future of the team.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 30, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Been looking at the pictures of the snow on the WaPo. Beautiful images but I'm sure it's really a hassle for all of you. Stay warm and cozy!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 30, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the genteel South - I'm planning to be in the Savannah area around St. Patrick's Day. If anybody's going to be in the vicinity, I'm up for a get-together.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

sorry mudge. I was trying out a new form of humor: satironey. I guess the OT interspersion of truthiness thru you

but at least admit she has a cool name for a author

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Middle - This is actually a very well-behaved little storm. It came in on schedule long after the workweek traffic had settled down, and (while it dropped a bit more snow than anticipated) seems to be ending on schedule. The snow that was dropped is light fluffy stuff, easy to shovel, whisk away with a broom, or simply have your dog dispatch with a strong stream of urine. Nothing to it!

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

[Have I mentioned that I'm not actually all that welcome in the genteel South? The only reason they let me into the state of Georgia is because "home is where they have to take you when you've got nowhere else to go."]

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Good news for the Stieg Larson fans: I noticed today that my sister-in-law is reading one of his novels, and the ScienceGrandpa is up[ on the subject and reading them, too.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 30, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I think we should think robotics.

Have a national contest. Even allow a spot for one winning high school team to send up something small ( get them interested in science, our new national space race against ourselves). Get car and aerospace and computer manufacturers et al involved.

Phase one is get there and explore more than a person could ( no need for life support, just good batteries. don't have as much Martian dust and windstorms to worry about)

Phase two is testing construction ideas, still using robotics.

Phase three is sending soylent green, ooops, I mean people to .... you get the drift

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

My buddy ****son assures me that he'll pass on his copies of the Larsson novels as soon as he's finished. But since his people knew HIS people, there's apparently a lot of emotional bonding going on that exceeds the usual reader-to-author relationship, and it doesn't take place quickly.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

One man's moon trash may be one state's treasure. As the NYT article explains, the plaque at the moon's Tranquility Base reads: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon. We came in peace for all mankind.”

But they still had to pee.

Some of the lyrics of Jefferson Airplane's "Have you Seen the Saucers?"

Tranquility Base
there goes the neighborhood
american garbage dumped in space and no room left for the brotherhood

*returning to read Jared Diamond about the Norse colonization of the North Atlantic*

Posted by: laloomis | January 30, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I figure since it is my idea I should get a prize and first dibs on the peoples flight. All my Boodle mates are invited. Except maybe bc.. First we'll need a good hair trap for the showers and some astro turf as far as the eye can see. Last thing we need is our ace race pilot howling at the regolith. Constantly.

Posted by: omnigood | January 30, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

omni - Contest or no contest, a stable platform with line-of-sight access to half of the Earth all day, every day is a valuable thing. If it wasn't already there, somebody would have to build it. If NASA doesn't go there, then ABC/Disney or Walmart or Google will.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 30, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Greenie, I have a lot of hope for the Ravens, too. I just think that Flacco can be more like another cool Joe -- Montana. Maybe I'm wrong here and Zornie's a good fit.

rashomon, space elevators are a neat idea, but I think that we're more likely to see advances in flight technology that will be more easily implemented and accepted than a 22,000 mile high-tech cable elevators built at the equator. If there's real trouble with one at the upper end(accident, terrorism, etc.), it could get rather nasty for anyone living along the equator as that cable comes cinching down, whipped along as the world spins at 1,000 mph. When that whip cracks at the end, I would not want to be near it.

Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a vivid bit about that in one of his Mars books.

In the near term, I think evolutions of Rutan & Scaled Composite's SpaceShipOne/Two line might be a reasonable start for ferrying humans and some supplies to the ISS and whatever comes next, complimented by the Russian systems, the European Ariane rockets, and a new NASA/US Goverment heavy-lift booster for building out those orbital infrastructures.

But I'm not talking about anything new. Just about coming up with - and following through on - yet another plan... *sigh*


Posted by: -bc- | January 30, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Paula Deen would like to join Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in their new goal of fighting obesity in children? Will the duo speak at the U.S. Conference of Mayors this year to be held in Oklahoma City?

From columnist Lynn Sweet's Jan. 28 column at Politics Daily--the goals, summarized, of the Obama/Biden initiative:

Combating junk food advertisements aimed at kids. [Cutesy Antartic emperor penguins and Artic bears used to sell syrupy, sweet Coca-Cola. I know I shouldn't have rented the DVD version of Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying" this past week, after already having seen the movie at the local cinema. See the truthful Coke commercial in "Lying."]

Increasing access to healthy foods. [Is it really so much "access" as it is a matter of changing buying habits, habits and perceptions of taste?]

3. Making good food cheaper. [Aren't processed food a whole lot more expensive--in terms of relative worth and nutritional value over time, not to mention the costs of purchasing empty-calorie, non-nutritious from your local Fried Food-in-the-Box fast-food-chain eatery?]

Promoting exercise by boosting funding for local schools, parks and playgrounds. [Just do it. And the parental role is what again?]

Providing healthy [heathful] options at school lunches. [Moms or Dads packing lunches and making nutrition a core family value?]

Posted by: laloomis | January 30, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse


Perhaps we can finance a moon colony by auctioning off the advertising rights. The winner would be allowed to place a logo on the face of the moon, like perhaps a '6+' symbol. Or Moka-Cola could buy the rights and use the fact that they didn't deface the moon in their advertising campaigns.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

A confession: I tolerate elevators, but take the stairs as often as practical. The idea of getting in an elevator and not getting to my floor for days or even weeks makes me uncomfortable.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

laloomis - It's sometimes a tough call on the healthy, non-processed -v- processed food cost issue. Economies of scale become important at the retail level. The gal at the carnival can sell you 100,000 kcal worth of corndogs cheaper than you could raise a hog and a plot of corn, and the local supermarket can accomplish it cheaper than either of you.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 31, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

I would say Pliny the Elder. Pliny the Younger. And Pliny the Tiny.

Posted by: Yoki | January 31, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

My newspaper just arrived.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. We may get some snow. It sure is grey enough for snow. Keeping fingers crossed.

Let the Chinese State spend its treasury sending their people to the moon. Let's vault past them with robotic mission. I understand the charm of sending carbon-based people in space but the titanium and silicon based life form seem more suited for space.

We had the old square meal last night; roast beef with a simplified marchand de vin sauce, potatoes and steamed snap peas (very good ones from Guatemala!). Simplicity has its own virtue.
A butterflied loin of pork has started marinating in wine and herbs for tonight's Roasted Pork loin with Prunes. It's a first trial for me. We'll see.

The last leg of the Stimulus was completed yesterday. The final week of the renovation tax credit brought ceiling tiles (made in Canada), laminated floating floor planks (made in Germany) and floating floor underlay (made in the US). The last time I bought laminated floating floor planks they were from Belgium. It looks like the European have a strong hold on the technology.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 31, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

'M-m-m-m-morning, B-b-b-b-boodle. It's 10 degrees here, down in brass monkey/welldigger range, and our snowfall was 9 inches. Scoff all you want, O Canada.

There's Mrs. Curmudgeon's McMuffins in the Ready Room, English muffins with a fried egg and bacon. Cheese optional. And all the usual beverages. I would have gone out this morning and slaugtered one of the hogs, lopped off a slice couple rashers of bacon, gathered eggs from the hen house, and rounded up some m,cmuffins from the mcmuffin tree, but quite frankly, I was just too lazy to go outside and do it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

S_d, is there really a vaulting past them with a roboic mission? We've sent probes to many many points in our solar system, and as much as we've learned from them, as many wonders as we've seen, many of us still long to go there and see for ourselves.

When our robots can write about such voyages and explorations and experiences with depth of emotion and wonder and awe, learning and thinking and feeling and Observing while doing so, well, then, maybe I'll feel differently. Consider, for example, Darwin's voyage on the Beagle, which resulted in "On the Origin of Species."

Robots are not yet people. Not yet.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle. Good to see our DC area contingent managing in the snow and cold. Not much colder here at 5F.

I like the idea of a NASA robotics competition, with a space for a high school (or even younger) team's product. Admittedly biased in that direction though.

MudgeMuffins go well with a good hot latte with a dollop of whipped cream. Later gators!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and there's still about 7 1/2 hours of racing left in the Daytona 24.

Lots of broken cars and broken dreams in the night. Tired drivers, mechanics, crew, and strategists trying to make it to the finish -- some still blearily seeking a vain perfection, some just trying to get to the finish with as few mistakes as possible. 2,600 tough, tough miles.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Post headline: "McCartney: Life looks brighter in Fairfax."

TBG, why didn't you tell us Sir Paul was moving into your neighborhood?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, hey Cassandra! Sixteen degrees here in the high country when we got up this morning, but the sun is shining and the snow is glistening. Mr. T and I went to the pancake breakfast this morning, a benefit for the local fire department. Decent pancakes, although they were made in the host restaurant and brought to the school cafeteria for consumption.

Eight inches is the measured total for us. Mr. T is shoveling it off the deck so that the deck will dry. Then we will go see what fun photos we can find to take.

Posted by: slyness | January 31, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Somebody broke the news to those cold weather soda drinkers:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Sounds beautiful up in the mountains, Slyness. I remember that pancake breakfast last year! Great community event, delicious breakfast and fabulous company!

Can't believe it's been an entire year since I went with you and Mr T to the mountains. Makes sense that Son of G and I felt the urge for a roadtrip, though.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 31, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Sort of jealous of those of you who have new snowfall, especially slyness. Sounds quaint and pretty up there. The only advantage to no snow is that we'll probably be able to bundle up and walk today without tripping over snowbanks.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 10:24 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. We still have the white stuff, and the sun is shining so bright one needs sunglasses for the glare. Unfortunately, there isn't any warmth with that sun, so the white stuff will remain, frozen.

Slyness, pancakes sound delicious. Hope you're enjoying yourself.

Church services were cancelled for the day. It feels odd being home on Sunday morning. I'm ready to get outside, two days in is getting to be a bit much. I can't leave my apartment. There's a huge slab on ice on the ramp, and I'm not dealing with that.

Mudge, are you ready for "Lost"?

TBG, Charleston is a city I've always wanted to visit. I have a niece that lives there. She tells me it's a beautiful place.

Martooni, Scotty, Yoki, Lindaloo, and everyone here, stay warm and enjoy your day.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 31, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

We've been down this road before, so I won't belabor it. Just a few points.

When we talk about manned spaceflight, we are talking about sending a few privileged individuals up who may or may not decide to talk a lot about it. For the foreseeable future we will always be voyeurs, which is why I think robots can be just as inspiring as people.

I mean, to me, the robots on Mars have been pretty gosh-darn exciting. I would love to see more of that, with better remote sensing. I know that I shall never stand on Mars, but it would be nice to experience a 3D High-Def feed.

And I'm not saying there is no role for manned spaceflight. There surely are things that only the brain can process (Today, that is. Maybe AI really represents the ragged edge of possibility once occupied by manned spaceflight.)

I'm just not that hung up on actually landing. I dunno, I guess this obsession with actually touching down seems awfully territorial to me. Isn't it enough to fly by? Isn't it enough to just drop some amazing sensors and keep a respectful distance?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Let's see.

The drive and steps are shoveled and salted.
The laundry is folded and put away.
I finished 'The Confusion.'

My day/week/month is done until it's time to live-blog the Grammies.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Hiya all! It is indeed very, very bright outside, yet very, very cold. I'm staying in, indeed.

RDP, I agree with you about the efficacy (should that be the appropriate word) of using robotics for space flights to the further beyond. That being said, it occurs to me that there are a few people on my list whom I would not be unhappy about flinging out there in the place of chosen robots. Ah, well . . . .

A friend of mine was at the Georgetown-Duke game yesterday, which also attracted Obama and Biden. She said it was glorious, including, of course, G'town's drubbing of Duke. Driving home, however, was a nightmare.

Still having shooting pains out the back of my head, but they appear to be subsiding a bit. I know what it is, and I know I have another week of it, although the pains should be gone in a day or two. Interesting about certain viruses which get into one's system and stay there for the rest of one's life. This one is almost 30 years old and rears its ugly head under periods of extreme stress. I'd rather have a different, kinder pat on the shoulder, but it is what it is.

As for the snow in these here parts, I am reminded of cute piecer of doggerel (with due respect for Wilbrodog):

"Ladies and gentlemen
Take my advice
Pull down your pants
And slide on the ice."

I shall heed that theoretically, of course.

Enjoy the day!

Posted by: -ftb- | January 31, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Moonbase Alpha didn't leave the solar system in 1999. No monoliths showed up nine years ago. The Eugenics War never happened. I'm just moving manned spaceflight over to the flying car/dirigible to Europe list of things that just didn't pan out.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Hee Hee. Good point ftb. Don't we all yearn for the Phantom Zone from time to time.

You know, I guess what I am talking about is akin to music. I know that experiencing live music is an exhilarating experience. But, given the choice between a really high-quality recording of, say, the London Philharmonic, and sending some guy there who then comes back to tell me how cool it was, I would prefer the recording.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

At first, I misread part of RDP's post and thought he asked "wouldn't it be enough if we just dropped some senators?" I agree with that sentiment.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

You bet, RDP. In fact, I'm listening to Eva Cassidy right now, and thankful that there are recordings by her. As for concerts, I find them, well . . . . disconcerting. Too many distractions and people talking and making noise. That's also why I seldom go to movies. While some may be more compelling on the wide screen with the accompanying sound system, I resent paying so much money to hear the rest of the audience act as if they were in their living rooms. I prefer to watch the movies and old TV programs within the confines of my own space.

It may be time to do some "bookwork" and get at least part of the workbook ready for my accountant. *sigh* But at least it does not require shoveling snow. It's just all that other stuff that needs shoveling, alas.

Imom -- I'm moving inexorably towards the end of the book 2. I hope to have it done by week's end. Oh, and "thanks for the storm."

Posted by: -ftb- | January 31, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

After Jared Diamond, the multiauthored "Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire".

The Miami Herald has further reporting on the shutdown of transporting Haitian hospital patients to Florida.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

My goal in manned space exploration is not so much to send a few privileged individuals, as to use a few privileged individuals to help us learn how to make it more practical for a larger and less-privileged group.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Yellojkt, I wanted to agree with you that DS9 had epic potential with storyline arcs and intrigue that wasn't possible with the ship-based series.
For pure comedy, I'd also match "House of Quark" against any other series.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

SciTim -- a very lofty goal, that. . . . but wouldn't it require sending all the Rethuglicans to another galaxy first?

Posted by: -ftb- | January 31, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I understand SciTim. That's following the aircraft paradigm and is certainly a reasonable position. These first pioneers would lead to a future where spaceflight is common.

The thing is, I question the premise that currently envisioned manned spaceflight will actually advance the art. The things that I have seen, like a base on the moon, seem more and end in themselves.

I think that the real advances to make spaceflight common are going to occur (if ever) from breakthroughs in physics and engineering that aren't directly related to the Constellation program.

But my biggest objection is with the paradigm. If the goal is to explore and be inspired, I question if manned spaceflight is the smartest approach. Sure it made sense 50 years ago, but we have options available now that we didn't then. Robotics and advanced remote sensing, I assert, form the true cutting edge.

So, sure, if we wanted to, we could devote trillions of dollars to try to bring about a future where us common folk could be blasting off to the moon. And maybe this would, somehow, bring about that Star Trek universe that forms a secular religion for some.

But I think there is a huge opportunity cost to this way of thinking. There are wonderful and exciting things that we would be giving up simply because we are fixated on attempting to relive the glories of Apollo.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Count me among the DS9 fans. Not at all tidy, thus much more interesting than OS et al.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'd be more interested to see how traders, transported to Mars, could survive by selling each other complex derivative "products."

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Nay, fear him not, nor his unworthy joys.
Recall the tragic tale of the pageboys."

I think that should be quoted on the boodle whenever a troll knuckles by.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

ooooooooohhh, good one, Wilbrod.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 31, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Morning Al!

Can't say as I'm disappointed about no moon-launch. I find it refreshing that we can admit that we can't afford to do *everything* we'd like to do.

Am downloading and installing TurboTax. Baby steps toward actually doing our taxes. Dinner today will be jambalaya using Emeril's "Clean Out the Fridge and Freezer" recipe--sort of.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 31, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) has a Miami Herald story on finger-pointing about not bringing Haitian hospital patients to the US. Lots of finger-pointing. The Herald itself doesn't seem to have this version.

Meanwhile, a Harlequin duck has popped up at Sebastian Inlet State Park. They normally don't migrate farther south than New England. Maybe the Long Cold Spell had something to do with it.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the duck was advised to go to Florida to retire for his health.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I wanted to use that "slide on the ice" bit as my email signature at work, but never had the nerve. Also liked "Keep yer stick on the ice", but common sense won out.

Federer won, again. Good match between Serena and Justine yesterday, too.

Leon Russell is going to be playing at the Grammys tonight, with Zac Brown. Leon's the guy in the white cowboy hat.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 31, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I've got a friend up in Toronto who long ago had an email address of

I thought it was incredibly funny and very appropriate to him. He doesn't have it anymore, I don't think, so first come, first served to the Boodle.

I do like to watch good tennis, I will admit. Too bad about the time zone issues with Oz and its environs. One would thing the world was smaller than that. . . .

After I drink my mug of delectable white tea, I think I might navigate my way over to Strosneider's and pick up a new small fluorescent bulb for over my sink. Even though it's more expensive than Home Depot or Lowe's, I prefer it. Everyone there (especially in the lighting and plumbing departments) is at least 150 years old and they know their stuff, I tell ya.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 31, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

A sincere thanks to the information that you provided in your 11:23. Here's a link to the book that you mentioned:

But isn't Diamond more than just environmental determinism? Or perhaps he just evolved his views over time? Perhaps someone here can answer these two questions of mine or perhaps Diamond will tackle those questions tomorrow night? (As an aside, I happened to stop at the TrinityU website last night to see that Academy-Award-winner Dustin Lance Black will speak at Trinity a week from this

Diamond makes very clear in his prologue to "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," that he's using a five-point framework as the basis of his reasoning. In fact, on page 15, Diamond says that he would truly prefer a different full title for his "Collapse" book: "Societal collapses involving an environmental component, and in some cases also contributions of climate change, hostile neighbors, and trade partners, plus questions of societal responses."

Put this into the context of the Kit, another trip to the moon. A very expensive space venture, for starters. One or two trips, with the goal for a space lab setup there? There in no hospitable environment there, nor an hospitable climate. No hostile neighbors unless the space race turns into a moon war. Trade partners--if the moon is entirely our baby, all the resources put there will come from here, the United States, or other trade partners on Earth that will supply the raw materials to get us there. Societal response--if we're the first, dominant player on the moon, all the societal factors will reflect the American standard: language, measurement, communication protocols, you name it.

Or will the moon colony be more like the Spanish model, the Spanish having come to the Americas for plunder? Or will it be more like the English model, in which entire families arrive and the central threads holding the group together are shared beliefs (religious) and traditions (education)?


Posted by: laloomis | January 31, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Do note that the last section in Diamond's last chapter of "Collapse" is called "Reasons for hope."

The San Antonio Express-News has done a very poor job in today's edition of promoting Diamond's lecture at Trinity tomorrow night--big photo, same recyled test calling out his prize-winning "Guns, Gems,and Steel" but not the fact that there is a book by Diamond that has the same title of his lecture.

It's going to be really interesting to see how many people show up for Diamond's talk. Say, in comparison to Bill Maher, who was in the same auditorium on the Trinity campus on Friday night. I think tickets to Maher went for $25-$50 a pop, but that's a guess. What the local paper reported is that 2,000 people showed up to listen to Maher Friday. Will local readers or the cognoscenti show up to listen to a free lecture by an author who won a Pulitzer Prize on an evening that's not traditionally associated as a date night?

NOTHING’S SACRED: In his 90-minute set, the casually dressed Maher called the war in Afghanistan “a pointless errand,” made the case for racial profiling, socked it to AIG as well as the Tea Party, ridiculed the obsession with Michael Jackson’s death and poked fun at the pope. “He’s a fabulous Catholic celebrity,” Maher said. “And he’s on Facebook.” He also suggested that Mormons and Scientologists get together and that Rush Limbaugh’s job is “scaring white men as they get into their truck for lunch.”

Posted by: laloomis | January 31, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

drive by from the apple store in charleston...interesting weekend. hope that everyone os at least warm and dry. c u l8tr.

Posted by: -jack- | January 31, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, the parking spot's shoveled, and more amazingly it remained empty while we ran out for brunch and groceries. I'm not looking forward to the inevitable refreeze tonight, although I'm sure the Dawn Patrol's got their birds properly hangared.

The local forecasters have started there "it's only a model (shh!)" talk about a storm system for next weekend, but we'll see.

Anyone know if the big box stores have any programs for turning in used laptop batteries?

*OK-so-the-day's-more-than-half-done-but-it's-never-too-late-for Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

We are no longer snowbound! I made it up and out the driveway, onto the sheet of ice which was the road, and out to church. It was the Patronal Saint day and there was lots of foofaraw, big singing. Now Ivansdad is off to make up three rehearsals in one day. The highways are fine, secondary streets are okay, and neighborhoods are a mess, not bad considering the Christmas blizzard ate the entire municipal budget for emergency road care. Plows and sand trucks are everywhere.

The landscape is very beautiful. There's lots of fluffy frozen snow piled on each branche, with a bright solid coat of ice peeking out underneath. If there were sun it would be blinding. Instead we have either very low clouds or high fog.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Hope you didn't make the troll comment right after me because you thought I did something trolly, Wilbrod.

It's not quite right to say there are no resources on the moon. It's cheaper to boost aluminum, silicon, oxygen into space from the moon because of its low gravity than from Earth.

There are asteroids where it might be even cheaper

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, it's warming up outside (32 deg F on my thermometer. Woo-hoo). The moon does indeed have resources, and as I noted earlier, there's indications of water ice on the poles.

One reason to go back is to explore that, I think.

As far as the model for a colony there (which I think is substantially different from a base or even an exploration mission), there are no native life forms to exploit, so I have no idea how that applies.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I thought the dominant English model for colonization was to set up plantations to grow tobacco, rice, indigo, sugar, or coffee using indentured servants, convicts, and/or slaves. Franklin was vociferously unhappy about Pennsylvania being a dumping ground for convicts.

New England's colonial economy featured shipping of plantation inputs and outputs. It's not atypical that one of Florida's early historic figures was Jonathan Dickinson, a Philadelphia Quaker shipwrecked on his way back from Jamaica.

On the Spanish side, it looks as though there's finally a serious effort to beatify Bartolomé de las Casas, who objected eloquently to the mistreatment of pre-Spanish residents of America as well as Africans. I'm not sure that the Spanish were necessarily such bad settlers. Mexico has lovely colonial towns, not all of them mining centers. They even had bishops early on, unlike Virginia, which seems to have been neglected by the Church of England.

I have a sneaky suspicion that, while New Englanders committed early to staying around, Virginia and the South was of a more fly-by-night nature. A lot of the region's soils are quite a lot like Brazil's, and unsuited to traditional English farming methods. So farmers tilled fields for a few years, then moved on to virgin sites.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Given humankind's inexorable demand for more and more resources, we'll eventually have to travel to the Moon and beyond to obtain them, even if only to ensure the robotic mining equipment is properly set up. The sooner we learn how to exist off-planet, the better off we'll be.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Right now, one is not permitted to extract resources from the Moon, due to the Treaty on Outer Space and the Moon Treaty. One is permitted to collect "samples" for scientific purposes, but I don't think anyone has defined a limit on sample size or "scientific" processing mode. There is definitely an opportunity for lawless behavior.

I think a better antecedent for the manned exploration of space is not the airplane, but the crossing of the Bering Strait. That took an investment of centuries or more. Only a "daring few" ultimately made the crossing. Yet, I think it has worked out pretty well for the species as a whole. Sure, we have our global warming problems and there were those pesky acts of genocide a while back; nevertheless, by the standards of evolutionary biology (to the extent to which I understand it), it looks to me like nothing but success.

The Moon is a good place for exploring how to *permanently* live and work in space because the transportation problems (one way, at least) are not so bad as with reaching any other solid body (asteroids, for example). We can investigate options for regolith-sheltered facilities -- especially the machinery required to construct it. The Moon provides abundant sunlight (half the time) and has the enormous advantage of no air -- aluminum could be smelted by direct heating of the regolith, same for other metals (as available). It has significant gravity, which is a great aid for many manufacturing processes (e.g., gravitational fractionation of a metal melt), but not so much that we couldn't launch something built on its surface more easily than from the Earth. One of the biggest hurdles in permanent operations on the Moon is the extremely abrasive and pervasive nature of the dust, which puts atmospheric seals and mechanical devices at risk of early failure. Similar problems can be anticipated for manned visits to any other airless body in the solar system. I would rather investigate those things with astronauts on the Moon, for whom we could afford to prepare extensive backup resources while we figure out how to cope, rather than astronauts much farther from Earth and more difficult to support. But I *do* want to investigate it, because I want us to have a future built for us, not for our robotic successors.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Jumpers by definition are not knucklers.

I just saw it in "Two Gentlemen of Lebowski" and found it droll.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

With all the Trek talk in the last few days, I can't resist posting this:

Posted by: rashomon | January 31, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Do tell more about that, Dave o' the coonties... there's a lot of red clay in Virginia, but what precisely makes it unsuitable to English farming methods?
Not enough earthworms?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Why am I never suprised that SciTim explicates the relevant points so darn well??? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

What song's that to the vid, Rash?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

It's Python's Camelot routine, Wilbrod:

Posted by: rashomon | January 31, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Many thanks, rashomon!! *LOL*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse


We're Knights of the Round Table.
We dance whene'er we're able.
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot.
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot.
We're Knights of the Round Table.
Our shows are formidable,
But many times we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable.
We're opera mad in Camelot.
We sing from the diaphragm a lot.

In war we're tough and able,
Quite indefatigable.
Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable.
It's a busy life in Camelot.

I have to push the pram a lot.

Although Yakkity Sax would have worked too.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The red clay originally had a sandy surface horizon, productive until it (quickly) washed away.

The Piedmont soils themselves are mostly derived from volcanic rock that's very deeply weathered. The weathered stuff, called regolith, can be surprisingly deep. Back when I was a student in North Carolina, a pale sort of rotted rock was often used as "gravel" for pathways. Except it eroded too fast. The university eventually laid brick over all the gravel.

Much of Brazil is quite similar. A few areas are even more greatly weathered, such that the soils are very rich in aluminum, which can be toxic. Of course the weathered stuff might also serve as aluminum ore.

England, which had been glaciated, had lots of soils containing rock that had been ground to powder by the glaciers. Lots of nutrients. Same for the pockets of good soil in New England.

In the tropics, many of the best soils are in regions with volcanoes, which cough up lots of stone powder (volcanic ash) and highly erodible fresh rock. Think Costa Rica, Colombia, Indonesia, Cameroon, and perhaps Rwanda versus Australia, most of India, Brazil.

By the way, much of the southeastern Coastal Plain is quite ancient. Some geologic deposits go back to something like the Cretaceous, and some land surfaces can be accurately dated to the Miocene (like Florida's Lake Wales Ridge, 6 million years ago) and earlier. The Coastal Plain's terrestrial sediments are materials eroded from the Appalachians and Piedmont. Most of the stuff is nearly nutrient-free. Florida is a bit different in that there's a lot of limestone and some impressive phosphate deposits. As a result, some areas near the great springs have phosphate-rich clay soils supporting lush temperate forest with loblolly pine and Shumard oaks very close to scrub and pineland vegetation on barren sand. Longleaf or sand pine.

Florida was a place where aboriginal peoples and European settlers gave up on agriculture in favor of seafood and (for the Europeans) cattle and pigs. Many plants were exploited for food, but there was nothing like the lush maize, squash, and bean fields of river bottoms in Georgia.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Big on citrus, though?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of colonists, I got to see the live broadcast of "Nation" from London's National Theatre yesterday.

I doubt that kids raised on virtual everything would have been impressed by such a spectacular live show. For ancient me, it was amazing to see such elaborately choreographed action going ahead glitch-free.

I've done only a few visits to London, but the NT has made a substantial impression on my adult life. I started there by noticing that there were good reviews for a play named "Racing Demon", about Anglican clergy, by someone named David Hare, in the National's small theater. Next visit, with no planning on my part, there was another Hare play with coppers. After that, a Hare in the big Olivier Theatre with politicians.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

jack is/was in Charleston, too? Man... we've got to talk more.

Son of G and I are back in the Queen City. The drive here was beautiful, with the trees covered in ice, looking like they are made of glass.

His copy of "Game Change" arrived from Amazon while we were gone, so I've lost him now for awhile... his nose is very much into the book.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 31, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Citrus grew well on those sandy uplands. The pioneers thought land with longleaf pine (and preferably some red clay) was best, and avoided pure sand with scrub vegetation. More recently, they've been able to use nearly any soil, with careful management of water levels and choices of rootstocks.

The Indian River grapefruit district is a weird exception. The fabled land of grapefruits was originally poorly drained, and was made farmable with an elaborate network of canals.

I've actually seen citrus being grown on muck in central Florida, almost adjacent to caladium farms. By the way, the caladium growers would love to get your order about now. My yard has just one variety, "Gingerland", developed relatively recently by University of Florida breeders.

Caladiums are native to the Amazon, of all places. They seem to have discovered how to make their leaves look insect-eaten, which deterred hungry predators. Evidently the genetics needed to make fake insect tracks also worked to make Technicolor leaves that pleased European hothouse plant fanciers, so caladiums found themselves whole new ecological niches in homes and gardens.

For those who think everything happens by plan, I'd like to suggest that modest Amazonian plants would never have guessed that their future lay in being tended on muck farms near Lake Placid.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, I'm 100% with you.

But I think the Moon Treaty is pretty much moot, since none of the countries with manned space flight capability have signed it. Not the US. Not China. Not Russia.

It's fine to cite it, but I don't think any country other than those that signed or ratified it are beholden to it.

Right or wrong, I think the Moon's resources are still availble for export.

Hey, look, Joel's Moon article:

Got my shovel and my toolbox -- bang, zoom, to the Moon!

And don't worry, I'll drive. Everything went great off of Newfoundland last week, and... oops. Never mind.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and going back to the previous Boodle about titles -- how about "The Man who Sold the Moon?"

And yello, I did catch your reference to it.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, y'all.

Every time I got all comfy to read the boodle, something elsewhere would require my attention.

Looks like much has been covered since last evening and I doubt anything I would say would enlighten or inspire so I'll just say good job.

I've decided to write the NFL to ask them to broom the Pro Bowl. Even I, an avowed pigskin-oholic, have zero interest in watching. Planning for it appears to be a royal pain in the posterior, and the glamor of its being held in Hawaii is, of course, gone. And its running opposite the Grammies, which is far more blog-worthy.

You can tell I've been engaged in a lot of deep thinking today.

Posted by: MsJS | January 31, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, I'm watching the Pro Bowl anyway.

It's football, fer goodness' sake.

Well, sorta.

I'm sure I'll watch some of the Grammies, too.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Daveotc: I always enjoy your informative posts.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 31, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I have worked for companies reliant on government contracts (defense primarily). The discussion touches on why the big Moon/Mars plan is so popular with some at NASA. I'll give my two cents why.

It is the perfect government project. 1) it has long-term goals, and few if any short-term milestones to judge progress. 2) It is insanely expensive 3) it will be spread around the country in many Congressional districts

The three points above make it nearly impossible to kill once it gets going. In 10 years, if we find out the budget has tripled and the timeline has pushed way back... we will have spent so much money that we couldn't kill it... we'd look stupid. It is truly too big to fail. This guarantees the overruns will be paid and the delays accepted.

It is a great make-work project that will result in dubious achievements and will cost more money than ever spent before.

It is the perfect governmet program.

Posted by: steveboyington | January 31, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

In answer to your 3:08, my response is the following book, "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America."

To say that all British peoples are (colonists were) the same is like saying Golden Staters are exactly like Nutmeggers, or those from Big Sky Country have exactly the same outlook as those in the Sunshine State. The environments where these folks settled as colonists were quite different as well.

The reviews of Albion at give good summaries or overviews of the book's content.

"Game Changer" is a fast read, hard to put down. Interesting that David Pflouffle is now on the team and "in campaign mode"...and what's the news or whisper lately that Hillary wants to serve only one term as SecState? Where are Halperin and Heilemann to discuss these latest add-ons to NYT #1 bestseller?

No doubt the push for the moon is for resources--real or potential. Otherwise, our interest in it would just be like any other banana republic.

Posted by: laloomis | January 31, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

bc, I probably will too. Just a minute or two. Or four.

Ivansmom and slyness, MrJS says many thanks for the muffin recipes you provided. He's in muffin heaven.

Posted by: MsJS | January 31, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

So glad to hear that MrJS likes the bran muffins!

We made it back down the mountain without incident. On one 10-mile stretch of US 321, we noted eight vehicles on the side of the road or in the median. Must have been tough along there Friday night.

TBG, I thought about you when we went into the school cafeteria this morning and wished you were with us. Next year for sure!

In the people can be such idiots department: We were headed down the road from the house at lunchtime. Rounding a curve (on flat land, fortunately), we came face-to-face with a snowplow in our lane. The driver was going around a pickup that had stopped in his lane, to look at a car on the side of the road. Mr. T managed to slide to a stop and the snowplow backed up so we didn't collide, but it was a close thing. What is it with people that they stop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD just because there's a little snow on the ground? My language wasn't fit for hearing by my favorite twin boys, that's fur sure.

Posted by: slyness | January 31, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

They cancelled school for tomorrow. Bastges. Cowards.

Of course, all the minor roads, including those by most of the schools, are still very bad. I, along with many other parents, are just a little bitter because we had two days off recently during the exreme cold. The Boy's school is already scheduled off for Friday, for parent-teacher chaos day. I think the last time he had a full week of school might have been in early December.

We have leaky windowsills. Alas.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

slyness, snow can addle the brain if you're not used to it.

Posted by: MsJS | January 31, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, I-mom.

In my hamlet the roads by the schools are among the first plowed, as are the roads leading to the local Post Office.

Posted by: MsJS | January 31, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the typos.

MsJS, here they plow "snow routes" and main streets first, and smaller neighborhood streets (with lots of parked cars) last or not at all. We're geting better at this whole winter thing but this severity and frequency are new to us. Extreme Weather Events, folks, right here.

It is odd. I can accept snow and ice actually occurring - enjoy it, even, as long as I'm not watching in the dark - but it is just startling to look out the window days afterwards and have everything still covered in snow and ice. Lovely, but my lizard brain is surprised.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

You know, I guess that if I were locked in a room and asked how to deal with limited natural resources, I'm not too sure if something like the Constellation program would be really near the top of my list.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I-mom, then don't move to TWC.

Although this isn't one of them, we can get winters during which we don't see terra firma for 6-10 weeks, sometimes even longer.

Posted by: MsJS | January 31, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

If I had an Ares rocket infrastructure, I could get some extremely worthy missions put together for launching. Lots and lots of them.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 31, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I've long owned and admired "Albion's Seed". My own Virginia ancestors fall into the Scots-Irish category; my grandfather was born in a log cabin. It's paired with Bernard Bailyn's "Voyagers to the West", which emphasizes the stream of (mostly northern) Brits seeking "independence" even as indentured servitude thrived. Bailyn went to considerable effort to ensure that his white readers would be shocked at their nice ancestors being auctioned off.

In terms of folkways, Pennsylvania is impressive. Lots of turmoil, not much violence, except for frontiersmen messing up the peace with the Indians. No ethnic cleansing against Germans. No violent revolt against the Penn family. And Benjamin Franklin actually returned toward the end of his life, rather than enjoy his retirement in France.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 31, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

For some strange reason our road is always plowed very quickly after a storm. It isn't a busy road at all, but it runs along the park.

It can only be one of two things. First that it is a dead end and the plows must turn around somewhere to get to the next road. Second, that someone important in the country (mayor, councilor, guy who is responsible for plows) lives out here.

I'd like to think it wasn't the second, but yanno... We always used to be the last of the last.
May your roads be good for travel before morning.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 31, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

RD, what if you needed something like Constellation to get out of the room?

Or at least get a better look at the situation and weigh options from a different perspective?

As I've said many times, if I waited until everything was perfect before I had children, I never would have.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

It's the location, MsJS. When I lived on the East Coast this sort of thing didn't surprise me at all. It was a given that winter would bring snow (not so much ice there) and it would stick around for a long, long time.

Here, we're used to a storm, snow, warm-up, big melt - or else that's the pattern ingrained in me from childhood. Really, though, that's why we have ice storms; it wasn't quite cold enough for snow, and winter temperatures used to warm up enough for significant melting pretty fast. Now we just never know.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

steveboyington, I'm certain that there are many people who support the Moon/Mars program for the parochial reasons you suggest, but the fact is that they are a tiny number -- the captains of industry, the leaders of the contractors who would do the work. Even then, the tens of billions that would be expended over a decade or two by the space program, are as nothing compared to the tens of billions expended with the same companies every year by the government defense establishment. I am not among these Lords of Manufacturing. In fact, I am a lonely voice within the crowd that most vigorously complains about the inefficiencies of manned exploration as a way to do science: the space scientists. I agree that it's a terrible way to get science, at least it is terrible with the life-on-the-edge character of current technology. However, I think one can pose different reasons for exploration, reasons having to do with being a society that wants to have a future and is willing to work towards it. We will never get our technology sufficiently reliable for us to do manned science unless we start working on it while it is still in the nearly useless phase that we are in now. Our Cro-Magnon ancestors did not start out by smelting metals to make computers, they started out by banging rocks together and worked their way up.

As to whether a return to the Moon is in search of resources: not yet, although it furnishes one of the most compelling arguments to use in buying the support of people who "know the price of everything, but the value of nothing." But ultimately, yes. Why is that surprising? I have a little experiment for anyone who looks contemptuously upon the acquisition of resources as a reason for doing things: see how long you can go without eating, drinking, defecating, or urinating. Every one of these activities expends resources, quantified in our society by dollars spent on municipal water, sewage plants, groceries. It is not possible to live in the world without having an effect on the world. We can be relatively wise and efficient in what we do, but we cannot be impact-free so long as we live. So, get over it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I simply have to object...

NukeSpouse and I are watching "The 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s" (as voted on by the fans), and there are some howlers in there.

I mean, Philip Bailey's (for his "Easy Lover" duet with Phil Collins)???

The Waitresses??

Tina Weymouth and what's-his-name from The Tom-Tom Club??


JEFF HEALEY?!?!?!?!?!?!

I mean, the overly rigid criteria of "only one Top 40 hit" is just wrong!! Would we not agree that a one-hit wonder is ONLY known for their one hit??

*grumbling and muttering as I try to pry the remote out of NukeSpouse's hands to shift to the Pro Bowl*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Watching Bruce/Elvis as my pre-Grammy warm-up. Bruce says his son turned him on to Gaslight Anthem. No wonder Bruce has such hip tastes, he has teenaged kids.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Where I disagree with you, RDP, is in your definition of the problem. As a society, we do not have limited resources. Not very limited, in any case. What is limited is our system for distributing the resources. If we are to use resources in space, the main resource is the elbow-room. The material resources are a way to make it more self-supporting to use that space. Although there are certain advantages to space-based production of metals. One could readily imagine creating a giant ball of pure metallic aluminum, for example, with carefully-crafted sealed interior spaces so that the overall object has a density slightly less than water, then pitching that thing at the Earth so that it lands in the ocean after eroding some of its exterior on the way down, floating until it can be recovered and used. Or utilized, if you have to talk that way.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Now Frankie Goes to Hollywood, THAT'S a one-hit wonder!

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, as I've said before, I think the Constellation program is simply too timid to really accomplish the things we expect. These arguments of justification remind me far too much of all the cool things that the ISS was supposed to accomplish. You know, cool new materials and medicines and things that could, or so the argument went, only be achieved in orbit. And besides, the Russians did it with Soyuz right?

But the cruel facts are that the main accomplishment of the ISS is to keep itself going, I don't see it as a stepping stone to anyplace, and I am afraid I feel the same way about the Constellation program.

I loved Apollo. I watched Shadow of the Moon twice. But I can't escape the conclusion that much of what we expect from the Constellation program is wishful thinking.

I mean, if resources are the main justification how about advance recyling, or the sea floor, or deep mining. All of these things, to me, make a lot more sense in the foreseeable future than sending stuff back from the moon.

And lets be serious. The big reason why many advocate things like Constellation isn't because of the pragmatic benefits, but because it is viewed as some kind of pathway to a space-faring future. But I simply don't see it leading to that.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Only one Top-40 hit is actually a pretty narrow definition of one-hit wonder. I usually only count top-10 on the Billboard Hot 200 Singles as a 'hit' which makes a lot of people, including Jimmy Buffett, technically 1HWs.

The Waitresses don't even meet the Top 40 criteria since 'Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful' peaked at 41. If it weren't for 'Christmas Rapping' most people would never have heard of them unless they really paid attention to the credits of 'Square Pegs'. Their most famous non-novelty song, 'I Know What Boys Want' never charted at all and is famous only for its ubiquitiousness in New Wave compilations and for being covered by Tracey Ulmann, Jay-Z, and Vitamin C.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

But this is all moot. If Joel is right, the Constellation program is being sacrificed for the ISS. Whether this is a mistake or not is really unknowable. But I would encourage people to really think beyond the traditional paradigm. Technology in other areas is advancing so quickly that there might be ways of achieving those starry dreams in unexpected ways.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful (which I own on cassette) peaked at 41 on the Top 200 Albums. 'I Know What Boys Like' hit 62 on Hot 100 Singles and 23 on Mainstream Rock Singles. Still not a hit by most definitions of the term.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh but yello, "I Know What Boys Like" was such a unique song. I mean, what other song featured "Nya Nya Nyas" in the chorus?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

RD_P, you can't seriously be implying Joel could be incorrect??

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Wiki claims "I Know What Boys Like" hit #13 on Billboard's Top Tracks, so I think that's the "hit" criteria...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh goodness, Scottynuke I have blasphemed.

Here's the thing. I hate this topic because I always feel like a heathen amongst the faithful. I know that, for many, spaceflight is a transcendent concept that fulfills mankind's highest ambitions. And who am I to be such a skeptic?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

The way I read the article and the other coverage is that there was only money for either the ISS or Constellation. And there seems to be something wrong if the only thing we can do with the ISS is to crash it in five years.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Just watching the Grammy's, Lady Gaga's outfit - OMG.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 31, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

My source is which is usually pretty reliable.

I will check my Billboard Top 40 book during a commercial break. Right now I'm too busy watching Elton John and Lady Gaga out-drag each other.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Oops..I meant the Mir. The ISS was supposed to be an answer to the Mir. The Soyuz are those cheap reliable things that, evidently, we don't know how to build.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, RD, I like arguing with you about it this topic. You're a smart, intelligent, reasonable man, as is *Tim. (I, on the other hand, am not really any of the above).

The Pro Bowl's highly amusing in what is is and that it isn't. It's a good show of offensive football, less the defense.

Flipped over to the Grammies. Lady GaGa and Elton John need to take a bath.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, RD_P, it's a tough topic. Well-reasoned opinions, skeptical or not, are vital in this case.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm considering the possibility that I've just had a stroke or some other brain event. I don't understand anything about those songs and performers Scotty's been talking about. I haven't been able to follow any of the conversation about Constellation, whatever that is. And watching the opening of the Grammioes I don't understand all the fingerpainting on Lady Gaga and Elton John's faces.

CqP, I may be in massive need of your expertise here, but it just might be too, too late.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Oscar Wilde is a man of some contradiction:

"The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." --Oscar Wilde

"When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life: now that I'm old, I know that it is." --Oscar Wilde

The sad truth of it is that there are many things that are of value--or have value-- that are competing for the limited pool of dollars. Unless you want to have the Loomis-descendent Daltons in Massachusetts produce some more paper for the printing of American $$$ bills.

Interesting on ABC's "This Week" (Babs Walters) there was a repetition of Rahm Emanuel's political focus for the coming months leading to the midterms: jobs, the deficit, and bank reform. And what's on the homepage at the top of the page? Deficit reduction. Plouffle must be working overtime. And the article by Ezra Klein on deficit reduction that was on the homepage earlier in the day?

And what was it exactly that Niall Ferguson said in Davos? Arianna?

Posted by: laloomis | January 31, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I've heard of three of those four songs. I amaze myself.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Lopez couldn't decide which dress to wear, so she cut him in half and wore both.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell was the only one I had not heard of, personally I think Kings of Leon should have won - way better song than Beyonce.

Love Green Day.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 31, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, it's a good thing you slept through the 80s, methinks...

Oh wait, I should narrow down the century, no? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Lady Gaga was robbed. Poker Face rocked. Even if Carlton's "Southpark" version was better.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Sing-along with Green Day??? Let's hope they don't do the "Long View" encore...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

A Green Day musical on Broadway?
The band with the cast of "American Idiot" performing at the Grammies?

This really must be the 21st century.

And the influence of "High School Musical" on our culture continues to amaze me. And I don't just mean the fact that people watch "Glee."


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Um... Just saw the "Alice in Wonderland" trailer during a Pro Bowl break.

Gonna miss that one, yup.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

CNBC has a bit of Niall Ferguson in Davos and an interesting video clip, a three-minute interview, including the history professor's take on the current Greek Debt tragedy (not plays by Sophocles or Euripedes):

The United States is in control of its currency and can print more to reduce its debt [hey, Dalton cousins], but Greece and other countries in the euro cannot do this, therefore the cost of their debt will rise, he predicted.

Perhaps Krugman will weigh in on this, since it seems Krugman and Ferguson are at odds?

Posted by: laloomis | January 31, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Josh needs to lean into the mike JUST a little...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

But ..but ScottyNuke. Alice in Wonderland is in 3D!!! We saw the previews when we went to Avatar.

And, yes, it does look disturbing.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Constellation is too limited to be the mechanism for a big future in space. So what? Incremental advance is still an advance. Constellation won't solve the problems of space travel, but it will help us to advance our understanding of what those problems are. The solutions to those problems will, more than likely, come from somewhere else entirely. Like, for example, advances in 3D navigational software for tight spaces developed to promote the capabilities of unmanned submersibles for deep-sea investigation. But note that the great things that have been accomplished with unmanned submersibles have been using them as telepresence platforms. You could build fully-robotic devices to do the same task, but it's obviously silly to spend 5-10 years and 10's of millions of dollars developing the robotic capability to do what a man-tended million-dollar reusable submersible can now do in a few days with human operators and humans swapping tools at the surface. We can do that for space exploration, too, but we have to be nearby in order for it to work -- say, within a few light-seconds, where three light-seconds = 9X10^8 meters = 9X10^5 km ~ 300,000 miles ~ a couple times the Earth-Moon distance. We could potentially do Earth-based telepresence for the Moon, but not for near-Earth asteroids or Mars unless we go near there ourselves.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 31, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. Taylor gets to speak without interruption!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Watching Planet Earth Extremes on Discovery, narrated by Mike Rowe - be still my heart. When the animals and insects get too icky, I switch to the Grammys, until they get too icky, then I switch back. It's working well for me so far.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

RD_P, I'm fairly certain I'd need heavy medication to sit through "Alice." Which sounds kinda redundant, actually.

So Beyonce taught her security staff to dance, hm?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Allmusic says 23 on the Rock/Top Tracks chart. Wikipedia says 13, so one must be wrong. I know where I would put my money. The both agree on 62 for the Hot 100 which means they aren't even listed in my Billboard Top 40 Hits (7th Edition) book. I could call my hippie uncle who has the hardback Hot 100 book.

Again, I am a strict constructionist and don't count the genre charts (Rock, Alternative, Country, Adult Contemporary) as 'hits' if they don't also chart on the Hot 100. Mostly because doing so gives Celine Dion even more hits than she has.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

And who knew the FSM played bass?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Turned on the TV just in time to see Taylor Swift accept her award. Charming. Loved the dress and hair.

Beyonce's hairography is pretty intense, but I'll be switching to Emma as soon as it's on.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Kanye West is not in the building, so unless Soy Bomb is around, the winners are safe.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I like Beyonce...but I am vastly amused by whoever puts these sorts of production numbers together. She's about the fifth singer in the last decade or two who has been backed up by what virtually amounts to a Nazi Storm Trooper motif. Beyonce's got maybe what? 50 guys out there doing the Nuremburg thing -- and the joke is, they and that motif have nothing whatsoever to do with the song.

Janet Jackson has had them, J-Lo has had them. I dunno. And I'm willing to bet that at some level, whoever the designers of these productions have been, they really don't know quite who the Nazis were. Somehow they have just latched onto a "Storm troopers are kool" thang.

Very weird.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I think they're forcing Kanye to watch a pre-screening of Alice...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Lol, badsneakers. I'll pick neither show tonight.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I need to find a back up so I do not have to watch the Michael Jackson tribute.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 31, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

We have a sighting of some defense at the Pro Bowl! :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand a penalty erases the interception.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

dmd, it's funny, I saw Kings of Leon at the 9:30 club in DC a couple of years ago. Didn't like that song then, still don't. They're pretty good, though.

Beyonce's remarkable - I liked the segue to "You Oughta Know" - though I'm not sure what to make of the 'what kind of man' line with the rather convincing crotch grab.

And I agree with you about Cartman's take on "Poker Face," RD. Though his "Come Sail Away" is still my sentimental favorite.

The Pro Bowl's now 768 to 697, heading towards the half.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Pink looks classy. Something's wrong here.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

O. M. G. I desperately need CqP's take on Pink's navel. No!!1 I didn't mean navel. I meant dress. Yes, dress, that's what I meant. Her dress.

WHich readily converts into something I cannot describe in this venue.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Now she's wearing a Johnny Weir reject and doing Cirque De Soleil gymnastics soaking wet. Order is restored to the universe.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Now THAT's a production number that needed some rehearsing!!! :-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of not knowing what to make of what I'm seeing, this Pink de Soleil thing is making me dizzy.

The silver tape outfit's -- interesting.


Posted by: -bc- | January 31, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

My god, my god. Cirque du Soleil does water sports.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Well that was different.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 31, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

...and we immediately seque to Loretta Lynn. I think I heard something snap in my neck.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm not and will not watch the Jimmies either.

I think we are in an age when robotic exploration is the best we can do. The Apollo program was the best we could do back then. Doing it again is not an something inspiring, it's an expensive chore.

The roast pork was a hit.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 31, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

D'ya think Pink's motocross hubby gave her any tips on aerial performances?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I have to say I was prepared to hate that Pink number, but I'm a sucker for Cirque.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, and fondue... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 31, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh good grief. Did I really say Carlton? Cartman of course.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I think it was hilariously obvious that the camera would not do anything resembling a close-up on her.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes bc - Cartman's "Come Sail Away" is a winner. I always crack up when he says "Childhood friends and the dreams we had"

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

This is Carlton, your doorman...

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Sitting here I noticed something catch my eye off towards the right of the room, it is the window looking out over the back yard. Through the window is a large moon illuminating a bare cherry tree - awesome.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 31, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - you are right! That was lodged somewhere in my memory.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

More Star Wars/Star Trek/Transformers inspired costumes.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I want to hate I Gotta Feeling but I have it on my nano and every time it comes up I run faster. It's a powerful tune.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm seeing that freeze-robot from Logan's Run. A whole phalanx of 'em.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Celine Dion is part of the MJ tribute. That has me really nervous.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, I am soooooooo last century.

And am still trying unsucessfully to process "I have it on my nano..."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Time for Emma, then off to sleep. Toodles boodle and fondue.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 31, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Hi, everyone. I'm going to join in the blaspheming and say that I pretty strongly object to the idea of our civilization mining on the Moon. I mean, for crying out loud, when are we going to stop? Since the various metals and resources are not *gone,* just lying in our landfills, why not create little robots to mine our old landfills and bring back already-refined aluminum, steel, iron, etc? Must we (warning - over strong language coming) strip-mine the Moon?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 31, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

A nano is a device from Ork, Mudge.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 31, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

OMG. It's the Mariah Carey look.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

The Grammys is one of those West coast events that gets aired later *in* the West coast. Will try to use your previews to watch strategically, since I don't know the new songs/performers either. I saw Kings of Leon about 5 years ago when they opened for U2 and was not impressed, although the bass player could lean very far backwards, and Eddie Veddie sang with them on their last song and he was amazing. Anybody spot Zac Brown and Leon Russell yet?

Posted by: seasea1 | January 31, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I like that idea of the little recycling robots Wheezy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I bet mudge knew the original Lady Antebellum.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Cartman's "Poker Face" is good, but not as good as the Christopher Walken version.

Now I have The Waitresses in my head. Ivansdad and his college punk rock bank once opened for The Judys. We recently transferred the ancient cassette tape to CD, so we can inflict it on our friends.

I almost wish I were watching the Grammys, just based on the live-blog, but I still don't know how to turn on the new TV and the Boy is busy.

I'm looking forward to the Burton/Depp "Alice". Weird and Alice just go together for me. Of course, I'm the one with the Steadman edition. So far, the worst Alice I've seen was the Disney animated movie.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's pretty much where I ran off the road and into the ditch of old TV shows, too, Wilbrod.

We probably have to wait until Frosti wakes up tomorrow to get a definitive answer.

Maybe it's a Minnesota thing, I dunno. But you're up there nearby in Jumanji or wherever that place is, so if it was a regional thing, you'd probably be aware of it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Jk -- carry ob. Mudge avert your eyes.

Emma-ing, with Frostie.

Love it; even if about one phrase per 20 minutes lands a bit to modernly.

The clothes and the hair are lovely; lots of regency pieces in Emma's house...

Keep thinking that Knightly should be older....

now, to cozy back into this and scheme "how to get hired in a BBC production to sew hems...."

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 31, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Since Norah Jones is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, she already had a Bacon number of 2 to Ringo.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - have you ever seen the Poker Face mashup of Lady Gaga, Cartman, and Christopher Walken?

Genius. Sheer Genius.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I may join you ladies when the Michael Jackson thing comes on.

I don't get this Jamie Foxx thing...maybe I'll join you now...

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Got Emma on the DVR. Remember, no spoilers.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

...wait a minute...what's Eli Stone doing in the middle of "Emma"?

My head hurts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 31, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

That's enough Grammy's fer me. Kind of a mess of a show isn't it?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 31, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, here are the main dresses:

And I have to say, Brittney Spears needs to talk to someone. Perhaps on a daily basis. That "dress" makes her look like my mother did in the 1960s when she was wearing her black Australian swimsuit and coverup.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 31, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I am officially old. I just caught the Jamie Foxx thing (I wouldn't have known who it was w/o Mudge's comment altho' he did look familiar) and I just don't get any of this. The performers all look like high school talent show rejects. And who were the mismatched pair reminding us to vote for something involving Bon Jovi? Glad I missed the Pink thing, whatever it was. ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, those are some ugly dresses. What are they thinking? Not that I am a fashion maven a la CqP, but gee whiz.

TV is on the UNC/UVA game. It's not pretty, and I'm laying very, very low.

Posted by: slyness | January 31, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

That was Ke$ha (not a typo) and Justin Bieber. And you have the Disney-Canucki connection to blame for him.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

badsneaks I sent in my blanket apology for Bieber and Dion a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 31, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, Slyness, I kinda like Taylor Swift's and Katy Perry's. They are recognizably dresses, at least. That 2007 Imogen Heap one is a hoot, isn't it?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 31, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Everybody that tuned out is missing Stevie Nicks giving Taylor Swift some vocal lessons.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The idea of the landfill-mining robots was my husband's, RD. He didn't like to recycle, he always proclaimed as he threw something recyclable into the trash that he was just making the future trash-mining more profitable.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 31, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't apologize dmd, we have plenty of our own (whatever they are...). Kinda fun to see Nicks with Swift. I confess that I just don't pay attention to popular music anymore so don't let me throw a wet blanket over anything that is actually good.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I would venture to say that Russell Brand and Katy Perry were the highlight of the Red Carpet. They looked great and Russell was funny, as you would expect. Also enjoyed seeing Carlos Santana and his son Salvador. Love to hear Carlos talk - flashback to hippie days.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 31, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Katy Perry owes Bettie Page serious royalties. And the Michael Jackson tribute is over, so it's safe to come back.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Nettles forgot to zip up the top of her black leather bustier.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Rhianna, darling, when you stuff your bra, the Kleenex goes on the INSIDE.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I almost like the dress Miley is wearing. Lose the shoulder pads and cinch in the waist a little. As it is it's to boxy

And Shir's dress ( who I haven't heard of) is nice and appropriately sheer.

Posted by: omnigood | January 31, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm ever so glad curling is on. First weekend of the Scotts Tournament of Hearts. Beat Grammys hands down.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 31, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

That said, I rather thought Brittany was channeling Wonder Woman with her invisible plane.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 31, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Shir Shomron doesn't even have a Wiki page yet.

Posted by: omnigood | January 31, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I like Dave Matthews, does that make me sorta current or am I still hopelessly out of it?

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait, I didn't recognize the name but have seen her in a video once before.

Posted by: omnigood | January 31, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Beyonce topped Rhianna's Kleenex dress by wearing crumpled tin foil.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

At Gawker all the jokes are about how DMB wasn't cool fifteen years ago, so you are right on schedule for the boodle.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Wheezy. I always like to see fancy dress pictures. I looked at these a little too close to bedtime, though; I'm afraid some of them'll creep into my dreams. 'Night all.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 31, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Well the football experts are wrong again.
AFC 41 ; NFC 34

Posted by: omnigood | January 31, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Well Yello, he's got a good beat and I like the violins - so sue me ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with liking DMB. I worked with a guy that went to every show in a 200 mile radius. He does dance funny, though.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, is that what he was doing??

Posted by: badsneakers | January 31, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Quentin Tarentino is one weird bastar...dude.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 31, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Either that or he requires medical attention.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Shir means song I think

Posted by: omnigood | January 31, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

The Album of the Year winner (Taylor Something?) seemed genuine. I hope.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 31, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Dave Matthews lives in Seattle now, apparently, so the local music critic was claiming DMB as a local band. But this is what he had to say about their chances for Best Rock Album:
"Sorry to Boyd Tinsley and the rest of DMB — no band with a full-time fiddler will ever win Best Rock Album."
Which I think is unfair...Thought Green Day was great.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 31, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Ya'll did note that Joel's moon article was "most viewed" all day long?

Posted by: nellie4 | January 31, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Taylor Swift can't carry a note with a handle. Most high school choirs have a better singer than her. Am I sounding bitter and jealous enough?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 31, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

So who, if not Taylor? You've left me hanging here yello!

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

That Shir Shomron certainly is... striking. And she has a Facebook page.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 1, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

You know I've seen the movie MASH three times. Once as a child (maybe even at a Drive-In) and again as a teen (VHS probably), and again this weekend (DVD).

As a child: way over my head. As a teen: hardly paid attention. This weekend: WOW! This was 1969???

I never realized the theme song had lyrics to it (In M*A*S*H it didn't).

Anyhow, I'm gonna watch it again before I return it.

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

The songs lyrics were written by Altman's 14 year old son

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Wait till RD_P gets a look see. We should have Paramedics standing by.

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

CqP, does your scheme to get hired onto a BBC production to sew hems involve:

The Fishnet Stocking Network
The Sans Coulettes
The Knights of the Garter...

I just think I named the first three books in a mystery series centering around a character that resembles a younger, needle-mad Miss Marple. Only perhaps being more of a Ms.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 1, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Now this would be a literary achievement:

But what would the title be?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I was pulling for Lady Gaga just to see if she could walk to the podium in that hat.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Suicide is Painless

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The things that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
So this is all I have to say

Suicide is painless (Suicide)
It brings on many changes (Changes)
And I can take or leave it if I please

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger watch it grin

Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied Oh why ask me

Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please
And you can do the same thing if you please

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. The Grannies were an homage to MJ? I'm confused.
The microwage went to appliance purgatory in a deluge of sparks and even flames. What an unsafe way to go bust.
The kids, who never lived without a microwage, are distressed. I think we'll go back to a telephone with a rotary dial, just to annoy them.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 1, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

An Oren Lavie video featuring Shir Shomron:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

The full list of Grammy Winners:

The partial list:
Bruce Springsteen
Judas Priest
Michael J. Fox
Stephen Colbert
Steve Martin

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about your microwave, sd. Mine is just slowly shedding pieces.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 1, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Good morning and happy Monday, all. Cassandra, I hope you are cozy and warm!

Temperature is 26, it didn't drop nearly as far as predicted - 15. Still, I'm going to ride the exercycle instead of walking this morning; there's still snow and ice on the sidewalks.

No school here today, thank heavens. Mr. T left for work at the normal time. I will assume her got there until advised otherwise.

Yello, love that song, always have. I saw the movie as a teenager. Like omni, I should watch it again.

Circling back on kit: I realized yesterday that it's been 49 years since President Kennedy made the pledge to go to the moon. Wow, I'm old.

Posted by: slyness | February 1, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Yello, I don't care much about the MW itself; I just wish it would quit without all the flames and fury. A co-worker had (minor) fire damage to the alcove the mw was set in when it did the same thing but for quite a bit longer. There's got to be a way to cut power when the magnetron goes bust. sheesh

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 1, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Yet ANOTHER stellar sunrise, complete with at least a dozen contrails doing a very good impression of aerial finger-painting... Gorgeous!

And despite the clear skies overnight the forecast deep-freeze failed to materialize... *SIGH*

So sorry to hear about the MW, Shriek! Glad it was largely contained and no one hurt! :-O

I had the strangest dream last night -- Brian Orakpo was bearing down on Lady Gaga, who was trying to throw the microphone to Brandon Marshall, covered by Keith Urban.

*wondering-what-sort-of-mashup-today-will-bring Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

And some lyrics for Wilbrod

Her Morning Excellence by Oren Lavie

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Elegance

Posted by: omnigood | February 1, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 1, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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