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Stretch your brain

I'm twirling plates, herding cats. Or maybe I'm twirling cats and herding plates. Busy though I might be, much of it is familiar, a series of routines and rituals, and even when I write a story saying they found a bunch of new planets, I know I've written if before. I've got a new-planets story template, in which I just change the names of the scientist and the telescope; I can literally write the story in about 13 seconds.

I don't mind plagiarizing myself because if I'm ever desperate for money I will sue my pants off.

But back to the brain. So often I get a tickling feeling at the back of my neck and I think: I had a feeling of deja vu EXACTLY like this before. And it's kind of annoying because I don't remember when and where and for what reason I had the deja vu. It's a free-floating deja vu echo, technically known, I believe, as a deja vu-vu.

Life is a series of almost-memories, flitting briefly into view. Consciousness and dreaming are slowly merging. My dreams are increasingly vivid only in the sense that my waking life is increasingly fuzzy.

I meet people who have aggressively good memories and want to discuss in excruciating detail some passing event that happened in, like, 1987, and to which I was an observer or interested party. That's almost rude -- no one should have to remember what they were doing back in the Iran-Contra Era. I want to say: "I don't recall that event, nor do I remember you, personally, and indeed I would like you to produce some identification before I call the police."

I look at pictures of myself from the 1980s and don't think "gosh, I look young," or "gosh, I look thin," but rather: "WHO DAT???"

The brain needs nurturing, we all know that. There are those who say that even in middle age we can learn things, get smarter, get sharper. We merely need to take our brain out for some exercise, do some mental calisthenics, experiment with new tricks, try to learn a language, write in reverse and read it in a mirror, brush our teeth with the other hand while hopping on one leg and listening to really bad young-people music, and whatnot. Like there's this piece in the New York Times that offers hope for the increasingly brain-fogged:

If kept in good shape, the brain can continue to build pathways that help its owner recognize patterns and, as a consequence, see significance and even solutions much faster than a young person can....

get out of the comfort zone to push and nourish your brain. Do anything from learning a foreign language to taking a different route to work.

Sure, but what about the joys of doing exactly the same thing every day and night? There's a reason people settle into routines: It's more relaxing than driving around town all night, searching for parking and wondering how long you'll have to stay at the party before you'll be permitted to go home and watch the ballgame.

But I do like that bit about the older brain being good at recognizing patterns. For example, the Redskins have had a pattern under Dan Snyder of hiring big-name, big-ticket free agents who turn out to be past their prime. If they were to carry that forward to their decision on who should coach the team, you'd expect that they'd find some guy whose greatest successes were about 10 years ago and who will cost them something like $7 million a year. Right?

That's the pattern. Another down-and-out.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 6, 2010; 8:54 AM ET
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I have this nagging feeling that I've written this comment before.

Posted by: rashomon | January 6, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I get hit with deja vu so frequently it gets tiring. I mean, it is exhausting when you have to devote so much energy to remembering exactly what this particular experience reminds you of.

I suspect it is a side effect of getting older. I have more things to compare against but a declining memory of the details. I am hopeful that as my mental decline accelerates I will simply lose those distant memories completely. This will make each new experience fresh and new. The joy of my morning oatmeal will be complete.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Laughed aloud at this kit. Yesterday, because I am not a football fanatic and don't recall the history of every player or coach, I read the Wiki article about Shanahan. And said to my husband, "Golly, he hasn't had a winning season in over 10 years -- what are the Redskins doing with their millions?"

Posted by: nellie4 | January 6, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Surprising punchline, Joel. Very good build up to what otherwise would be a trivial "what an idiotic pattern" gripe.

I laughed and sent it on.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 6, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I am a creature of habit. Routine guides my life. To a large extent this is an attempt to harness various forces of chaos, both internal and external, lest they pull me screaming into the abyss. But mostly it's because I don't much pay much attention to things.

One could argue that this is because I am always thinking Deep and Important Thoughts. At least that's the excuse I give my wife when I do something like put leftover turkey in the pantry. (Once. I did that Once.)

Where was I? Oh yes. Routine.

Routine for me is a situational mnemonic. If I do things exactly the same way I will be sure to not forget anything. If I do something radical, like, not set out my clothes for the next day, there is a reasonable chance that I will end up at the office wearing fuzzy slippers.

And take a new route to work? Are these people insane? The last time I tried to do that I ended up lost in some McMansion development just waiting for the helicopters to arrive.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I too am a creature of habit and if I do not pay attention have been known to take my regular route, even when the destination is not the regular place. Deja vu, it the realization "Oh crap I was supposed to go there today", in the language of the GPS lady, "recalculating".

On the good side I rarely miss a Tim Hortons drive thru :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | January 6, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

[Poking] Is it alive?

Posted by: joelache | January 6, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The thing about life and routine and memory is that when you think about the events in our life we DO remember, it's mind-boggling to think about the stuff we don't remember.

Does that make sense? I mean just for a simple example, look back to your college days. There are probably a total of maybe 30 hours' worth of those years (cumulative) that you can remember. What about the other 35,000 hours? What were you doing?

And that's only four years. Yikes.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"twirling cats"

Do you do that by strapping buttered toast to their backs and tossing them off the balcony?

Posted by: wiredog | January 6, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Can't Joel comment on the fishing vessel shearing off the bow of the Batmoboat?

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 6, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Now that I've been retired three years (!!!), I have developed a new routine that is familiar and satisfying. The transition was from work routine to retired routine a bit disorienting. I'm cool with it now.

The one routine that bothers me occurs when I'm keyboarding. Do other people have the problem of thinking one word and typing another? Happens to me All.The.Time.

Posted by: slyness | January 6, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

What's worse, TBG, is when you *think* you remember something really well and you actually don't. For example, the last time I was in my home town I was convinced that they had moved around a couple of streets just to mess with my mind.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Routines are comfortable and comforting, but after a while I find them rather too predictable and rather depressing. Sort of like how growing up I knew every Thursday night mom would serve chicken a la king. I like to vary my routes and reorder my daily tasks sometimes, just to keep it interesting. Right now I'm trying to talk "S" into taking a trip to Costa Rica. It's fairly untamed where #2 lives and I think he'd like to wait til it's less wild. I'd rather just do something slightly nuts!

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


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

Since humans see patterns where often none exist my lifelong quest is to try to stop seeing those non-existent patterns. This was difficult in my youth and it's difficult now. I'm starting to see a pattern.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 6, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

yello, were there any glimpses of sonofyello on TV last night? I had my eye out and thought I saw some possibles, but those hats make it hard to tell. Besides the fact that I don't know the guy.

Posted by: -bia- | January 6, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Routines keep me from losing my car keys. Most of the time.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Here's some on-kit disclosure: prior to 2006 when I first started hanging out here I don't think I ever wrote a non-assigned poem and certainly not any song parodies. Within a month or two of my de-lurking I had been at an advocacy seminar in which a highly regarded local lawyer recommended poetry as a way to increase your mental agility.

Must have partially worked because I certainly feel more smrt.

Posted by: engelmann | January 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

They had one camera angle of the GT marching band they would cut to whenever Tech had a big play, which was frustratingly infrequent. If you saw some saxophonists, he was probably in there.

In uniform, all the band members look alike. I took some telephoto pictures from the stands at the ACC Championship game and had to use a light table and a loupe to pick him out on the field.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Not only are the 'Skins looking habitual, so are da Bears. Yeah, there will be a new crop of assistants next season, but it's really just a proverbial rearrangement of the Titanic deck chairs.

On a more personal level, there are few things in life that take one out of one's routine than an accident or sudden illness. In the days since MrJS' fall we have both had to unlearn, or at least temporarily shelve, old routines and create new ones on the fly. And, of course, the new ones are being revised on a near-hourly basis and probably will be for some time.

I'm actually learning to appreciate the nature of chaos. I'm amazed at its potential for creativity, expansion and, dare I say, fun.

I have no idea how long it will last, but I'm actually enjoying the experience of not having any routines. I have only the vaguest of maps to follow and the desire to make it all work out somehow.

And, so far at least, it is.

Sorry about the Orange Bowl outcome, yellojkt. Sorta.

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Good. Effing. Riddance.

WTOP Radio

WTOP Breaking News

Jan 6th

Accused Holocaust museum shooter James Von Brunn has died in a prison hospital, according to the Associated Press.

For more details, visit .

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 6, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I have more than a tickling feeling at the back of my brain--more like a rocket on lift-off coursing through the veins under the skin of my rear scalp--and know the cause, always: a too big of a dab of wasabi.

Did anyone catch Olivia Judson's column at the NYT about memory? Not only is there the brain's memory, but the immune system has memory, too--and perhaps forgetfulness. Most interesting to me was the question of whether plants have memory. She poses the notion (one of several), with few details, that plants might be primed to enable them to forget a drought--a most useful idea in south Texas.

The forecast for Saturday morning here is 20 degrees, the cold front expected to arrive on 30 mph winds, we're told. Not the coldest ever recorded, but perhaps the lowest overnight temp in about a decade. After the hottest summer on record, I'm not mentally prepared for any more record-setting anything.

My husband's Spanish lessons from his calendar are proceeding. I've been helping him with pronunciation each day. I'd be surprised if he remembers one-tenth of the phrases on the 2010 pages by year's end. Yesterday's was a good one, though:

Necesito dormir la siesta: I need a nap.

I need a nap to give my brain a rest. This morning I finished Horner's latest book, and am pondering his last chapter: his hope of using signaling mechanisms extant, yet evolved in the chicken (avian dinosaur) genome to reverse engineer a chickenosaur with teeth, short forelimbs instead of wings, and a tail (and turning off the mechanism for the current structure of the chicken's pope's or parson's nose).

Little did I realize that Canadian Hans Larsson's work on the genes for spines/tails could have implications for serious birth defects of the human spine, including spina bifida. I immediately think of the Chris and Dana Reeve Foundation, and Nicholas Kristof's very recent column and his mention of folic acid to prevent sponal defects.

As I said, time to give the brain a rest.

Posted by: laloomis | January 6, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it's the point of uniforms to make everyone uniform, but it does make it hard for proud parents and their friends. The best shots I saw were from the pre-game show on the field.

It's the first day of classes, so time for me to figure out a new routine. When do I teach, again? I am happy to report that I successfully created syllabi in time for the first class day. Yep, yesterday.

Posted by: -bia- | January 6, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

SCC: link to Judson's "Memories in Nature"

Posted by: laloomis | January 6, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Deja-vu is actually just a glitch in the Matrix. I believe it's caused when the machines put in a patch of code to cover up their meddling.

Posted by: Gomer144 | January 6, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Certainly reading other people's poetry is an intellectual workout as well as an aesthetic pleasure. I will refrain from exercising my brain by writing and posting any pomes :) engelmann and 'mudge have that speciality very well covered.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Calcium's role in short-term memory formation (nutshell version--also consult Joseph LeDoux's Synaptic Self):

Posted by: laloomis | January 6, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I've always been fascinated by memory. I mean, the storage capacity needed is incredible. And I am especially intrigued by our ability to remember songs.

How many times have you heard a song from decades ago and remembered it, despite not having heard it since? Perhaps the brain just latches onto the patterns inherent in music. Or maybe we recall these songs simply because most people have such a strong association with music. I dunno. But I do know that my brain, when prompted, was able to recall the Banana Splits Theme Song in its entirety after nearly 40 years of quiescence.

I'm pretty proud of that.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

(Weird. I just re-loaded the page and it brought up the log-in page for the first time in ages.)

I would be willing to take that coaching position with the Washington Ethnic Slurs. I believe that my best days of football coaching (in fact, any days of football coaching) lie before me. I am not a has-been. I am convinced that my near-total lack of experience -- or, as I like to call it, my track record of independent preparation -- will give me a fresh perspective that will enable the Ethnic Slurs to foil the expectations of opponents and generate some real excitement and originality in game play. Because I consider the job itself to be at least half the reward, I would be willing to take the position for only half what Mr. Shanahan is charging -- $3.5 million would do very nicely. Per year. Two-year contract minimum, as I believe that stable expectations are an important component in leading any organization that depends on cooperation and personal excellence.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 6, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

My routine seems to be to start becoming fuzzy around 3:00. That's why the drive home is always on the same route - less chance of wandering off into the suburban landscape and wind up in some cul-de-sac.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 6, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I missed the pre-game show because my business meeting ran until nearly game-time. I do remember seeing lots of tubas on the TV in the sports bar window.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Routine? I'm routinely running in six directions at once.

As for memory, I'm not half bad, even though I can never remember how old I am. But that's not really's not like the number stays the same. I'm just too lazy to do the mental math, what with carrying the one....

I once learned there was a warrant out for my arrest for something I definitely would have remembered doing, but it seems youngest sis had all the fun with a borrowed ID.

laloomis, up here, they serve that chicken-o-saur you describe with bleu cheese dressing.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 6, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of long-buried memories, I recall seeing a TV show YEARS ago about the brain and memory storage. It included a segment during brain surgery where the docs inserted an electronic probe into the memory cortex. When the probe was activated the patient, who was awake, immediately described a memory in exact detail. Another spot in the brain, another exact memory. Apparently all of our life experince is still buried in there. The big trick is to find a way to access it (or not, if you don't really want to remember some of those episodes).

Posted by: ebtnut | January 6, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"less chance of wandering off into the suburban landscape and wind up in some cul-de-sac."

But that's how I get home!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

One banana, two banana, three banana, four!
One banana, two banana, three banana, four.
Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more.
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go
Comin' on to bring you The Banana Splits Show.

Makin up a mess of fun
Makin up a mess of fun
Lot's of fun for everyone.

Tra la la, la la la la.
Tra la la, la la la la.
Tra la la, la la la la.
Tra la la, la la la la.

Four banana, three banana, two banana, one.
All bananas playing in the bright warm sun.
Flippin like a pancake, poppin like a cork
Fleagle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork.

Full disclosure: I cheated and Googled the lyrics past the first line. And I have heard in at least once in the past decade or so.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

laloomis, I think they also sell the free-range chicken-o-saurus at the Renaissance Festival.

Trust me on this one...don't order the chicken-o-saurus fingers. Not what you think.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 6, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, at least one government agency is improving!! From the home page:

"IRS customer service faulted"

I mean, they used to be excoriated, right? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Boodleboodleboodle! Boodle!!

Sorry, our labs taught me that.

Memory is indeed a fascinating critter. As TBG says, while I remember some things vividly, there are huge chunks of years which I recall vaguely or not at all. What I remember vividly may be completely trivial and uninteresting, even to me, and - worse - may (as RD says) not even have happened. Or not as I remember it.

I am a creature of routine but I like to try changing that routine slightly. Having the Boy around helps, given the inherent prediliction of the young for random action. Also, I learned to my peril that if I do something with or for the Boy once, and he likes it, it is instantly a Tradition not to be Disturbed. Changing routines helps defray that tendency.

MsJS, there is a lot to be said for the ability to embrace chaos. I wouldn't want to do it every day, but it can be a valuable ally. I'm glad you're finding ways to transform some challenges into opportunities to think or feel differently. In the short run, that is; in the long run you want that hip to heal and the chance to resume the routines which are still attractive after their absence. Or something.

Some days words are hard, too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 6, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I think that just means their first audit notice was out of bounds and they have to re-serve.

Posted by: engelmann | January 6, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Having attended numerous Bronco games (husband has season tickets) I can say that Shanahan is a good coach especially when he has a great in the John Elway days which ended, um, ten years ago.

Off topic: I was driving on the San Diego freeway last night (805S for those in the know) and I noticed a huge white billboard
with only these three words in big black letters: Cover Your Cough. Right on!

Slyness, I too occasionally begin typing the word I'm thinking to then see a totally different word on the page. Start twilight zone

Posted by: Windy3 | January 6, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

RD, regarding music memory, I've always said that if they just taught math, algebraic formulas and such, set to music, I'd remember a lot more of it.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 6, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Indeed badsneakers. This was the premise behind the fiendishly clever "Schoolhouse Rock" episodes I recall from my youth.

Which is why, to this day, I must mentally sing the preamble to the Constitution.

And I know I am not alone.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

RD - you are most def not alone. i remember in gov class when we had to write the preamble to the constitution i heard a lot of humming... to this day i know the preamble to the constitution word for word... but only b/c of school house rock...

Posted by: mortii | January 6, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

7 million/year for a coach? Geesh that seems like a lot.I never liked Mike Shanahan,he looked too much like a nasty boss I had years ago. But I have become a skins fan lately,mostly because of the the friends I made in west by god.So maybe i will have to give him a break.

Yesterday almost felt balmy here,because there wasn't as much wind.I have a friend coming over for dinner,but i had to chip ice away from the grill where the sump pump made the back yard a skating rink.

As for my memory,I did a bit too much recreational illegal activities in the 70's to remember much about the 80's.I got better in the 90's,but then i started getting older.Now i can't seem to remember much.

example:I had the day off and wanted to hike in the park and take some pictures of any iced over waterfalls and streams.Well I found some nice ones at the park,but my camera was left here at the house....D'oh!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

For sneaks, tune the chorus of "will the circle be unbroken"

To find the area, of a circle
Multiply pi, yes, that pi
And squared radius, of that circle
the radius squared, now, by pi.

Posted by: engelmann | January 6, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

... do ordaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain and estab-LISH this Constitu-shunnnnnnnn

for the

United States of



Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

One more, to "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

And now we’ll calculate the length of triangle’s hypoteneuse
First take the squares of sides A and B and add them, silly goose
the square root of that sum, you see, is your hypoteneuse
And we ain’t gonna wonder no more

Glory, glory, it’s quite a theorem
Triangles, once would not go near them
Thanks Pythagoras, we need not fear ‘em
And we ain’t gonna wonder no more

Posted by: engelmann | January 6, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice knowin' ya, Gilbert:

Indefinite suspension, w/o pay.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Is there a dance that goes w/ the song, Snuke?

One two kick step
We the People of the United States
Shuffle step turn and leap
In order to form a more perfect Union

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

And nice knowin' ya, Sheila:

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Snuke's full of good cheer today.

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

For my good cheer, I think tonight I'm going to tap a dram of the McCallan 18 yr. that my wife got me for Xmas.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yum, ebtnut! The MacCallan is a fav.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy it, ebtnut!

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Way back in the far, far past, (8th grade) my friends and I sang the preamble to "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful."

Seems better than that "School House Rock" thing!

Posted by: nellie4 | January 6, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

There's a hypothesis that when we remember something, it's also a memory of the last time we remembered that thing. Contamination is suggested.

Every so often I recall something I have never reconsidered since the moments it happened. Such a memory is uncontaminated by numerous recalling. They are special and pure.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

RD - there has been research done on the differences in the way that the brain processes language vs. music, and this includes song lyrics. Lyrics are apparently stored in memory differently than speech. I remember reading an article years ago -- probably either Discover or Psychology Today -- about people who suffered from total aphasia due to brain damage, yet could sing along with songs that they had learned years before.

Posted by: rashomon | January 6, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to think of it as The Observer Effect rather than contamination, jumper.

The very act of observing a memory, or anything for that matter, changes it.

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Also, I have noted from my own experience that when I was under extreme stress (especially when my mother was ill), I was subject to a great deal of aphasia. Couldn't find words and couldn't complete sentences clearly. I ended up just trying to relax as much as possible, getting enough sleep and just forging ahead. I must say that it was pretty scary, especially since my mother's illness was Alzheimers.

But I think the brain is a magical organ and I have the utmost respect for it. It definitely knows what it's doing, and it does it well, unless we take measures to interfere w/ it. As we all do, from time to time.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 6, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Rashomon, my mom could still sing along with Christmas carols well into the later stages of Alzheimer's, so I'm sure that research is correct.

Speaking of routines. The obvious just hit me (duh!), we all had interrupted routines this morning when we couldn't visit here.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 6, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

You're absolutely right, badsneaks, and it's a bit scary how disorienting that particular disruption of routine was.

Posted by: -bia- | January 6, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Schoolhouse Rock - Th Preamble

Weeee the people,
In order to form a more perfect union,

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

My wife keeps asking me how she's going to tell when the Alzheimer's has set in. I tell her it's too late.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this is a really cool blog and funny comments (mostly).

When I went to the last night, this wasn't here. And today - *poof* - here it is.

I'm bc, nice to meet you all.


Posted by: -bc- | January 6, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I was more than a little disconcerted when the Boodle wasn't available. I was compelled to work.


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

Deja Vu is already a part of my everyday existence. I always have this feeling that everything I do has already happened but can't remember when and where.

Tracy, Velocity Fulfillment

Posted by: VelocityFulfillment | January 6, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Ever have one of those moments when you realize you forgot something, and your blood runs cold?

I just did.

Was locking the deadbot from the outside and got that feeling.

Realized I wasn't wearing pants.



Posted by: -bc- | January 6, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 6, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I once had a short episode of jamais vu. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

bc: Do you remember how the bot died or in what you locked it?

* :-) *

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

yello - thanks for that link. Wow, talk about activating long-dormant braincells. Seriously, is there anyone in America who watched cartoons in the 1970s who does not know that tune? The youtube comments were amusing as well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

bc, indeed. I just took the dog out for a walk and suddenly felt a cold chill run through me. And I knew, somehow, that you weren't wearing pants.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thanks, yellojkt. I played it for the Boy while Ivansdad and I sang along. He's heard it before, but it doesn't resonate with him in the same way. I don't know how they're teaching the Preamble now, but we have it memorized and he doesn't. Hey! Arts education!

The wind chill is already dropping. Our Arctic Cold Air should be here in scant hours. Here's how unprepared we are for real cold, like you Lower Canuckistanis and Haute Mainers have: our school district Closed The Schools today and tomorrow. So did the other major city. Yep, the two largest school districts Closed It Down. They were followed by scores of smaller districts (we have hundreds, I don't want to talk about it). Now, as they say, this is a prudent student safety measure. Most kids statewide either walk or ride the bus. With probable windchills below zero both days, and lots of kids who either ride the bus and stand outside at bus stops, or who walk as much as a mile (or more) to school, it would be dangerous to have them out. This is particularly true since many of them have to be there before or right at sunrise. Nonetheless, it feels very odd to admit that we done Closed the Schools for Cold Weather.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 6, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I just looked up that term. Wow. The French really *do* have a word for everything. I've experienced that sensation every once and a while with words. I recall, years ago, looking at the word "marshmallow" and finding it momentarily unfamiliar.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Yoki knows this already, but listen up you reminiscing folk. Blossom Dearie, jazz vocalist and pianist recently dead, sang in those SchoolHouse Rock spots. Her "Figure Eight" caught me by surprise: made me weep a bit and never feel the same about ice skating.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

ORAHV, ma cher Yoki. (On rit à haute voix.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 6, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

She is also on Mother Necessity -- the Inventiveness clip -- with other voices.

And, as a grammar-gal, I like "Unpack your Adjectives" natch:

Darling wee, soft lilting voice, Blossom has.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness cQp. I hadn't seen that in 35 years and all the memories came rushing back. I am going to have to check out all the SchoolHouse Rock bits and have me a moment of nostalgia overload.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

My personal fav:

And kinda fits in with the kit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Smokey quintessential torch jazz here:
How do you say Auf Wiedersehen?

(Parisian flavor, not Munchen at all...:) )

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

i thought that was de ja-ja voodoo

Posted by: omnigood | January 6, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Two re-run epoisodes of Glee coming up, back-to-back.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of 70s Saturday morning TV, this Tweet is from Jonathan Coulton...

"Scooby-doo villain: your autonomous robot technology is probably more valuable than the amulet you have programmed it to steal."

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

RD -- I like that one too. This is from the Euro Hubblecast site:

15 sec animation of what it would be like to fly over the moon of an extrasolar planet.


Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Talk about nostalgia overload... *wiping my eyes must be that darn cat dander* ;-)

Gotta play those for NukeSpawn...

And I bet I know pj's favorite Schoolhouse Rock.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

This video is about the importance of the deep field Hubble images. I used it in a presentation on visualization and science rhetoric.

about 6 minutes: helpful as background to this kit. Addresses the trouble of trying to grasp the size of thinginess.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm too old for Schoolhouse Rock and too young for Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny. I was more of a Top Cat and George of the Jungle kid. Or Deputy Dawg and Quickdraw McGraw.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- I had the stair step sibs so that I eavesdropped on their TV. Don't forget Mr. Wizard and Fractured Fairy Tales....and Tom Terrific on Kaptain Kangaroo.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"Can we have your liver, then?"

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

CqP... that video about our smallness is awesome. As an editor, though, I must complain about its YouTube title...

Hubble Deep Field: The Most Imp. Image Ever Taken (Redux)

So the most *important* word in that title was abbreviated. What could it be? Impish? Impudent? Impossible?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

somewhere in the deep recesses of my memory, I recall reading that deja vu can be caused by very episode specific combinations of olfactory and visual cues. the combination of cues causes your brain to rerun a particular memory, fooling you into thinking been there, done that, re-living it.

Posted by: -jack- | January 6, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

There used to be a sign in Salsbury, Md., at the entrance to the...

Maryland Department of Trans.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I once saw this as an IMAX. Brought almost as many manly tears as SchoolHouse Rock.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Nah! It is about imps, the little green peeps in space....they MEANT that. Now, the weird word is the frenchified Redux.


Trans! Funny. Tranverses, Transposes, Transexuals, oh, the possibilities.

And, I am jonesing after Greek food this evening. Wonder why? Fax me some mousakka and almond baclava for the post-comfort food sweet.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

CqP, this is a similar video about the deep field image, which gives a metric for the scale which is left out of the other one: the area covered by the 1996 image is the size of a grain of sand held out at arms length. There is also a terrific 3D zoom through the galaxies at the end of the video.

TBG, one of my favorite abbreviations of all time is a sign I used to see in Rock Creek Park in Maryland: MD NAT CAP PARK PLAN COM (the Maryland/National Capital Park and Planning Commission)

Posted by: rashomon | January 6, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, I can tell I'll be spending all tomorrow morning watching YouTube links, as Mr. T has the television on right now and I don't want to compete.

I never had to memorize the Preamble. Shakespeare, yes. (Friends, Romans, countrymen...)

It's Twelfth Night, folks. Anybody got plans?

Posted by: slyness | January 6, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Rash -- I see several of them floating around. My first one came from somebody at Goddard Sp.Fl.Cen.

We should recall the amazing pioneering visualization on inner and outer space: Powers of Ten.

Ray and Charles Eames are the originators of this fine trip. Commissioned by IBM through the amazing research center in Menlo Park, CA. I interviewed for a job there in 1982, but you know, that was the last uber recession we had. 9 astonishing minutes.

Then, traverse over to the Powers of Ten website, run by the Eames Office and the Eames' grandson. His name is Eames Demetrios (TBG -- Greek goodness! I still needs some luscious food.)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 6, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: slyness | January 6, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

All the signs around Columbia Gateway Parkway are abbreviated as "Col Gateway Parkway". I keep wondering what Colonel Gateway did that was so important that they named a parkway after him.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I love that! My GPS reads Fairfax Co. Parkway as Fairfax Company Parkway.

This is fun!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

This my absolute favorite Schoolhouse Rock bit. I just have to tap my toes every time I hear it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

While watching college football or basketball on ESPN, I love to see the abbreviations for the various schools in the footer as the other scores are displayed:
and the like.

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Has someone already posted this "Schoolhouse Rock" link?

The brilliance is that they got the same guy to sing it. Not exactly sure why the "related videos" are all about 9-11 conspiracies.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I almost wish I was of an age to appreciate these links with nostalgia. I missed that entire part of Americana.

I have a dilemma. Not on kit exactly, but it is stretching my brain a bit:

At the moment, all the images on this weather radar are blue. The legend shows that green is the lightest precipitation, followed by yellow, orange, red, and purple. No blue.

So what should my brain do now?

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The blue seems to be somewhere on the other side of purple-to-green. Funny!

So... what links *would* you look at with nostalgia, MsJS?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Decide to bake more cookies!

Posted by: -dbG- | January 6, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

BOO, sorry! I was responding to MsJS before TBG posted.

Posted by: -dbG- | January 6, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

MsJs, on the NOAA website blue comes before green. Here we understand blue to be snow, the darker the blue, the heavier the snow. I'm with you on the youtube links, I was too old for schoolhouse rock. Rocky and Bullwinkle would make me sit up and take notice.

Meant to mention that my trip to the post office today involved walking past the LaRouche glassbowls. They had a poster with the president's face and the words "Obama cracker" - classy. I asked the postal worker inside if they had a permit to be there. He replied that he guessed they did but said also that he hoped that they would harass me in some way so I could call the police and report them. Alas, no such luck.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 6, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Sorry. There I am, always getting in the way.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

TBG and dbG, I think we're just so happy to be able to post tonight that we're falling all over ourselves!!

Posted by: badsneakers | January 6, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely! It was disconcerting not to be able to boodle last night and this morning. Disorienting, even.

Posted by: slyness | January 6, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

cQp - Oh, thanks for pointing out Blossom Daisy to me. What a lovely voice, and such a wonderfully long career.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Oops Blossom Dearie. But shew was singing about a daisy...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 6, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

dbG: Eek!
My oven likes baking cookies. I'm sure it will remind me of that before too long.

Sneaks: I'm told I do a reasonable imitation of Bullwinkle's voice.

I missed a lot of the stuff that folks my age would get nostalgic over. Parents were not into their kids being into popular culture.

Posted by: MsJS | January 6, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Heard that Fort Sam Houston went into temporary lockdown today on our local ABC affiliate station before dinner. The Express-News has the story at its website; I can't find any mention of this story on the TV station's website this evening. An unnamed/unknown individual tried to see paralyzed Fort Hood shooter Hasan today in his hospital room at BAMC, first claiming to be his lawyer, then his doctor.

Posted by: laloomis | January 6, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

James Cameron's next movie venture about the atomic bomb? From a paragraph from an important obit in today's NYT. The words "film project" don't provide much description--documentary, feature film?:

At a lecture he gave in Nagasaki last June, Mr. Yamaguchi said he had written to President Obama about banning nuclear arms. And he was recently visited by the American film director James Cameron to discuss a film project on atomic bombs, Ms. Yamasaki said.

Posted by: laloomis | January 6, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

"In wayfarer’s worlds out west was once a man,
A man I come not to bury, but to praise.
His name was Geoffrey Lebowski called, yet
Not called, excepting by his kin.
That which we call a knave by any other name
Might bowl just as sweet. Lebowski, then,
Did call himself ‘the Knave’..."

This is the beginning chorus of "Two Gentlemen of Lebowski" by Adam (ta da!) Bertocci, a work of absolute art...

Posted by: -TBG- | January 6, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I love Blossom Dearie. Of course, I especially love "My Attorney Bernie" and "The Answering Machine Song." How to be such a great stylist of music, and so funny?!

Though My Attorney is Martin.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm enjoying the video feast, sciencey and Schoolhouse Rock-ey. I plan to show the Boy some of them tomorrow. While he's not at school. While we're all cowering from the cold.

It is settling in now. The wind is gusting, wind chill is cold, and the light rain is turning to snow. It got warm today and a lot of the piled-up snowbanks melted. At least it will be easy for the roads to freeze into black ice tonight. I'm thinking I'll start work late tomorrow.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 6, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

That rug, in faith, tied the room together, did it not?

By my heart, a goodly rug.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

In sooth, then, faithful friend, this was a rug of value? Thou wouldst call it not a rug among ordinary rugs, but a rug of purpose? A star in a firmament, in step with the fashion alike to the Whitsun morris-dance? A worthy rug, a rug of consequence, sir?

It was of consequence, I should think; verily, it tied the room together, gather’d its qualities as the sweet lovers’ spring grass doth the morning dew or the rough scythe the first of autumn harvests. It sat between the four sides of the room, making substance of a square, respecting each wall in equal harmony, in geometer’s cap; a great reckoning in a little room. Verily, it transform’d the room from the space between four walls presented, to the harbour of a man’s monarchy.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

oh, yellojkt, you just made me crack up.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | January 6, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse


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

Full disclosure: Those are just the best bits from TBG's link.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 6, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, bc, we gonna have a playoffs tiara challenge?

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 6, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if it's my hand getting ahead of my brain or other ways, but lately when I do the xword puzzle, I find myself writing a letter too soon...for instance today an answer was balloon. the n and the second l were already in place. I ended up wit ballonn.

Yeah, I definitely need more brain stretching

Posted by: omnigood | January 6, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

EYE do plenty of brain stretching. The problem is, I do plenty of brain shrinking, too. I need to do less of that.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

just because it hasn't been done for the past couple of weeks, some background music

the semester is turning, leaving but 87 days until summer holiday. my how time flies. the avg temp here has been around 25 for the past week, and will drop even further by the weekend, with near single digit lows by saturday morning. if only our fireplaces were functional. they're designed to burn coal, the hottest fire i've ever seen burn in a hearth.

Posted by: -jack- | January 6, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

At least we'll know to whom we must point the finger, when NC gets pea-soup fogs.

Posted by: Yoki | January 6, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I remember how the smoke from wood burning stoves got trapped near the ground in an inversion layer during the depths of the Potsdam winter. It hasn't been this cold for this long in these parts since '77, although I didn't move here until '84. *That* was a cold winter. If the fireplaces were functional, there's coal all over the grounds about the shack.

Posted by: -jack- | January 6, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm up for a challenge.

For the record I believe bc and TBG share the weekly tiara record at four each. LiT with three. Mudge, Scotty and I trailing with two. Also, it seems we all had a midseason slump.

I find it completely funny that my two weeks proudly wearing the Tiara must surely be flukes: week 2 and 4. My statistical methodology requires at least 4-6 games and of course this is when I started picking the worst.

bc is the only nose picker to win the Tiara with less than 10 right (week six). (The start of the slump

Posted by: omnigood | January 6, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

love the school house rock clips. my favs are the conjunction, interjection, and bill ones. they're all great though.

Posted by: LALurker | January 6, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Potsdam NY? I remember '77. Lower Bucks County PA. I don't recall it being particularly cold, but it was the only blizzard, for real, I ever saw. Could barely make out the shape of houses 50 feet away across the street. four to five feet of snow in about 24 hours. some snow drifts down in the woods were up to 8-10 feet. My second winter in PA. Welcome to Bucks Co kiddo. boy oh boy was that fun for for a 15 YO old boy.

(At least I think it was 1977)

Posted by: omnigood | January 7, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I've been trying to respond to you on the Playoff Tiara Challenge to the affirmative.

Been clicking and clicking my wireless mouse and nothing was happening.

Eventually realized that the wireless mouse was actually my stapler.


Posted by: -bc- | January 7, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

A few years ago, going out and get 5 or 6 errands done was not a problem. Now, with a written list of 2 or 3 items, I could only get 1 thing done. Two, if they are easy ones.

Certain words which are spelt correctly seem wrong to me, now.

The only positive thing about this mental declination is that I get a bit more exercise. I go upstairs to get something. When I got there, I forgot what I needed to get, so I go back downstairs. Just as I was about to sit down, I remembered what I forgot. I head back upstairs again. When I got up there, I got distracted and come back down without getting what I had gone up there to get originally. And then I have to go back upstairs again.

Posted by: rainforest1 | January 7, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. The mild weather continues (-8C/17F).

This one is for Mudge, the briner extraordinaire.
On the front page of the Wapo:
"Brining in a famous head coach with a winning record doesn't mean the Redskins will be revived." Shahanan is a turkey?

Yoki, you are all "du jamais vu".

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, happy Thursday. Hi Cassandra, hope you are okay!

Winter of 77...hmmm. Yes, I do recall that was a cold one. I was working in library technical services in a big room that took from Monday to Thursday to warm up.

This morning it's colder at home than in the mountains. There is something wrong with that.

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. It was just a tad warmer here yesterday as the day progressed, but not warm enough to leave the coat at home.

I'm feeling well enough to continue my routine, so it was a long day.

Ivansmom, got a chance to read the book to the kids at the Center. They love the pictures as I do, well some of them do. A little girl in the first grade loved the Little Red Riding Hood book. I told her I would bring it back and we're going to read it together. The g-girl snagged the one with all the pictures. She wanted to take all three!

We've had a fire here in the complex down the street from me. I don't have many of the details, but I'm trying find out where the folks are that live in those apartments. I'm rethinking rental insurance, but where, oh, where do I get the finance is always the question for me and many others.

I should have some answers today from the doctor's office, hopefully with a fix in there somewhere. Keep me in your prayers.

Scotty, Yoki, Mudge, Martooni, Slyness, Lindaloo, and everyone, have very good day, and keep warm. Check on your elderly neighbors, and open your heart to the homeless. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 7, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

The brining of Shanahan has been corrected. For 7 mil a year does he bring a young and healthy John Elway with him? I didn't think so either.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of memory...

It's a sure hint I need to work on mine when I've taxied halfway to the Dawn Patrol runway and realize I left my wallet on the coffee table. Made it back in time for my normally scheduled takeoff, thankfully.

I'm up for a playoffs tiara challenge, sure. I've got the big Mo (not you, mo, but the overused sports term) on my side, so what could possibly go wrong?

*wow-its-Thursday-already Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"Muscle memory" is a weird effect. You know, the way you train yourself to do certain actions so thoroughly that they become innate. Tying a necktie is a classic example. And these things are surprisingly long lived. Just for fun, take a pen and write a few years from the past century, like "1979" or "1992." If you are like me, your hand races through them, especially the "19" bit, without hesitation. Do this too many times, though, and you will be mucking up checks for days.

Assuming anyone actually still uses checks.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 7, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

WaPo has a very nice memorium for Omni magazine today even if he takes a few cheap shots at fans of classic rock.

As a devoted READER of all the Guccione empire magazines in the late seventies and early 80s, my friends and I noticed all the stylistic similarities between Omni and the flagship publication.

The WaPo article has some keen insights into Omni's demise. I have always pegged it as being the descent into parapsychology and UFOlogy that mirrored the other magazine's fascination with conspiracy theories.

The most thought provoking thought is this:

"Other magazines ate Omni's lunch: Subscribers to the newly launched Wired looked suspiciously like Omni readers who'd moved on and gotten MBAs."

Well, at least our engineering degrees. I bought the charter issue of Wired on the newsstand long after I had stopped spending money on Bob's slicks. Omni completely missed the rise of cyber culture. By not keeping up with the times, the magazine of the future doomed itself to obsolescence.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

RD, the other night at my first tennis experience in about 20 years, I had the same bad habits that I had back then, muscle memory indeed. Now if only my muscles would remember not to ache after the exertion, especially my right wrist.

Seems like we will be escaping the worst of the cold weather that a lot of the country is having. Just normally cold here, not that it feels any better except by comparison.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

The Elway connection does seem to have been a major factor in Shanahanahan's previous success. Good luck to the Landover Native Americans without it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm so glad to see the boodle back up and running. The boodle is part of my routine. And yet, it is the least routine thing I do in a day.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Reasonably mild here this morning but supposed to get cold for the weekend. For those of you in more southern climes I offer this to warm you. The Olympic flame is now in Winnipeg, keep in mind you are balmy compared to there. Camera is working today but might be sporadic, also the weather link, a warm -17f there this morning -38 with the windchill - hope that flame gives off some heat.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I forget where I heard it, but some news show was running a tease for Shania Twain running with the torch. If one of our Canucki boodlers could hook me up with pics or video, I would be very grateful.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Yello, on the link I posted are many links to photos and videos, Shania did indeed run maybe 4 or 5 days ago in Timmons, Ontario.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Well there is this link,

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Or this link,,,20334105,00.html

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

There is a huge sign entering Timmins: "Hometown of Shania Twain". The new barn is named the Shania Twain arena if I remember correctly. They are very proud of their girl.
But gawd, that's a boring place. The only cultural activity is drinking.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Never been to Timmons (that I remember anyways).

On the live link I note that Eddie the "Eagle" Edwards just ran with the flame, nice honour for him, despite the cold!

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, dmd. She sure was bundled up well. I saw Shania in concert at the MCI Center several years back. She sang the first half of the show in a Redskins jersey and the second half in a baggy Capitals jersey. A (female) coworker agreed that I was ripped off and due a refund.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

shriek, I think that you'll find that brining Shanahan has a number of interesting effects (which I do tend to recommend). By immersing Shanahan in a large bucket or vat of brine for anywhere from four hours to overnight will resuklt in a Shanahan that is significantly moister than he would otherwise be. This is because brining him hydrates of his muscle tissue by the process of osmosis. This allows hiscells to hold on to the water while while he is coaching via the process of denaturation. The brine surrounding the play-calling cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid in his muttering and cursing cells, his pacing-up-and-down cells, his product endorsement cells, and other cells less central to his role as Redskin-in-chief.

In Shanahan's case, I recommend approximately one cup of kosher salt to every gallon of brine, along with a quarter cup of sugar, a stick of cinnamom, three bay leaves (uncrushed), and an assortment of fresh herbs, say, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (either the older versions or the newer Dylan and Simon versions, it doesn't matter; allare good).

Brining Shanahan also means that the water carried into the cells dilutes the other solutes already there. The increased salinity denatures the proteins, which coagulate, forming a matrix that traps water molecules and holds them during halftime as well as during those long periods when the refs go to the booth to confer upon challeneges and controversial plays during the last two minutes. As you know, these delays can take several weeks to resolve. Thus, brining prevents the offensive and defensive game plan from dehydrating.

Kosher head coaches are salted during the process of koshering, interviewing, Rooney Rule waiting periods, etc., and so are not brined.

(Note: after thorough brining, the head coach must be thoroughly washed and rinsed before being present to the media for roasting.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Next up on "Cooking with the NFL," how to make an offensive line coordinator béchamel and mirepoix for struggling special teams, especially punt returns.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I ended yesterday with soulful torching BD. She swung too.

Good morning, with a swinging Blossom Dearie, singing "I am Hip." Live performance and the lady says, "no photos." This means you.

The tune and lyrics are by Dave Frishberg who wrote "I'm just a bill" for School House Rock. That 3 minute civics lesson was sung by jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 7, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Bundled up is the only way to dress with a -30 windchill Yello. In my search also noted that Shania is currently filling in on the CBC show "The Current" and will be travelling to Jordan to inview the Queen of Jordan on her charitable foundation.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The kick/punt return recipe specifies jumping beans, does it not?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all!

We get snow today, tonight, and tomorrow. Then cold. Must be January in TWC.

Got a great giggle envisioning the brining of Shanahanahanahanahan. (My s-i-l's family name is the same and she insists this is how it is spelled.)

Every time I see the title of this kit I think of my Silly Putty days. Pressing the stuff onto a face in the Sunday comics and then stretching the image in the putty every which way.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Headline on George Will column: "College football is all about money."

I'm guessing someone has told GW that it really isn't all about academic excellence. I suspect he's crushed.

I just hope to hell no one tells him that a lot of the cheerleaders aren't virgins. I don't think he could handle that.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so, Mudge!


Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Indeed. A shockingly high seven or eight percent of them may not be -- as they say -- "intact" unpon entering the bridal bower. Let us hope their future husbands might not notice, the poor lambs. If they do, I suppose there is always the (Mr. Will, close your ears) "bicycle-riding accident" story.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

What of the male cheerleaders? Or are we just calling them "catchers" these days?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Sweet Jaysus. "Discussions" section headline: "Redskins Tailgate: Is Shanahan washed up?" Gimme a break, the poor sumb1tch ain't even out of the brine yet.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Pssst, new kit.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid all you people are quite wrong about the Shanahan-and-brining issue. You see, the headline specifically was about brining *in* Shanahan, a much more dubious culinary procedure, as it requires that one has access to a Shanahan of one's own to complete the procedure. Frankly, in these financially parlous times, I think it shows poor judgment that the WaPo should feature so-called "cooking hints" that depend upon specialized equipment or materials available only to those of significant means. Especially since one's investment in one's Shanahan is likely to be ephemeral: experience suggests that a Shanahan, or similar alternative Head Coach, will not remain viable for more than a year, requiring a similar substantial investment just a year later.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 7, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Metro section headline: "Man takes a naked jog near White House."

Fellahs, please don't make me take attendence.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Tom Wolfe wrote an entire novel based on just that shocking discovery. 'I Am Charlotte Simmons' also deals with the seamy underside of collegiate sports. Perhaps Georgie got a copy for Christmas and needed some column fodder.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Nostalgia continued. Tammy Grimes made great musical theater hay out of her voice of gravel, sinus, and pre-adolescent settings. I love her narrations best.

This 8 minute clip is of the wondrous and short-lived Long Ago and Far Away PBS series of folk tales from all over. Narrated by Darth Vader erh, oopsies, James Earl Jones, the opening scene featured a deep black velvet set studded with stars.

Other episodes? Tammy Grimes (The Happy Circus),
Kim Loughran (Bill and Bunny),
David Suchet (The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship), and Mia Farrow (Beauty and the Beast, Pegasus).

Complete episode details here:

Scroll down for the episode series. Some of them are available as VHS or DVDs. Thinking of the youngest boodle progeny and horrors (in a good way), the grandchild boodlers.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Whew! I'd rather stretch my brain than deal with that storm any day!

Bunker is open and ready for business! Mexican for lunch (thanks, Jack!) and we'll discuss supper mid-afternoon. Meanwhile, two decks of cards out, as well as Trivial Pursuit.

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey, guys. Check in if you want. We have a full-blown Crazy Alert going on in the next kits, so I'm just gonna hang around here for a while. slyness, you here yet? Wanna open up a nice prosecco and have some cheese and crackers before lunch?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

First snow of the season here over night. A puny effort so far...less than a 1/2 in. on the ground. But, now it's snowing again. We'll see.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I faxed over cookies from Tuesday's bakefest and some tomato basil soup. Did they arrive OK?

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

That sounds great mudge. In real life a coworker showed up with an enormous container of assorted dried fruits. For which I have a tremendous weakness. So, you know, I'll need some cheese and crackers to balance things out.

Who knew that a kit like this would arouse such passions?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 7, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

whew the new kit went from 3 post to 77 in an hour.I knew this was the only safe place to be.Those people are like crazy piranha's.I want to be where i know all the crazies and they are loved.

I still have some grilled chicken from last night's ill-fated attempt at a date.I guess when the date doesn't show up,call or answer her phone,she is not really interested. No big deal anyway and i got chicken to contribute to today's lunch and to eat at work the rest of the week.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Trivial Pursuit. I remember when that came out way, way back in 1982. And then there were all the knock-offs. I used to be pretty good at that game, except I kept answering in the form of a question.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Daughter made some 7-layer dip last night. Should go well with jack's Mexican feast. Help yourselves.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, green! Chicken sounds perfect, as does the cheese and crackers.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

*mfhghemnmp* Jack and tbg, this is really good Mex and dip!

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Mudge -- got here. And, I think you saw my response about the loss of Yiddish on campus. Sigh -- we are not an educational-institution much these days. Higher Ed is a career training wonderland now. WHICH I understand. But the chief products of a U should be:

generate knowledge and technology, mostly for "free"
SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE/TECH in the gift economy
guide young-ems through the knowledge and tech fields

Career stuff should be frosting.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 7, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey TBG, Merry Christmas.

Posted by: engelmann | January 7, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, WHERE did you put that second bottle of prosecco? First one is gone.

Chicken! Cookies! Adult beverages! We could stay here all weekend.

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Okay I can add some linguini with clam sauce to the menu for those who don't want Mexican. Feeling a bit out of sorts as #2 is in Costa Rica and I miss her. Altho' I will say that Facebook is proving to be a great way to chat back and forth. I 'shared' breakfast with them this morning. Once they get to their house, they won't have Internet access unless they go down the mountain to the Internet cafe.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I see I arrived in time for lunch. Took time to read the comments in the new kit it amused me but I have no interest in joining in.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

CqP: I agree with you in principle regarding role of higher education.

At the same time I look at BroJS and his three college-age daughters. In this economy, without at least a few 'career' type classes on their transcripts, their chances of landing a post-college job drop substantially.

I make no claim at knowing where the balance point is. Just pointing out a situation from my 3D life.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

ohhhhhhhhh, nice to be home. . . .

CQP, as a linguaphile myself, I really think educational institutions (especially those of "higher" learning (trying to suppress a *snort*, knowing all about the University of Michigan annual "hash bash" on the Diag) are making a mistake in cutting down/out foreign languages. I will admit that languages come very easy to me, but the world actually does speak other languages and to be competitive (if that is what this country really wants to be) and independent from those who control our economy (such as it is) (like China), it really is incumbent upon us to learn other languages.

Of course, there are people in this country who never leave their home towns, and therefore never need to know anything other than what they learned in kindergarten. Like, perhaps, those bombarding the kit we just left.

But I digress.

My mother spoke a little Yiddish, and when I was working in West Germany (as it was then) during the summer of 1980, having heard her speak it was very, very helpful and instrumental in my being able to understand written and spoken German. Well, that and the similarity in many ways to Swedish (but not in spelling or grammar).

Please pass the crackers and dip, if you would.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 7, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I can add some fresh fruit courtesy of a co-worker.

And hey, we could also practice how to defend yourself against an attacker armed with fresh fruit! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

[bc, dusting himself off and shutting the door behind him.]

Ay carrumba.

Anyone else here?


Posted by: -bc- | January 7, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Mexican is great on such a cold day! Thanks jack. I've got a two-four of beer (Traditional Ale) to go with it, and am ready to pitch in in the kitchen for supper, if we're still in here.

I love the paradox of the commenters who say we should respect the guy's privacy, all the while reading stories on him and posting comments. Hee hee.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, hi everybody.


Posted by: -bc- | January 7, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

College is not vocational school. That's what I tell my kids and anyone else who will listen. Of course, look at my son... in a vocational program (Graphic Arts & Printing) and he's happy as a clam. A printing and designing clam.

Here's my life these days: the other day at lunch (at work) I made a reference to Willy Loman and I was met with blank stares all around the table. Even after explaining who he was (is?), there was no hint of recognition.

And they think I'm weird.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I need to grocery shop so I can't add any food, but still have many wine bottle left from Christmas and some cold Corona to go with the Mexican food.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 7, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

ftb: It's a puzzlement to me, the relative disinterest American elementary schools (at least the ones near me) have in foreign languages.

Please pass me a Traditional Ale, Yoki.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, we've got a 'Mudge impersonator in the infected Kit...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

This is FUN! Anybody interested in a game of Scrabble? (I always lose!)

The sun is shining but inclement weather is in the forecast. (Hey bia!) So when I was coming home from the grocery store I got behind a truck spreading brine and got it all over my clean car. Yes, I wiped it off before it dried.

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Granddaughter #1 is taking Spanish and she's in fifth grade, so maybe there's some hope for learning languages. I wish they started them sooner tho' as I think it sticks better to younger brains. I took French for years but lack of use has left me with very little of it. #2 has been commenting in Spanish on her Facebook page and it's 'Greek' to me.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The great thing I've learned over the decades, MsJS, is that when I try to speak another language -- especially what might be called a "minor" language -- not only do I get a lot (and I mean *a lot*) of respect (especially as an American), but I also get invited to parties. It's enormous fun, and I've met a lot of new and very interesting people.

I'm sort of learning some African languages now, and believe you me -- I get great kudos for that. And it's fun for me.

Time for lunch (the actual one, although I will be nibbling from the Bunker this afternoon).

Posted by: -ftb- | January 7, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks -- TBG can help you out on the Greek stuff.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 7, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

One good thing about a university in a little town far far away from anywhere else -- it can't depend on no-benefits part-timers for the teaching, because there just isn't a pool of people around. If the only way to get instructors is to get them to move from somewhere else, you've at least got to offer them full time work.

Posted by: -bia- | January 7, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

slyness, the other prosecco is out on the back deck. I put it there to keep it chilled. There was no room in the refrigerator. Go ahead and break it out while I go check out my impersonator.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

A funny thing about bi-/multilingualism in the U.S. -- if you're a native speaker of English, and you've learned another language or two, you get all kinds of admiration -- wow, that's so hard, you must be really smart.

If you're natively bilingual, or especially if you learned English as a second language, and you dare to speak a language other than English in public -- stop that right away, you scary foreigner! You'll never be successful in this society if you don't abandon that strange language and speak only English instead!

What happened to, wow, you're so smart, you know more than one language? Sigh.

Posted by: -bia- | January 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

That one made me laugh. It should go on Joel's Wall of Wrongful Reading. Or Rongful Wreading

Pupster write:
"Achenbach, you are wasted at the WashPost! Your melodramatic writing style is much better suited to Hello! or Star Magazine."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Students need both vocational training and a more-or-less classical education. I mean this for both the automechanic and the economic policy wonk. However, I am weird and increasingly curious and curiouser in my views.

I teach a tools class, MsJS: advanced composition for juniors and seniors -- required professional writing class that looks like technical writing largely. However, our program accommodates widely to help student anticipate the audiences in professional life.

But, most of us know that this is a class in thinking. So, we begin with rhetoric and Aristotle.

I also tutor in hs -- not so much these days -- but I always gave my students a foundation that would be recognized by medieval professors from Bologna to the Sorbonne to Oxford and Tubingen.
But, then again, I teach at a land grant institution. This tradition, from Justin Morril from Vermont and dear old Abe, largely got right the balance between classical and practical. However, the mall-ification is OVER and COMPLETE in higher ed. We have gyms, which I do use, and the foot court that brings money into Marriot and corporate fasties like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Subway....books are provided largely by Barnes and Noble.....and the college marketing offices (admission) SELL THE SCHOOL BASED ON THESE expected and homogenized experiences.....blech..I shall stop. Not a meal conversation really because my stomach churns at this.

Still, victory is in the classroom. And, the victory moment might be between a student and AN ADJUNCT.....who works for peanuts and praise and the thought of that victory moment...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 7, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm back. Yup, I know who she is. She posts on the Celebritology site with byoolin all the time. We met over there one day. She's probably OK. (Yeah, she's a she.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Well then, shouldn't she use Curmudgette? That'd avoid a lot of confusion...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Yiddish is a lovely and useful language.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it would. Feel free to try to talk her into it. But from our previous discussion on Celeb blog, I suspect she feels strongly about her handle.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

One in-person job application today and one by email and one by online application. I felt fired up for a while.

We are due a "light dusting" of snow here, or so they say. For some reason my refurbished kerosene heater is on the fritz. I have some firewood left. The furnace of course will pick up the slack.

Too bad Orszag's baby won't have an in-house father, except if the mother marries soon, which I hope occurs on general principles of what's often good for kids.

As for budget I wish they would begin converting all applicable Federal buildings to solar water heating and photovoltaics. I read the prelim analysis is done and which buildings are best suited is already known. So, what's the wait?

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

ftb: I did a lot of business in Europe in the latter days of my career and totally agree that even feeble attempts at the local language, if done with respect, goes a very, very long way.

CqP: Can I take your tools class?

bia: The caregivers we have for MrJS are all naturalized U.S. citizens and speak English far better than he or I speak their native languages. Given my miserable track record with any language save English, they have my admiration and gratitude.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

These have been going around the internet for a while, but I like them and decided to share with my bunkermates.

We can enjoy their beauty and at the same time be grateful we don’t live where waves freeze in midair.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Some of us do!

As a Canadian, it is a bit bizarre to witness a discussion of the benefit to speaking more than one language. We settled that to our satisfaction a long time ago.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of being grateful we're not there-

Posted by: kguy1 | January 7, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else see this above the main photo on the WaPo home page?

From: Graham Eng-Wilmot Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 1:04 PM To: Kenisha Malcolm Subject: new flipper with CES

Am I missing something? Does this mean something? Or did it get mixed up in the page coding and it's not really supposed to be there?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Yoki: Canadians frequently resolve dilemmas before Americans. I admire that a lot.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

kguy, I'm sending that one to Mr. T, it made me laugh out loud!

There you are, RD! I was afraid you didn't get the word about coming to the bunker, but I see you did.

Scrabble or Monopoly?

Mudge, what's in the cellar to open when the prosecco is gone? Good thought to keep it cool on the deck! That's our shop steward thinking ahead!

Hey, you still owe us that story about 1741!

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

You're not supposed to tell people about your superpower to see the Matrix code, TBG... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

SD, funny comment to farfalle.

Posted by: engelmann | January 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

There's a whole case of liebfraumilch, slyness, though on a day like this, maybe we ought to brew up and nice big bowl of mulled wine, yes? People have already brought some fruit, too, so we could have a kind of mulled sangria.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, excellent idea, Mudge. Let me see what I can find in the pantry to go with the fruit!

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the bunker is such a cozy warm refuge.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 7, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Hoo boy! I just tuned into and saw the title of the next kit. Are you saying I shouldn't go there? I love it when we repair to the bunker because I love a party. Bring on the prosecco!

Badsneaks, there a Nick Kristoff column today saying that Costa Ricans are the happiest people in the world. Perhaps we should all join your daughter...

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 7, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

ros, that article gets it right from everything my daughter says. Especially anything environmental- they do a very good job there. And it's beautiful. And there are sloths (as well as tarantulas, poisonous snakes, weird looking insects, howler monkeys, etc. - but as SIL says, everything is big enough to spot pretty quick). Trying to talk "S" into visiting.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Where are my manners, forgot to thank you for the link!! I sent it on to daughter.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, just change your handle to Curmudgette-- problem solved.

BTW, I'm confused on how to develop a handle nowadays-- couldn't get one going for Wilbrodog (after he insisted), I kept getting logged in as myself no matter what I did.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 7, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I have a headache from all the brain-stretching today. May I be excused from the troll gym?

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

Based on our experience there last year, I would agree with most of Kristof's column. Costa Ricans, or Ticos as they call themselves, enjoy political stability, good health care, and a high literacy rate (over 90%). Fully a quarter of the country is set aside in parks and preserves, and tourism is 40% of the national economy. They really seem to like Americans and many Ticos are fluent in English. American dollars are accepted everywhere, and many retailers will quote you prices in USD if you wish (many stores show both currencies on the check out display). Dependence upon American tourism has resulted in serious economic impacts in Costa Rica during the current US financial troubles, and American investment is driving real estate prices ever higher, especially on the lovely Pacific coast.

San Jose is not particularly notable and the reason to visit CR lies in the countryside, in the beautiful mountains and gorgeous beaches on both coasts, in the amazing rain forests filled with exotic butterflies, birds, and animals. Tico cuisine is a little bland compared with the rest of Latin America, but they do have a couple of good domestic beers, Imperiale being my fave. Go if you get the chance.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 7, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

kguy, #2's house is on the Pacific side. They bought the land about 5-6 years ago and the value has appreciated. She doesn't like San Jose much, a lot of scam artists taking advantage of tourists who don't speak the language etc., but she loves where they are the the Ticos are wonderful, helpful and friendly. Of course, she speaks Spanish pretty well which is always a good thing. I don't understand people who live in a country and don't speak the language or attempt to learn it - what better way than by immersion. Hear they've got some volcano action there today but it's about 45 miles east of San Jose, so no impact on #2, thank heavens.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"We will not rest" -- Obama!

Well! But, we will find time to be in bed with various assorted women while the nations economics flounders. After all the OMB "Office of Management and Budget" isn't important enough to have a rational focused director??????????

How on earth did this guy find time to run the nations life blood -- the budget of the USA?

What a joke these left wing wags are!!

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | January 7, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey buddy... you're in the wrong bunker. You want the one next door. Thanks!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the "Peter-storm" is slowing down -- 137 comments now.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 7, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

This comment cracked me up:

Clearly, Kissinger was right.

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 7, 2010 2:16 PM

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank engelmann. I couln't resist twisting his/her tail.

The Fungi has a spectacular series of picture of Costa Rica he's taken last year on his venom-producing bug-collecting trip. It's a darn good-looking place. The black sand beaches are something else (hot for the tootsies apparently).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid the trolls are awakening from their post-prandial siesta... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 7, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh great, just when I'm trying to psych myself into a trip to CR, sd has to mention "venom-producing" bugs! Thanks ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | January 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

An interesting new website. Since the original "Best of Wikipedia" has gone on hiatus, someone else (coff) has taken up the torch.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

That's why there's a Boodle Bunker, Scotty.

Still snowing in TWC. Supposed to continue for another 18 hours or so. Predictions range from 6" to 14" depending on one's proximity to Lake Michigan.

Folks I've spoken to seem to be taking it in stride, thankfully.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Have I mention the homemade hard cider? It is delicious. I offer some to the boodle. Warm, with cinnamon if desired.

The latest batch is percolating with Champagne yeast.

I now have both a fire in the firebox and the kerosene heater up and running. Let it snow.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 7, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Howdy folks! Gave up on the new boodle about 100 comments in.

Funny kit but it makes me shake my head in wonder that so many people feel a need to comment as if there are greater meanings to be divined from Orszag's behavior.

So, I'll keep my musings trivial. Here's what I can't figure out. Does the man not speak to these women? With effort I could overlook the nerd cool look that does 0 for me, but his voice reminds me of every over-the-top sitcom nerd ever to grace the TV screen.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 7, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

It is just about time to start dinner. I've got lamb shanks to be braised in wine, herbs and garlic until they are falling-off-the-bone tender, Greek rice pilaf and some grilled tomatoes, peppers, onions and zuchini. Various olives on the side, warmed in the oven.

I don't have anything for dessert. Who baked? Who's got red wine?

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

You people are wimps. Those aren't even full-sized trolls over there. Parsing the drive-bys gives a humorous insight into the knee-jerk mind of a wing nut. How they can get so worked up over a non-scandal so banal is amusing. They are kinda like bulldogs, an ugly mindless drooling excuses for a creature that doesn't deserve to live, but cute in a disgusting sort of way.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

That is an insult to the incomparable Bulldog.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, we're having fun in the bunker, Yello, are you going to join us?

Yoki, may I come to dinner if I bring brownie trifle?

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

You can come even if you don't, slyness. No Boodle-dinner would be complete without you. However, do feel free to bring that delicious-sounding confection with you.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I've got a nice big gallon jug of Ernest and Julio's Emilia. Can I come too?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 7, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You can't insult a bulldog. Well, you can. They just don't realize it.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Back from taking down the Christmas tree,when i was in west by god,i would always leave it up till groundhogs day in honor of my father.But this tree was cut 3 weeks before christmas and was still dying despite all the watering.I think my mom will be shocked to see it down and everything put away(shocked in a good way).
That's right,i'm the "good son",well actually everybody is good.

I'm out to get a gas tank filled and a small walk,when i get back we can talk about the national championship.

toodles boodle buds

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 7, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt's a Yellowjacket. He don't like Bulldogs.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

It is kind "troll lite" over there, true. However, it's warm in here.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 7, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I would like some hard cider. I can bring my grandmother's marshmallow pudding. It's gelatin, marshmallows, bananas and pecans. And it's my favorite dessert ever.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that sounds divine. You spoil us.

I've got two bottles of pinot noir. Shall I open now to let them breathe a bit?

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

They don't remind me of bulldogs, yello, so much as yappy little pocket dogs, which will bark at anything as loud as they possibly can for no particular reason.

Say, it's nice in this bunker. Love the wainscoting. And are those mobius donuts on the sideboard next to the prosecco?

Posted by: rashomon | January 7, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

And especially not BullDawgs. I still haven't decided on pulling for the Longhorns or the Tide. I'm willing to take bribes. Yesterday, the Austin airport was a sea of rusty orange. Many of whom had the frightened look of people who had never been on a plane before. We had to teach one lady how to read the departures board to figure out what gate her plane was at.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

So we're set. Between slyness and me we'll be well-fed, and thanks to 'mudge and MsJS, we're wined as well.

All we need now is some song :)

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, Yoki:

Posted by: rashomon | January 7, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

My musical contribution, by request:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

In tribute to Peter Orszag, a little Paul Anka:

Or perhaps Mary McGregor is more appropriate:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Richard Heene (Balloon Boy's dad) is telling television interviewers that his guilty plea was a hoax, but the balloon incident wasn't.
[ ]

"We had searched the house, high and low," Heene said, choking back tears during a taped interview for "Larry King Live" that will air on CNN. "I knew he was in the craft. ... In my mind there was no other place."

That sort of thing really pisses judges off, and since he's got 90 days of jail and four years of probation yet to come, I'm not sure if he wants to get in the habit of going on record as stating that he lied when he plead guilty in court.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 7, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm stretching my brain

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 7, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Hah - knew I'd find you all down here! Just warming up after driving a neighbor all over the snowy town. She put her car in a ditch early this morning, crawled out and called a cab and went to her doctor's appointment. Then took a cab back to the ditch to find it towed away. I first had to take her to the license office to get a duplicate title, since she couldn't find hers, then to the tow lot, where she discovered that the car was totaled. How she didn't notice that first, at the ditch, I don't know. I think she may be a tad demented, although she's only 65. Then we jump-started her other car, and she's off to do some shopping. Good luck to her, I say. My 16 y.o. is out doing her first driving in snow - scary to think the crazy neighbor is out there on the streets with her.

For the past 20 years I have always had an elderly near neighbor who needed much help and attention. I think we're all going to see more of this as time goes on - more and more people have no kids and few/no friends - so guess who gets to step in and help out? I enjoyed doing it today - last year when she broke her leg in my back yard on x-mas eve, in a sleet storm, not so much.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 7, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

For those of youse who may be yearnin' for summer downa shore, just add water-

Posted by: kguy1 | January 7, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

A little Zorba with the lamb, perhaps?

Yello, play that %$@$^%$2&*# song again and I won't be responsible for what happens.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, MsJS. I remember now that you said you NEVER wanted to hear that song again. My bad. But really, you can't appreciate Neil until you have heard him from the road through the fabric dome of the USF SunDome. The man can rock an arena.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

All forgiven, yello.

A little pinot anyone?

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks MsJS! When I was an elderly teenager I conceived a passion for Theodorakis's music; flew to London to hear his First Symphony at Albert Hall, had ever record I could locate. Nice to hear this again.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I watched Obama just now and was glad he did not say "underpants".

Posted by: seasea1 | January 7, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I-mom, have you found us in the bunker yet? The Orszag kit is not a good place for you.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Those "frozen wave" pictures are interesting, MsJS, but they're glaciers, really-- the blue clarity is the tip-off.

Snopes on those pictures:

The original site here for a cold orgy of lovely ice and penguin pictures:

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 7, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Howdy! How nice to be back where sanity rules (at least by comparison). Really I'm just dropping in; I have to go out to a "dinner" tonight (menu - hot dogs & beer, at least I hope they have beer). I thought I'd catch up next door but was a little startled by the ratio of passion to topic. Thanks for the tasty snacks. I'm sure my virtual dinner will be better than my real one. I can bring leftover chocolate cake; it is still moist and tasty.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 7, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

My Neal Stephenson books arrived. I now have 2637 pages (excluding glossaries, character lists, and appendices) to read for the rest of January. Yahoo!

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, reposting to correct kit for the 'Dog.

"Big fat penguins there:
Do they have squeakers inside
Or just tweet in bass?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 7, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I watched Obama just now and was glad he did not say "underpants".

Posted by: seasea1 | January 7, 2010 5:05 PM


Nominated already for Post of the Year.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Seconded, TBG!

Posted by: slyness | January 7, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

What did he say, boxers or briefs?
Oh, wrong president. Sorry.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 7, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Have we heard from raysmom lately?

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The other boodle was sort of "cute"--like watching little kids playing dress-up.

It amazes me that there is so much pent up hostility (combined with a dash of sanctimony and a pinch or two of credulity). Why do such people not turn that energy/emotion to more productive means?

In fairness, there was a lot of that same tone present on the other side when Dubya was president. I'm still surprised that Olbermann and Maddow didn't have aneurysms.

My big project for the next couple of days is to bake a few king cakes. I've eaten plenty but never made one. A king cake is the perfect antidote to cold January days and is also a fabulous methadone for thewithdrawal from holiday treats.

And I would be remiss in not saying Go Longhorns! It's a bit like rooting for the Yankees or the East Germans, but I still remember the McWilliams and Mackovic days, so I can enjoy the "bad" guys for a little longer.

Posted by: Awal | January 7, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Glaciers, eh? Well, whaddya know? Thanks for the insight W_G.

Glad you found us, I-mom. You know the cake will be welcomed. Enjoy your evening.

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Can you bake one for the Boodle, Awal? I've never had it, though I've seen it in mags and on television for years.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"I just made you say underwear."

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

semper ubi sub ubi

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

And it serves 20-22!

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

It's colder than it looks outside.

Thanks, yello.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The top news stories of 2009 set to music:

Very funny and a little philosophical.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Awal -- I'll help. But, I believe in more than one kidney bean or baby Jesus in the batter.

Yoki - like a galette. SD likely made them? Right, sir?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 7, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhhhhh. Nice to be back in the bunker after an afternoon from HE-double toothpicks, as our late local sportscaster used to say. My wireless mouse gave it up (the second faulty mouse in a row, BTW). I signed up for AppleCare, thankfully, and after two calls, I hightailed it over to the Apple Store at Montgomery Mall down the street. Thankfully, today is not a weekend day. Nevertheless, there is a bureaucracy over there that isn't pleasant to deal with. And everyone who works there seems to be 12 years old. However, I finally broke down and bought a "Magic Mouse" -- a Bluetooth toy, which is really kind of cool. Two calls later to Apple, and it works like a charm.

But it took my entire afternoon.

Anybody got some cheese to go with this whine?

Awai -- good to see you. And Ivansmom, I do have a mighty hankering for chocolate cake.

The Bunker is indeed a good place to be.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 7, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, Yoki, here is the more typcial Nawlens type

Great closeups on baby Jesus embedding into do.

We had a galette cake in the Northren lands of Montana and the Dakotas. And our baby Jesus was metal, the better to survive the baking in the bottom of the pan. If we could not find said baby Jesus-classic Cracker Jack style, we used a kidney bean. Natch, we called this embryo Jesus.

Any good cake; with your coffee. We are set.

BTW: this is how you say Merry Christmas in Amharic. Melkam Genna. The celebrate this now, as do most Orthodox. TBG -- what about the Grecians and Cretans?

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 7, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Who are you calling a Creitn? And how about us Calibans and Onanists?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Kala Christougenia!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

It is the New Orleans type of which I have learned. I was surprised that a galette was also a King Cake! Like a gopher, only less organic.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse


Kala Xpistouyevva!

Posted by: -TBG- | January 7, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

And the same to you, TBG!

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I bought the Galette des Rois CqP. My favourite Anglo-French pastry pusher assures me the pea is made of ceramic. I must say it's rather amusing to be served classic French pastry in perfect Queen's English.
The galette will be for tomorrow night though.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

From WikiPee:

Related culinary traditions are the tortell of Catalonia, the gâteau des Rois in Provence or the galette des Rois in the northern half of France, and the Greek and Cypriot vasilopita. The galette des Rois is made with puff pastry and frangipane (while the gâteau des Rois is made with brioche and candied fruits). A little bean was traditionally hidden in it, a custom taken from the Saturnalia in the Roman Empire: the one who stumbled upon the bean was called "king of the feast." In the galette des Rois, since 1870 the beans have been replaced first by porcelain and, now by plastic figurines; while the gâteau des Rois Also known as "Rosca de Reyes" in Mexico.

Eventually, SD will tell of his family tradition. THis must be what we had:
gâteau des Rois - but NEVER WITH THE CANDIED FRUITS...You know the phase of No Mixins in the food. No Nuts. Nuthin, etc.

Our neighborhood had a French Canadian flavor with nuns/sisters from Quebec by way of, we borrowed their King Cake tradition.

These all sound delish -- and look -- they are on the sideboard. We can have a taste and compare party.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 7, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I kinda liked this post:

I thought CBS cancelled "As the World Turns?"

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | January 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: omnigood | January 7, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

And merry Christmas to you TBG.
Orthodox and Copts are always late with their religious celebration (Easter's in July, right?) but they are good people anyway.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 7, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, we've got an awful lot of virtual food! We'd better plan on sending cyber-doggie-bags home with some of us.

Posted by: Yoki | January 7, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I noticed that the plastic babies shown in the king cake recipe were marked "choking hazard" on the package.

Of course, you were lucky to have those. We were so poor, we had to use little plastic army soldiers.

Posted by: rashomon | January 7, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Rasho -- my brothers would have loved that. We had a metal baby Jesus....long ago and far away. I would think that plastic would melt. And, by goodness, think of BPA and poly-etherios, etc., off gassing into the batter.


Off for a VHBWEVOO. Very Hot Bath with EVOO -- that is the only way to survive the winter itchies.

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

We were so poor we had to use real babies.

Shriek... wonder why the Greeks celebrate Easter so late? Have you ever seen the half-price candy the week after "American" Easter?

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

Thanks, I'm honored. I may have to quit while I'm ahead.

Posted by: seasea1 | January 7, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

So I walk into a bar: "ouch"


But seriously I end up talking geography with a waitress from Bogotá Colombia. She gets a B+ but I get an A- on South America. Next up we talk about USA and I draw a crappy map. I place about 90% of the states accurately and then start naming capitals (why can't I ever remember Albany???). I was about half way through when she changed continents on me.

Then we move on to Central Asia starting with India moving west and north.

Next up is Pakistan, then Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan and Stanleystan.

Both the waitress and bartender (another gal from Bogotá) thought it was cleverly funny.

Who knew geography could bridge the humor/language barrier. (they didn't get the 'walk into a bar joke').

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

I'll take that Scrabble challenge slyness. I never win.

sort of a win-win-win-win situation if you think about it logically ( I think)

Posted by: omnigood | January 7, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

something I'd like to try: a simultaneous game of scrabble and chess.

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

Cross-posting with the Peter-Storm Kit:

Consider the movies on this page:

Imagine humming Julie Gold's song "From a Distance" while watching it (choose your favorite rendition: Bette Midler, Kathy Mattea, Julie Gold's own performance, or any of a zillion others that I found while searching YouTube).

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 7, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

SciTIm -- or Nanci Griffith's version. Where are we now? Here or there?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 7, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Coffee, anyone? Decaf's on the right.

*placing two large pots of freshly brewed joe on the boodle table *

Posted by: MsJS | January 7, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Doggy bag help's here!
I'm a born grocery clerk,
Bagging food in fur


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 7, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

FiOS is flakey so it is just me and the Droids watching the game.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 7, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

MsJS: I'll have a cup of decaf, please.

Posted by: Manon1 | January 7, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Robin Givhan on the commercialization of the Obamas:

Posted by: seasea1 | January 7, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Dawn Patrol! Rise and shine! Everybody get in a snowplow bobcat and clear the runway. And then report back to the main kit. We have troll mop-up operations and don't want to see any slackers.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 8, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm here! Should we be in this boodle or the next?

Gosh, I hope we get a new kit today so we can move on from yesterday's debacle.

Posted by: slyness | January 8, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

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