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The past isn't even past

Last night at a friend's house we watched the I Have A Dream speech, which remains as powerful as ever. It's been nearly half a century since King stood at the Lincoln Memorial and addressed that sea of people. To the kids, it may have looked, particularly in the cloudy black-and-white footage, like something from the distant past, but it wasn't so long ago. I was little more than a toddler then, but I remember growing up with segregation, something that didn't really begin to end until they bused kids across town.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the pivotal election of 1860 and the start of the secession winter. When I was a kid, the Civil War was as long ago, nearly, as the Punic Wars. But as I get older I find that my life extends backward, through some statistical fluke, ever closer to events in what had seemed to be the misty past. I turn 50 at the end of the year and will be able to say that I've lived through a third of that interval since the start of the Civil War. At this rate I will soon be able to say that I knew Lincoln personally.


My friend Jerry Carnes (another Hogtown native) has penned a lovely piece about coping with personal loss. He's a TV anchor in Atlanta.


Tom Shroder has thoughts on the evolution of the news business:

Anyone who has ever tried to produce high-quality, groundbreaking, earth-moving journalism -- the kind that often requires individuals to ignore all other aspects of their lives, including family, physical health and sanity -- understands just how unlikely it is that communal journalism will produce the same. It's the equivalent of firing Shakespeare and hoping a million monkeys working together will produce Hamlet....

To an ever increasing extent, an individual with the journalistic goods will become his/her own publisher, publicist and distributer. The cost of finding and connecting with an audience based on interest, rather than geography, will approach zero. The economic scale will suddenly favor small operators, and make targeted, hightly motivated audiences available.

To adapt an Army recruiting slogan, we can all become A Media Conglomerate of One. The pathways to get there still have to be hacked out of the jungle, of course. But I recommend we all sharpen our machetes.

[more to come...]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 19, 2010; 9:37 AM ET
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Next: Obama's first year


Here is the closing to Jerry Carnes' piece on loss.

Perhaps 2010 is here to remind us that life is fragile, that it can turn in a flash. Maybe it's here with the message that we should cherish the people we have around us, to do all we can to provide them with as much love and comfort as possible. The world has quite enough suffering and pain. We don't need to add anymore to it. There's no such thing as too much love, too much caring. We need to work real hard in 2010 to make sure our supply of caring is overabundant.END QUOTE.

Thanks, Joel; Thanks, Jerry.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I see Shroder's been reading again... *SIGHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Mudged myself. Alas. Since I seldom get this coherent, or this serious, I'm over-sharing:

It is very foggy here today. Very very foggy.

After a successful drive through the fog one might recognize the possibilities for metaphor (not while driving, I might add). One thing that occurred to me this morning is that things are what they are, not what I think they should be. This observation appears painfully trite but is startlingly difficult to both grasp and accept.

Often, when I read a piece (especially reading things submitted to us at work) it is not the document that I wanted the author to write. It is, however, the thing I'm working with and may respond to or not, as I choose. There's no point in my responding as if it were a different document; it just wastes my time and appears as gibberish.

I am a member of several organizations. It is easy for me to accept some for what they are. With others, I struggle because I think they should have a different composition, structure or focus - even though I knew those parameters when I joined. For those, I either have to accept what the organization is, or I have to leave and find or start an organization which it what I think it should be.

The Achenblog and Boodle are like that. It is what it is and I like it. However, even if I didn't, it would be what it is. No amount of suggestion on my part, with the best or worst intention in the world, will change the essential structure and format of this group, nor should it. Like so much else in life, the Achenblog is not about me and what I think it should be. There are other Internet discussion formats, and I enjoy them on their own terms. I enjoy the Achenblog on its terms as well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 10:20 AM

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

That Jerry Carnes piece is breathtaking. Was there something in the Hogtown water to produce such good writers?

As I am a whole year younger than Joel (and always will be) I know nothing about having one's memory merge with history.

But if I try real hard, I can envision the sensation of explaining to younger people what it was like Way Back When. Sometimes the exposition involves Space Ships to the Moon. Sometimes the topic is records of vinyl and leisure suits of polyester. Or what a real big deal it was when we first saw those Imperial Battle Cruisers.

The thing that is hardest to communicate, though, is that even though pictures and movies of such long-ago eras might seem frayed, grainy, and faded, life was not.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Did I mention, Ivansmom, that you are a wise woman?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I knew Lincoln personally.

(C'mon, you knew that was coming. But thanks for the set-up, Joel.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

From the end of the last Kit:
laloomis, thanks for starting my day with a laugh. Who knew you could be so funny?

LIT, thanks for starting my day with a laugh. Who knew that you could be such a trivial idiot? So ridicule is the new form of harrassment--for both you and Ivansmom?

May I again suggest:

And on the bunker menu du jour: Robben Island rabbit, and, hey, it's white meat! All's fair know what:

You know, I figure I have two tacks. Previously it was to ignore the nasty comments. No more. I've switched tactics. I now fight back.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

How about everybody take a break from nasty comments. A moratorium.

Posted by: joelache | January 19, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Full disclosure: I have never honeymooned in Haiti.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"It was the best of the times, it was the blurst of times!"

"Stupid monkey!"

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Here here, I-mom. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I have the same feeling about history. I'm a whole 4 months older than Joel. When I was a kid WWII seemed ancient history to me. Now I know it ended a mere 15 years, the blink of an eye really, before I was born. I was practically in it.

Yep TBG, we need better monkeys.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Jerry Carnes makes some good points. While I don't agree with the 17-year-old that death is a reward, I do agree that death isn't always the worst thing that can happen.

I clearly remember explaining to my father's doctor after Dad's stroke that while she referred to his death as the "worst-case scenario," my sisters and I saw his survival in the shape he would have been in as far worse.

That was the moment everything changed and I learned that there is such a thing as a "good death."

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Well, we should be careful about asking for monkeys. Sea monkeys? Contained in a Mason jar. Winged monkeys from Oz? Not so much.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Coakley's going to lose in MA, by all accounts. Ezra Klein, who really knows his stuff, says health care can pass if the House Dems simply sign off on the Senate bill AS IS without amendation or going to conference, etc., and then seek to tweak it through the budget "reconciliation" process:

"...passing the Senate bill unchanged would not mean that health-care reform cannot be changed. The bulk of the controversial differences between the two bills have to do with money -- how you raise it and how much of it you spend. Those differences can be resolved through the 51-vote reconciliation process. There's even an open reconciliation vehicle waiting to be used."

(I don't know what a reconciliation vehicle is but I have a feeling it gets very bad gas mileage.)

Posted by: joelache | January 19, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Coakley's going to lose in MA, by all accounts. Ezra Klein, who really knows his stuff, says health care can pass if the House Dems simply sign off on the Senate bill AS IS without amendation or going to conference, etc., and then seek to tweak it through the budget "reconciliation" process:

"...passing the Senate bill unchanged would not mean that health-care reform cannot be changed. The bulk of the controversial differences between the two bills have to do with money -- how you raise it and how much of it you spend. Those differences can be resolved through the 51-vote reconciliation process. There's even an open reconciliation vehicle waiting to be used."

(I don't know what a reconciliation vehicle is but I have a feeling it gets very bad gas mileage.)

Posted by: joelache | January 19, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, Trivial? Idiot? Well that must explain why I have so much, and you have so little, why I'm able to find beauty in just about anything, and you walk around with a stick so far up your butt your voice sounds gravelly. You have a crappy home, nary a single friend, family that despises you, and I'm surrounded by love and support.

Your existence is useful only in that you remind others to be grateful, that there but for the grace of God go they.

JA, clearly, you saw her post. If you're going to let her post stand, this one should too.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 19, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow - the Boodle is in a serious mood today. I'm fighting the gloom.

I was mudged at the end of the last kit - wanted to say good luck to Cassandra, congratulations to kbert, thanks to TBG for the Shorpy link, and hi to Martooni and Boko.

And did anyone see the Huffpo article about the cruise ship docking at the private beach 60 miles from Port au Prince - they unloaded some supplies they had onboard and had a barbecue and cocktails on the beach. Now if a big cruise ship can unload there, why can't relief ships?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

A few years ago, I spent a week in the Montgomery-Tuskegee area of Alabama. I had never been in Alabama before -- nor since, for that matter. Driving the highways was an odd sensation for me, like I was driving into the past, because my childhood was when so many towns and cities of the region were on the evening news at some time or another. You can stand on the steps of Ebenezer Baptist Church, turn, and look down the street to the state house. Or, go around the corner, walk a couple hundred yards, and stand before "The First White House of the Confederacy."

While our society certainly has made great improvements since the 60's, the signs of earlier days are still there. Children in Tuskegee's public schools are almost all black. Children in Montgomery's schools are almost all white. Children in Tuskegee's private schools, at least, are a mixed population. Leaders in the public schools still were pretty much all white. Teachers from Tuskegee still were pretty much all black. The teachers I met were well-meaning, caring people. But well-meaning white folks still can think they are being complimentary by informing a professor of aeronautical engineering from Howard University, who was volunteering with me, that the faculty members of Tuskegee University are very articulate.

We left the party almost immediately after that moment; went and got some beer of our own. There's a gas station between Montgomery and Tuskegee that sells some good beer. On tap. To go. In plastic jugs.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

That Jerry Carnes piece really is fine. In my work, I see violent injury and death and its destructive aftermath every day. Given that the cases involve violent crime, there is never any happy news in my workplace. Even in the exceptionally rare cases where the wrong person is convicted, the crime still happened. Dealing constantly with sudden, pointless death, even at a remove, gives one a different perspective on life, and on one's own personal experiences with death.

RD, when I reached adulthood I started what seems like a daily struggle to remember that not everything is about me. My job actually helps a great deal. That is one of the great joys of being serious about public service.

This is one reason I value the spirit of the Achenblog and Boodle. I treasure kindness, civility, humor, and intelligence, all of which are available daily here, to all comers, no matter what the topics of discussion.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

One also should evaluate reasons for belonging and see if they're still the same as when one started with that organization.

I joined here for the good commentary, stayed for the humor, and I've been grateful for the support in harder times, and also to give some as well-- through laughs or just being there.

The bad commentary I can just roll over most days, but not if I'm feeling down and the laughs are gone.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

serious mood, indeed. We would all do well to live by the treat others rule. or the if you don't have anything nice to say rule.

Progress *is* slow, Tim. SC is similar to Alabama, particularly in the areas between the major cities. One of our library staff was cutting articles out of some old newsweek magazines that discussee the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Topeka. I thought out loud that Charlotte v. Board of education had a big impact as well in the context of making busing the means by which integration would be achieved.

Posted by: -jack- | January 19, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Plastic jugs of beer, sciTim? Funny.

Lots of odd names for the packing of beer for the road:

the Dutch have bierfles and pijpje

firkin is more of a measurement. I know that long ago and far away, butter was sold in firkins. My grandma Sarah Alice Something Irish was known for the nice firkins of butter she sent to town.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

No tears--Car ride time!
Roads beckon with gas stations
full of beef jerky.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm sorry to see your Massachusetts prediction, but not surprised. I wish Coakley had been a better candidate, and that Massachusetts voters were able to see beyond momentary annoyance. The Republican candidate could not have made the health care stakes any clearer.

I did think there must be some procedural way to pass health care reform. As I reminded a young friend yesterday, where reform is concerned I think the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, or even the half-way. Remember that universal mandate for early childhood education.

I think a "reconciliation bill" is too cumbersome even for a combustion engine. It might require lots of pedaling, like the Flintstones car.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Aggressive mood-lightening is in order.

Warning: saccharine, may damage teeth. I have others lined up and waiting to inflict on you.

Also - have other parents of teens noticed the evolution of the word "adorable?" It now pretty much describes the halt and the lame, those worthy of pity. I've told my youngest I dread the day I hear them describe me as adorable.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the pivotal passage of 1870 Elementary Education Act in Britain--which meant children got out of factories and girls, in particular, received widespread elementary education. (For further ramifications of the passage of this education act in 1870, see NYT Nick Kristof's latest book, "Half the Sky"--although there is debate about the ramifications.)

When I was a kid, the the fact that females, many at home and most overseas, were denied higher educational opportunities, was as long ago, nearly, as the establishment of Oxford University in England, established because my distant great-grandpappy Henry II banned students in 1209 from attending the University of Paris across the Channel. But as I get older I find that my life extends backward, through some statistical fluke, ever closer to events in what had seemed to be the misty past.

I turn 59 in the middle of the next year and will be able to say that I've lived through a third of that interval since the start of universal education in Britain. At this rate I will soon be able to say that I knew Queen Victora personally.

In the U.S., should the date be 1787 with Jefferson and the Northwest Territories or 1837 with Thomas Mann in Massachusetts? And for women in higher education? The Ivy leages opened their doors when? Yale? Harvard? Princeton?

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Anyone? Bueller?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh no, Wheeze, I think that word was bestowed on me by some teens last week. BTW, I always think of the band Weezer when I read your handle. CPBoy asked me -- say three years ago -- if I remember Buddy Holly -- Weezer has a tune named that. When I said, not really, he said, "Well, I thought you were old enough for the days before classic rock occurred."

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, wheezy, the Boy has yet to use "adorable" in that way. As far as I know. Thanks for the heads-up!

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I have, literally, been losing a bit of sleep over the situation in Massachusetts. Partly this is because I have a vested interest in medical care reform and partly this is because I seem genetically programmed to worry over things I can do nothing about.

So I have been grabbing onto these "Plan B" scenarios like a life preserver in a storm. I just wonder if the House will be self disciplined and pragmatic enough to actually pass the Senate Bill as is. Personally, I think this is a brilliant solution, but it might be too audacious for a risk-averse House. But one can hope.

Of course, there is a chance Brown will lose. Last I checked Nate Silver still has a 25% chance of a Coakley win, which, as he points out, isn't the same as zero.

Besides, I can't help but think that the Democratic machine (Which got them into this mess to begin with) might still be able to deliver the votes.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Joel, this is the closest thing to a NoNothing vote I have seen in my lifetime. We are electing a Senator in Mass and folks are finding fault in her knowledge of the Red Sox.

Really, what is clear is that there are a good portion of Americans who just can't stomach waking up in the morning to the fact that Obama is the President of the United States of America. That fact alone will drive old-time voters of the state to elect one of the stupidest candidates ever to run for Senate. If that's sending a message, I think that they succeeded.

To be clear, I don't think that these voters are in the majority, but they are motivated enough to take the day and show up at the polls.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

CP, you're adorable in the regular sense, I think. What the kids are doing with the word is complicated - a formerly adored-from-afar boy is now known and liked, but not adored. He is now "adorable." I think it may be because he wears grandma-knitted sweaters in loud colors.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"I've told my youngest I dread the day I hear them describe me as adorable."

That is a great line, Wheezy. Thanks for the laugh.

Remember the Seinfeld episode when the handsome doctor told Elaine she was "breathtaking" and she was flying high from that until she saw him use the same term to describe the ugly baby they were visiting?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

An on-kit comment about the Tom Shroder excerpt, Mr. A.

First, there are two typos. Not Mr. A's doing, of course, but somewhere in a recent boodle we collectively sighed about the state of news editing. It is an example of where a communal effort (Mr. Shroder and a proofreader) would have produced a better product.

Second, effort still counts in the communal world. Very few individual efforts compare well with Shakespeare, and the notion that a communal effort automatically translates into monkeys at keyboards is a bit of a fanciful stretch.

Third, if Mr. Shroder wants to be his own writer, publisher, and distributor, he need not break out his machete. Things will continue to evolve of course, but it's been quite possible to create this vision for some time. Julie Powell, of 'Julie and Julia' fame, is but one example. Granted, she's no Shakespeare, but neither is Mr. Shroder.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Zombies, RD

Posted by: russianthistle | January 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Cute Wheezy, I posted this G&M article yesterday on my Facebook. Perhaps 'Blue Monday' explains some of the crankiness we have been feeling lately.

I smiled at the one suggested aid - Youtube marathon. Wheezy is on to something!

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Micheal Pollan is on NPR

"If it comes through a car window it isn't food.
If it's called the same thing in every language it isn't food."

Oops Gov. Patterson is on. Maybe only in NY

Posted by: Boko999 | January 19, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Yes, or Dr. Richard Besser's reporting on ABC last night about how the Israelis were able to rapidly deploy their medical teams and set up *last Friday* a medical units by speciality (!)--neonatal, surgery, etc., while American teams were still struggling to get their medical relief operations up and running, leaving (H1N1's)Besser asking, "Where are the medical supplies?"

And some here ought to pay better attention to timelines. The quake was last Tuesday. Martha Raddatz, longtime Pentagon correspondent for ABC News, reported on some relief agency or foreign government (details not known or either not reported, not sure which) made a food drop on the Petionville Country Club on either Thursday or Friday, and mass pandemonium erupted, specifically, vicious fighting. Law of the jungle, survival of the strongest and fastest or most numbers, Darwinian.

America's 82st Airborne didn't start to set up on the grounds of the country club until Saturday, and weren't ready to pass out food in any large measure for about 48 hours, about Monday. Reports are that about 50,000 people were on that Petionville country club before the 82nd Airborne ever arrived, so it wasn't exactly open, unused, unobstructed territory.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I've only seen a little Seinfeld, TBG, but it seems to be like Shakespeare - there's always an apt quote or reference in there somewhere.

BTW, my "Bueller" comment was just referring to the post directly above it.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

True Boko. Which is why I also grasp desperately at the fact that in France its called a "Royale with Cheese."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Well, I was in mid-rant at the end of the last kit, when my browser (yowser!) completely refreshed and my mid-rant disappeared entirely. It was a form of mudging, I assume, but I suppose it's all okay.

Perhaps it isn't too much to ask certain people that if they do not like it in this neighborhood and take offense at disagreements to the point of whining to WaPo about each and every ("Mommy! Mommy! Make them stop!!!!!") -- obviously without change of status -- please go somewhere else, to a place you can control, which you so obviously wish to do. Start your own blog. If you think the NYT Op-Ed people should give the the dates of birth and death for certain people, do it yourself and post it on your very own blog. People who don't wish to be controlled by you will ignore you. Those who love to be controlled will join the military or will bring their own chains and whips and leather for you to use.

Okay, Joel, I'm done. But I'm with LiT on this one.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

But Julie Powell rather does herself and her perky image tremendous damage in her follow-up book "Cleaving." I think so, do you? And her mission, if you want to call it that--and this is where an Amherst education leads a woman, into the kitchen? Cooking well? Plus, Amy Adams is not Julie Powell, and the movie (did NOT like), at least, never mentions that Julia was a spy. Did Julie's blog mention Julia's earlier covert activities?

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

If this is to be a hostility-free Kit and Boodle, it should start at 10:35 AM today.


Posted by: -bc- | January 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

No, no ftb, you've got it wrong. The grandmommies who want to make with concrete planters with the grandkiddies, who think it's cool to spend their wads on Christmases, they should go elsewhere. Set up a grandmommy social networking site. I mean, how interesting is it that somebody is cooking macaroni for her family on a Sunday night or likes to shop at Coldwater Creek or likes Clarke's footwear?

I call out for moderated discusssions on Again, and again, and again and again and again. Get rid of the trivia (I'd be willing to give it up, most certainly) and focus on the issue(s).

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

No, bc, the hostility-free Posts should have started at 10:38.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy, you asked a question about why can't supply ships offload at a beach if that cruise liner could do it. A couple of points.

First, the reporting isn't to be completely trusted. The story says it "docked" "at a private beach." Usually when cruise ships go to these private beaches, they don't actually "dock" (tie up along side a pier or wharf); they usually anchor out, and let people go ashore in those small boats. The story is accompanied by what it says is an AP photo, but I can't tell if that's the actual ship at the actual beach, or just some generic shot (such as the story yesterday about the C-17 showing a C-130). So we can't trust that photo.

In any event, the story says they unloaded 40 pallets of supplies. I know for a fact that cruise ships carry a great deal of supplies, enough for much more than the specific cruise at hand. My guess is that much of the supplies are palletized when loaded aboard ship, and are dispersed "as needed" throughout several cruises. My guess is that somebody from the cruise line (Princess, IIRC) probably notified the ship and said, "Round up any extra supplies you have aboard and deliver to Haiti; you'll be resupplied when you return."

My guess is they simply unloaded those 40 pallets of supplies into the small boats and took them ashore that way, "broken down" into man-handleable boxes. I suppose there is a very slight chance there happens to be an actual dock there that actually extends far enough out into deep water that the ship might tie up to it. (I'd rate the odds as less than 1 percent.) Even so, that's still going to be one small dock with zero offloading capacity for major cargo.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

oh. right. *we* have to change for you.


Whatcha making for dinner tonight, Yoki? Go on, make me hungry.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't wish to control the blog (like the so-called shop steward), I just wish there were controls on the blog. Better, explicit definition of rules and enforcement of those rules.

Moderated posts is what I'd love to see--the point I've tried to hammer home about four (or is it five?) times this morning. As a person with a law background you certainly grasp the difference and know that details really count (Didn't Sherlock Holmes say precisely the very same thing in the movie we saw last night?). Yes? No?

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Rule Nine.



Posted by: -bc- | January 19, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge. Very helpful to know. One thing I liked about Symon's idea is that when there is a bottleneck, we should remember the physics of size. Little things get through. So, the cruise boats have dinghy-like options. Sorta reminds me of the move from huge tanks to Stryker vehicles to get through urban settings or heck drive on ordinary roads.

The devil is in the details about this as in most of life. I am glad to hear what you know.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | January 19, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Someone on Twitter (Paul & Storm) just posted this great line...

"Some may imagine that by voting out Dems, they're Lucy pulling the football. Surprise! You're Charlie Brown."

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse


Now, unloading cargo. Nowadays, most major cargo is not only palletized, it is often put into those big metal containers. If containerized (think the Maersk Alabama, captured by those pirates), there is simply no way in the world a container ship can be offloaded unless it is tied up to a major wharf/port facility that has huge cranes and other specialized equipment that can take the containers off. Even if you found some way to get them off a ship either at anchor or tied to a small dock, you really can't just unload the containers somehow onto a beach and let them sit there. But even suppose that was possible; then what? You've got to get convoys of trucks down to the beach, you have to unload the containers by hand into the trucks, and get the now-laden heavy trucks off the beach without getting stuck. So we're talking about hundreds, and possibly thousands of longshoreman and stevedores to do all this work. And without major equipment, we're also talking a large amount of time, days if not a week or more. And you've got to feed and rest all these laborers in situ.

This is exactly what the D-Day landings in Normandy were all about: how to get tons and tons of supplies ashore and organized and distributed to support the initial 40,000 men we landed (plus all the additional men we landed on Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, etc. To do it the Allies had to build TWO artificial "Mulberry" harbors, to say nothing of the smaller amounts of supplies offloaded from landing craft.

I suppose certain people might say, well, we did it at Normandy on D-Day; why can't we do it in haiti today? The answer is D-day took months of planning by thousands and thousands of logistics people working virtually 20-hours days, because there was a war on. And they only had to support, incrementally, 40,000 people on Day 1, 50,000 on Day 2, etc., until they were able to capture the Carentan Peninsula and occupy some working ports. They did NOT have to try and supply maybe 3 million people, and do it in a week or so, or do it starting from scratch, or without the full mobilization of the home front.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

No, don't change for me. Please, that would be awful, wouldn't it? A disaster almost as bad as the situation of eating Robben rabbits in South Africa.

Change for the sake of the fact that no one follows the rules (what rules--prafanity; personal attacks; that there are "unsigned" signatures--plenty of them, in fact, the majority of them, that actual authors aren't even known; that egregious posts aren't removed; that there are not attempts to block users who violate posting standards; that some people have self-promoted their own consumer goods,, for example, literary efforts and jewelry and fairy doors), so the place becomes anarchic.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

TBG -- kind of a "be careful what you wish for" moment? I suspect the same thing might resonate in regard to McDonnell, the governor of your fair Commonwealth. BTW, he apparently gave Pat Robertson a seat of honor at his inauguration over the weekend.


Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

And, Sneaks, I'm crossing my fingers for you up there.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm rapidly learning not to wish (wistfully) for simple answers to complicated questions. Thanks for the research and devotion to your craft, mudge. This isn't the first time I've had to accept that things aren't as I would like them to be.

dmd, I think you and the G&M are right - it's January, it's a Monday thing. But 2010 isn't looking so great so far.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse


Having just watched "J & J" on DVD, I can state that there is a reference to Julia Child's employment in the OSS, her husband's too. Purposely shrouded in mystery, but the reference is there. I have no idea whether Julie's blog ever mentioned it, I'm sure you can look it up.

I haven't read "Cleaving", nor am I likely to. I can't physically manage books or Kindle-type readers, so that type of activity is not part of my day.

BTW, when I was physically able, I took great pride in cooking well. This despite bachelors and masters degrees with honors from well-respected universities. You are free to judge others' love of cooking as you choose, but I would have welcomed the insight to translate mine into a way to make money as Ms. Powell did.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If you think that the problem about online posts and rules and identities are endemic to, you're incorrect. The latest column from the ombudsman at (San Antonio Express-News).

It's really interesting that those without sin can cast the first stone, isn't it, Mr. FMP?

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Rule Nine, indeed.

Going back to the kit, if I am getting it right, Tom is making the claim that one person who is willing to, say, fly to Haiti and report directly can now effectively compete with larger news organizations. And this certainly makes some sense. Certainly what we saw in Iran with Twitter has a bit of this flavor.

The thing is, large news organizations imply accountability. When I read a journalist from the WaPo I am assuming a certain degree of integrity. This assumption comes from historical confidence in the WaPo brand as well as the knowledge that a reporter who violates certain standards will end up fired. And lose his medical insurance.

Now, ideally, a free-lance citizen journalist who reports something wrong would lose credibility and hence audience. In theory this would keep such reporting honest. But is this true? I worry that these small scale operations will simply craft reality for certain niches. We would end up with dozens of on-the-spot news reports none of which I trust.

In other words, it would be like the blogosphere in which market share is all that matters. Someone like, oh, Michelle Mullen, can't be fired no matter how egregiously she distorts things and how viciously the personalizes her attacks. (She has no ombudsman to answer to.) And yet she thrives because she has an audience.

I would hate to see this become the general model for news.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I saw "Julie and Julia" as an in-flight movie back in December. I was pleased to note that the movie *does* mention that Julia and her husband met in the OSS. In the dinner party scene in which the point is mentioned (just the one time), Julia and Paul casually laugh off the suggestion that they were spies with a pleasantly uninformative denial that is not further pursued. Beyond that bit of character-establishment, that prior role was not germane to the arc of the movie's story. The movie was structured to address the parallelism in the women's lives, through the discovery of fine food and artistic cooking.

I cannot agree that it is disgraceful for a person with a good education to pursue learning to cook well. I have a few advanced degrees and I rather enjoy cooking. Eating is a reality, an aesthetic as well as trivially necessary experience with which we constantly are confronted. Why should we not lavish some care and personal attention on the creation of the meals we eat? Cooking is artistry, no less than the creation of music. Both are ephemeral, giving pleasure while being consumed, then gone. There is room in this world for pure hack-work in both arenas, and there is room for transcendence. We need both.

As for whether Julie Powell is an admirable person: saints are admirable persons, but the lives of saints (as recounted by others, who want them to appear perfect) are often uninstructive, because so rarely do they need to overcome human imperfection. I noticed that the Village Voice review repeatedly ripped Julie Powell for being self-obsessed. Well, possibly. But, in a book that is explicitly about her own personal failings and defects, with whom did the reviewer expect the book to be obsessed? Self-dissection requires an unflinching examination of oneself in search of what one shares with others. I admire her for being willing to show the ugly truth behind the deceptively "perky" façade. My only problem is with the tidiness of the differentiation between the stories of the two books. Life isn't like that.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

CPDot2 texted me from the middle west...did the Poe cognac guy not show up this year? I could google but will boodle this. If so, then wow....a torch has passed or not passed?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse


I heard on the radio this morning some discussion about our air-dropping the 82nd Airborne into Haiti to help with the crowd control, etc. If I understood it correctly, the Pentagon nixed the idea because of the support problems. See, it's damn all easy to suggest parachuting in a couple thousand troops, and yes, that could be done fairly easily. But then you have to remember, paratroops only carry enough supplies for a day or so. So if we drop 2,000 troops, how do we feed them on Day 3? Where do they get their water and shelter? (They sure as hell can't forage for it. This isn't Gettysburg or Brandywine, where you take over people's houses and buy their cattle and pigs and corn.)

Now, *could* we supply the 82nd Airborne by air? Probably yes. But is that the best solution? Is it the best use of troops? Are we prepared to lose a few guys on the jump? (We probably would. Jumping is high-risk. Also, there's the question of a mob going after some guy who lands isolated from his comrades. People land in rubble and get hurt. People come down in trees. People even get hurt landing on clear ground. Gen. Gavin broke two vertebrae at Arnhem (Maas), although no one knew it for five years.)

Logistics is really pretty boring stuff...but it isn't easy, and it can't be ignored. No one has the ability to just ship vast amounts of stuff around the globe, especially willy-nilly, and especially without major infrastructure. One could write (and someone has) an incredibly boring history of WWII talking about nothing but logistics, supply lines, lack of supplies, getting supplies from A to B, campaigns won or lost due to supplies, campaigns designed solely around obtaining X supply objective (oil fields, ball-bearing factories, port facilities, convoys, torpedoing cargo ships and tankers instead of warships, etc.). You know why the Allies won and the Axis lost? Supplies.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm missing some subtleties of Tom's argument. Or maybe I'm just saying things shouldn't evolve that way, not that they won't. In any case, I think the most important thing a source of news and information must have is trust and respect.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reminder about the OSS reference in the movie; I'd forgotten. And wasn't Julia Child really ticked off by what Julie Powell was doing? Did that ever get resolved, other than the young Powell making an homage trip to the D.C. museum?

Whoops, found it...some insight on *why* Julia hated Julie here:

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

Suppose I were to walk into the middle of a party and start screaming that the music is too loud, and the food too fatty, and really, young lady, does your mother know you are going out like that?

One might suggest that I had simply wandered into the wrong party.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

RD_P: There are large news organizations whose accountability one can question. Sometimes it's because of political ideologies, sometimes it due to the selective omission of facts, and sometimes for other reasons.

Just saying large organizations *do* craft reality for certain niches, just as you fear small ones might.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, sad news from the literary world, as Robert Parker has left us:


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

PoeToe-ster broke his streak,0,2922653.story

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Dr. King's day yesterday reminded me about whatever progress I have made in myself to examine hidden prejudices. For a long time I only dealt with the ones that were obvious to me and let the more insidious ones go unnoticed. In the past few years it has been a quiet man I met who have taught me some things. He showed up on a construction site and got a temporary job doing odd jobs; cleaning up. Nobody noticed him. I got to talking to him and it turned out he had just gotten back from Afghanistan out of the U.S. Army. He was one of the smartest people on the site and knew construction too. People only saw his skin color and since he didn't say much, he had to find another permanent job elsewhere.

Here's something about the mystery of vaccinations

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point MsJS. Large organizations can certainly be biased, as we all know. The difference, it seems to me, is one of degree.

In the long term there are more forces present to keep large organizations accountable than small ones. The economies of scale tend to drive one away from the more egregious extremism encountered in blogs. That is, because a small outfit can survive with a small audience extreme views can be tolerated and even encouraged. A larger outfit that relies on a larger audience has more modulating factors.

I don't think that, for example, Fox New would survive if it were as universally vicious as I perceive Michelle Mullen to be.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I thought that's what the Japanese shouted after Pearl Harbor.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 19, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

What, Boko, that "the music is too loud, and the food too fatty, and really, young lady, does your mother know you are going out like that?" That would be really funny.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

My last refs Mudge's last.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 19, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to hear Robert Parker died. I always enjoyed his Spenser novels. I began reading them when I lived in Boston; after I moved, the geographical familiarity added something to the story. While I liked his other work, I admired Spenser for the peculiar attributes he gave that character. He very consciously created and described a particular kind of ethical and moral code; although it was couched in male terms it translated across gender lines. I also enjoyed the way Parker could convey so much with spare dialogue and very little description.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the good wishes, ftb. I voted and it was relatively busy. I do not have a good feeling about this. I find it discouraging that my fellow citizens are falling for Brown. Just the fact the the tea party people are behind him is enough to turn me off.

Off to stain a coffee table that "S" has made.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Mudge I liked your posts. I read a lot of WWII history and have always been awed by the scope of the efforts deployed. There are people who look back on that period and wonder why we don't replicate those feats. But as you pointed out for Normandy so many things were built on long term planning and production and stockpiling. Hundreds of millions of people set aside their regular lives to work to one goal.

There are a lot of carefully scripted statements in the news about who is in charge if you read carefully. The UN is trying very hard to make it look like their show with the Haitian government. There seems to be a feeling that there will be local or international hostility to a US military takeover. But the US military is probably the only organisation on the planet that can handle the logistics. It's something they were historically brilliant at and still seem to be (although, I'm sure more than a few grunts will find reasons to debate this most vigorously). It's probably never too soon for some petty bickering going on in the background.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article, Jumper. Brave man - isn't mentioning vaccines sort of the third rail of the Achenblog?

More light:

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Apparently neither the House nor Senate health care bills address a large cause of medical-related bankruptcies:


Posted by: Raysmom | January 19, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I kinda looked down on Parker a little bit at first as too macho and a faux Spillane, but came to like his Spencer novels. He kinda gave off the macho persona in person, but as Ivansmom says, his characters really did have a moral and ethical code, and it was not macho at all. In fact, Spencer's relationship with Susan Silverman was every bit the modern and politically correct one. And the relationship between Hawk and Susan was equally positive and respectful (as it had to be, else neither Susan nor Spencer would have put up with it -- or respected Hawk the way they did. It was kind of a chaste menage a trois.)

Parker also took on a couple of issues before anyone else did -- to my uncertain knowledge one of the earliest positive lesbian characters in at least two novels. And in a couple of others Spencer ran parallel to Travis Mcgee in the number of times both "rescued" some alcoholic or drug-abusing out-of-control actress type or rich-b1tch type and helped her get dried out and sane (and without hopping on her bones). Both Galahad types, McGee more self-consciously so than Spencer.

Perhaps the reason I initially disdained Parker was because he seemed to be imitating McGee, I dunno. McDonald got there first. But Parker soon differentiated enough.

Just couldn't get into Poodle Springs, try as hard as I did.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

If Joel is soon going to remember WWII, I might end up remembering the War of the Roses. Ack!!!

Cooking well is indeed an art, SciTim. It is the only (OK, not the *only*) creative thing I do, in which I can be both inventive and playful. Eating good food is one of the pleasures of this life. When you get to also feed people you love, it rises nearly to the status of a sacrament, I feel.

And it is just plain fun; all those colourful vegetables and stinky cheeses and silky fats.

When #2 was tiny, I was making filo and gave her a bit to work with; as soon as she touched it she said, "Oh, it feels so mild." I loved that!

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

RDP, do you mean "Michelle Malkin"?

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

My 1960s high school was integrated, thanks to being on a military base. The segregation in town (the capital of an affluent, supposedly rather progressive state) seemed pretty ridiculous.

It took an amazingly long time for civilian society to more or less work out "racial" issues.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | January 19, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Even before I googled Poodle Springs, I was laughing so hard that well, gravity took over and I gave up my seat for the floor.

Poodle is a funny word. Just is. But, my first vision of PS is a small dog wearing moonbounce boots.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- food with others and for others is a sacrament. Amen to that.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk: "The thing is, large news organizations imply accountability. When I read a journalist from the WaPo I am assuming a certain degree of integrity. This assumption comes from historical confidence in the WaPo brand as well as the knowledge that a reporter who violates certain standards will end up fired. And lose his medical insurance."

Hearst's New York World predates Fox News by at least 110 years. The gusto with which the WAPO, NYT, et al, engorged themselves with weapons of mass destruction fare, as they merrily embedded themselves into the first Gulf War, colors yellow all subsequent assertions. Local stringers are often unaware of corporate sensibilities.

Posted by: davemarks | January 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I love it! My in-laws' dogs are poodle springs!

Speaking of lunch, anyone want some? I've got dolma, feta, and black olives with some fruit.

I discovered this morning that Life cereal is remarkably tasty mushed into Greek yogurt. Ah, the joys of food.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I first stumbled onto food as literature when by accident I started reading a book by Elizabeth David. I thought I was reading Elizabeth Enright.

Elizabeth David had a great deal to do with teaching Britain -- later this Continent -- about the wonder of the ordinary Italian table. I think of her whenever I pour olive oil. She said that every day contains the possibility of a miracle. Ah, behold the theology of food.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You are, of course, correct SciTim. Every once and a while I get this perverse desire to look at the headlines at her blog. Sort of like how you just can't resist looking under a rock. But that might just be me.

davemarks, I'm sorry, my perception of WaPo, NYT, and even Fox News is simply different. Granted Fox News is getting pretty bad at times, but none, to me, have a corporate culture that approaches the venom of an individual.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

RD, very interesting thought. Mind if I ponder?

Posted by: russianthistle | January 19, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Let the fig stand in for the challenge that was the English Food Rut (EFR.

Wil Shakespeare gave this line to Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra (Act 2: Scene 1)

O excellent! I love long life better than figs.

--years pass (I am now onkit); things happen, many good but some really BAD.THINGS. --

COMES BETSY GWYNNE DAVID, in both sweet and sour prose (she was a bit like Dorothy Parker):

"To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean."
— Elizabeth David (An Omelette and a Glass of Wine)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I have been living on spicy noodles for lunch for a while now. Because I am lazy and wish to keep my pocket change for more worthwhile events. As a result I fear my sodium intake is going through the roof.

Seriously, I must start packing something healthier.

So, would someone mind faxing me some fruit? But be sure to put it in lengthwise this time. It gets less mushy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The granddaughters had a day off from school last Friday and I took them to the JFK Library. One of the displays was of the civil rights movement and MLK. They did have some knowledge of the confrontations with police and the fire hoses but when they saw a photo of two signs 'white' and 'colored', they were puzzled. When I explained it to them, the look on their faces was pure astonishment. While we didn't have overt segregation here, the subtler form wasn't pretty. I'm glad I've lived long enough to see things change quite a bit, not that we don't have more to do. Being at the library and seeing all the history that I remember living through made me feel old(er) but glad to have lived those times. The youngest granddaughter told her mother later that night that she liked being with me because I was 'historical.' I've been called worse!

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

136 years, davemarks. One of the NY World's earliest editors had one of my all-time favorite newspaper person names: Manton Marble. When we were in J-school and taking the history of J class (actually a pretty popular class, believe it or not), we all loved Manton Marble.

Pulitzer bought the World in 1883, and the rest, as they say, is history.

(Speaking of my buddy Abe Lincoln, Marble's newspaper in 1864 printed a forget letter purporting to be from Lincoln, calling for a draft of another 400,000. When Marble found out it was a forgery he tried to make amends, but Lincoln was so pissed he had Marble arrested and had Army troops occupy the World building and cease publication for two days. So it is a "textbook" kincident in the history of journalism versus the White House relationships.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Boko! :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 19, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I see tiny joyous poodles cascading from a fracture in the rock of a mossy mountain side.

40 pallets is a nice gesture but it's about 2 TEU, that is the content of two standard ISO 20' containers. They are usually loaded 2 pallets wide for 5 pallets long and most loads can be stacked 2-high.

The US sealift command has a nice fleet of RO-RO and self-unloading containerships but they still need a place to berth. Early estimate are 60-80 day of repairs before the port of PauP is operational again.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Historical" isn't so bad, sneaks. You could be called "adorable."

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Nice, shrieking d! Now I'm thinking of tiny joyous poodles leaping in my box canyon of joy.

RD, a Honeycrisp apple and tangelo/clementine thingy heading your way.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

RD, what is your pleasure? I've got cantaloupe, apples, clementines and dragon fruit.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

RO-RO Row your boat...

**Sorry, shriek, I saw your 1:48 post and the fleet of RO-RO and my mind just burped that out**

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah TBG, or 'spry'

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Potentially embarrassed to admit that up until this minute, I never heard of dragon fruit. I Googled it, so learned a few things. But the question nags at me: am I the only fruitifically challenged Boodler? Are the a "western"/Canucki thing? I admit to periods of obliviousness; is this one?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Yoki and Ivansmom!

I love citrus. Especially those tangelo/clementine thingies. You can mush them up and suck the pulpy liquid directly out.

And dragon fruit! Wow, does that take me back. I have only had it once, when I was in school in Southern California. It was wonderfully exotic.

So many seed-bearing fruiting bodies. So little time.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

'mudge, I had never seen them until I moved into a predominantly Chinese-immigrant neighbourhood (the wealthy suburb I later fled); our local groceries up there carried a *lot* of Asian produce. I love to add one to a fruit centrepiece; so pretty and exotic.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Whaddaya mean, "could be" called adorable? TBG, Sneaks *is* adorable.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I've been experimenting with sending leftover salad in a baggie, with dressing in another baggie inside that, and a plastic fork, with lunches. So much plastic! This experiment has not been as well-received as, say, the butterscotch brownies. The butterscotch brownies are exceptionally good.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

mudge... see "Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:10 AM"

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

SD -- the happy place and daily affirmation:

I see tiny joyous {poodles} cascading from a fracture in the rock of a mossy mountain side.

{ } Insert whatever you wish:

amber beads
kitty cats
sparkle ponies
Hummel clowns
health care coverage

Glad for some chuckles.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Dragon fruit? I just Googled it and wonder if one can find it here. Sounds yummy. When I was living in Sweden, I tasted kiwi for the first time (an all time favorite) and blood oranges. The oranges came from either Israel or Ghana and were deliciously tangy. I've found them at Trader Joe's.

I'm with ya, RDP -- fruit! It's what's for any time of the day.

Now . . . about dragon breath. I guess the first one into the bathroom in the morning and charges for the mouthwash *doesn't* have it, right?

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

Hmm. When I saw RO-RO in conjunction with the navy, all I could think of was the infamous "roo-roo" joke.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 19, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

BTW, mudge, it appears adorable is now sort of a bad thing. When used by my teens it means someone cute or endearing in some way but not sexy.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought dragon fruit were baby dragons.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Like "precious" has become derogatory, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tune cootie MsJS...

How about "green" badsneakers?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I gotta think Whole Foods would have them. Be sure to eat them lightly chilled, if you plan to eat them at all.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

As for women's traditional--and far too often subservient--role in the kitchen, may I remind you (again) of Brit Rosalind Franklin's fantastic book, "Who Cooked the Last Supper?"

One of my favorite Kits that Joel wrote was about wine snobs. I hope that he will consider doing one soon about food snobs. Or has "Stuff White People Like" Christian Lander (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) already written along the same lines? Oh, he HAS! I see that Lander's blog has had more than 63 million hits.

A bit about gourmet (gorge-met) food:

Or Lander's take on white people's Sunday mornings:

The secret you may not know, is that deep down, all white people are desperately trying to make their life seem like an ad for a Sub Zero refrigerator, or an article in Gourmet/Bon Appetit magazine. To achieve either of these goals will set white people at ease.

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

Because we were living in South Florida when my son was little, he grew up eating mangoes. Mangoes and citrus are to Florida what tomatoes and cucumbers are to mid-Atlantic gardeners. When the crop comes in, you can't give them away fast enough. He also learned a craving for kiwis. I had never heard of these as a kid.

On our big Vietnam trip part of the fun was trying to match the exotic obscure fruit on the breakfast buffet with the trees we would see during the day. I still don't quite know what the difference between a rambutan and and a lychee is except for the spikes.

And dragon fruit are about the coolest thing ever. The white 'meat' with the black flecks is like nothing else I have ever seen.

In Hanoi there were lychees in our room like you would find apples and oranges in an upscale US hotel.

Here is my blog post on jackfruit which are enormous:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Or check out Lander's hilarious take on the extremely recent Conan O'Brien/NBC/Leno battle on Lander's home page:

In 2009, millions of white people took 35 seconds to turn their twitter profiles green, and consequently sent a very powerful message to the leaders of Iran. Their message was that they wanted their friends to know that they would stop at nothing to ensure freedom and democracy for the Iranian people. Thanks in large part to that effort Iran is now completely democratic.

I've seen the party metaphor before for the Achenblog before. Didn't buy it then, don't buy it now.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I see I should have used roll-on/roll-off...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse


This worked for a while: lettuce rolled around pepper jack cheese slices; toothpicked.

We shall not speak of the weaponized toothpick moment that resulted in a trip to the Principal's office....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

More fruity pictures.

Part of my quest in Vietnam was to eat a real durian.

You can buy them at any H-Mart in the DC area but my wife forbids it.

And you don't get coconuts much fresher than this:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

LOL, yello. My Vietnamese friend cuts open a durian every time I go to his house. Just for me!

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

jkt... I want my lychees. If someone "scored" some, they would show up in a brown paper bag. For some reason, that's what I remember. In Hawaii, mango and papaya trees where everywhere. Guavas were available up in the valleys growing wild.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 19, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, as opposed to Duran Duran?

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


If you want to know the secret handshake, send me an e-mail at my gmail address with an e-mail address that I can reply to.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I would never cut open Duran Duran.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the past isn't past... Do you realize that The '60s is now 50 years ago?

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Always go easy on the pitaya/dragon fruit. They are (in)famous, hummm, stool softeners.
I tried the durian in a chinese buffet in Toronto. It's very good and by having it in a restaurant you avoid the smell completely...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Unless you think the 60s didn't started until 1963. My parents were married in 1962. They were not any part of the 60s.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- this being my 50th year and being born in January 1960 -- I think about all the time. Did I time my bday nicely for a year-long party that we all can enjoy, or what.

Retro, baby.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Bless you TBG you just reminded me that this year will be a big birthday year for a family member.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm really, really upset. So distraught it almost feels like grief.

Ricky Gervais's blockbuster 2009 film "The Invention of Lying" wasn't honored by the Golden Globes in the comedy/musical catergory! Gervais himself wasn't up for a best actor nod for best male actor in a musical/comedy?

Can't stand to think of time passing so slowly before the Academy Awards nominations are announced. Certainly Ricky Gervais's 2009 film "The Invention of Lying" will be given the encomiums it so richly deserves from the Academy, and the oversights from the the finicky foreign press's Globes will righted.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

One of the neat things about the DC area is that there is are lots of places to get unusual foodstuffs. Trader Joe's and Wegmanns to name but two. (The last is my personal favorite. I call it Disney World for food. You know, you got your cheeseland, and your breadland...)

The thing about good food isn't about appearing snooty and sophisticated, but about discovery. It's about learning that there are different kinds of food above and beyond that which you might have experienced. New fruits, and cheeses, and meats. These need not be especially expensive, but they take you places you might have never been. (Oh my goodness, I am channeling that animated rat in that Pixar movie.)

Recently I discovered spicy dried mangoes. (Something like three bucks a package.) Wow. like Wow. Something new under the sun for me. Or capers on cheese pizza. Gourmet? Who cares. Good? Darn tootin'

Then there is the magnificent creativity of cooking. (I love the scene of Julia Child cooking as observed by her beloved Paul in J and J.)

Of course, I don't cook anymore. My pre-marriage repertoire centered on seafood, which is forbidden in our house. And my wife refuses to let me help in the kitchen ever since that whole "Cream of Tartar" episode.

But I do appreciate good food. Food prepared with skill and creativity. They say appreciating food is one of the last sensual pleasures to be lost in life.

To deny the joy of skilled cooking is to deny the joy of art.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Far be it for me to deride what Christian Lander, or you laloomis, think of anyone's Sunday meals.

Personally, I like hearing what others on the blog like to eat. I've even tried, and loved, a couple of the recipes. It's not ground-breaking journalism, but it is a simple act of sharing that I enjoy.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Here's something I could never picture myself ever saying...

If any of you out there have control of the Muzak at your place of work, play or residence, I highly recommend the "Hot FM" channel.

We just discovered it in our office and we've noticed that we're not heading downstairs for coffee in the afternoon anymore.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I saw the earlier reference to "adorable," I just ignored it. I remain pretty steadfast in not allowing teenagers, of all people to determine new connotations for the English language. IMHO, while they are creative, they aren't especially good at it, and have no respect.

"Precious," on the other hand, they can have. Never liked the word to begin with. (Not all that crazy about "adorable," for that matter, but ya gotta draw the line somewhere).

No, I never heard of kiwis as a kid either. I think I was married before I ever saw one. There was a slice of one in a fruit salad or something, and it made me jump and ask, "What the hell's THAT?"

(I don't generally like to be snuck up on by food. I usually like to see it comin', have a chance to look it over, give it some thought. Anthony Bourdain I am not, I admit.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

MsJS -- I like your cookie adventures. For a number of reasons, no cookie baking takes place in my holiday house now; and, the neighborhood cookie exchange devolved into us baking brownies and Toll House for each other. We looked at the spread, laughed at how frightfully busy we were and decided to wait until the December days lighten up. Most of us are teachers and the grading of papers/turning in of grades on Dec. 23 is a very hard deadline.

Still, your baking karmically balances my sloth out. Tipping the hat. Come over and sit by me; I am in a patch of sun by the window. Today is about 50 degrees....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse


Kiwi fruit: Mentally, I store them in an elaborate Habitrail structure. Fur. Fruit. God may not be an effective or real quantity in many places; but her sense of humor is quirky.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see a Kiwi fruit until the late 1970s. Expensive as heck until they started growing them in California.

I actually tried growing Kiwis in Northern Virginia way back in the previous century. Not the commercial kind, but a special hybrid. You needed a boy plant and a girl plant. The boy plant did fine, the girl plant, well.

Some things are just left better unsaid.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

For CqP :-)

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 19, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

DNA-G -- Quick on the draw; I wonder sometimes if you are Ms. SinFest!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to disagree, Padouk. Yes, in your quadrant of the burbs there are lots of places. Down in my quadrant we got nuthin'. No Trader Joe's, no Whole Foods, no Wegman's, no Harris Teeter, nothing but Food Lion and Safeway and Giant (which we seldom shop in; too expensive). I was in a U Krops in Williamsburg recently; jeez, it was like being let loose in Santa's workshop. I'd kill to have a U Krops nearby. Or any of those other places. I've been in Trader Joe's in Bethesda (Silver Spring) and Annapolis. Never set foot in a Wegman's, Whole Foods or HT. I lead a sheltered life. I came out of a deprived upbringing of Penn Fruit, Acme, A & P, and IGA. To this day I think of sushi as "bait."

I'm not sure I can even begin to describe what a small-town Maryland IGA was like 30 years ago. Can someone help me? My hands are twitching.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I have been known, in my youth, to actually consume a kiwi fruit fuzzy skin and all. (Except that yucky bit at the end.)

It was a weird time, man. We were into stretchin' the boundaries.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh Mudge. I didn't realize things were so desolate. Safeway sometimes has a great produce section, though. I saw Asian Pears a while ago. Those are sure worth a bite.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- I shop at Giant and Mom's and eat frozen veggies during the winter. In the summer, however, the produce options by several producer's farmer's market are delish and fresh.

I grew up in Montana; we ate so much beef as to not be believed. But produce was dear and seasonal. Two dads with pick up trucks drove to Idaho and Yakmima, WA to buy apples and pears. We ate them in season, saving the keeper apples to see us through December. We ate oranges as a treat in January and, I do not mind the boom bust of seasonal eating.

Frozen vegetables and fruit are such a boon.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Teenagers are known for redefining any existing word sarcastically nearly at whim. But 'fetch' still isn't happening.

They have actually broken ground on the much fabled Wegman's in Columbia. I remember making day trips to the one in Sterling with a cooler to make sure everything stayed fresh until I got home.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Nah, just polishing my rapid response skills.
Classes start tomorrow and I'll need them in spades.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | January 19, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't know for Merlin but in small-town Quebec thirty years ago fresh broccoli was a special order during winter. This was the land of potatoes, cabbage, turnips and carrots. And tinned peas if you absolutely wanted something green.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I suppose the Giant in Waldorf is OK, CqP -- it is certainly the place to go when we can't find whatever it is at Safeway. We have a Shopper's World, Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's, but of course one goes there for staples and mass quantities, not for anything interesting. We have lots of local farmer's markets in season, too -- but all their stuff are routine: tomatoes, corn, squash, melons. They sometimes have fruit, but it isn't locally grown--comes in a truck from Chile or California or who knows where. So there's no special reason to buy it there rather than Safeway.

I made Jamaican jerk chicken a few months ago. I had to go to five places to find a jar of jerk sauce, including a Jamaican restaurant. Only Shopper's World had it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Snark Alert:

Opinionating on Ricky Gervais is *so* on-kit. Rules be danged, eh?

I love TJs -- CQP, I, too, eat frozen veggies off-season. I might just be one of two veggie lovers in my almost-all-of-us-are-over-60 girl gang. And during the high season (spring, summer, fall) that's pretty much all I eat, along with the wonderful melons and berries and peaches and plums. Apricots I adore, but the season is so short. I've seen beautiful (on the outside only) apricots at Shoppers, only to be extremely disappointed that they were mushy on the inside. I'll only get them at my local farmers market now -- they come down from Pennsylvania to this region. Very fresh, very good and local enough to be called local.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

CqP: Thank you for the thumbs up.

My cookie adventures are morphing into muffin adventures. With the snow making wheeling difficult and MrJS not able to get out, we are temporarily not able to get to a bakery. This translates to a muffinless breakfast for MrJS.

He's not complaining, mind you, but I'm thinking he deserves a good breakfast muffin. So I'm scouring the web for ideas and trying them out.

There is definitely an art to creating muffins. My efforts to date are best described as sincere with progress in sight.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- I eat rather plainly in summer. Those things you mention are humble but wonderful. Sweet corn on the grill; Kosher salt and ground pepper? Don't even need the butter.

FTP -- the cots from the Pac Northwest are lovely too. I like them dried and do not mind the whiff of S02 on them.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I will answer to anything but spry. I'm not picky ;-) I have seen all sorts of different fruit in the supermarkets in the past few years but haven't had the courage to try them. I also get confused with mangos and papayas, I know I like one and not the other, but I can't remember which is which. Dragon fruit looks interesting but it's one I haven't seen, altho' I don't go to Whole Foods very often so they might have it. I know that fresh coconut is a whole different thing from the ones we can get here. Kiwi, I hear, is also much better when you can get 'native.' I may be able to chime in with more fruit knowledge in a month or so.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

CqP-- this image's for you:

Poodle Springs: a hybrid toy combining a poodle-headed pez dispenser and a fur-covered slinky.

Bonk it down, watch it spring with a tiny arf as it ejects a tiny biscuit-shaped candy.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"As for women's traditional--and far too often subservient--role in the kitchen..."

Yes, I am aware of the issue. I do not think that past wrongs will be righted by rearing generations of educated women who are unfamiliar with food -- which, by the way, probably mostly explains why Julie Powell's weak cooking abilities elicited Julia Child's disdain. *Some*one still needs to be in a kitchen somewhere, so that we can eat, unless we are to forage directly (which works fine for some people, but not all). As evolution has provided us with only two genders from which to choose, chances are that the person in the kitchen will be either a man or a woman (or, I suppose, a eunuch -- rare, these days).

I would no sooner ban from the kitchen a woman who wants to be there, than support the absurd notions of a man who would declare cooking to be "woman's work" and therefore unworthy of him. Julia Child chose the kitchen, because it gave her fulfillment. I should think that Julie Powell, personal flaws and all, should have the same right. As it happens, Julia Child also found a career as a TV personality in the kitchen, and Julie Powell found a career as a writer.

Which, at last, brings this weird off-topic thread back into some relevance to the kit: some people *like* to cook, just as some people *like* to garden, some like to tend farms, some people like to do all manner of "menial" chores. And most don't like it. What makes it tolerable or even likable is if the person doing the chore is free to choose whether to do it. Civil rights are violated when a person is forbidden from making his own choices and those choices are constrained or dictated by others. Julie Powell is not forcing anyone into the kitchen, but she may be encouraging others to consider it as an option. I don't see anything wrong with that.

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

I'm getting all flibbertigibbet-like just thinking about fresh fruit that isn't apples, oranges, or bananas.

Total yummage. I'm something of a mango-holic myself.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"My efforts to date are best described as sincere with progress in sight."

Great line, MsJS. *giggling*

Dr G and I visited the Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead, Florida, a few years ago and I was able to see and taste many different types of tropical fruit. It is quite an amazing place to visit if you have a chance.

I'm sure Dave of the Coonties can tell us more...

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we eat local corn like crazy, too, CqP. Last summer my wife sprang a new recipe on us, something from her tennessee youth: fried corn. Probably murder on the cholesterol, but we loved it. I accused her of hiding from me for 26 3/4 years of marriage. Meanwhile, I make a pretty decent corn fritter.

Two years ago I accidentally stumbled on a way to make asparagus acceptable (basic steamed asparagus is dull and tasteless and not worth the effort, IMHO): drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with Monterey steak seasoning, and grill it. Not THAT's how to do asparagus.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC, Mudge, I think.

Now THAT's how to do asparagus.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, a "a small-town Maryland IGA" would be pretty much like all the others:

Wonder bread, Jif, Miracle Whip and the like...

*recovering from a flashback of my small-town NH IGA* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Guava fruit I like. I think I've seen dragon fruit in asian markets and went WTF?
Never ate one.

The variety of ingredients used in Asian cooking is not to be believed. I've also eaten Ethiopian food, which is pretty good if basic in its way, I liked one in DC for a breakfast/brunch.

America may not be quite a full melting pot when it comes to racial relations, but it's a real cooking pot when it comes to international recipe diversity.

Food drives a lot of international commerce, politics, war, religious discussion, as well as history. Therefore it is a worthy intellectual subject.

But for those who feel revulsed by food, other subjects of discussion exist:

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I love asparagus in most any form (except canned) - can't go wrong making it for me. We used to put steamed , under a poached egg, atop toast, as a quick lunch or light supper. Will try that again this spring. Hope some of my three remaining asparagus plants survive the winter.

It seems a mockery of grief to compare one's disappointment over an awards ceremony to the real thing.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

SD, my wife's chin hit the table when she first grudgingly put turnip in a dish and I said I really liked it. Somehow it never made it to our table growing up and and I still find it exotic (and very tasty in stew).

Eunuchs, Science Tim? I suddenly hear Farinelli in the kitchen, whipping up some pasta and singing up a storm... disturbing

Posted by: qgaliana | January 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Grilled asparagus is the best altho' I like it in any form except canned. I remember having star fruit once that was great, but the next time I bought it, it was awful. Does anyone know if there's some secret to choosing it? We are still able to get blueberries cheap at the local BJ's. I think they're from Chili but they are sweet and good on cereal.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The amazing summer fruits were one thing I really enjoyed with my CSA. The apricots were sweet, the white peaches had a light vanilla undertone, and the blackberries were the only "large" ones I've ever enjoyed. Alas, I did the math, and for the same $ I can get a lot more food at the farmer's market. And I do love me my summer veggies, too.

Mudge, for asparagus try coating lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and parm cheese and roast in the oven. Of course, you could probably sprinkle cheese on a flip-flop and I'd like it.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 19, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Guilty secret: I love canned LeSeur baby green peas. Does that make me a bad person?

I admit I haven't been following, so someone please fill me in on the spin: Ricky Gervais: did he do a good job, or not? I haven't made up my mind.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

sneaks, mangoes have more flavour than papayas. To me papayas is much more melon like, similar texture, juicy - somewhat bland.

As to mangoes I had them once at a friends and LOVED them, she said she had purchased them at a West Indian store. I explained that it was so much better than other mangoes I had had. To her opinion Florida/Mexico mangoes had a different flavour than those from the islands. Anyone more knowledgeable than I - can you verify this. To me regular mangoes have a more pine nutty taste I do not like that much.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Ricky bombed with a giant splash. The self-promotional bits were supposed to be meta, but only came off as hucksterish. He was not as daring as he claimed he would be (Think Chris Rock at the 2005 Academy Awards) and his safe material was a little lame.

I don't seem him working through the roster like Hugh Jackman or Neil Patrick Harris.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Yello: I am so totally in agreement!

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

howdy, boodle.

i-mom, if you have any leftover dolmas, please fax a few over.

tried to post yesterday but it didn't go through. happy belated 5th to the a-blog.

rd, i live off of tj's. went to a wegman's for the first time when i was back east for the holidays. disneyland indeed.

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Would it be possible for Haitians to off-load large ships with small loads carried on many small boats? We could pay people (thereby partially subverting the class system of Haitian society) to row out in small boats to reach big boats that cannot dock under current conditions, and carry the goods back to shore. Of course, that would require ships with substantial cargo that are *capable* of being unloaded by hand. I doubt they're there.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I love LeSeur baby peas. My wife and children won't touch anything that has peas in it, nor anything the looks like it might have peas in it. Thus, I *could* make an entire pot of split pea soup and have it to myself. Rather, I'll cook up a pot of something everyone is likely to eat, reserving peas when they're served in the fellowship hall on Wed. nights, or those increasingly rare occasions when we go to a restaurant that has peas or pea soup on the menu.

Posted by: -jack- | January 19, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, Tim, I guess the answer is yes -- on the same general theory that if you have enough laborers and enough time, one can do just about anything. It kind of presupposes a reasonable amount of shore-side organization and discipline (and probably security): you'd need to keep it orderly, make sure nobody gets crazy and capsizes their craft, no mobs and rioting, etc. But in theory, sure.

It'd be tough to land big equipment: vehicles, probably hospital equipment, etc. But given that they need "everything," it'd be possible to offload smaller stuff. Might even be worth doing.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, corn in summer. Well Garrison Keilor tells the truth when he saws that sweet corn, seconds from the field, is better than You.Know.What. While looking for that quote I found this:
Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through. Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. END QUOTE

_We Are Still Married : Stories & Letters_(1989),, "The Meaning of Life", p. 217

From WikiQuote.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I like my mangoes very green or red. By the time they are yellow, the meat is too soft and mushy for me. I like my mangos like I like my boodlers, crisp and tart.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, I have a fantastic bran-orange-pecan muffin recipe buried here somewhere. I haven't made it in years and years, but it's great. If that appeals, let us know and I'll post it.

PS: Note of Boodle etiquette. We never SCC each other, only our own errors. Well, we do alert Joel to typos, etc.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Um. Here's an interesting question I'm not at all happy with. I wonder if the distribution of food and other supplies in Haiti (either before or after the earthquake) is any more corrupt and dyfunctional than the distribution of supplies and aid was to Iraq, say, a year after the invasion? When we were sending skids of millions of dollars of cash over and they disappeared.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for that quote, CqP. Very nice. Very GK, of course.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The cargo container has really revolutionized shipping and is as much a part of the globalization of the world as any other invention, the internet included. It commoditizied shipping and the entire world's transportation infrastructure (railroads, trucks, warehouses) has evolved around it. Trying to do anything around or against shipping containers is swimming against the tide and an exercise in futility.

William Gibson wrote an entire novel, Spook Country, about a McGuffin container with CIA connections. Highly recommended.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Clementines! I have a clementine tree in a pot (outdoors,) that I have had for three years. Last winter it produced a fruit. One. This year it decided to try again. There were 50! They were small, because they should have had about half pinched out, but they are still delicious.

Anybody know"The Supper of the Lamb" by Fr. Robert Capon? He wrote back in the 60s, I think. An Episcopal priest who stirred food and the spirit and recipes into a wonderful mix.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Wikipedia article which is very good.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, I envy you! What planting zone are you in? Do you have to bring it in for the winter? I'm going to try one. Going away *now* to look for one to order.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, frenvious of your citrus!

When I posted about El David I was also thinking of this person but I misremebered him as Fr. Cornish....I had the chicken theme but not the right chicky-word
Here is one of his prayers:

Give us this day our daily taste.
Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with.
Give us pasta with a hundred fillings.END QUOTE --Fr. Capon.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Almost caught up now!

Jack, from the last boodle: yes, good fire departments require critical incident stress debriefing after a bad incident, generally defined as one where firefighters have to deal with a death other than from natural causes. In the department I'm familiar with, there is a contract with the counselling services folks to provide whatever is needed when the incident is over. Always good to have professionals to sort through the issues. Mr. T went to one where he was one of the first on the scene at a fire where a young mother, an infant, and two preschoolers died. Those sights will keep you up at night.

Posted by: slyness | January 19, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big turnip fan but roasted turnip and mashed turnip&carrot I like. The mashed turnip&carrot is made like mashed potatoes, with butter or some sour cream. Crème fraîche is probably the best option though.

Steamed asparagus are ok if cooked "just so" which is quite difficult. For a light lunch I often make "Asperges à la Polonaise" although I don't think it has anything to do with Poland. It's simply diced hard-boiled eggs spreaded over steamed asparagus and drizzled generously with a homemade vinaigrette. It looks good with a topping of diced or julienned roasted red peppers and a nice crusty bead should be handy to slop-up the vinaigrette.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC bread

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, these are the bran muffins I make for Mr. T's breakfast. I make and freeze them, he defrosts two in the microwave most mornings:

Bran Muffins

4 cups bran cereal
2.5 cups milk
2 teas vanilla
2.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tables baking powder
½ teas salt
2 eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)
1 teas cinnamon
4 tables canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 and spray muffin tins with Pam. Combine cereal, vanilla, and milk in a large mixing bowl and let sit 5 minutes. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Add eggs and oil to cereal and mix well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion batter equally into muffin tins and bake 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned. (Takes 23 minutes in my oven.)

Makes 24

I adapted this from a recipe the weight doctor gave him years ago which was very poorly organized. Oh, and I lightly beat the eggs and oil in a small bowl and add it to the cereal and milk mixture.

Posted by: slyness | January 19, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I feel guilty for mentioning eunuchs in a discussion that also has elicited quotations of Fr. Capon. How insensitive of me. Sorry for your loss, sir.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, I have occasionally made a blueberry muffin recipe which (to quote Yoki) EYE like very much. Others in the Ivansclan have suggested it is not sweet enough. It has the virtue of extreme simplicity. If you like, I'm happy to share.

I love asparagus. Usually I saute it in olive oil, a lot of butter, lemon juice and salt. This is good fresh from the stove or cold - important, as I am the only one here who eats it. I'll just cook the whole bunch.

I feel about canned peas the way I do about canned green beans. The Boy loves canned green beans. It took me about 20 seconds to say, hey! those are green beans! he'll eat a whole can! Vegetables are good.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy11 -- I am in California, where everything grows. But the clementine has lived three or four years in a pot (big pot but not ENORMOUS pot) and could easily be on a little wheeled platform and go indoors for the winter.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 19, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Being under vows of celibacy, the good brother may have been better without them. Much easier to concentrate on the food if other things are not on your mind.
I wasn't cooking when I was 18.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 19, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Shriek that asperagus sounds delicious. I have just started to enjoy asperagus in the last few years, once I discovered what it takes like when it is not cooked to death (aka mom's version). Lightly steamed or grilled - still crunchy delicious, my preference is for just a little lemon on top. That said I enjoyed asperagus cooked in food when it is mixed with other items - stuffed inside chicken with cheese - Yum.

Also like mashed potatoes and turnip - a friend served it and I liked it even though turnip by itself I find awful. I remember being at someones house and eating a great homemade stew, loving it when I hit a piece of turnip - yuck.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I've found stir-frying asperagus in my wok with a little EVOO is the only way to go.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 19, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Tornado warning in SoCal - Long Beach through Anaheim. We never had a tornado in all the years I lived in SoCal. Of course, we never had any rain either.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the answer, slyness. I figured that counseling was available for first responders. My hope is that it hasn't fallen by the wayside in the context of tightening budgets.

Posted by: -jack- | January 19, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Gordon Ramsay has a fab recipe for beef stew with all sorts of roasted root vegetables that add a fantastic depth of flavour. I've always been more a bourguignon fan, but am a convert. Of course, I like roots anyway, all kinds. Turnips, parsnips, beets, carrots... yum.

I stand up for asparagus. When Himself and I bought our first house in the Montreal suburbs we inherited a mature asparagus bed, and gorged every spring.

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

Okay, you guys. Now I'm really, really REALLY hungry. Have no idea what I'm gonna have for dinner. Steamed fish in Szechwan sauce from the place around the corner (giving me about 4 meals) sounds terrific. Especially since I don't have anything else defrosted. The fact that it is steamed and not fried is a good thing.

Well, I'm gonna do it. Yes, indeedy, I'm gonna say goodbye to Verizon completely and go the VoiP route. I currently use a reseller for my long distance, which is pretty good, but by using VoiP for local and LD, I can cut my monthly bill to approximately 1/4 of what I'm using now.

*proud-o-meter uptick*

I love asparagus. I generally nuke all my food. Keeps in the vitamins and minerals, and I can cook without extra fat. That being said, I *still* want to eat at Yoki's with all that butter dripping down my chin. But only when I've lost the ##.

Ivansmom, I'm almost 1/2 way through the second book. On one of the Swedish newspaper websites this morning, there were trailers of the movie treatment of all three books, so I got to see Salander (at least the Swedish actress playing her) and Blomqvist. Interesting selection of actress/actor. I'd like to get my hands on all three movies (but watch them only when I'm done reading the books) in Swedish. I don't have much confidence in the Hollywood treatment, which apparently is in progress as we speak. I suspect I won't watch the ones in English.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Comments made by me about Ricky Gervais's hilarious comedy "The Invention of Lying" is about as on-Kit as those comments made about asperagas-love. Loved, loved the 10 Commandment scene in "Lying" when Gervais's character sustituted pizza boxes for clay tablets.

Really, how can a person with a sense of humor slam Gervais?

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Actually, we had a funny-in-our-own-home moment during the Golden Globes broadcast on Sunday night. You may remember that there was an ad for the tax-preparers H&R Block during one of the commercial breaks during the awards program, during which my husband blurted out, "That's the company whose software Tim Geithner used to prepare his own income taxes!"

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- Me too, voting for the humble steam treatment of asparagus spears. Other ways lovely too. A favorite meal for me is pork tenderloin, asparagus, and red new potatoes. I roll the tenderloin in clipped rosemary and cracked pepper before roasting.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I don't use all that much butter, or fat of any kind. Mostly olive oil, and I try to cut back on the amount generally given in recipes. You don't achieve a sylph-like figure like mine with butter dripping down your chin :)

I do use butter for baking, but how often do I bake? Once or twice a year.

Come on over for dinner, ftb. I'm just rolling out the pasta for potato/italian sausage/chard ravioli. Almost no fat and lots of veggies.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

One more RIP notice -- Erich Segal ("Love Story") died in London of a heart attack at the age of 72. Was buried in North London.

loomis -- FCOL -- IIRC, *you* posted about Gervais earlier. And now you're complaining because people are posting about asparagus? I think I speak for almost everyone here in that if you are really (*really*) serious about us all staying on kit forever and forever, THEN may we please not ever again be subjected to your Loomis-this and Loomis-that family tree expeditions? Or problems in your San Antonio neighborhood? If the rules must apply to us, then they've gotta apply to you, as well.

Sheesh, yanno?

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- I like turnip treated like radish. For example, I do not want a bowl of mashed turnip; turnip diced into soup is nice little upppercut though, especially a soup with squash as part of the plan.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I liked the story of the container full of Doritos that floated in to NC shores.

I have had great luck with asparagus and should have planted some long ago. "They" said it took a couple of yers to grow. Wrong.

I'm taking the new keybord which mliciously nd unpredictbly stops typing "a"s tomorrow for refund. It lso hs problems with "z"s nd, well, "cues" This bothers me becuse I lredy decided I liked its glow in the drk bility.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- are you making the ravioli? Hmmm.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Yoki: Thanks for the manners update. Duly logged in the memory banks.

That muffin idea is mouthwatering. I'd love it if you would share.

Thanks for the bran muffin recipe, slyness. Right up MrJS' alley.

Blueberry muffins? **sniff sniff** I-mom, I'd love to try your recipe. MrJS tends toward the less-sweet at breakfast, how lucky.

Thank you all so much.

I read Mudge's 4:05 that if you have enough laborers and enough time, etc. The word 'laborers' reminded me of the old joke about human gestation, being able to use one woman for 9 months, but not not 9 women for one month each.

I am grateful for the clear explanations regarding logistics that Mudge and others have provided here and realize the complexity of it all is way beyond me.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- that's me knocking on your door! Yumsers! Really!

*stomach growling with anticipation*

I used to love to bake. Used to make all my own bread and some pastries. Somewhere (you know, *somewhere*) I have a recipe for an all day long (or seems to be) preparation of two coffee cake rings ("kransar" in Swedish) filled with currants and covered in sweet icing. IIRC there were 3 risings of the dough, and the feel of the dough on the fingertips was simply exquisite. When the baker has educated fingers, that's when you know you're gonna get a good -- if not phenomenal -- pastry.

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Jumper -- CPBoy and friend would like that Dorito container story. Remember this one?

The plastic floaties were set adrift after a shipping container accident in 1992. Helped establish some aspects of ocean circulation.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I am indeed. The pasta dough has rested for an hour, so it is rolling time. I do love my manual pasta maker; lots of control. Made the filling earlier; the flavour is reminiscent of Portuguese chorizo/potato/kale soup.

#2 and Himself are coming over for supper, and she loves homemade pasta. She is playing the lead in a play that opened today (the noon-hour student company) so deserves a good dinner; you drama-moms know the weeks and weeks of hard work that go into such a venture.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- you are a practical patron of the arts. The players need petrol. :)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Geithner used Turbo Tax, not H&R Block.

To quote you to Yello the other day:

May I remind people over and over again of the importance of looking things up?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

When my grandfather was very small Oklahoma Territory had a very hard winter. They survived on turnips. He never ate a turnip again. His kids never ate or served turnips. I was an adult before I tasted a turnip. It was pretty good. However, decades of family history have ensured that "turnip" is just not a food choice which springs to my mind. Even when I see them.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Relevant to several previous kits (and a Nat Geo exposition), there have been more than 430 earthquakes at Yellowstone NP since Sunday. The geologists there suggest that there is no evidence of accompanying lava flow and no change in the geysers that they monitor, so this is probably not the prelude to the "Big One". If it is, the bright side is that we won't have to worry about global warming any longer.

Here in Denver, I don't think we'd be immediately killed by the Big One, but it might not take too long afterwards. I take solace in the fact that we don't have to worry about Super Tsunamis--to say nothing of tornadoes and hurricanes.

Posted by: Awal | January 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Briefly back on Kit, as it's been ruminating in my second stomach.

It's probably time again to again try sitting my own kids in front of the MLK 'I had a dream' speech again. The eldest used to roll his eyes and says he'd read about it. I felt like shaking him: you have to HEAR it! :-) But this all happened even before their dad was born and it's ancient history to them as it once was for me. They don't get it. But as we live, our experiences connect us to these events or we see their consequences, bringing them closer. MLK is just theory, until you actually see or experience discrimination personally. Now that I think of it, maybe I should be hoping they never 'get' Dr. King. But hopefully they'll be informed when they're in a position to.

Posted by: qgaliana | January 19, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

CISD is mandatory, Jack, and the counselling pros are required to show up when called at any time. I don't think it will go by the wayside. Police and medics are included as needed, IIRC.

Grilled asparagus, I like that thought! Will give it a try when asparagus are in season. Mr. T will eat them only broiled with EVOO and balsamic. I like them steamed with butter and lemon juice, the way my mother prepared them.

Posted by: slyness | January 19, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse


qgalliana, the Boy has heard King's speech and appreciates it to some extent. He can't fully grasp the historical reality, because it is so far removed from anything he's familiar with. I remember explaining when he was much younger that some people set other people apart - in schools, in jobs, in public - because of their skin color. He thought I'd lost my mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, you wouldn't believe the water coming from the skies all over California. Here on the central coast we have had an inch a day for three days, and my back yard is having a hard time sucking it up. Our group of about eight houses with has small back yards and lots of flagstone, brick and cement -- no place for the water to run out to the street. It is WET!

Posted by: nellie4 | January 19, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Blueberry Muffins
*from "America's Bread Book", Mary Gubser*

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Butter (or line) twelve 2-inch muffin tins.

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Stir in the grated rind. Combine the milk, eggs and butter, blending well. Add milk mixture all at once to dry ingredients, stirring only until they are wet. Sprinkle a little flour over the blueberries, shake them in a bowl, and fold carefully into the batter. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling them three quarters full. Bake 20-25 minutes. In miniature muffin tins they cook in half the time.

My notes: I often fail to sift the dry ingredients. Although it is tempting to use more blueberries, especially if frozen, resist. It is possible to have too many blueberries in this recipe. I make my own baking powder from 1/4 cup cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons baking soda, sifted together 3 times and stored in a clean tight-sealed jar (Edna Lewis through Scott Peacock, "The Gift of Southern Cooking").

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Busy day!

CP perhaps CPBoy is interested in this, not the glamour of doritos though!

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Very good indeed, RD. Lethal, but delicious!

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I had a similar experience with my daughter just the other day. To her the speech just states the obvious. Which is a testament to how well the philosophy behind it has succeeded.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Nellie, when I lived in SoCal, a two-year-old in our apartment complex had never seen rain.

Hollandaise, mmmm. I bet even turnips would taste good in Hollandaise.

This Boodle is exercising my food patience - I'm getting hungry but have no idea for how many I will cook tonight, what, and whether they will all be well enough to eat it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat related to this current Kit, I've noticed a lot of war talk recently by my 8 year sons--especially WWII. It's probably to be expected since they're overwhelmed with war coverage in the media.

But to make sure that we are "all on the same page" about WWII, I started reading Diary of Anne Frank to them so they don't start getting caught up in their fascination with weaponry (which, I think, is somewhat unavoidable with little boys) but not understand the other causes and consequences.

I find it's also a good reminder for me. I think showing them the "I Have a Dream" speech will follow soon.

Posted by: Awal | January 19, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse


We just had hail, and have thunder clap on top of thunder clap. It is supposed to get heavier later in the week.

In the battle between Mother Nature and silly man, Mother Nature is reclaiming the cliff along the oceans edge. Lost another piece today. The owners still have dreams of saving their property.

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

Maybe because they have a sense of humor?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | January 19, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

MMMmmmmm asparagus steamed alone is just fine with me. The whole family loves it... the kids will barely let me get the dish of spears on the table.

I love parsnips, too! Like Yoki, all root veggies are OK in my book.

Tonight's dinner: poached salmon (in white wine and lemon juice), noodles and salad.

Now I wish we had asparagus.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought Gervais was funny, Hollywood does not like jokes about themselves. The Mel Gibson joke was my favorite.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I like Brit Office as well or perhaps better than US Office.

Hard to host those events; I sometimes wish that the Master or Mistress of Ceremonies would just be an articulate but "piece of furniture" segue-vehicle.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Remember, this is Joel's blog, so he gets to set the rules.

There are lots of great MLK speeches. I heard about this one yesterday on NPR:

I love this from it:
"He kept repeating that we need to be maladjusted to our society; we can't accept the status quo," Friesen says. "And he repeated that over and over again. I said I remember that, being a nonconformist. He had vigor about him, energy. He carried himself with a dignity, a sense of composure."

In the speech, King tells the audience: "I never intend to adjust myself to the evils of segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry."

Posted by: seasea1 | January 19, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse


Read in the Chronicle that the area with the crumbling cliff edge has become a tourist go-to spot for picture taking.

Posted by: nellie4 | January 19, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

My rude introduction to those crumble-fault lines is driving on Highway 1 between San Luis and Hearst's Castle, circa 1978. A frantic sobbing young lady flagged us down; her boyfriend had stepped over the rail and the cliff sod gave way. My dad hiked down into the beach cove several hundred yards away to check and declare him dead. She sat in our car huddled in shock. In the days before cell phones, I think it perhaps two hours before the CHIPs officer arrived. We were new from Montana and suddenly the land of Disney and Malibu Barbie was not so banal and sun-washed.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DMD. And, quote from Sting and the Police -- citizen science and a rock anthem. Good mashup.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Pacifica's cliffs are impressive normally, and now with two huge cranes moving large rock for rip-rap up and over small apartment buildings, even more so.

Not during these rain storms, but we are getting used to helicopters flying over to survey the damage and where the cliff let loose this time.

The last month or so, the nights that Pacifica has not been on the nightly local news is far smaller than the number of nights we have been on the news.

A few years ago when it was houses about to be reclaimed by Mother Nature, CNN had a stationary camera continually shooting so that they would capture the moment when the ocean won. Eventually my sons asst. scout leader lost his home.

Posted by: Pacifica | January 19, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes, well, but, cardboard boxes with Hollandaise sauce: good.

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm so excited about a new site I just found - you type in your recipe and tell the site how many servings, and it calculates all the nutritional stuff, including calories. I'm counting calories and I made homemade mac and cheese for dinner. I could have gotten out the bag of flour and calculated 2 tbs flour, 10 oz. cheese, etc., but you just type it in and the calculations are instant:

(I'm easily amused)

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Awai -- I *heart* you for your 6:10 post. What a wonderful thing to do. And reading Anne Frank's diary to them -- it almost brought me to tears. I hope that in the future you can take them to where they hid in Amsterdam. By no means is war romantic, noble or cool (esp. for the weaponry).

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Question for Bill Weir(d) of ABC News--given his comment on World News Tonight about 15 minutes ago: What is a charity "game?"

Does it come in a box or is it something that needs a screen? Is it like Monopoly, wherein the players have a board piece that each player can move around with the role of the dice or die? Are there cards for property on the Boardwalk and St. James Place, the utilities, the railroads? Are there "Get Out of Jail Cards?"

On our local NBC affiliate, it was reported that Rudy Giuliani was in town today to speak about somesuch topic. However, the banner at the bottom of the TV screen had Rudy's name spelled "Giuliania." That's the Spanish version of Italian, I guess.

Also reported on the local news half-hour is that Kay Bailey Hutchison has now been endorsed by James Baker. I guess Dead-Eye Dick is out and the even older Velvet Hammer is in. Washington connections are the political card she's playing. She may be as tone-deaf as Martha Coakley.

More reporting from Nancy Snyderman on the Brian Williams' show on how efficient the Israeli medical team was in getting set up last Friday to treat Haitian quake victims. Paging Dr. Rajiv Shah to speak about why our response was so slow, given that we're only 700 miles away and Israel sits in another hemisphere.

I'd much rather see Snyderman reporting this Israeli story instead of Dr. Richard Besser of ABC News, given how badly he, Besser, in his role as acting director of our CDC in Atlanta, bungled the swine flu response last spring, especially in communicating the threat in both English and Spanish.

And isn't it sad how we slaughtered every pig we could find in Haiti a decade or two ago in response to African swine fever? Was it really necessary? Not according to some:

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

sd mentioned this before, but Kate McGarrigle died yesterday. Very sad news. She and her sister Anna made some excellent records that were not, unfortunately, well known. Anna wrote "Heart Like a Wheel" which Linda Ronstadt had a big hit with. Kate wrote one of my favorite songs "Kiss and Say Goodbye" and a funny science/romantic song called NaCl:,Nacl-Sodium-Chloride.html

And here's a video of a sad song of hers, "(Talk to me of) Mendocino":

Posted by: -pj- | January 19, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

My husband and I stand corrected, Wheezy. Thanks.

Intuit, from what I can discover on the web, manufactures TurboTax software. I'll pass on to my husband his error, and I'll pinch myself to remind myself to always look up whatever my husband says.

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Time to watch the Red Wings-Caps hockey game. Of course, there are many in these here parts who would reverse the order. My poor Wingies are so beaten up. We're sort of in the middle, trying to lick our paws and recover in time to get to the playoffs (and then not get thrown out in the first couple of rounds). Ah, well, it were a good decade, weren't it?

Go Wingies!

Posted by: -ftb- | January 19, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

As a registered Republican I received a very official looking form called the 2010 Congressional District Census (read fundraising pitch). My first instinct was to throw it out, but since it came with a postage paid envelope, I decided to give it a go.

Among the questions asked are:

Do you think the record trillion dollar federal deficit the Democrats are creating with their out-of-control spending is going to have disastrous consequences for our nation?

Do you believe the Federal Government should take over America's health care system?

Do you trust the Obama Administration to keep America's borders secure to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country?

Do you believe that global warming is an issue that must be dealt with immediately?

I don't think they are going to like my answers.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, PJ and SD for that sad news. And again, a Canadian gives us a sound track for many moments.

Including the Hard Times tune and words:

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, thanks for the calorie calculator link. I'm sure it will come in handy here.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

yello: I'm always amazed at how the questions contained in mailings like that get constructed, regardless of party. Subtle they are not.

Posted by: MsJS | January 19, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I tend to drive phone pollsters crazy. When they ask whether I'll answer a few quick questions I say "Sure." Then, when the first slanted or point-of-view question appears, I ask who commissioned the survey. They always respond with the call center equivalent, I say yes but you didn't commission the survey and who is your client, and who wrote the questions. I'm always really polite - those callers have lousy jobs. They flounder for a while. The callers never know, and some have flat out said they couldn't tell me if they did know. Every now & then they give me to a supervisor, who also can't tell me. I'm always left surprised that this is evidently an unusual question.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Yello, don't want to send you all a flutter but Shania is guest judging on American Idol right now - be forwarned she is dressed in the typical Canadian girl next door outfit :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Good evening!

My, my, what a day at the Boodle.

Joel, thank you very much for sharing the Carnes piece. Some days I feel like there is tragedy all around me, and I have to close my eyes and remember the non-tragic, often glorious events, at home and at school. I am so very lucky to work with kids...

My mom and I cooked my kids' favorite today: potatoes sauteed in butter with lots of crispy onions. The house smells, and probably will for days, but we all enjoyed it. Now we go fire up the Wii fit and giggle for an hour or two. It is the giggling that's getting us in shape.

BTW, I love asparagus, especially swimming in hollandaise. I like asparagus even better when they are spelled correctly. I only see misspellings when they are typed in anger, aimed at my kind, smart friends.

Posted by: abeac1 | January 19, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up, dmd, but I gave it a try and not even Shania can make an AI audition episode tolerable. And is it my imagination or is she starting to resemble Ariana Huffington?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I didn't even recognize her until they said her name, I can't escape youngest requested to watch it with me, what I won't do for my kids, even had to switch away from Rick Mercer.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

It does not look good in Massachusetts. Brown is now at 53, Coakley at 46.

I despair.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 19, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

These literary personal ads are hilarious.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I love it when I get to express the opposite of what the pollsters are looking for. Usually I'll listen to their spiel because I know what a lousy job it is. I'm grateful I never had to depend on a job like that for my bread and board.

Posted by: slyness | January 19, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't get ny pollsters clling. I think I'm the cell-phone do-not-cll demogrphic. [sigh}

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, the mailings and phone push-pollings are classic up here in New Hampshire. Often I act all serious and answer every question... but in the most inconsistent manner possible. Say the most important issue is gun control, then the next question that I am opposed to gun control, then the next question that we really need gun control. After a while, the pollster just stop asking.

Posted by: steveboyington | January 19, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I think Geithner's problem must have been operator error (I prefer not to directly say anything terribly harsh or legally actionable, like "shading the truth," or "lying." Nope, won't say it). For most of the past 20 years, I have successfully used Turbo Tax or its competitor/predecessor, MacInTax (once-competitors, TurboTax bought MacInTax and then came out with a Mac version of TurboTax with an inferior interface. Intuit came along later and bought TurboTax). At least, I have not been audited, and that's pretty much good enough for me. The interface is, basically , everything that matters in tax software. Basic diligence and integrity should result in correct calculations, so long as the interface is properly designed to elicit the correct information.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 19, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the news business, it is easy to see that cable crushed the traditional newsroom. Cable is quicker, much more partisan, much less interested in facts or truth. In short, cable is what 2/3 of the people really want. Couple that with the loss of all the ad revenue to the internet and buh-bye.

Very sad. My wife is in media. It is tough. How can you sell stuff that nobody wants any more?

Posted by: steveboyington | January 19, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Richard Thompson likes burnt umber.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

on the fix, a recent tweet indicates that coakley has conceded.

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

A rather profane take on David Brooks Haiti column:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Turbo Tax is a good thing.

Back for the first decade or so of my employment I did simple tax returns for my co-workers for the cost of a lunch. When I wasn't making much of anything a burger lunch was good - even better is when mom or dad sent in a home cooked lunch. Simple tax returns were W-2s and interest from savings accounts.

My mother worked H&R Block at the time and was always surprised at the number of simple returns processed. I think people were afraid to do it themselves. Turbo Tax or the equivalent gives people the satisfaction that someone else has looked over their shoulder and double checked their math.

Posted by: Pacifica | January 19, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm very sanguine about the Massachusetts election. Perhaps we just don't deserve decent health care.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

"S" and I did our best, but it wasn't meant to be. Maybe now the Dems will get their act together, stop fighting amongst themselves, grow a spine... nah, not gonna happen. Rats!

Posted by: badsneakers | January 19, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: seasea1 | January 19, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I'll see your artsy stuff nd raise you

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

pretty unbelievable that kennedy's seat went to a republican. not a good sign for the dems.

Posted by: LALurker | January 19, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

So Coakley has conceded. Well, now things get interesting in DC.

What a weird system of government when such power can be vested in such a small group of people.

Maybe it will all work out. Maybe this is a good thing long-term because it will kick people in the pants.

I dunno.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

RD_P says, "Maybe this is a good thing long-term because it will kick people in the pants."

I say it's the end of the world as we know it.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | January 19, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

No it isn't rickoshea. It's just that things don't always go in a straight line.

I really believe this. It's two steps forward and one step back.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 19, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear, the day's responsibilities taken care of, a little coffee and a chocolate truffle, and the finest fleece night clothes ever worn, all arranged for some back boodling reverie-ruined, completely. To quote Ivansmom "feh'"

Howdy anyway. I think the voters of MA have insured we will live in interesting times.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 19, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Supermajority, what a concept. The dems still have the strongest majority since wht, 1928? And now they will fold to corporate interests. Boo hooing all the way to the bank

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Cheer up! Puppy cam:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

You guys were busy today. I loved Jerry's blog post. Poignant by all the definitions.

And so is this,

considering Kate McGarrigle's passing. She will be missed. One of their most well known tunes. They sing here, but did not write the song.

Posted by: --dr-- | January 19, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I've spent the evening disconnected from the news, and watching the Barrett-Jackson on and off. The front page brought the news of the Massachusetts election. *sigh*.

On the bright side, a '71 440 Charger R/T is on the block. Nice wheels. I'd rather a 409.

Posted by: -jack- | January 19, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I was feeling like a terrible Canadian as I am not familiar with the McGarrigle's music then dr posts that link. Loved that short when I was young. An NFB classic.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yellojkt. Those are some peaceful puppies. On that quiet note, I'm off. Buenos gnocchis, vaya con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 19, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

The New Republic has a long article on the sad slow decline of the Washington Post.,0

And my summary:

Posted by: yellojkt | January 19, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Rufus W in leiderhosen, singing A Foggy Day in France accompanied on piano by mother Kate. -- some French banter at the beginning.

And this jazzy My Funny Valentine with Rufus and mother Kate again

I had not know that she was such an accompanist of range and sensitivity.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | January 19, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I find this therapeutic in moments of sadness.

I prefer the non-acoustic version but not everyone will.

It's just a senate seat. Compared to the last presidency it's no more than breaking wind.

G'nite all

Posted by: qgaliana | January 19, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Grrrrrrr. When I got home I discovered our Internet service was out. Finally got around to calling Verizon at 9, spent 25 minutes on hold. Finally got through to a guy and hooked up in less than 30 seconds. I have a suspicion the wireless router died; if disconnected for more than three hours, the system defaults, the tech said. (I'm hooked up directly right now, bypassing the wireless. And no surprise, everything's a lot faster.

So missed the evening's conversation, and didn't bother watching the Coakley fiasco. But unlike just about everyone else across the spectrum, I don't think it has much significance. nor will have much effect. The Dems hold 58 seats, FCOL; what the hell do they want? All that filibusterpproof thing is nonsense. As for the GOp making great hay out of it: so what? Let them. They still have no party, they are controlled by their fanatics, and they won't get far in their present condition. The thing for Dems to do is not panic, and not run around thinking the sky is falling. It isn't.

The reason Coakley lost isn't because the GOP is sudden;y "resurgent" (what puking balderdash). It's because they had a lousy candidate who ran a really lousy campaigm. Everything else is fluff and spin and smoke and crap.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 19, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

dmd, there's no such thing as a terrible Canadian, is there? Say it ain't so.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 19, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Looking at a map of Massachusetts by county at the NYT, election results. I can understand why Coakley took Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Boston and its ring of suburbs. But why did she take almost all of western Massachusetts--the northern portion of the western part to the Connecticut River Valley, the southern portion of the west not so much, not too the Connecticut River Valley. It it the monied Berkshires?

Anyone have an answer at the ready for the election-results map tonight?

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

Mudge, *kof* Krauthammer *kof*

Posted by: qgaliana | January 19, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Yup Mudge, I'm with you on that take. I wonder what Teddy's thinking watching all of this from wherever he is. He must be pissed at the party.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | January 19, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

more Mopar. '70 Challenger R/T 440 Hemi.

Posted by: -jack- | January 19, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem with doing my own taxes is that I have a mild, but real, phobia about filling in forms -- a sort of inner resistance and anxiety. I have problems sending in dental forms in a timely manner, to the point that my long-suffering dentist finally started doing them himself even though he isn't in the plan and has no obligation. I have problems filling out petty cash forms for my company. The receipts sit on my desk for weeks. A few years ago I finally started hiring an accountant for my taxes. (Turbo Tax wouldn't help, frankly.)

Posted by: woofin | January 19, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

It does kind of bite that Coakley lost, but now Webb (a DINO, I guess) is calling for no votes on health care until Smith (or Jones, or whatever his name is) is sworn in. So the plans to vote in the Senate version as is are looking iffy - more Democrats are expected to echo Webb. But the bill wasn't going to take effect until 2013 anyway, and the Repubs are already planning to run in 2012 on a "repeal Obamacare" platform. So what will they run on if Obamacare doesn't pass?

I guess they'll think of something. Heck, they wrote the damned thing, why don't they like it? I sure don't much like it.

What a messed up country. Maybe someday Republicans will have to come forward and spell out their plan to fix health care. Because things sure aren't working right now.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

greetings everyone
I just watched the Kennedey Center tribute to George Carlin for his Twain award.I haven't laughed like that in a long time.George was oh so good at his craft,a master craftsman so to speak.I just loved the "Tonight Show" piece where George is calm and collected doing his hippee news report and Johnny Carson is laughing so much he can barely sit in his chair.

His live shows were always so great,and everyone leaving the concert hall always had such a big smile on their face as I do now.

I hope everyone else tonight had such a good night......

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 19, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

If I recall Krauthammer only summered in Canada, not our fault at all.

Mudge you wouldn't be hinting that the MA situation is being overblown are you, cause we know that would never happen.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

If anyone's confused about the NBC Late Night Wars, this may help...

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

The ad at the top of the page sez: Don't let Congress put your health care choices in the hands of an unelected Washington bureaucrat.

Sheesh. As opposed to an unelected insurance company bureaucrat and a hurried, harassed MD and a thousand other forces and powers totally beyond my control. Not to mention those people for whom availability itself is an issue.

Posted by: woofin | January 19, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

K-hammer's Canadian? Really?

*dead silence*

Uh. How did you guys let THAT happen? Hope dmd is right, that it was only a temporary lose of border control.

Jeez, that was some New Republic article yello linked to. Very discouraging, too...but confirms what many of us suspected or even said.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 19, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Boston Globe calls the election eight hours early for Coakley? Well, sort of, but not really? You decide. Nevertheless it's an interesting story, with an entirely different map than the one at the NYT.

Modern communications and the wizardry and gadgetry can be tricky at time--but someone did perform a screen capture, hence, the story--truly a Dewey beats Truman moment, as Politico points out:

Posted by: laloomis | January 19, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Wiki says he's sorta kinda both: "Krauthammer was born on March 13, 1950 in New York City. He was raised in Montreal, Canada where he attended Herzliah High School and McGill University and obtained an honors degree in political science and economics in 1970. From 1970 to 1971, he was a Commonwealth Scholar in politics at Balliol College, Oxford."

I think we pretty much have to split this one. Sorry, guys.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 19, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

It is all the Brits fault - some crazy ideas running free at Oxford :-).

Must have been David Frums idol and I am sorry about him too.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 19, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the statement that Coakley was a bad candidate. It looks to me like she was an average (or even slightly better) candidate who apparently ran a horrible last month of her campaign.

But I think that the greater message is significant. By itself, Brown's victory probably doesn't mean much. But I think that one does have to look at it in the context of the significant political contests that have occurred over the past few months.

The Democrats are a little bit back on their heels. Obama's victory was big, but it was not so big that the swing of the independents won't continue to change things back to a more 50/50 distribution in Congress.

The Ds need to govern a bit more from the "center". I'm not sure the Rs are going to allow Obama/Pelosi/Reid to take back that ground easily, and if it's lost for good, it was a big tactical misstep by the White House political staff.

Posted by: Awal | January 19, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I think the dems are in the center. Look at what they gave up on Health Care. The Republicans need to stop practicing destructive politics.

The idea to kill Health Care Reform just to railroad Obama has got to stop being the force behind their behavior.

The Republicans had a much smaller majority in Congress and George Bush got all sorts of crap passed.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 19, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Not so sure the swing voters would like the center to thrive. It's a more populist disgust with Wll Street nd perceived inaction, in my view. The center seems like business s usual.

I'm tired of psting every single letter a. Gnight ll [exclmtion point]

Posted by: Jumper1 | January 19, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but TBG, the Republicans were a cohesive party. They had their Contract With America at first, and they always had somebody tough to whip them all into shape (Gingrich, Rove, whoever) at their constant group meetings. Democrats are not even really a party, I don't think. They're more a blancmange.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Your comment doesn't make a lot of sense to me, Awal. It's late, maybe my mind isn't working. Although I haven't followed all the details, it seems to me that the Dems trimmed and tacked and limited their expectations about as much as anyone could wish to get -some- kind of health care reform through. The President appears to be a firm devotee of the art of the possible. I don't get what you are saying, but as I say, I'm not much of a politics junkie, so maybe "govern from the center" is a term of art that I don't know the definition of.

Posted by: woofin | January 19, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I like your mostly a-less posts, Jumper.

Goodnight, everyone.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | January 19, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

The debate about the proper location of the "center" reminds me of the old Wall Street saw which gets trotted around every time that people think the market is behaving irrationally. "The stock market can stay irrational a lot longer than you can stay solvent."

In a political context, I would advise the White House that the center can stay "out of position" a lot longer than Obama can stay in office. If Mr. Obama wants to stay in office, he would be well-advised to find some issue on which he can throw the Republicans a bone (cf. Bill Clinton and welfare reform) and make it look like he's the bigger man in the midst of Republican "politics as usual".

[Mixed metaphor alert]

I think Obama also has to be more patient. He's acting like a home run hitter where it's everything at once or a strikeout. A lot of runs can be scored if you put together some singles and walks. All of the problems of the Bush years aren't going to be solved by the health care bill, nor are they going to be solved in one year.

He who fights and runs away will live to fight another day.

Posted by: Awal | January 19, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Awal, I don't mean that Coakley is/was a lousy person. What I meant was she was a lousy candidate in the sense that she ran a lousy campaign. She herself was not very exciting, she didn't work hard, her campaign didn't work hard, they didn't ask for help from the White House early enough (and one may or may not also say the WH wasn't proactive, either). So while you are entitled to your opinion, simply as a mattyer of "how should a candidate run a campaign," Coakley and her staff did a horrible job. This is really beyond dispute and not a matter of anyone's opinion. That campaign stunk on ice. Now, as to Coakley herself: yes, she's probably an OK politicians and would have been an OK senator, if that's what you mean. But simply as a matter of technical prowess, that campaign deserved to lose, even in Massachuisetts. There's just no such thing as a gimme -- but that's how they played it.

It's like a baseball team batting .126. If they get swept by the visiting team, you just can't say your guys lost because the visitors were "energized" and "played hard." The truth is, your own team sucked. That's what happened. So discussing anything about what the GOP did is pointless. The fact is, Coakley's team hit .126.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 19, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

whoa! qgalian, don't be too sure.

Posted by: Yoki | January 19, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

You made the point more eloquently than I did, but we're on the same page. My point was that she had a good political pedigree and had won (decisively) state-wide election before, so with good campaign management she likely should have won.

Sometimes there are candidates who just stink so badly that even the best campaign couldn't get them elected. David Duke would be an extreme example, but there are also ones who stink more subtly. They are the bad candidates.

I tried to make that distinction, because there are good people, like Coakley, who should get elected and are ultimately undone by their campaign strategy and tactics and their advisors.

Posted by: Awal | January 19, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

As a totally apolitical aside, I noticed that the online Jeopardy test is being given next week. I'd suspect there are many people here on the Boodle who would have a good chance of making it on the show (if you're interested in trying that sort of thing).

Posted by: Awal | January 20, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I am off to bed, goodnight all.

Awal - love the link,(Sorrow), a lot.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 20, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I am so sad about Kate McGarrigle. I loved the salt song.

Here's another one.

Posted by: Yoki | January 20, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm off to bed, too. G'night folks.

Posted by: -TBG- | January 20, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Well, then... If this joint ain't good enough for dmd or -TBG-, it certainly ain't fit for me!

Nighty-night, y'all.

Posted by: bobsewell | January 20, 2010 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Yello, lychees have a bleck flavour that rambutans don’t have. Canned lychees are especially bad.

I’ve never had red flesh dragon fruit. Might try it one of these days. I bet my mouth would look like I just drank blood. Of all the fruits we have, I like mangosteens best.

Badsneakers, star fruit is sweet when ripe. Blend when not fully ripe. Sour when it is green. Star fruits for export are harvested when they are matured but still green in colour. When they are harvest before they are matured, they don’t taste good even after given time to ripe. (Too may “they”, sorry)

We have a variety of mango that is kind of small. Extremely sour when not ripe. People buy it unripe (Actually, it’s only sold unripe) to pickle. To it you add dark soy sauce, hot bird’s eye chilly and a bit of sugar. It tastes sour, sweet and hot at the same time. I’ve never made it. I don’t fancy not been able to brush my teeth for a week.

Posted by: rainforest1 | January 20, 2010 3:30 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Thank you JA, for your friend, Jerry Carnes, lovely piece. It reminded me of thoughts I had while in Va. Beach earlier this week for the 100th birthday celebration of my aunt, Grace. She looks good, but has lost most of her memory and sleeps much of the time. She lives in a very nice, very small, total care residential facility. I wonder why she is still here, why has she not passed on to a better life, what is her purpose? The answer is not for me to know, of course, but I do wonder. Amazing Grace, that was the name on her birthday cake, I like to think she enjoyed the little tribute as much as she enjoyed eating the cake......

Posted by: VintageLady | January 20, 2010 4:59 AM | Report abuse

I've taken the Jeopardy test before to no avail.

But a blogger I know made the show and came in second.

But hope springs eternal, so I'll try again.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Just wanted to check in and say hello. The computers were down yesterday at the doctor's office, and the doctor actually said she couldn't do anything without the computers! And I said please don't send me back home the way I came, but of course, she did. I have to go for a test Friday, and then back to the office Tuesday, hopefully the computers will be working by then.

No hot water this morning, so it's going to be a quickie bath. I don't know what's going on with that. Needless to say, I'm going to be in a lovely mood today. There's a blessing in that even, I'll be real warm today.

Slyness, yesterday was just lovely, really warm. I even took off my coat, and the sky was so clear, and that beautiful Carolina blue. Now here comes the rain.

Are we talking about the author, Robert Parker? I've read his books, and I enjoyed them.

As for the voting in Mass., I've come to the conclusions that if the country was on fire, the two political parties would still be trying to push their personal agendas. I don't think Congress gets it, and the politics isn't about country or the people in the country, but winning regardless of the cost. By the time these folks figure it out, I'm afraid it may be much too late.

Mudge, Yoki, Scotty, Martooni, Lindaloo, and everyone here, have a great day. Vintage Lady, I do hope all is well with you.

And Badsneakers, I thought your post about the granddaughter calling you "historical" was really precious.

Posted by: cmyth4u | January 20, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Casandra, we depend on our machines (computers) too much, don't we? They are wonderful diagnostic tools when they work, tho. Sorry that you had to go back home without any help with the hurting. Am placing a Guardian Angel over doctor's machines for your next two trips.

I'm fine, chemo done done, more on that in another time, another place....

On to inconsequential, trivial chatter. Husband and I are making an effort to tone up, trim down. Breakfast in ready room {and House of Burgesses) this morning is fresh coffee, tangerines and blueberries, oatmeal with raisins and a little blue agave instead of brown sugar. Hope there's something there that you all can eat and enjoy. Try to cut out the grease!!

Posted by: VintageLady | January 20, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Breaking news: a massive aftershock earthquake in Haiti, 6.1 (that's huge for an aftershock).

'Morning, Boodle. Cassandra, sorry to hear about the doctor visit problems. *faxing you some chicken soup*

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | January 20, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

VL, I'm trying to cut down what I eat for dinner. Attempting cheese or soup. Let's see how it works out. Best wishes to you!

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Oooh, VL, what a great breakfast, thank you! I'm enjoying it already!

Oh Cassandra, what a royal pain in the neck. I'm sorry you have to go back all that way!

Yes, I'm enjoying the weather while it lasts. Rain later today and tomorrow. The guys should start framing Mr. T's garage this morning. Yesterday, the concrete guys poured the slab and it looks really good. I'm looking forward to the completion of this project for many reasons; chief among them is getting the cargo trailer out of the carport so I can see the yard again.

Onward into the day!

Posted by: slyness | January 20, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

Harroomph. When I hit fifty, I waited and waited for someone to hand me my well deserved Bag of Wisdom.

Still waiting.


Posted by: Braguine | January 20, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!

Haven't scrolled back yet, but I just wanted to point out the winner of today's Pollyanna Award, Mr. Brian McGrory in the Boston Globe:

"Voters may not know a lot about Scott Brown, but they know they won't be taken for granted."


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 20, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Part of the joy of getting the dead trees edition is reading the punny (if perhaps inappropriate) headlines that never make that SEOed online stories.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse


I don't have much to say (good) about Brown other than to suggest that a state with its own health coverage program (97%) can't provide a referendum on the subject. At best the man is equipped to be a member of the opposition. He doesn't seem to be "FOR" much at all.

Oh, pickup trucks.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Getting really disturbed by partisan politics, whatever the party, but not enough to skip out on DFL precinct caucus training later this morning. With T-Paw not running, and Norm Coleman deciding to sit this one out, we'll very likely have a dem in the governor's office. My pick is Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak. As a Minnesotan, I apologize for anything Tim Pawlenty visits upon the national scene, including the $ his PAC gave to the Brown campaign.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 20, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra-sorry to learn upon scrolling back that your doctor accomplished nothing. Keeping a good thought.

VL-good to see you looking so chipper.

For breakfast I'd like to add my new favorite-
Breakfast Banana Split
banana split open spread with 1/4-1/3 cup Greek honey flavored yogurt, topped with 1/3 cup vanilla almond granola and a tablespoon (or more) of pomegranate arils. Craisins may be substituted for the pomegranate.

Toodles boodle. Have some fun today.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | January 20, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

There will be no shortage of verbiage about Massachusetts written in the next week. My take is a common one. Brown was perceived as the candidate who provided more validation in that "primitive reptilian portion of the brain" sort of way that drives much of politics.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 20, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

RD, from what I've been reading and hearing, you are exactly correct. I am going to ignore news today if it mentions MA. I am heartily sick to death of politics and need a break. Cassandra, I am so sorry that you have to wait longer. Sometimes modern medicine is a bit too modern.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 20, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

RD, I think your take is correct. I would suggest that it is really hard to draw a straight line between the problems faced by the voters in Mass and what the heck Brown can do to help them and their state.

Worse, Brown won't be able to deliver much if anything to the state as benefits are passed out. Not too swift of a move, but they did it. The left leaning voters of the state weren't to pressed to get out in equal force, so there ya go!

At the end of the day, less dollars for the state.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Frostbitten, unless you specifically encouraged T-Paw in his various activities, apologies are not necessary.

Brag, the older I get the more I realize how wise I am not. I'm finding it rather liberating.

Cassandra: How inconvenient for you. Makes you wonder about medicine now vs. the 1960s or 1970s when there were no computers in medical offices.

Must go read the news and find sustenance. Did hear about the big aftershock in Haiti. On the news last night (PBS Newshour), it appeared that logistic issues are still pretty massive. I want to read more about that this morn.

Posted by: MsJS | January 20, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

How come jury duty is never this fun for me?

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Another processed food baron dies.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Ready momentarily to read John McPhee's essay "Los Angeles Against the Mountains," one of the four essays in McPhee's book "The Control of Nature"...with the current situation in Flintridge/La Canada, Calif. firmly in mind. Which is a strange thing to say considering the earth is hardly firm there this morning.

Posted by: laloomis | January 20, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday's Spanish phrase of the day...

El saber es poder. Knowledge is power.

Posted by: laloomis | January 20, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Jkt: from the comments at the end of the story ---

The Question I Have Is.....

Who came up with the disgusting "meat product" that's inside Franco-American Ravioli.....???

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Alphonse Biardot and Billy Bob Spam.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 20, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse


By my count, which is admittedly shaky at this hour, there are six WaPo online columns about yesterday's ee-lec-shun in The Bay State.

**searching in vain for the Overkill button **

Russianthistle: Watchit. My momma relied heavily on Franco-American products in raising her young. I am who I am today in part because of lunch-in-a-can.

Posted by: MsJS | January 20, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

So... what's happening in Haiti?

I need a bowl of rice for breakfast/lunch.

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

My dear Sneaks -- massive condolences to you, your Commonwealth and, frankly, this country. Ah, well. Like you, I'm gonna ignore it all, today and onward.

Especially since after trailing for most of the game, the Caps beat my Red Wings last night.


Posted by: -ftb- | January 20, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Zackly. And in our household Franco-American beef gravy was a staple. This was before they ever started "upgrading" gravy into glass bottles or those newer pouch things. (There's a red wine/gravy pouch thing that is quite good, I must say. Have used it a number of times.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | January 20, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Sneaks, help me out here -- Brown's wife is a former or current WCVB reporter?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 20, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

ftb, thank you. I am very disappointed in my fellow citizens here but I do understand how many of them were just plain p1ssed off at Martha for presuming too much and being tone deaf. That said, I am hoping that by tomorrow the frenzy will have died down a bit and I can watch the news without the mute button. At least the robo calls have stopped.

Running out to shop for items for our trip. I need a new carry on as mine is 1 inch too big.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 20, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, boodle. I was going to say something about wanting politicians just once in a while to look out for the public good rather than their own silly games, but Cassandra beat me to it.

The current facebook status of a friend of mine (from MA, though not living there now): "... wishes a pre-existing condition upon all of you who have brought us to this point." Mean, but a tempting point of view.

I like Eugene Robinson's take. At the same time, I will be very upset if the whole health care reform effort falls apart at this point. And I'll blame pretty much everybody.

Posted by: -bia- | January 20, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, Gail Huff - she's still on the news there. I don't watch CVB much so I had to look her up.

Posted by: badsneakers | January 20, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Cassandra, I'm sorry your doctor's appointment wasn't much of an appointment. Vintage Lady, congratulations on finishing chemo. I hope all remains well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 20, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I have never eaten a Franco-American product so I am completely unfamiliar with the nature of any alleged meat products or byproducts used as an ingredient. And I intend to keep it that way.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"I pretty much blame everybody!"

Posted by: russianthistle | January 20, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I watched a Jon Stewart tirade where he points out that the special election was the result of new law designed to prevent former governor Mitt Romney from appointing a Republican senator. Talk about your Law of Unintended Consequences.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. A seismologist on the radio this morning was saying that the rule of thumb is that the stongest aftershock is 1 Richter unit below the main quake in intensity, that is 10 times less energetic. So an aftershock of 6.1 after a 7.0 quake is bad, but just about what is expected.
The epicenter of this new quake is near Petit-Goâve, a city that had suffered a lot already. Coincidentally, a reporter from the Montreal newspaper La Presse was in Petit-Goâve yesterday. So her paper this morning on the destruction of most of the city, the 1100 dead and the feeling of abandonment was cringe-worthy. On the positive side they found, while she was there, a 9-10 years old kid who survived 7 days under the rubbles of his family home. Tough little critter. The busiest guy in town was an American from Fort Lauderdale. The company he works for was doing construction work nearby when the quake hit. He called his boss and got the green light to put the company's machinery to work on the rescue operations for free. So he has been on his bulldozer clearing debris and digging graves for the past week. I sure hope he was not hurt in today's quake.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 20, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

That's what I thought, Sneaks... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 20, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

yello: Each of us has a mental list of things we intend not to experience in life. An occasional bowl of Franco-American is probably harmless, but I certainly understand why the stuff is on your not-in-this-life list.

Posted by: MsJS | January 20, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

New kit! (The O-man's first year)

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | January 20, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I must say as an outside the election results confuse me, (but so do republicans). Obama seems such an improvement I do not understand the idea that he has not done enough. An interesting editorial in the Star says some of what I think.

A good update on the situation in Haiti (a small portion). This is one of two brothers who at the age of around 11 started finding ways to help the poor children of the world. They have grown up and continued their work (Save the Children) they work with Partners in Health and Craig has been writing and tweeting on what is going on.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 20, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

SCC sorry think that should be Free the Children, always get them confused. The organization works to establish schools for children and works to involve students here in the fundraising/volunteer work.

Posted by: dmd3 | January 20, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: MsJS | January 20, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Yello. The irony of that new law is profound.

I remember my mom buying us Spaghettios when they first came out. As a wee child I kinda liked them. Although I thought Chef Boyardee had a catchier jingle.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | January 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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