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Photos: A train ride

When you're taking the train to New York, this is what you see out the window on the left side.

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The grid is quite visible in the corridor. The train itself is electric, so you make the whole trip accompanied by power lines. One of my goals in life is to learn the essential facts of electricity, and understand the differences among voltage, current, energy and power. And force. I want to be the kind of person who knows how to use "amperage" in a sentence without it feeling like a stunt.

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You say this office space is a fixer-upper; I say it's glorious compared to my new cubicle.

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The planet Earth after all the people are gone.


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The slammer. Famous for holding the Count of Monte Cristo.

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The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Cue the Gershwin.

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Dawn, Feb. 18, 2010.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 21, 2010; 12:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

great photos Joel... I used to take the train to Paris when I was living in France... tried to take some photos but they were always blurry.... I should go and dig those up... thing that amazed me... I was the only person gawking at the beautiful countryside.. everyone without exception had their heads buried in a book or newspaper, some were putting on their make-up. I was obviously the 'tourist' living amongst them.

Posted by: MissToronto | February 21, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the things you see by rail. Love taking the train from DC to NYC. Mr. F disputes it, but by the time you've arrived early enough at the airport to actually be allowed to get on the plane you might as well have taken the train. Besides, I believe parking is still free at the Quantico AMTRAK station.

Gorgeous day in Tampa, still enjoying the WaPO via Nook with one eye on the Olys.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Great pics, as always.

Reposting my previous-Kit-on-topic comment:

Couldn't resist looking at this article about the Dalai Lama's advice for Tiger:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/20/AR2010022004135.html?hpid=sec-religion

"Tibet's exiled spiritual leader told The Associated Press during a brief interview in his hotel suite in Beverly Hills that he had not heard of Woods..."

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh Joel. I hate to tell you this, but Amperage is a term best avoided. Just say current. Of course, if you really want to sound impressive in a cocktail-party sort of way, randomly use the term "flux." Few people will question you.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Love the "Dawn" picture. Such beauty admidst the city mayhem.

Posted by: Windy3 | February 21, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Joel-- does this count as stunt usage?

"I stammered at her question. The sheer amount of amperage in her cleavage had just short-circuited my brain."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 21, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Love the Gershwin reference. Yep, right out of Woody Allen's "Manhattan."

Yet another reason to favor trains. It takes the money away from those United Airlines folks who did to "Rhapsody in Blue" what the Lone Ranger did to the William Tell Overture.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Did you say electrical stunt or electrical shunt!?

Hahaha ha ha

Oh bother.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of United airlines I just flew home last evening from Reagan National. The ticket agent said my husband and I could have the best seats available in economy plus since I fly so much. I said great without actually viewing the seat location which turned out to be exit seats 9A and B right by the main cabin door. I froze most of the 3.5 hour trip. The flight attendandt said, yes, it's always cold by the door. Note to self--always check seat locations in advance.

Posted by: Windy3 | February 21, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I did that once on a flight from Jamaica Windy, leg room good, but chilly.

Nice pictures Joel.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

My wife swears by seatguru.com. They color code the seats on every type of plane flown by every airline. Very cool site.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Women curlers are hawt.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 21, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I second RDP's helpful advice, Joel. The correct usage of the term "amperage" is absolutely silently, so that the word can never be heard pronounced, as it is an abomination.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 21, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Women Curlers concede. Canada is darn good.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

You guys mean one of these? &

Great website, too: 365 of 'em...

http://ampersandampersand.tumblr.com/

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I missed the concession but am enjoying the "bonus coverage" of Germany vs. Denmark.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Me too, Frosti. Love hearing those Euro vowel sounds of excitement a direction. CPBOy next to me is deconstructing the strategy for me.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Am loving the curling, but am surprised the US women still have a shot at the next round.
I'd be a lousy curler. I'd never put guards out or try to put one on the button. I'd just wale (whail? whale? wail?) away and see how many of their rocks I could slam out. No finesse, nope.
We had guests over last night to watch the Olympics with a dinner of crab cake appetizers, jambalaya and lemon mousse. And wine-a-plenty. A slow day at Ray's house today. Toggling between golf (love Ian Poulter's Strawberry Quick-colored outfit) and curling.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 21, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Madeleine Dupont is my new Olympic hero. What a throw.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 21, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

That was a nice match between the Danes and Germans. And I am glad to see the Danes have ditched the silly skirts and tights.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Canadian figure skater Johanie Rochette's (silver in Torino) mom died of an apparent heart attack last night. She says she will compete anyway. The pathos patrol will be all over that one. Her mother was 55 only.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

TBG *ROFL* Amazing what the web coughs up some times!

The day calls, the day calls!

We discovered a new hiking and biking trail, and this "trail" is not so brand new, I think. About 70 degrees outside, the back door is open, the air scrubbed clean by the rain and a delightful breeze. It's possible to be in a short sleeve shirt and shorts, which makes Joel's pictures look like the inside of a freezer. After a short siesta, tempted to head to the patio with a book.

Since Liss's new book won't be out in print for another year, I think the rest of the story can wait a day or two.

Any one have any grand ideas for tomorrow's Kit? *w*

Posted by: laloomis | February 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh goodness. MSNBC is now showing some cheesy thing about Tiger Woods. Surely there must be something from Vancouver they can broadcast.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I never knew "amperage" was verboten. Lucky I never used it (much!)

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 21, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Watching Russia against the Czech Republic. Here's the thing that seems weird to me.

I just learned from the NHL site that a total of 30 players on these two teams play, or played, for the NHL. And this isn't unusual.

This means these are largely a weird mash-up of existing teams. And I guess there isn't anything wrong with this, but it does seem to introduce, to me, a certain degree of artificiality to the concept of a national team.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Seatguru.com, eh? I'll have to remember that one. Mr. T likes exit row seats because they provide a couple of inches of extra space. He's a big guy and appreciates all the room he can get. I'm cold all the time, I know to wear long sleeves on an airplane, even in July.

The house wasn't wrecked when I got home, but one of the placemats on the kitchen table is missing. If it's not in the washing machine, I'll have to ask what happened to it. Maybe I don't want to know.

Posted by: slyness | February 21, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

That is how men's national teams have been constituted for nearly ever, RD_Padouk. The bigger controversy has always been that the players are, by and large, professionals, which is different than ever other sport in the Olympics.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I like your photos and the captions were great, as usual.

Back to reality - we took a walk to the beach. On the plus side, it's a fairly level walk, unlike CR. On the minus side, it was quite chilly, unlike CR.

Think I will nap now so I can watch curling later.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

...save basketball in summer, Yoki. Don't like it but nobody reads my "how to be" memos anyway. :)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"Amperage" isn't technically incorrect, any more than referring to the "gallonage" (or "litreage") of your bathtub is technically incorrect. It's just an odd usage. Definitely better to stick to "current", unless it's a stunt.

By the way, saw brown earth on a high part of the yard today. First time in quite a while any of that has been exposed to view.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 21, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I have that problem too, CquaP! If only they'd asked me first...

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good point Yoki. I remember back when all the athletes were *supposed* to be amateurs, except everyone knew that for all intents and purposes many really were not.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Currently 63, according to TWC. It's been a long time since we've seen anything in the 60's. We are now entering the time of year when it's cold enough to require a heavy coat in the morning, but warm enough that one forgets it in the afternoon. I watched a cardinal skate on the ice in the birdbath at 9 ayem, now it's totally water. The early jonquils have buds and the later ones are showing leaves. Blooms on one of the camellias are all frozen brown, those on the other haven't even started to open. The pansies are blooming in the pots on the porch; I've had better luck this year than in years past. Usually the squirrels uproot them and they die.

Ah, February! Only seven more days.

Posted by: slyness | February 21, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I think you can safely assume that if sport training & competition had to survive on funds comparable to the meager amount that I personally am willing to spend on attendance each year, they'd ALL be amateurs.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 21, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

That's terrible news about Joannie Rochette's mother. I thought maybe she had been ill for some time, but apparently her death was sudden and unexpected. Hard to imagine trying to skate after that.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Hockey experts: dilution of strength questions -- do the Czech and Slovak teams miss the old country draw of talent from the Czechoslovakia days? Also, the Russian Federation loss of the Ukraine, etc.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Country size and culture for spot: is Norway too small, compared to Sweden to field big and robust hockey teams? Do the Austrians and Swiss go much for hockey?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

SeaSea -- women and heart attacks, still surprising, aren't they? Even now, armed with new understanding that women do suffer -- and die -- from heart disease.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Isn't heart disease the number 2 killer for women? Terribly sad for Joannie, I hope the media will cease with any talk of a medal for her and just let her do what she feels she needs to do right now, it seems to honour her mother by competing - at this time the medal seems unimportant.

Power back on here and back from the girls hockey games.

CP it doesn't matter so much the population size of the country but the number of participants in the sport, coaching levels, access to facilities. Hockey is a sport on the fringe in Norway way behind soccer and skiing.

Wait until 2016 Rio - golf returns to the Olympics - professionals, any idea that the remainder of the athletes are amateurs is long gone, with endorsements, and sponsor ships the term 'amateur' is in name only. Shani White makes millions a year - still a great athlete, the level of competition would be very lacking if all athletes were true amateurs - not something many would want to watch.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Spotted a flowering Carolina cherry laurel in the neighborhood, amid pollen-shedding laurel oaks. Laurel cherries are evergreen and popular as ornamentals north of us. They have an unfortunate tendency to spread by root shoots, and to produce lots of seedlings. An untended yard will become a thicket.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 21, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Bode.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 21, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

If you want to read a serious commentary on the Tiger Woods press conference by someone who knows whereof he speaks, click here:

http://benoitdenizetlewis.com/blog/

= = =

That was on-previous-kit. On this one, I might comment that my first visit to New York was via Amtrak from Boston. I'll never forget looking up from my book and seeing that skyline. Wow.

Trains are great. But I love air travel, too, even with all the absurdity and irritation it includes these days.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 21, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of amateurs, just saw the piece on NBC about the 1980 USA hockey team and "S" told me about this article in today's Globe about an 81 year old retired firefighter from Boston who was on the 1960 USA gold medal team. Worth reading, very interesting. But yeah, no way non-pros can compete anymore but sad it has to be this way.

http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/olympics/articles/2010/02/21/a_miracle_before_its_time/

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The ideal that only amateurs compete in the Olympics has been over for decades. From wikipedia:
"Until the late 20th century the Olympic Games nominally only accepted amateur athletes. However, successful Olympians from Western countries often had endorsement contracts from sponsors. Complex rules involving the payment of the athlete's earnings into trust funds rather than directly to the athletes themselves, were developed in an attempt to work around this issue, but the intellectual evasion involved was considered embarrassing to the Olympic movement and the key Olympic sports by some. In the same era, the nations of the Communist bloc entered teams of Olympians who were all nominally students or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full time basis. In 1982 Adidas was paying British Olympic athletes to wear their gear. The first Olympics to officially accept professional athletes was 1988 in selected sports and 1992 in the remainder."

One of the more unforgivable things that the amateur requirement did was to strip Jim Thorpe of his Olympic medals.

It is weird to have tennis players worth millions rubbing elbows with kayakers, but what the hey.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

One of the things I like about Wikipedia is how easy it is to learn the rules of formerly esoteric sports. I can find out the rules of rugby for instance, a sport I never played or watched, and learn the intricacies in seconds; or bandy. This was not remotely possible just a few years ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandy

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 21, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

One of the more fun events I have gone to in my life was the Canada/US game in the 1991 Canada Cup, a great rivalry, similar to the Canada/Russia rivalry but with less animosity. Crowd was crazy in Hamilton that night, hopefully the game tonight will be as much fun.

Congratulations to Bode Miller, and while I am at it the rest of the US team - doing so well, our team is not where it hoped but with only a few exceptions not because of poor performance but exceptional performances of others - can't complain about that.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Reputedly, the "amateur ideal" of the modern Olympics was a noble-sounding label for a deeply ignoble ideal -- it was well understood that the children of the aristocracy were trained in their sports by persons who were (a) professionals; (b) better at their sports than their students; and (c) not members of the aristocracy. That could never do, so the rules were defined so as to honor those with sufficient personal wealth to train for the Olympics at their own expense.

The ancient Olympics had their illusions, but they did not include the illusion of the "amateur ideal." They valued superior athletic performance, end of story. Many ancient Olympic athletes were professionals for all intents, complete with endorsement deals and sponsorships.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 21, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet that historically it has been linked also to army training.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 21, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

FTD Laurels officials supplier? :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there was an implicit "amateur ideal" in the ancient Olympics, in that the only people who had time to waste on unproductive athletic activities were the rich and the non-rich who had been cultivated as professionals for their superior promise.

The ancient Olympics were based largely around activities that were applicable to the military, like the Pankration ("everybody fight everybody, no holds barred, until only one still stands") and one whose name I forgot that involved a run while wearing bronze hoplite armor -- since only the rich could afford armor, it rather limited the sport.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 21, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, the American men fall to Great Britain. But it was worth it just to hear the Scottish Brogues. Of course, now my daughter thinks that the American, Chris Plys, is super cute.

Great.

My daughter is becoming what every father dreads. A curling groupie.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

A sea of red white at the hockey game - it is VERY loud.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Opening faceoff!

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

US Goal.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Great strategy by the US men on that first goal.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Now this is hockey. I may need to take a pill.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Tie game.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Goal Canada! 1-1, Oh my this wondeful.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

US scores 2-1, Yoki share you pills.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

No longer!

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Our friend just emailed a picture of himself at the game, so unfair.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

frenetic pace...to bad no hd, its like 1980 again. canada

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Dirty pool.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

But, we have recycled down hill combined....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

They'll all settle down, teddy, pretty soon. This is expected early in Olympic matches. Remember Salt Lake City?

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

And soon your will have Ice Dance.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Clearly I am having issues with my typing this evening, I am sorry.

Blanket SCC request for tonight.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

watching sports w/o hd is like watching w/o my glasses on

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Granted

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Short dance to a Dixie Chicks medley...he is wearing fringed chaps with cowboy short brimmed hat...but she is wearing a shortie red number that is like nothing I ever saw in the land of cowgirls...
GIVE ME HOCKEY!!!!

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 21, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

At least Jerome is playing more Iginla-ish than he has the whole Games.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Great first period by Ryan Miller. I love Iginla.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody know what channel (preferably on Direct TV) is carrying the hockey game? NBC is doing ice skating and ski jumping, alas.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

MSNBC Mudge. If you have COX HD it is 777.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

We have been peeking at the ski cross, which is kinda cool.

Speaking of peeking, saw a bit of that cowgirl outfit...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

OOh sorry Mudge - didn't notice that you have Direct TV so the COX HD info was pretty useless....

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Padouk, I got it now. MSNBC is 356 on Direct TV.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the skating commentary CP, I do like figure skating but given the choice hockey will win.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

*Snort*

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Canada scores 2-2, great effort on that goal.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh my. NHL teammate against teammate.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice.

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Seriously people it doesn't get much better than this US 3-2, three breakaways in a row.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Great hockey game. It's nice not to see fighting.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi, darlin' 'mudge. I've missed you!

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I just hope this hockey game doesn't tear the boodle apart.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Would you Hockey fans consider this an exceptionally physical game, or is there always this much body checking?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

And me you. How's Himself? What's for dinner? I did a couple of NY strip steaks and baked potatoes. My grill is still under a drift, so I just did 'em in the broiler.

Problem now is I'm getting a bit peckish for dessert, but I don't think there's anything in the house.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

It depends, TBG, on how much money ends up changing hands.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

This is hockey RD, the checking is hard but fair, more similar to a playoff game than regular season (no fighting).

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

It is hockey TBG, intense on the ice, then everyone goes and has a beer.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

My affection for you Canucks is such that I'd be perfectly content if you won. You guys seem a lot more invested in this one than we Murkens.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty physical, not exceptionally though, in my opinion.

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Yep, that's what I've been told by exceptionally reliable sources. This is just the way the sport is.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm really laughing. When Canadians talk about a physical game, we mean hard checks and hooking and fights. I hate it! I love the way these two teams are playing the game. Clean, fast (a bit disorganized, but that's nerves when you don't have season that goes well into June, only another few days). No. This is a fast, nervous, but very clean pure game of the game I love above any other. It is what hockey should be (and usually is, in the women's league). Just beautiful. Athletic, hard, competitive, pure.

I don't care who wins. The team who plays best, cleanest, makes me sleep well. (Failure of jingoism - admitted.)

Olympic matches always remind me of the '72 Canada-Russia series. We may have invented the game, but they taught us how to play it gracefully.

And Women's Hockey is always like this.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I truly don't care if the USA or Canada wins, I'm just enjoying the game.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Howdy teddymzuri. Glad to see someone else joining the Oly coverage. Thanks y'all, keep it coming.

Dinner: apple/banana fruit salad (lemon juice), mashed potatoes, green beans (canned, hey they're vegetables), warmed baguette, pork tenderloin browned whole then sliced in butter & olive oil, pan cream gravy with lemon juice.

I have no idea how it got to be after 8:00 p.m. Still much to do. Feh.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 21, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Me too, sneaks.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I've tried to watch hockey, but it just doesn't hold my interest. May try again, given Yoki's description.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

And because I don't completely control the television I am know watching the can-can on ice featuring a woman dressed sort of like a Good-n-Plenty.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Ted! Come back at least during Olympics coverage, and possibly beyond.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Pinocchio on ice!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Y'know, sometimes it seems like there's generic gritty grey northeastern scenery out of Amtrak windows between Richmond and Boston.

Nice shot-blocking and penalty-killing by the Canadians. Three nearly consecutive power-plays were going to cost at some point... but the Canadians can still pull back with 9 minutes to play.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 21, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

This game sort of reminds me of the Bobby Orr Bruin days. It's fast paced, lots of passing and checking. That's the last time I watched hockey regularly.

I played hockey once for a fund raiser. The equipment weighed more than I did at the time ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

The folk dancing in black and white costumes and castanets has driven us back to hockey.

Thankfully.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hard to think of something as a sport that has moves called 'twizzles.'

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Yoki, why come so indifferent about the game you love bove any other? Tictoc

Howdydo mom?

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Then you're missing some great costumes now, RD.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we have switched back to see the controversial aborigine dancers.

But it won't last.

Yep. Back to the hockey...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

OMG, I just switched briefly to the skating. Some sort of 'jungle' costumes - horrifying!

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Can't say I am as ambivalent as some about who wins, but Wow what a game by Ryan Miller.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Whatta game. Pure is right. Something about the Olympics that brings out the best in hockey.

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Yep, if the United States holds on Miller must be given a huge amount of credit.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Wanting Canada to score!!!

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I wandered past the television and saw an ice-dancing couple wearing some sort of "Indian" or "aboriginal" costume. I initially registered it as borderline offensive but on second glance took away the qualifier. Geez. I have no idea how they skated, or to what music, but they should be disqualified on that costume alone.

Or perhaps the First Nations from the opening ceremonies will curse them.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 21, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Miller must feel like a duck in a shooting gallery.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I am going to say that is game over, well done US team. All this intensity and neither team is knocked out of the tournament it just will be harder for Canada to get a gold after this - but still possible. Press will not be kind to the Canadians.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I liked the one announcer's excited comment, "This is tremendously tremendous!!"

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - and those outfits were even worse when they were qualifying for the Olympics..

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

That was the "toned down" version, Ivansmom. You should see what they wore in the European championship...

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01563/skating_1563594c.jpg

About the controversy here...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/iceskating/7044990/Australians-angry-over-Russian-ice-skaters-Aboriginal-routine.html

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was a crazy Canadian barrage over the last 3 minutes of the hockey game, with a heck of an effort on that one-handed empty net goal by the US.

US wins 5-3 - that was a heck of an effort.

And OK, I'm happy for Bode Miller, too.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 21, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

That was a great game and I'd feel that way no matter who won.

Does this mean we have to watch ice dancing? I'm not sure I can make the transition.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 21, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. so now suddenly NBC itself is interested in the hockey game.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Those last few minutes were incredibly exciting.

Tremendously tremendous indeed,

I hope theCanadian press isn't too hard on the Canadian team, dmd, I mean, they out-shot the Americans, what, a billion to one or something? How can anyone fault them for that?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

What the puck? What is the empty net about? Where was the goalie? I would need lots of beer to enjoy hockey.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

45 to 22 shots, Padouk.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 21, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I heard a joke about the number of reporters here to cover the hockey (from Canada), sufice to say it is a lot, and no they will not be kind at all - such is life in Canada, and the players know it. That said Ryan Miller was highly touted going in, many thinking he alone might be the difference in the tournament - so far he is living up to that.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Or 45 shots of something. Thanks, Mudge.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I had forgotten how exciting hockey is. I used to go to Bruins games as a child and loved it. And during college, hockey was such an important social event. The Bean Pot was intense, and at BU my old buddy and neighbor grew up to be the legendary hockey coach, Jacky Parker.

Boston Univ. didn't have a school song, so when all the other school bands played their school songs, the BU Band played the theme from Peter Gunn.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhrW6lfA79k

I may be dating myself here....

Posted by: rickoshea1 | February 21, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

seasea - my understanding is that a team will pull the goalie when they are about to lose by one goal in a last-ditch effort to tie the game.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 21, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

OK switched to figure skating now and remembered that the skaters must dance to folk music tonight, hence the goofy costume. Hope Tessa and Scott skate well as their routine is quite something when they do, and their costumes aren't horrible that must count for something.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I am loving the Indian dancing.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

That was fabulous!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Two words: Dress shields. For him.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | February 21, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

OMG

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Is this what the French think is a folk song/dance?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

She's got a whip hanging from her hip! Do you think she'll use it?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I _love_ the Peter Gunn theme!

I often use it as the background music when making videos from still photos. It never fails to please.

Posted by: MsJS | February 21, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. wait.. I guess it's some kind of a lasso. Sorry.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Apparently it can be country as well.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Got a gander at those photos. Those costumes fit no aboriginal tribe in any land that I know of. They look like a tacky mismash between 3 different island/continent stereotypes.

(It's the fake shrubbery and the garish white patterns that really gets me. What are they, camoflagued psychedeldic ninja zebras?)

Let me say that Johnny Weir has far more sense of style while veering into the same no-man's land of outrageous mishmash.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 21, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Think it was ment to be Australian aboriginal dance and apparently they sought help to make sure it was authentic in steps - but the costumes not sure.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Gnomes fail at fashion;
Feathers and fur on a chap
will thrill none but cats.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 21, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Oye! A Hava Nagila dance I never expected to see, with a yamaka no less.

Is this a great Olympics, or what?

Posted by: rickoshea1 | February 21, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Tessa and Scott look beautiful.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...an empty net seems self-defeating to me...but what do I know? Keep yer stick on the ice.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 21, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Canadian cowboys...that's hot

Posted by: teddymzuri | February 21, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

OMG! The flamenko dance was great!

Posted by: rickoshea1 | February 21, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

That was just a great hockey game. Like, when I used to go to the farm-team games for the Canadiens, the Kingston Canadians. With my high-school-mates who got called up and then dumped.

Beautiful beautiful hockey.

And I remember the organ.

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I do love the red skates.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 21, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Since Tanith grew up in Kingston, Ontario is think this is fair, Oh my over the top costume - but not a subtle pair.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 21, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

An extra attacker is a big advantage as long as you keep the puck in the offensive end -- effectively a power play. It's a high risk tactic for the end of a game when you're pretty sure that otherwise, you will lose. If I recall correctly, the Soviet coach in 1980 was criticized for being so shell-shocked that he neglected to pull the goalie against the US as the game wound down. Do I have that right?

Posted by: woofin | February 21, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't remember 1980, but yes, when one side is behind by one near the end, it's common for the goalie to leave the goal to assist in offense.
I've seen it happen quite a few times, and I'm not a seasoned hockey fan.

Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 21, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Good team won!

Posted by: Yoki | February 21, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

spent the day outdoors, working on the vw. spent the evening with friends. turned on the telly to discover that the us hockey team advances, despite being out shot better than 2-1. five goals on 22 shots is pretty good.

respectable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPKbCRkMlUM

Posted by: -jack- | February 21, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I missed the US-Canada game but did see some of the Russian-Czech game. Ovechkin put a monster hit on Jagr in the third period. It actually sort of woke the Czechs up -- made them realize they were losing. But they still couldn't catch up. Pulling the goalie didn't help them, either.

After all these years it still seems sort of weird not to see the CCCP (i.e., SSSR) on the Russians' uniforms. Almost needless to say, when I grew up, the Olympics meant, beat the Soviets, beat the East Germans, those soulless commies... With the ornate Rossiya logo and double eagle on their uniforms, the Russians have an oddly 19th-century look about them. Where is the Czar sitting?

Posted by: woofin | February 21, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

kit pix look like newark. when I'd ride the train north from Pa. to the City, Newark was the only place where the conductor instructed parents to look after their children. Troy NY, ca. 1980, looked a lot like those pictures.

Posted by: -jack- | February 21, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Philadelphia. Boodling from my iPod. Hope this posts better than the Bberry. Night,all.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 21, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Back in the boodle again. Now if the wireless network will cooperate I'm. In business.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 21, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

When I was in college, in the mid 80s, I joined a programme where I could spend a week during Christmas/New Year with a family. It was sponsored by churches of different denominations around the country. We were given choices as to where we want to go. I wanted to go to Disney World so I chose the nearest place available – Fort Myers. There were over 20 students from over 10 countries. I met a girl from Japan. We both agreed to go to New York after Fort Myers. She changed her mind the last minute so I took the Greyhound bus and went alone.

I found a place (dormitory kind) for $12 per night a couple of blocks from the bus station. Not very clean but within my budget. I was excited as well as scared. I had heard stories about New York so I was careful not to go to places that don’t look friendly. I basically just walked to places. By the 3rd day I had a big bump on my right foot from too much walking. As I was limping to the bus station to take a bus back to Missouri a man caught up with me from behind. He started talking and wanted to buy me a drink. Said he worked for Ford. I was in too much pain to want a drink so I declined. After I got on the bus I regret not having countered that I worked for Lee Iacocca.

Posted by: rainforest1 | February 22, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Boodle
I regret that I didn't get to see the hockey game,regular nbc coverage was of other sports and they didn't even replay it over night.I heard it was a big win for the young American team.I did get to watch Russia and the Czech's play yesterday.Very good game I thought.Perhaps Canada and the US will meet again in the medal round.

Nice pics Joel,but where is the train?

I went to the park the other day,just wanting to hike somewhere. The road was open,but still deep in some spots.So I am taking pictures of the Thomas Viaduct bridge and I hear a train whistle off in the distance, thinking cool, I can get a picture of the train going across the bridge.I wait and it is getting closer and closer and then no train.It turned right and went up the valley and not over the bridge. But I did listen to it squeal and hiss going up the valley. Now I know where Pink Floyd got some of their cool sounds on some the early works.

It is supposed to be a mixed mess of weather here today.

Everyone be safe on the roads today....and Have a Great day too......

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 22, 2010 5:25 AM | Report abuse

I heard a recap of the 1980 Miracle On Ice and the Soviets did not pull their goalie. They had never played a game close enough to need to, hence didn't know how to.

I had heard about the aborigine costumes (and I think even linked to them a few days earlier) without knowing that the theme was folk dancing. A little context means everything. Whoever came up with that idea was inviting disaster.

Nothing like Offensive Stereotypes on Ice to disgust people. And by that I mean French women in Daisy Dukes dancing to a song about a shotgun wedding.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:26 AM | Report abuse

I was dozing off and missed much of the ice dancing but by going to nbcolympics.com and giving away essential security information I am able to see the entire 3.5 hours of ice dancing. We have:

Georgian Princess (from the Georgia-American team)
Italian Lovers
Spaniards In Black (Canada)
Czech Folk
Estonian Waltz and Polka
Hungarian Folk
Dixie Chicks In Chaps
Russian Sailors On Shore Leave
Hawaiian Luau (Germany)
Samurai and Geisha Girl
Greek Opa (China)
Ukrainian Folk
Irish Folk (Great Britain, now there is some cultural imperialism)
Russian Folk
Can-Can
Daisy Duke Dancing to Johnny Cash
Italians In Black
Aboriginal Atrocity (Russia)
Bollywood (US)
Cowboy And Squaw - more chaps (France)
Hava Nagila
Flamenco (Canada)
Moldavian Folk (US)

Some commentary:

About a third of the dancers went with a dancing tradition other than their own.

If you are from Eastern or Southern Europe you have it made since you already have great folk dances.

If you are Canadian, you wish you were Spanish.

A$$less chaps are the defining article of apparel for the American West.

The can-can girl had the most superfluous nude netting since she did half the dance with her dress around her armpits (not that I'm complaining).

Dancing with your sister won't place you any higher than eighth.

Australian aborigines are the only culture worthy of having their heritage protected from being trivialized and made to look ridiculous in Olympic competition.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Side by side calling of the US-Canada hockey game by CTV and NBC.

http://twitter.com/yellojkt/status/9472622050

Click on the link in the link above or try this one:

http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/assetid=5d3a0b1a-a5ce-445f-a3b0-6fbfb4da1867.html?chrcontext=crystalclear

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody, happy Monday. We are awaiting the rain that Ivansmom had Saturday. It's already to Gastonia so it won't be long.

Thanks for the live boodling of the Olys events last night. You know that I depend on you folks to keep me informed of what's occurring in the larger world.

Cassandra, I hope you are warm and comfortable this morning!

Ham biscuits, a mixed fruit bowl (Pineapple and bananas were on sale this week!), a warm and cold beverages on the ready room table.

Posted by: slyness | February 22, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Made an early night of it so I could be here at the Tampa airport this morning. After reading yello's recap I can see my first task upon returning to St. Paul will be watching all the ice dancing. We did manage to catch the Bollywood and Aborigine numbers. The various misguided attempts to dance to American country music all started to mush together, so I'm not sure which ones I've already seen.

NBC drove us absolutely mad with over-long shots of the post game celebratory scrum of US hockey players. When Bob Costas said "we'll get to the two-man bobsled finals 'eventually'" so they could do more post-game interviews it was the last straw.

Later gators, everyone have a great start to the the work week.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 22, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I've never heard this particular sea chanty before (not that I've heard many), but I offer it up to console the poor Canucki hockey fans:

http://www.mysongbook.de/msb/songs/b/barratts.html

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Could Russians do the Rite of Spring? It would take a bit of reworking to have the Chosen One's boyfriend join her.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 22, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Toyota Recall

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B2e6D484v8

Posted by: russianthistle | February 22, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm with yello -- the folk dance requirement was a very bad idea. I thought and said various negative things about the Russian couple before I realized the context. I still consider their judgment highly questionable, but there was a whole lot of other offensiveness going on. It's very hard to dance someone else's folk dance without turning it into a caricature; the degree of offensiveness has more to do with the history and current social position of the group whose dance has been appropriated than with the design of the dance itself. Kudos to the Canadian pair for a lovely and sophisticated flamenco. Note to the organizers: what were you thinking?! Don't do that again.

One thing that confuses me about the Russians' dance: they took some movements and some costuming ideas from aboriginal groups of Australia. Those groups were justifiably offended. So they came to Canada and made nice with local First Nations ahead of time to try to avert similar negative reactions. Huh? I can understand a fellow feeling existing among various peoples who were overrun by European colonizers, but approaching Canadian First Nations about this particular dance equates all indigenous peoples. Since the offensiveness of stereotypes/caricatures is in the lack of recognition of individuality and nuanced humanity, it seems to me that making this equivalence would just get them into more trouble. Bad judgment all around.

Posted by: -bia- | February 22, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Very well said, bia. I only saw small bits of the folk dance competition but I believe you're right about it being a bad choice.

Nice day here altho' the rest of the week promises to be stormy. Lots to do today. Having lunch with a former co-worker. It will be interesting to hear what's going on at my old company.

Some other matters are going to need my attention this week and I'm a more than a bit upset about them. Seems that the person #2 has had dog sitting isn't doing a very good job of it.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 22, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Bia, that was supposed to be Australian Aborigine?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 22, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

And just when you tought you'd heard it all....
http://www.teamusa.org/news/2010/02/22/get-ready-sports-fans-pole-dancers-eye-olympics/33271

Posted by: Raysmom | February 22, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom - I was interviewing a prim and very accomplished young lady at a job fair not too long ago. When I asked what activities she liked to do outside of work she answered, "Pole Dancing."

Although I maintained my professional demeanor, my female coworker said my skin tone changed two shades.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 22, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I believe so, Wilbrod -- that's what I heard. Regardless of accuracy, I wouldn't recognize it one way or the other myself.

Posted by: -bia- | February 22, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

In a piece about the ubiquity of smartphones, I found this (which I'm pretty sure is one of the signs that the end times are upon us):

"Capitalism smells an opportunity: There's now a 99-cent iPhone app, "Type n Walk," that uses the device's camera to display on screen what is happening in the physical world, giving users the confidence, if not the ability, to walk and type at the same time."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/21/AR2010022104235.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't see what's wrong with allowing people from Warsaw and Cracow to dance.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

There are times when I'm happy that I'm older as a lot of what is going on in the world just doesn't seem sane to me. Olympic pole dancing definitely is near the top of the list.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 22, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I am holding out for the 'walk and chew gum' app.

Do not real dancers do ethnic dances from other parts of the world all the time?

Morning all, late start for me today.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The pole dancing story is one of those media things where there's smoke but absolutely no chance of fire. (Because, in the real world, as an actual fact, where there's smoke, there often is no fire whatsoever. I don't know how that idiotic saying got started, but it simply isn't true.) Just because someone gets an idiotic notion, and some reporter does a semi-humorous-intended feature about it doesn't make it remotely close to ever happening. Witness today's idiotic WaPo chat with the GW law professor who speculates (pointlessly) that Obama ought to appoint himself to the Supreme Court. Well, I'd like to appoint myself as Evangeline Lilly's personal bodyguard and wine taster, but that doesn't mean it's likely to happen any time soon.

Somewhere, sure as hell, there's somebody who thinks stamp collecting should be a Nobel Prize category. So what.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Surprisingly calm reaction to Canada's loss last night, but since this particular write covers the Leafs full time perhaps expectations were lower, in honesty he was one of the reporters writing beforehand honestly about how good the competition was in this tournament. Canada has traditionally not taken the easy route and sometimes flames out embarrassingly when the gold is out of reach - will be interesting to see what happens.

http://olympics.thestar.com/2010/article/769390--pothole-on-road-to-gold

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Driving quickly (yet safely) through between meetings outside the office to provide condolences to my Canukistani friends on last night's hockey game. Nice to remember that Brian Rafalski is still a Detroit Red Wing (so how are *they* doing this season, Brian????).

As for ice dancing, it seems that Belbin and Agusto are no longer the flavor of the month, and I'm doubtful that they'll medal. That's unfortunate -- I think they are exquisite on the ice, and they make a good team. She's gorgeous, besides. Too old by now? Pushing, what? 23? 24? 25? Ancient!!!

Had my physical this morning. Blood pressure is still 90/60, so that's nice to know. A bit of a weight gain, but I'm really trying to work on that. Likely to get the blood tests, etc. by tomorrow late afternoon.

Toodles till later.

Posted by: -ftb- | February 22, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Agree completely Mudge. But do you really wanna be dissing Stamp Collecting? Be careful there. I've heard that The American Philatelic Society has a long reach.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 22, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I guess angry stamp collectors could all band together and give me a licking.

I think the whole Aborigine scandal thing is way overblown, too, and fundamentally absurd on its face. One of the complaints is that the Russkis' routine wasn't "authentic." So my first question is, exactly how many ice skaing rinks and how many triple axels do Australian aborigines tend to do? HTF do you do an "authentic" aborigine sitz spin or a lutz?

Could not this same standard of "authenticity" be asked of the Daisy Dukes skaters? Did they do any genuine, authentic, Al Capp-sanctioned backwoods hillbilly full Biellmann position lift? Did they even bother to go into the deepest hollers of Appalachia to seek permission from the locals to cut their jeans down to butt-bottom length?

What about the cowboys? Did you guys see an authentic cowboy calf-roping moves on the ice? I didn't, though I admit I wasn't paying a lot of attention, so maybe they drove 300 head of cattle across the rink when I was upstairs getting a popsicle.

I mean, jeez, people, let's get a grip. It was simply a bad idea, poorly executed -- but that's all it was.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

yeat another example of an article title on the front page worded in such a way that it compels you to click. unfortunately, the title is a partial quote, and imo, does not convey the information in the article a proper manner.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022201433.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: -jack- | February 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, just read that piece, too, jack and agree.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Interesting pics, however my memories of train trips through rural areas conjure up avenues of dead iron. It seems that rural people like to haul the obsolescent hulks of vehicles and equipment that no longer operates right up against the tracks. Maybe they think they act as sound barriers to the incessant rumble the live with.

As far as understanding electricity, Joel, I have two words for you. Hydraulic analogy.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 22, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Artistic interpretation is often interpreted differently by different people. Once the ice-dance people decided on a folk-dance theme, the stage was set for all sorts of strange possibilities.

Mudge, I can't believe you were popsicle foraging during the cattle drive. Australian aborigines herding a dozen or so head to the tune Hava Nagila. It was quite spectacular.

Posted by: MsJS | February 22, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

And here's one of the worst lede grafs I've ever seen, from ABC News (but linked on the WaPo front):

"After Army Sgt. Edison Bayas' car finally came to a rest on its roof, his jumbled, drunken thoughts immediately turned to the men he left in Iraq, as if he was still on the battlefield.

"Suicide rates surge as U.S. soldiers face stresses upon returning from war.But he wasn't in Iraq. He was in an El Paso intersection with a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit, his 19-year-old victim nearly decapitated in her car a few feet away."

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/army-alcoholics-soldiers-hitting-bottle-hard/story?id=9863321&hpid=moreheadlines

The concept of story about increased alcoholism is fine; it's throwing in the gratuitous decapitation that curdles my blood. That's just unnecessary -- but its why they picked this one case to start off with. Watching too damn many CSIs.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

MSJS, you don't wanna know the words I said when the Hava Nagila came on.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Eye love that app, Bob!

Posted by: -dbG- | February 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Yello, that tune is a very popular pub song by Stan Rogers. Here's to hoping that tale of adventure that ends in ruin is not the story of the mens hockey team.

I didn't get to see the game, but was checking the score. Sounds like it was a good one. We can shrug it off as it was not decisive, but the national blood pressure just went up a notch. IIRC Mudge called us "heavily invested". Probably an understatement.

Posted by: engelmann | February 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The Hava Nagila was done by an Israeli couple. That seems fine to me. And the pair who danced the Bollywood dance got training from real Indian dancers and their costumes are from India. I'm sure most of the other ice dancers were sure to gain as much knowledge of their choice of folk dancing as they could, since they'd be on the international stage.

I think I kind of like the idea of the folk dancing requirement. It added an element to the competition that we "outsiders" could react to. I mean, how many times can we realize we have no idea what "footwork" really means or how many twizzles can we really count?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I still don't see how country music and buttless chaps are folk dancing.

When I was a kid, I went on a group trip to Greece. One night we saw an ice-capades-type show at the base of the Acropolis. Each dance represented a country and something associated with that country. I was curious to see what they'd do when they got to the USA.

Gangsters. Purple shirts, white ties, broad hats, violin cases, Peter Gunnish music.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Don't think it is considered folk TBG, competitors could either choose a folk dance or country.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse


No Thermopylae or Marathon on Ice? No Socarates on Ice? The Greeks really missed the opportunity to cash in on the market for strange stories on ice, in an equally strange venue.

Pardon me while I pop out to buy some tickets for Disney's latest offering that is local, including Cars on Ice. Artful pirouettes by someone wearing an automobile costume is something I cannot miss.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 22, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I thought the Hava Nagila was funny in a cliched sort of way; my reaction was that next we'll have the Mexican Hat Dance, then the Electric Slide, and then Booty Call -- every song that makes going to a wedding reception a nightmare.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

edbyronadams,
It's all springs and dashpots to me.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Both kinds of music (country and western) are considered American 'folk' music, particularly if you go back to the 1930s and 40s. Nevermind that we are the country that invented jazz.

Country music as a genre is comparable in size as a percentage of the music market as other types of folk music are in their native country. The Dixie Chicks were true folk music at one point and still have a mighty strong bluegrass twang.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Joel's photos prompted me to learn more about how to take my camera off the cursed autofocus, which works too well most of the time. I've blown too many shots from not knowing how to quickly turn it off in the menu.

Today I decided to learn more about those legendary "physicists" who apply their brains to financial bets these days. I plugged "Doyne Farmer" whom I remembered from the book Chaos into Google News and set the search to get some older stuff. Now I'm enjoying the reading I'm getting, such as
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/science/10quant.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1

What's the new book out about these mathematicians? I saw it but can't find the title right now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, are you thinking of "Mathematicians: An Outer View of an Inner World"? Came out last year. MrJS thought about reading it, but it seems to continually be in the lower third of his to-do list.

Posted by: MsJS | February 22, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I just dont' think of "Thank God I'm a Country Boy!" as folk music.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

This is why I love Twitter. Where else can you read this...

@yvettenbrown: “A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.”~Ken Keyes Jr

and this...?

@danharmon: Fruit unsettles me, because it's trees saying, "I don't care what you are. Make yourself useful. Sh!t some seeds."

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Laughing, TBG.

Basically the whole thing is kind of silly/harmless, on a fourth grade level. It's like the 9th Street Elementary School putting on a Thanksgiving pageant, and kids dress up as turkeys, pumpkin pies, Pilgims, and Indians. There is no expectation of "authenticity." There is no intent to unintentionally diss Native Americans, or conform to accurate ethnographic blah blah blah. While the fourth graders are doing the T-day pageant, somebody else is doing Columbus Day, where the kids all dress as pirates (pirates are sailors, and Columbus carries a cutlass; close enough). On Presidents' Day the kids make paper hatchets; it has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction or deforesting cherry trees. It's just Bobby-and-Debbie-Dress-Up-and-Put-on-a-Play, that's all. And if the sterotypes are mindless (as they always are), well, it's all just Disney-on-Ice with Simon Cowell doing the play-by-play. "No, I'm terribly sorry, but Goofy isn't seven feet tall. It's anatomically impossible. Bassett hounds only grow to 28 inches at the whithers. And mice don't have four fingers and wear white gloves. Why is the big duck going bottomless? Not that I object, mind you."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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

Hello, friends. Slyness, I opened the door this morning, and now I'm cold, wrapped up in a sweater. It's raining here, and it's getting colder. I hope that's not a set up for ice and bad weather.

It was just lovely and warm yesterday. I went to the lake Saturday, haven't done that in some time. The ducks have taken over, but they're not quite as aggressive. I didn't have food, so they didn't stalk me. Some of the trees are missing, but it's still my favorite place.

JA, the pictures are wonderful, as always, especially the sunrise. Looking at the pictures, I imagine being there, lost and alone. I guess because it's such a big place, and with all the activity going on, I'm sure it would frighten me to no end. And my sense of direction is awful, especially where big tall buildings abound. And the noise, with the hearing-aid, I would hear every sound, and it amplified, and not a single word, if someone decided to talk to me. And that's a big "if" because once I opened my mouth and that Southern accent coated every word, people would probably start throwing coins figuring me to be a street act. Oh, the humanity! Isn't life, grand?

Yoki, your description of your husband, Himself, and I'm assuming that is this person, makes me laugh everytime I read it. And I hope you're not offended by me saying that. I just find it odd that you call him that.

Mudge, Scotty, Scotty, Martooni, Lindaloo, and everyone here, love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 22, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Yello, Barrett's Privateers seems to be reasonably well known up here. In fact we were belting out with fine company barely three weeks ago (all of us four sheets to the wind as we believe it was intended to be sung).

EdByron, on the other side I use electricity to understand hydraulic effects. :-) I'm off to genuflect and make offerings to the shrine of James Maxwell. And stick a few pins in my Chris Pronger voodoo doll. Nothing serious just some back spasms for the next week and a half...

Posted by: qgaliana | February 22, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
You're just too close to the source. You have to listen with the ears of a European ice dancer. It's got a fiddle, so it counts. Heck, JD even put 'country' right in the title for them. And it has a folks beat. I thought it was 'Turkey In The Straw' until the lyrics kicked in.

Which leads to another question, why do ice dancers get music with lyrics? If Johnny Weir had been able to do his 'Pokerface' routine, he would have been on the platform.

I once asked my dad why he started listening to country music if he grew up as a teenager in the late 50s. He explained that modern country music is what early rock and roll was.

At lunch I went and bought the Lady Antebellum album. Their title track 'Need You Now' is a duet about a 1 a.m. booty call. Gotta luv it. I like my country singers just a little on the trashy side.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Husband worked past midnight, so we were up late this morning, then he wanted to go back with me to explore another arm of the hike and bike trail we discovered yesterday. Much cooler today--long sleeves required. After he finishes his noon siesta, he heads for his real office cubicle.

And boy, do I have a George Washington goodie for y'all. Ties into Joel, in a sense, and the tale of why I wasn't Googling Tom Friedman. *l* Because I was Googling someone else on Friday night!

As much as I was eager to see "Shutter Island" on Friday evening, my husband's seven days on call, which rotate, means we don't go much of anywhere).

I'll be back--when he's out the door.

Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge and yello... both right at the same time. What a day!

Off to my Costco run. Anyone need anything? A large drum of mayo? A palette of toilet paper? I guess the bunker could always use plenty of both.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh, by the way, Happy George Washington's B-Day!

Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Tracee Hamilton has a good column on the ice dancing travesty:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/21/AR2010022104563.html?hpid=artslot

I've tried to find the rules for this year's original dance, but to no avail. I prefer this to the "concept" dances that prevailed in the 90s. I don't follow ice dancing these days, so no idea what's coming up.

I did think the flamenco and the Indian routines were the best last night - fast and complicated. Belbin and Agosto looked slow to me, but the commentator kept saying how fast and powerful they were. Sometimes it's hard to tell on TV. I think they should have scored higher than the Russians. I also think Ben Agosto looks better with a beard.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of pirates and things nautical, this weekend (after several abortive starts over the years) I finally got around to reading what I believe is the first of O'Brian's Jack Aubrey novels - "Master and Commander".

Good stuff.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

No mayo for me, please. (Click on the link below at your own risk).

http://comicsidontunderstand.com/wordpress/2010/02/22/cidu-de-mayo-arlo-warning-serious-arlo-warning/

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Could you fax me one of those miniscule samples of chicken nugget in a tiny, tiny paper cup they always hand out? Thanks.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy it, Bob-- there's only 20 more in the series.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Wish I had seen the costumes; was busy watching US beat Canada, against several odds.

Bia's point is very important about the social positions of people being referenced in these costumes. Generally, the joshing about Irish folk or Dutch folk or German folk is fine here for two reasons:

1) these groups blended in quite well and eventually are not easily "called out" by accent or skin color;
2) these groups make fun of themselves; not so much know but did.

The cases of the Aborigines and First Nations/tribal people do not fit these criteria at all; their positions are vastly under and outside the mainstream. My experience with tribal cousins (primarily Crow Nation) is that the clothing, face decorations, and movements are primarily spiritual in origin and expression. Therein are the offenses: 1) marginal position in terms of power, money, and cultural integration and 2) the elevated meaning of their symbols and gestures taken out of context.

My Israeli friend and colleague would have been uncomfortable with Hava Nagila used by non Jewish skaters. She is deeply religous....miles may vary, but she has a community-membership to speak on this.

Ballet has a folk tradition; will think on how this is done without offense....comes to mind immediately that Gypsy, Romany, Traveling folk might not like balletic presentations of their culture.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I could accept your analysis of the ice dancing brouhaha except that-
1. These are not children performing for their nearest and dearest, they are adult professionals performing for a great deal of money in view of millions world wide.
2. The folks whose cultural patrimony is being exploited pretty explicitly objected and were largely ignored.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I was in an Indian dance team as a Boy Scout. We strove to be as authentic as possible given the circumstances and we made our own costumes. Some items like eagle feathers were off-limits because of the spiritual significance of the item.

Our team danced at the closing ceremonies of the 1978 Japanese Boy Scout Jamboree. Not everybody can say they have worn nothing but a loincloth and a vest in front of 25,000 Japanese teen-aged boys.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

After a very frustrating hour the thought of all those boy scouts dancing brought me back to a good mood. Will sustain it in the upcoming meeting, I swear.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 22, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Possession of eagle feathers is also illegal unless you are a member of a federally recognized tribe and have a USF&W permit based on religious reasons. This has been the case for over 50 years.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

K-guy,
Good to know. I'm going to thoroughly dispose of all the feathers before I have my next Bald Eagle Thanksgiving Day Dinner.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Not being Jewish myself, I don't figure my opinion counts for much, but: "Hava Nagila" seems to fit pretty comfortably in the cultural rather than religious arena. Harry Belafonte is one of the better-known singers of the song, for goodness sake.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

kguy, when I was about 8, walking in a Montana stubbled winter wheat field, I found what were the remains of eagle claws: talons had been removed, lots of feathers around, with left-overs of an eagle post coyote consumption. We had learned about the twin concerns of CRIME and SACREDNESS in school. Gathered up the frozen remains in a bandana and took them home. My dad delivered this to a Blackfoot Piegan tribe nearby.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, I don't think either of your premises is true, K-guy. There is no great monetary aspect to being an Olympic ice dancer-- there's no prize money or anything else. Yes, in theor *after* the Olympics some will get all sorts of endorsement deals. But can you name one single Russian ice dancer -- or ice dancer from any country -- who has "cashed in"?

The "they are not children" doesn't work for me, because the fourth graders are still under the supervision of adult teachers, who are supposed to know better. I would question how much difference there is between an American 4th or 5th grader and a 20- or 22-year-old (or however) Russian (or Chinese, or whomever) ice skater who has lived in something of a cultural bubble all his/her life.

Second, I don' agree with "largely ignored." These two did the same routine in January-- and were rewarded with a gold medal. Then they got flack, so the toned down the costumes and war paint. I don't know if the met the Abo objectoions "halfway" or not, but I'm not sold on all the Abo objections in the first place, viz. the totally absurd objection to lack of "authenticity." I would have to ask if the Hawaiian skating was any more "authentic" than the Abo number, or the Chinese number, or whatever.

I have no idea how to judge which cultural parimony is OK to exploit, and which is not.

Did the Russians do a lousy job, and screw up? Absolutely. Are people blowing this thing up way beyong what it is worth? Yes, IMHO.

The backlash against the Abo's will be that people begin to think they are just so super-sensitive and thin-skinned in the future it will be easier to just write them off and forget about them. The hell with them: we'll just do our next Crocodile Dundee movie somewhere else where the natives aren't so touchy.

Would you agree that it is possible to be a little TOO thin-skinned? And how much umbrage does one direct toward somebody who meant no harm, thought they were honoring somebody, but came out of en environment were cultural sensitivy means not conducting your pogroms on Saturdays?

It is possible to react, and it is possible to over-react. Everybody has learned several lessons from this -- one of which is to leave the Abos alone, becasue they are really tetchy, and another is that we will never, ever see any Russians break out of their own ethnic backgrounds if they get too punished for their mistakes this time around. Two of the three Ruissian couple stuck to their own boring, safe, predictable ethnic dances, and the one couple who broke the mold and tried something different got thwacked. What conclusions would you draw from this, if you were the Russians?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

As for the figure skating, I didn't see the Russian's dance, but judging from the photos it looks like they may have vaudevilled it. Mudge, if I may shorten the Aborigines' complaints, they think it looks stupid. Given that their native culture is holding on by it's fingernails, I think they have a legitimate beef when somebody performs a ridiculous pantomime of it on the world stage.

American country/western is doing just fine on the other hand. So if some French ice dancers want to look foolish doing a hoe down on skates, Nashville is pretty comfortable ignoring them.

Please note all my opinions are hopelessly tainted by the complete subjectivity of appraising the artistic merit of ice dancing. I don't think the judges care one way or another. It's more likely the Russians are losing enthusiasm for their program and it's showing in their performance.

Posted by: qgaliana | February 22, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Lost my post -- MUDGE! Dear heart: what should be learned is that real life is work getting the nuance right. The Aboriginal people are entitled to the tetchyness , given there treatment for the past 100 years by main stream people of a White-euro advantage. And, my goodness, the expropriation of religious gestures and symbols....I would be tetchy about priest and nun garb with an elevated glittered styrofoam host, simulated blood on the ice, all to the tune of Bernstein's Mass, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Bach's St. Matthew Passion and the like.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Running for a meeting...I know that my lapses are double sins. Forgive, me please:

real life is WORTH

Their...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

As you may recall, I mentioned in the past 48 hours or so that Alexander Britton Hume--known as Brit Hume--had been on Trinity University's stage about a handful of years ago. I didn't stand for Hume at the end of his talk to clap an ovation (as I did for Friedman, but I'm older now, and standing for Friedman *w* was in part a need to get the blood moving on my back end), had asked him about A.Q. Khan of Pakistan.

I had always assumed that Brit Hume was British. Turns out not be the case. He's a Scot, as art museum founder Isabella Stewart Gardner was a Scot-Buddhist, and Peter Jennings was a Scot by way of Canada. You may recall, too, that Hume was among the stable of stars on ABC News some many moons ago, Hume serving as White House correspondent when Jennings sat for many years at the anchor desk. Before Hume moved over to FOX News.

What I thought I remembered about Hume dates from the time that John Kerry was running for president--some reporting that I thought I had read circa 2004. In short, I thought Hume had a link to Massachusetts, to the area beyond Boston. I thought he grew up with Kerry for a few years, or went to the same elementary school for a time, something like that. Or Hune was just a village or hillside away from Kerry when both were kids or their fathers had a connection, something like that, I thought I remembered. So I tried Googling the Hume-Kerry connection, but found nothing. So, I decided to Google Brit Hume and his biography, and of course, the Wiki entry was prominent on the list.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brit_Hume

And the more I read, it just seemed like Hume is or was very, very Virginian. For some time, I'd known about Hume's Hartford Times connection thqt gives him a link with Loomis-descendant Gideon Welles, Lincoln's Father Neptune, I link I used in framing my question to Hume when he was onstage at Trinity a handful of years ago.

-more-

Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The Smuckers Stars On Ice tour hits DC on April 8 and the good seats go for $80 each. Getting a gold medal or at least multiple silvers is considered absolutely necessary to qualify as a headliner for these events. The skaters named so far include Sasha Cohen, Evan Lysacek (newly minted gold medalist), Tanith Belbin & Benjamin Agosto (ice dancers currently in fourth place).

For many, many years only skaters that went 'pro' could do these tours but that requirement has been relaxed since the pro figure skating circuit is fairly vestigial.

Getting enough name recognition to be on this tour is the difference between making real money and getting to be Nemo or Pocahontas in Disney On Ice.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the traditional Brooks Brothers suit looks pretty silly in most circumstances outside a dress-up party. What's up with that silly strip of fabric hanging down the front of the shirt? A tie, you say? What, pray tell, is it binding? And in the 21st century they're still using buttons!?! Gimme a break. We got Velcro, magnetic closure strips, resealing adhesives, Zip-Loc closures, and we're still using ungainly buttons? Sheesh, talk about a costume ripe for cultural derision.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, I agree entirely that they "vaudevilled it" -- a very excellent phrase, qg. But I think my larger point is that in some kinds of environments, you have to make it "safe" for people to try things and fail, without unduly punishing them for it. Thje fact is, those two Russians were punished entirely appropriately by the judges, who dropped them from first to third, loosing 4 and a half points. In THEIR world (not ours), that was the worst punishment they could have gotten: they lost the only thing that mattered to them. So all the rest of the world jumping on them and lecturing them about political correctness is not only a waste of time, it is piling on.

And what is the reaction of those two Russians? They remain defiant; they don't thing they did anything wrong. They think they met objections and toned down their costumes. They thought they were being respectful.

Anyone can see the full dance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_uoToFGK6E And yes, it was pretty awful. Really awful.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

BobS, button cover or arrow?

Posted by: LostInThought | February 22, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Here's a link to a speakers bureau featuring famous skaters-

http://www.allamericanspeakers.com/findsportsspeaker/speakers_figureskating.php

Dorothy Hamill will come and talk to your group for $20-25,000. I'm sure that the Russians are doing OK financially and would be even better off with Olympic medals.

As far as the exploitation of cultural patrimony, try to imagine the stink if these two had danced to a number from Progy and Bess in blackface.

Here's the relevant quote from the Hamilton column-

In a January editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, Bev Manton, chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, asked Domnina and Shabalin to reconsider their decision to perform the routine at the European Championships. They did anyway, and won the gold.

"Our dance, our ceremony and even how we look is the basis of much of our culture," she wrote. "Our designs and images have evolved over 60,000 years. We're understandably fond of them, and we don't like seeing them ripped off and painted onto someone's body for a sporting contest.

"But there are also more modern reasons. For many of us, our culture is all we have left. Our land was taken from us. Many of us lost our wages and savings. Many of us lost our children. Many of us even had our ancestors remains robbed from their graves.

"My people have already lost so much. Surely it's not hard to understand why we might fear a loss of control over the parts of our culture that we have managed to hold onto?"

You question how much difference there is between an American 4th or 5th grader and a 20- or 22-year-old (or however) Russian (or Chinese, or whomever) ice skater who has lived in something of a cultural bubble all his/her life. Really? I sorta figure that adults, even young adults, even young Russian adults, are conscious of things like respect for others and good manners.As far as the routine "honoring" the Abo culture, if the Russians ever believed that they can hardly have maintained that illusion after the objections that were raised. Yet they went ahead and repeated the routine.

The issue of "touchiness" and "thin skin" is in the eye and ear of the beholder. As I have noted previously, I am an atheist. I find a great many public expressions of religion personally obnoxious, but I do not object, in part because I have learned that it usually changes nothing, and in part because I do not wish to appear obnoxious in turn. I would not have any problem with ice dancers performing a sensual pas de deux as Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but I realize that a great many people would, and if asked I would advise against that type of program. So the difference between that and the actuality comes down to whose sensibilities are offended how numerous they are and how much influence they wield.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what possessed me Friday night, but I, for the sheer grins of it, decided just to throw Brit Hume's father's name, George Graham Hume, into Google and see what came up. Well, stuff, but this one genforum link also came up and intrigued me, so I clicked on it:

http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hume/tree/42303.htm

So,

Alexander Britton "Brit" Hume, son of
George Graham Hume, son of
Graham Watkins Hume, son of
Thomas Levi I Hume, son of
Charles W. Hume, son of
Armistead Hume, son of
Francis Hume, son of
George Home or Hume, son of
*here's where it gets interesting*

Sir George Home, 10th Baron of Wedderburn, son of
Sir George Home, 9th Baron of Wedderburn, etc.

*link to the interesting material*

http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hume/tree/1339.htm

The graf further down the linked page is very important, just before "Noted events in his life were," because it contains the following (along with: taken prisoner during the Jacobite rising or rebellion of 1715 [after the short reign of fat Queen Anne and after the Hanoverians were coming to the power and the throne], tried and condemned but issued a reprieve on condition that he leave Scotland):

..was George Washington's teacher of surveying... !!!!!!!!!!

and

one of three Commissioners (one of whom was Washington) to settle the Fairfax Land Suit

[Full disclosure: I'm connected to earliest Virginia families Washington, Berkeley, Culpeper, and Fairfax via Plantagenet ties. It's history.]

-more-


Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree there is a certain piling-on quality to the controversy.

At the same time, the sheer volume of the protests puts the ice dancing federation on notice about what its viewers deem acceptable vs. not acceptable. The sport exists at the Oly level only because of its popularity with the viewers. Political and cultural correctness aside, if the sport doesn't draw viewers it'll be dropped from the Olys in favor of paintball snow cross or bobsled bumper cars or pairs pole dancing.

Posted by: MsJS | February 22, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"Paintball snow cross or bobsled bumper cars or pairs pole dancing." Wow! I think those would all be huge audience-grabbers.

Speaking of aboriginal dance:
"Native dancing ban lifted in Alaska village"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/21/AR2010022101602.html?hpid=sec-religion

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Anyone suffering from Australian Aborigine Sympathy Deficit should watch a film called "Rabbit Proof Fence."

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I always take this Internet material at arm's length until I can source it a different way. However, if Hume's lineage is correct, it certainly provides an interesting family link to George Washington and his earliest activities as a teen.

Makes Joel's "The Grand Idea" more interesting, too, with Joel's four mentions of Washington as surveyor.

In Googling last night, I did find this one link that fleshes out and provides more detail about the George Washington and George Home/Hume connection. This is one long, very good telling, with a photo, map, old colonial documents, callouts:

http://www.brianreeves.com/Hume%20George/George%20Hume.htm

So, I wonder if veteran news reporter and Fox network personality Brit Hume knows of his own family's history and his distant great-grandfather's ties to young student or apprentice surveyor George Washington?

Wouldn't it be fun to ask Brit Hume these questions? Maybe this story has aleready been don, been written up some time and some place ages ago. If Hume didn't or doesn't know his family history, wouldn't it be fun, like the fun researcher William Henry Gates has been having lately on PBS lately, to tell him?

Now, if we could only figure out why Washington thought the Dutch were on the same par as the Natives as far as intellect? Dutch-English exploring and trading rivalry? William of Orange coming to the throne with his first-cousin wife during the reign of the Stuarts? Can it be explained simply as elitism?


Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, CqP. The problem is we have to apply various standards more-or-less equally across the board. Yes, "getting the nuances right" is a worthy goal. But then we have to apply it equally to the people who thought "Thank Good I'm a Country Boy" was some sort of folk tune. Did they get the nuances right?

I know nothing about Flamenco; but did the Canuckis get their flamenco down right? Couldn't tell you in a thousand years.

Is the Olympics ice dancing the place to look for nuanced cultural sensitivity? Is the 4th grade Thanksgiving pageant the right place? I think one wants the nuances to be accurate in places and venues where they make the claim to such accuracy. In places where no one is trying very hard to be nuanced and correct and accurrate, etc., I don't think it matters at all, if one has no expectation of it.

When one goes into a movie theater to see a movie, one has different expectations of that question. No one goes to see a Jennifer Anniston romo-comedy expecting nuance, and exposure of all the nooks and crannies of the human conditon. No one goes to see "The Hurt Locker" expecting anything less than total nuance and fidelity. Context matters, in this as in all things.

I don't know about the Abos. Yes, everything you say is true about how they've been treated. What I can't figure out is why they get a special pass, where all the other millions of people who were equally abused (generally but not always by white Euro-Americans). Why are their religious icons more sacrosanct and due more reverence than other peoples'?

I suspect the answer is simply that they chose to be more tetchy than others. If the Egyptians suddenly started to make a big fuss and asked us to stop making those damn Mummy movies, stop using Ra and whatnot in the Raiders of the Ark stuff, and lay off the Pharoahs, would we do it? How do we draw a line between Dan Brown and "Lost" using an Ankh the other week, and the Russkis using the Ago war paint? I simply don't know how to draw that line. What do we do about Lara Croft, Tomb Raider? Should Native Americans get bent out of shape because Avatar rips off Pocahontas?

When does a group's symbolism belong solely to that group, and when does it become part of the public domain? Absent malice and exploitation, is there an inherent right to be tetchy?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

BobS, I think there's movie coming out of that - "Snowshoeloose."

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

kguy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq3EalYnDbw

Great soundtrack

I was so excited to just happen across the film.

Posted by: russianthistle | February 22, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Texas border area to celebrate Australia in a matter of days. Don't know anything about aboriginals? I understand from our local paper's Sunday Travel section, that each year the country of interest changes at the Hidalgo, Texas festival:

http://funweekends.net/States_S_thru_V.html

March 4-7, 2010, Hidalgo, 34th Annual Borderfest, www.myborderfest.com. Celebrate Australia with 100+ entertainers, food, parade and arts and crafts.

Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

kguy, make the case that I should have more sympathy for the Abos than I have for the Hmung. Or the Uighars. Or the Cherokee. The Rom. The Tutsi.

Explain to me why their plight is worse.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, some tetchyness might stem from previous malice and exploitation, and if viewed a certain way, one might say that caricatures for global entertainment and sporting events might consitiute further expliotation.

And don't get me started on Dan Brown. I'll pick up another one of his books when the world comes to an end and I'm out of toilet paper.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 22, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- agree there is too much tetchynes affoot in the world. But, we are intelligent and compassionate enough to work hard on the differences. For example, I find the Italian American "teapot/tempest" about Jersey shore a bit silly, indeed very silly. By and in large, Italians here are doing fine NOW. Yes, the mafioso stereotype, etc. But, the group is accepted and has advanced: witness the embrace of food and names and even the ant-hero cred of mafia themes. Not going to lose sleep over this. And, the show looks to be dreck and blech but fits the broadcast appetite for stupid real people....

But, dear Mudge; the Aboriginal people....you know what I mean....I really think you do.

Kguy and I think alike on this; and, while I think it would be the tastelessness that seems to reign as usual in the excess that is ice dancing/dancing with the stars -- Mary Magdalene and Jesus dancing to Yvonne E. singing "I don't know how to love him" from Jesus Christ Superstar -- that might work.

Point: manners and decency require that we try not to offend. Some are more wounded than others; we need to be students of history and aware of current conditions.

Are we done talking about this? Thanks for the reminder of JCS.

JCS Everythin's Alright Now
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkje4FiH9Qc

Yvonne Elliman (Mary) I Don't Know How to Love Him
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18GTVeXNWfg

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Why does it have to be worse? You afraid of running out of sympathy if you squander it on these guys?

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2007, states in Article 31-

"Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions."
"In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights."

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- to take from these groups and vaudville-viva-las Vegas them

Hmung. Or the Uighars. Or the Cherokee. The Rom. The Tutsi.

Tasteless and offensive. I am not going to rank the offense. That is not helpful.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The next problem is that Porgy and Bess is (a) a great piece of music; (b) written by a white guy, and (c) would be a great tune for ice dancing. It's the blackface and possibly the costumes that would make it wrong. But two dancers skating to Porgy and Bess, qua Gershwin, and abset all those technically accurate nuances CqP wants, would be great. Standing alone and striped of those aspects, Porgy and Bess is a great piece of music.

To make Porgy and Bess work in that context of an ice dance, one would have to strip away all the parts that we would all agree are objectionable.

So how does one make a rule that says when you use Porgy and Bess you must strip away all the "authentic" parts of it, yet when you do an Abo piece of music you must INCLUDE all the authentic parts.

I know how we do it -- I just can't make a rule out of it that applies equally to both cases.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The ice dancing problem stemmed from the fact that the organizers decided that the "theme" should be folk dances. Which meant that, for the most part, the performances were charicatures of real folk dancing. I'm trying to put my finger on why the Russian's dance struck me as particularly heinous in this respect. It might have to be with my disbelief that Aboriginal dancing looks in any way like the jitterbug-eque performance they gave. Or that I have a viceral aversion to flesh-tone materials in skating costumes.

But it was by no means alone in its pure awfulness--the Daisy Duke outfit leaps to mind. I was really glad I had it on during the hockey game, so didn't have to give it my full attention.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 22, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, those Canadian curlers are continuing to rock the house!!

Hey! That's sorta a joke. You know "rock" and "house." Together like that. Pertaining to curling.


Oh bother.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 22, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Having said this about Italian stereotyping, I will say this about my II (italian Irish relies). I did not watch Sopranos for years until great uncle (insert classic Italian name) passed. He was offended; he told us all so. Many of us did not watch the show out of respect for our beloved Uncle. He did, however, like Mario Puzo's work very much.

UncleX was a literature and romance languages specialist. He was very aware of Romany language -- he could read it and understand it. He KNEW that their plight was much graver than the hard and bitter history of Italians in the US circa 1890-1950 or so. And, that gravity continues for the Romany people in ways it does not for Italians as a group in the US or in the EU.
So, we need be sensitive to audiences....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- I would argue that we are not ready to "do" Porgy and Bess in the fluffy-short hand world of ice dancing. Too many people would be offended and I would ache for them and wince at the designed who did not yet understand....not the right time now....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

CqP, I too found the Sopranos to be offensive, perpetuating stereotypes. FWIW, in some towns in America, it's still 1950.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

In Womens hockey semi-final - US 2 - Sweden 0, Canada Finland play later today.

Watching the cross country team pursuit, how is it I forget over the 4 year span how exciting cross country skiing can be.

It is snowing heree, couple of inches all ready - this is just about our biggest snowfall of the year.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

You guys are trying to make the case that the Abos are somehow a special case. But the reasoning seems to me to be circular: you are saying they are a special case because they are a special case. At least, that's what I'm hearing. It might not be what you are saying, but it is what I am hearing.

And you vastly misjudge me about my sympathies and regard for the Abos and many others. I would have thought you'd know me better than that by now. But I'm beginning to think we are talking past each other, or not talking about the same thing.

I agree with every one of you about the length, breadth, depth and height of the Russians' mistake. But you guys want to shame them and punish them and send them to their Quiet Corner forever for being evil people. I think they've already learned their lesson, and people should stop stigmatizing them and making it a bigger deal than it is. I think they had no malign intent; I give them a pass. You guys don't give a rat's ass about their intent; you want to beat up on them regardless of their intent.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

You want offensive (I am only just dropping in at the tail end of this conversation)? I've got offensive for you!

Apparently, the standard for "hero" has become entirely attainable to even the meanest of us. It seems all you have to do is murder a civil servant veteran of a foreign war, and they're pretty thick on the ground these days: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022201433.html?hpid=moreheadlines

For myself, I find that I am untroubled by the taxation woes of a man who nevertheless has enough money to own a private aircraft that he can use in a colorful act of suicide that he clearly intended as a way to take with him several complete strangers of whose malice he was assured. To hell with him. I find a lot more sympathy for his victim, an ex-Vietnam vet working past nominal retirement age as a career civil servant.

The rhetoric of the anti-tax types seems to suggest they imagine that "the tax man" takes their hard-earned money and embezzles it; or perhaps that it goes straight to Congress where it is shoveled into a bin in each Congressman's office from which he takes whatever he needs to pay or pizza, hookers, cocaine, and solid gold bathroom fixtures. Truthfully, only a small percentage of them live that way.

Please excuse my angry sarcasm. I am filled with loathing and disgust for this man and his wretched stupid spawn.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- we must be talking past each other. I shall stop.

LiT --Forgive my being insensitive about this; I am sorry, very sorry. Yes you are right, in some places the time frame is 1950 or 1320 or some time previous -- with hurts and unkindness and unfairness about them vs. us.

ScTim -- one of the worst possibilities about some kinds of desperate mental illness situations is the possibility for evil to root itself within the suffering to hideous outcomes -- the airplane into the building.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ice dancing has problems no matter what the theme, believe me. What offended me most was the dark skin tone of the costumes - and that loin cloth - and the leaves. And the music and the awful choreography. I suppose they were trying to be different, but they missed the mark on many levels. I've seen ice dance competitions where the theme was the blues, and no one came on in blackface.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmztHpSIT4E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_TJIB0IT7A

In the 90s, there were routines with religious overtones - they were controversial. This is one from a professional competition with a Rasputin story.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OuAYxDOvwM
You can't make this up.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the ice dancers are evil - just insensitive. And yes, native people who have recently experienced grave injustice probably are a special case.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, CqP. But you know it is not ever my intention to have you stop talking. More than almost any other person I know, you challenge my thinking and make me stop and re-examine. I was simply trying to defend those two kids, who made a mistake, and seemed to me to be getting piled on.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Nope, no special case here. Unfortunately there is nothing special about what has happened to the Abos. It's the same thing that has happened to countless other folks- the Maori of New Zealand, the Sami in Northern Europe, the Xingu in Amazonia.

Dr. K could say all this much better than I can, because she has studied indigenous intellectual property law, but here goes. Among many groups the products of culture- designs, dances, songs, stories- are owned, not just by their creators, but by their extended family, clan, or tribe in perpetuity. No one else has the right to sing that song, tell that story, etc. without permission. We have copyright, trademark, and patent law to accomplish the same thing. Indigenous people rely on tradition and mutual respect to enforce these rights, we use laws.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

4-0 for the US woman now, slow game.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Does the score awarded to ice-dancers formally suffer a deduction if their presentation is astoundingly offensive? One can imagine something that really pushes the boundaries of taste, or that features imagery and costuming that would cause NBC to suddenly experience "technical difficulties." Is that a problem with respect to the scored athletic elements of the production? My naïve impression is that the music and theme are trivial efforts to dress up what would otherwise be a boring athletic competition of the sort that many people might foolishly mistake for an actual sport (perhaps I betray some bias).

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, my umbrage is mainly aesthetic.

That kind of over-the-top costuming makes it tougher for judges to judge line, form, and footwork---at least it hurts /my/ eyes to follow that dance I just saw, and I'm very attuned to motion.

I don't really know how the Russians can watch themselves on tape and not see how disorienting they look with those patterns.

I'd urge a costuming standard that doesn't have extreme contrast in patterning on the front vs back (color changes are fine).

There's also something to be considered about all that shrubbery ruining the line of the head, arm and chest.

This and Johnny Weir may drive a more strict standard on ice skating costumes-- which might lead to disqualifications for silly deviations-- or for judges informally marking skaters down because they can't "see the moves" for the costume.

Simply put, when the costuming is incompatible with the aesthetic aspects of ice skating (dancing), I think it attracts far more attention to any other negative aspects of said costume.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 22, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"Among many groups the products of culture- designs, dances, songs, stories- are owned, not just by their creators, but by their extended family, clan, or tribe in perpetuity. No one else has the right to sing that song, tell that story, etc. without permission."

But where is the line? Which groups do, and which don't? Who decides? Becasue no one on the North American continent asserts that claim, not with any force, anyway.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I say this because I didn't know about the controversy and know nothing about Aussie Aborigine costume, dance, bodypainting, copyright law etc. and am not in a position to judge the authenticity of it all.

I just think the costuming was garish.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 22, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

We believe the Russian ice dancers were offensive to the Australian Aborigines because the Australian Aborigines SAID they found it offensive.

"I am offended by the performance and so our other councillors," Bev Manton, chair of the NSW Land Council, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

It's not even something that's open to interpretation. It's right there.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Guess I came late to the party, but it looks like Joel's train was flying while he took the last couple of photos in the kit. I'm not real familiar with the Big Apple, but I didn't know that the El trains were elevated to rooftop level.

Posted by: Gomer144 | February 22, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the controversy, the problem is the costumes were just too much.

For instance the last couple was doing a traditional Moravian folk dance. You could not see the dance because the costuming got in the way. It was a decent program, not a great one, but I'd be willing to bet that with simpler costumes, they would have scored better.

The artful interpretation of folk dance was hidden and lost many times last night. We were left with a pile of schmutzy costumes.

Not sure if the Yiddish will get through the filters.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 22, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

It did. It did. Or did I spell it wrong?

Posted by: --dr-- | February 22, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Here is a test similar to the fortune cookie game: Add the words 'On Ice' to any work of art and see if it causes a pit in your stomach.

'Blazing Saddles...On Ice' - could be good
'Dances With Wolves...On Ice' - not recommended
'War and Peace...On Ice' - go for it
'Schindler's List...On Ice' - a terrible idea
'Springtime For Hitler...On Ice' - genius
'Starlight Express On Ice' - It's been done and I've seen it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

'Pilobolus...On Ice' - Where do I buy tickets?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

kguy's post about indigenous intellectual property reminds me of something that happened several years ago that has bothered me somewhat, since then.

Several years ago, a well-known planetary science colleague started discovering a number of substantial bodies in the outer solar system (largish asteroids). The tradition in the field is that asteroids and other dwarf planetary bodies are named by the discoverer, within reason -- thus, each of the Beatles is honored by multiple asteroids, but there is no asteroid Johnholmes or Marilynchambers or Marilynmanson (not yet -- you might be able to get away with that one). Who decides what is "within reason"? The much-reviled-for-their-Pluto-decision International Astronomical Union. Typically, an astronomer requests that the IAU approve a name for a newly-discovered object before announcing the name to the world.

Anyway, this colleague decided to tweak the nose of tradition and make a political statement. Large bodies have been given the names of Greek and Roman gods -- gods of what all would agree are dead religions, and thus no one with any real standing to declare it to be blasphemous trivialization. My colleague decided to honor ethnic groups that are overlooked by Western civilization and are dying out in many ways, by naming his new discoveries after their mythological characters. Furthermore, he did not wait for IAU approval -- he announced his names publicly, so that they had a history of "popular" awareness (such as it is for astronomy) before anyone had a chance to ask whether the extant members of those ethnic groups had an opinion on the subject. Unlike the Greeks and Romans, there are plenty of Inuit, for example, even if their native culture may be on the decline under Western influence. Similarly for the South American Mapuche, native Hawaiians, and various North American Native and First Nations groups. So -- did he honor them, as he intended, or did he insult them? Or does nobody give a hoot what an astronomer may do?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I ought to be plastering and painting the guest room, but sitting here, watching old figure skating videos on Youtube is a lot more fun.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 22, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Becasue no one on the North American continent asserts that claim, not with any force, anyway."

Could you please elaborate on this statement? Are you asking for case law? What do you define as "asserting a claim with force"? How do you know no one asserts the claim to their intellectual property?

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey, now. I'm a child of the Cold War. Beating up on the Russkies was a patriotic duty.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Tim... couldn't agree with you more. I hope a lot of fuss is made over the teabaggers' lauding of that guy as a hero. It shows where they stand. Patriotism does not belong exclusively to the conservative right wing.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

ScTim -- likely to be an honor, but best to ask them first. That being too late, ask ASAP. I care about astronomers even if I remain a Pluto-Promoter. BTW, bought off ebay for 99 cents plust 1.99 shipping a replica of the original Frisbee "Pluto Platter." I am thrilled beyond anything.

And, I also like the Shakespearean character names in Astro-Circles.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

'Amos and Andy...On Ice' - don't even think it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

This is a Canadian case-

In 1999 the Snuneymuxw First Nation used the Trademarks Act to prevent the unauthorized reproduction of ancient rock-painting images (petroglyphs) of great religious significance to the community.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

kguy -- my Crow Nation relatives made a decision NOT to use a certain symbol as a cattle/bison/beefalo brand....too close to the symbols held in common.....they incorporated a portion of it, sorta like a portion that would reveal the full meaning to themselves but not outsiders....as Crows, they might have had a "right" to this image but as you note: culture and tradition is the boundary maker within this community, at least on some days.

Now, about casinos, do not even get this family started....lots of furor all over indian land about casinos, images, who gots/who don't gets......

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I read Manton's statement the other day (yesterday?), TBG, I accept fully that she and her group were offended. That simply isn't conclusive (persuasive, perhaps-- but not dispositive, as the lawyers say). There is also this:

"Shabalin said he and Domnina and their coaches did a lot of research before creating the dance. They were surprised when it caused such a furor, and Shabalin said they went back and did more research, including talking with specialists in Aboriginal dance.

"A lot of Australian people wrote to our website that they liked the dance," he explained.

I am frankly suspicious of this very last statement; to me it does not have much ring of truth. Nevertheless, the statement was made, and he claims some "Australians" (not necessarily Abo's) seem not to be offended, or even liked it.

(I think the assertion that anyone liked is more absurd than the notion they weren't offended.)

Look, I'm just weighing conflicting statements here. Sure, Manton and her group were offended. I simply don't know how much weight to give that. But I refuse to take it at face value and jump on her bandwagon. Likewise, I don't take Shabalin's obvious backpeddling at face value, either.

We should all know enough about umbrage and Rovestorms by now to not take people's umbrage at face value. So Manton has her knickers in a knot. I need some kind of evidence to know how widespread and equally shared her opinion is. Hell, PETA gets umbraged to the nth degree all the time, and their opinion means virtually nothing to me.

I have accepted Manton's umbrage from the git-go. I simply don't know how to evaluate it, whether it means anything or not. I have 40 years of ingrained training telling me to ask the next question, that's all.

I think it is a given that they did some kind of research; they must have, because they had this half-assed caricature (who used that word? good one, as good as vaudevillian). So part of it is that they simply didn't do enough, or talked to the right people, etc. It raises the question of exactly how much scholarship do we expect a couple of choreographers to put into their work. My own feeling is the bar is kind of low.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected:

http://www.zimbio.com/Maria+Mukhortova/articles/2/Figure+Skating+Schindler+List+proves+winning

A German pair won the European Figure Skating pairs title with it. They are the same couple that took the bronze medal a few days ago with their 'Out Of Africa' routine.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, teabaggers are lauding WHO? I missed something here.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The nutbag who flew his Cessna into an IRS office has been described by his daughter as a hero, although she does not condone his final act.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 22, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this was a case in which it would have been better not to publish family reaction until they had a chance to decide how filial duty stacks up against outrage at homicide.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I also think the Porky and Bess music has been used, saw a youtube video of the famous Russian pair G&G (beyond my spelling capability).

Just watched the men's cross country team pursuit, there are times when coming in fourth is a really great achievement, congrats to the Canucks Kershaw and Harvey. That sport has some serious athletes - their fitness level is incredible.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

If he wanted to make an heroic statement about taxation, he could have given his home and aircraft to charitable organizations for the tax benefits that would accrue to his heirs, then buried himself in a flaming mountain of official IRS publications. Perhaps on top of a giant mulch pile.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Also, as a piece of fair disclosure, one personal bias I am bringing to this discussion is that for the past year or two, I have been neck-deep in research which touches heavily upon what I suppose one might call "the Russian mindset" regarding prejudices and various kinds of internal and external bigotry. Throwing in the disclaimer about whether it is fair or possible to characterize and entire people such as "the Russian mind," it seems pretty clear to anyone who has studied "the Russians" that in many ways they are a very narrow, very provincial and very bigoted people. We tend to think of the Germans as the "inventors' of antisemitism becasue of the Holcaust, but in fact it is pretty much the Russians who wrote the book on it, what with their pogroms, etc., in the 19th century. It is a fact, for instance, that many of the White Russians, during the Civil War, who even though they hate the Bolsheviks and all the others with a hatred beyond all reason, STILL thought it was probably "the Jews" who executed the Czar, with no evidence whatsoever, and even without any particular Jews to pick on. There is/was also a great deal of antipathy toward various outlying ethnic groups within what became the Soviet Union, against Georgians, Ukrainians, Mongols, whomever. It waxed and waned, yes, but it was always there at some level.

So the point I am trying to make is that yes, these Russian ice dancers were indeed insensitive -- but they come out of a milieu and a culture where this is -if not quite "the norm," which I would assert it is-- is certainly nowhere near as sensitive to these things as we are in in N.A.

People say we don't talk about race in this country, which is a silly cliche, becasue we talk about it all the time, endlessly, in all manner of ways. That doesn't mean we're especially "good" about it. And face it, we are the people who talk about "political correctness" all the time.

My point is, we in the West are very far ahead of -- and different from -- what a couple of Russian-born and -raised people would be with regard to sensitivity. And in face we may not be much better: it was only four months ago that one of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders had a blackface scandal in THIS country.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The Andrew Joseph Stack death toll is himself and a 68-year-old IRS employee.

I read Stack's manifesto from end to end. He was a contract software 'engineer' that had been doing some stuff with payroll taxes that had run afoul of IRS rules. He nursed this into a deep and abiding hatred for the government and large corporations in general. There is no real evidence to date that he is a 'teabagger' in politically active sense. It still seems to be a random act of retribution by a man that owned an airplane but owed enough back taxes and penalties to want to kill somebody over them.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank you.

I'm wondering if I should be lured into this interesting discussion here today. I'd say Curmudgeon has some merit for his case, but so do others. Just watched the video of the ice dance in question, so I guess I am already lured in. If the Russian ice skaters were my friends, I wonder what I'd say if they asked me if I liked it? (I didn't) I'd hem and haw and it would be very awkward.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Many more than just his daughter, kguy...

http://news.google.com/news/more?um=1&cf=all&ned=us&cf=all&ncl=dlQiVO83u9xE6TMJo13TrykiDJl1M

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Just don't mix up Starlight Express with Midnight Express.

Posted by: engelmann | February 22, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

No, yello, but the news articles I read the other day quoted some "teabaggers" calling him a hero.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

You mean "software engineer WHO" yellojkt.

Bwa ha ha!

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

No, kguy, I'm not asking for case law. But I'm asking what group of people in North America make the claim that no one but themselves is entitled to write about them, or sing their songs (if known to outsiders), or whose general customs and folklore are off limits to outsiders. Because I can't think of any.

You cite a Canadian ruling that somebody's petroglyph was protected, and if that's a case of it, so be it. But would you admit that it's pretty rare? So rare as to almost stand alone? Everyone in N.A. has and uses the first amendment to write about whatever they want, and I cannot conceive that somewhere is a tribe or group or whatever who can prevent someone from writing about them or their practices, insofar as they are known. Yes, there may be some secret society here or there. but how would any othem stop, say, a newspaper from writing about them or showing a photograph of something? The best they could do is not grant permission to come in and look around on private property. But if somebody's petroglyph is visible to the public anywhere in the U.S., I don't see how publication could be stopped. Which is how I read your post.

And god knows, there are novels and movies and TV shows galore describing just about every known peoples I can think of on this continent. I read your post to imply that somewehere there may be an XYZ tribe/group/clan that says "You can't write/photograph us without our permission."

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

engelmann,
Wise advice.

mudge,
Which strawman says "we never talk about race in this country"? I'd like to meet this mythical scarer of crows and talk to him or her about race.

Sadly, the Germans and the Russians have no exclusivity on anti-Semitism. It is alive and well in many, many parts of the world. While the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a Russian fabrication, it was embraced in many parts of the world and is still treated as gospel in some.

So what you are saying is that cultural insensitivity is part of the Russian culture and we need to be more sensitive to it, right?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

///I read your post to imply that somewehere there may be an XYZ tribe/group/clan that says "You can't write/photograph us without our permission."///

I have never taken a recognizable photograph of an Amish farmer for exactly that reason. It's not the law, but I prefer to respect their beliefs.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

How quick would I go broke if I offered a M&S burger to every boodler that catches my who/that problem? I'm going to claim some sort of neurological problem and get an IEP written for it.

btw, not that anybody asked, but my blood pressure is 118/70 and my prostate is as healthy as a clam. I just felt like oversharing.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1940290,00.html
and
http://www.thelocal.de/gallery/news/703/

Film "Black on White: A journey through Germany” of German man who re-did "Black Like Me."

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I've never been overly impressed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the United Nations Human Rights Council (or any of a number of similar bodies) when it comes to protecting free speech & expression. They both have laudable goals among their priorities, but the execution lends itself to manipulation by the perpetually umbragious.

C'est la vie.

Posted by: bobsewell | February 22, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ... not William Henry Gates

*just back from Costco myself and still waking up, apparently*

Good op-ed by Express-News editor Robert Rivard on Sunday about the Stack act of "politics of despair" in Austin, Rivard's op-ed starting off with the Tiger Woods press conference on Friday:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/columnists/robert_rivard/On_innocent_victims_and_politics_of_despair.html

Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

But yello, you can't tell me people don't write about the Amish all the time. They make movies about them. There are books about them. That you chose not to do so I would say borders on the absurd. But it is your right and privilege, just as I think it is my privilege to think that's nuts. Have they ever complained? Made a fuss?

I am saying that as a general rule, Russians don't live in anything close to the world of political correctness and hyper-sensitivty that we do. And that the two kids and their choreographer were much more likely to have made an insensitive mistake than, say, Dorothy Hammill or Brian Boitano would have, simply as a matter of culture and upbringing.

But then, I'd have said a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader should have known better, too -- but I'd have been dead wrong. So there's that.

Perhaps if you polled a fair sampling of Australians, maybe a large majority would agree with the umbrage. And I bet if you polled an equal sample of Russians -- even college-educated Russians -- and asked them if what those skaters did was wrong, they'd have no effing idea what you were talking about or what was wrong with that performance. And they'd have no idea what the fuss was about. (Notwithstanding the otherwise understandable thing about defending their countrymen, which is irrelevant). I'll bet the Russians are clueless about this thing. They know they seemed to have goofed, but they don't know why. Not on their radar. That's my guess.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 22, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I am not entranced by the thought of a clam-vs.-prostate comparison.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The Harry Potter attraction at Orlando's Universal Studios opens on Memorial Day. Epic traffic jams on adjoining I-4?

I just received some online references for making trees and houses wind resistant. Hurricane season looms.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 22, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

dmd, the links in my post way above are to ice dancers (one is Torvill and Dean in 1982)using Summertime - but not dressed in some freakish interpretation of African-Americans. I found the Gordeeva and Grinkov clip too - it was for an ice show.

When the German pair used Schindler's List music, they did not dress as Nazis or concentration camp prisoners.

Ice dancers are supposed to pick music and costumes that relate to the proscribed requirements - which change over the years - not sure how much the penalty would be for not adhering to that. Would be interesting to see what the judges thought, if that's scored separately.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall that there is some prohibition against doing the obvious thing and commissioning a composer to write a purpose-written piece of music instead of disemboweling a great work with an horrific arrangement to fit the requirements of a short program that has to hit certain points at certain prescribed times. Is that true?

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Alas, my phrasing is far from a Googlenope:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=YQh&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=%22healthy+as+a+clam%22&aq=f&aqi=&oq=

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I always knew of clams as joyful little molluscs -- gladsome, gay -- happy, even -- but I had not previously heard of them as exemplars of good health. Still, if you don't have your health, what do you have? Perhaps that explains their high spirits.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 22, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think YJ's point was he doesn't photograph the Amish. I live near a fair amount of Amish and Mennonite. They don't like being photographed, and they do complain. Of course, I don't like being photographed either, and that has been respected too. I think it's about knowing or being told in advance that something is offensive, and then not going far (or far enough) to accomodate that. And FWIW, I know your heart isn't made of stone, but is much closer to a Jet Puff product than some might think.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 22, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

In occurrences not entirely dissimilar from Umbrage on the Ice, there has been significant recent controversy over about sports teams performing a Maori haka (my understanding is that haka can be any one of a number of different dances, but these were usually "war" dances) prior to the beginning of a contest.

The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team have done an tribally-approved haka for more than a century, and it's considered a cornerstone element of New Zealand rugby tradition, if not New Zealand tradition. More recently, BYU and Hawaii (as well as several US high school football teams) have begun doing some form of haka or other Polynesian dance.

In each instance (except for the All Blacks) it has been fairly controversial. Ultimately, they all seem to have been accepted based on the fact that players of Polynesian (and specifically Maori or Tongan) descent have lead the dances. As far as I know, however, no argument of Intellectual Property was made, just questions about respect of culture and traditions.

Posted by: Awal | February 22, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there's a rule against using original music. Not sure that many people have done that, because of the cost. Also, one reason for using familiar music is to draw the audience (and the judges) in.

wikipedia has a good section on figure skating rules. I can't seem to find anything official. Usually when I get bitten by a virus is when I go off searching for this stuff. The official sites seem to have nothing useful.

Article from gawker on the controversy:
http://gawker.com/5471767/and-the-gold-medal-for-most-racially-insensitive-figure-skating-routine-goes-to

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing happened today at Costco. Just as I was winding up my shopping, the power went out. Most of the lights went out, except for a few in the middle portion of the huge warehouse store.

The store handled it beautifully. They didn't keep anyone from continuing to shop, but they did close the entrance to keep new shoppers from entering. And the cash registers? Worked beautifully. In the dark.

It was amazingly smooth operation. No one in the store seemed upset; they knew what to do and how to handle it.

Don't worry... I got toilet paper and paper plates for the bunker; even got some hot coffee cups with lids for the times when we make the coffee but need to run out right away. Also picked up some frozen shrimp and fish and a bunker copy of TurboTax Deluxe.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

And another gawker article:
http://gawker.com/5476940/more-adventures-in-olympic-racial-drag?skyline=true&s=i

Here's the wiki page on ice dance rules:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_dancing
It has a great pic of Belbin and Agosto doing their full cowboy.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,
You deliberately misinterpret my 5:16 p.m. post. Of course people write about the Amish all the time. People portray them in movies as well. There is even a thriving market for soft-core romance novels about them.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125244227154093575.html

People also take their pictures of them against their wishes. It's a free country. That doesn't mean it doesn't annoy the Amish and show disrespect for their beliefs.

http://www.padutchcountry.com/Presentation/ConsumerPage?PageID=1115

But people are allowed to be as boorish and insensitive as they want to be. I've never considered ignorance of native cultures or customs as a legitimate excuse for Ugly {Nationality}ism any more than ignorance of the law is for tax evasion.

As for the rest of your 5:30 p.m., I will refer to the last paragraph of my 5:12 and leave it at that.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

But I do think that it brings up a question (posed by Mudge above) about what is the threshold for umbrage and concern.

The majority of Maoris seem to be ok with the performance of the dance by these varied sports teams. Yet there are likely some individuals who are not okay with it.

How about closer to home? The Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop has been derided as "insensitive", yet there are definitely Native groups who have given it the "stamp of approval", or at least inoffensiveness. Florida State has gotten a reprieve from the NCAA's newish bylaw banning native mascots since some Seminole tribe members have gone on record as saying the mascot, dress and rituals performed in Tallahassee aren't offensive to them.

What about the reductio ad absurdum; I'm sure there are Native Americans who would say that the Redskins mascot is not offensive to them. Should we give their opinion any weight?

These kind of issues are always interesting to me since there seems to be some quantitative point (in terms of percentage of opposition) where people come to some agreement.

Posted by: Awal | February 22, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

seasea,
Some of the comments on those Gawker articles are really funny, if not particularly sensitive or politically correct.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | February 22, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

TBG,
I used to work with an engineer WHO (caught myself) had worked for Giant. He once said that if anything has got to work in the store, it has to be the cash registers.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

A word to the wise, "abo" is now regarded as an offensive term. I saw someone called out on Usenet on this many years ago and just confirmed it from Wikipedia.

Posted by: woofin | February 22, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Women's curling now on CNBC (102; 602HD on Fios)

Posted by: -TBG- | February 22, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, woofin. Mea culpa -- but I didn't know. I've seen it a hundred times in books, but never got the memo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Ok - I've seen the youtube (pre-olympic) performance. I'm not exactly shivering with revulsion. I think it would have played out fine if they tagged it as modern dance inspired from unnamed tribal dances. Unfortunately in order to meet their competition requirements they're stuck with claiming it is a 'folk dance' and they have to hang it on some culture.

Mudge, I would argue the aborigines are unusual (special?) in the sense that it is an endangered culture. Modern pressures aside, many native cultures were actively supressed. I know here many natives were rounded up as kids and packed up to government schools where they tried to 'educate' and/or beat the nativeness out of them (this is not hyperbole). I haven't researched Aussie history but I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar (seem to have heard rumours along this line). Many of the surviving aboriginal peoples in the world have gone through this and are sensitive to distortions of what is left to them. It's not a legalistic point to them. They have a persecution complex, yes, but that's because they were, and in some cases still are, persecuted.

That being said, I suspect they simply find it looks stupid and would prefer to not be associated with it. Let's face it, we would never see a press release that said 'although the performance is both artistically stunning and culturally accurate we object to the usurpation of our cultural heritage'.

I would give the Russian's the benefit of the doubt. I don't think they were trying to offend, just looking for something original to do. As to their country's supposed lack of cultural sensitivity, I think it is fairly common in any group that is culturally or racially monolithic. This is still the case of most of the world outside some urban areas. There's a level of ignorance that gets unfairly tagged as racism, far from the much more dangerous hatred, but still gives offence. I guess I have to agree with Mudge on the average Russian's probable reaction.

Posted by: qgaliana | February 22, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I worked as a supermarket cashier in high school. We had old style cash registers into which we keyed each item's price by hand, using a touch system like typing. We lost power one day and they called all the grocery stockers up and gave them hand cranks which they had to crank as we keyed each item. Our actions had to be coordinated exactly and it was tedious but sort of fun. Luckily I think the power came back within half an hour.

Interesting debate this afternoon. I love being part of this group who know how to disagree with grace and class!

Posted by: badsneakers | February 22, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, LiT. And the weird truth is, until yello mentioned it a while ago, I had no idea the Amish had any such notions about being photographed.

I am aware that many Native Americans back in the 19th century held the notion that being photographed "robbed their souls," and such. The problem (for me anyway, I don't know about anyone else) is when to regard someone's notion with respect, versus when to simply ignore it as patent nonsense. For instance, it is absurd nonsense that photographing someone robs their soul. But what do you do about that idea? Respect it anyway, even if it is gibberish?

Further, what "hat" is the photographer wearing at the time? If I am wearing my newspaper reporter hat, I am damn well going to take whoever's photo I damn well want to, as long as it is a legitimate news story and part of my job. (You know how long I would be employed if I went back to my editor and told him/her that Mr. Bernie Madoff, during his perp walk, asked me not to take his picture and to respect his privacy, so I didn't? 30 seconds? 15? 5?)

On the other hand, there is also a kind of rule that you don't anyone's photo without their permission, at random. So I tend to also respect this rule (I suspect a lot more than many people do) -- but without regard to their religious beliefs, whether Amish or Episcopalian or Navaho. I just don't run around taking people's pictures for no reason. And no, I hate having my own picture taken, as do many other people. So yes, I believe I am quite sensitive to that particular thing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

You may be over-analyzing it all. I doubt anyone likes being photographed like a zoo critter for tourists.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, FWIW, I think I may have brought the word 'caricature' into the conversation this afternoon. Anyone who feels the need to assign blame to me can certainly do so.

I'm sure that nearly anything I say or do would be offensive to someone somewhere, I just try to put myself in someone else's shoes as best I can, and see how they fit. I think I may have watched about one episode of the Sopranos and that's it. All I needed or wanted to see.

And yello, I'm pretty sure I tossed up "Spartacus on Ice" last Friday during the costume and Alternative Olympic event discussion.

I'm sure that plenty of people in this world think that Joseph Stack is a hero, and find his senseless, horrible, destructive, murderous actions inspirational. As I'd suggested some time back, there may be more in common between the Teabag movement and al Quaida than we'd like to believe.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | February 22, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Sean Penn. Nuff said.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Do you have grandchildren, jumper? Five of my ten are part ham.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Not yet. Your statistics are similar to my younger relatives though.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmm... ham.

Wait - what were we talking about?

Posted by: engelmann | February 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Hospitalized today: Bob Dole for pneumonia, Dick Cheney for chest pains.

Posted by: laloomis | February 22, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog's a camera hog, but he'd get irked if too many people pointed cameras at him at once like paparazzi.

I think the Amish just are ticked off that they get photographed for profit.
A lot of photographers take pictures of them and then sell the pictures to tourists. Even I find that exploitive, because it's all about the freak show, rather than like "This is a picture of XXX, who does YYY," unlike news photography.
I've been photographed while out and about with Wilbrodog, not often. Sometimes I have mixed feelings about it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 22, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, the issue for Amish and photography is Exodus 20:4, graven images.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 22, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

http://www.amishnews.com/amisharticles/amishand%20photos.htm

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 22, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,
If you had read my link (and I know people have good reason not to given my reputation) you would have read that the Amish objection is related to the issue of worshiping graven images. As such, I find it theological defensible given their overall ethos.

On the other hand, I find the Islamic prohibition against representational art of any sort overly restrictive. And I find their insistence that representations of Mohammad even by non-Muslims objectionable to the point of meriting death rather extreme. In a milder way, I find the Jewish rules against spelling the name Y-hw-h just silly, but it doesn't affect me in any meaningful way. So even I have my culturally acquired pre-conceptions.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful music this evening in Ice Dance. Lovely costumes tonight.

The young Canadians did very well.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 22, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Your links indicated what I saw as two different things; Amish decision to not use photography in their own lives, and the tourist annoyance issue somewhat separate although related. I only worked in Amish country three months, on Amish land with friendly talkative landowners, and eating in the local Amish restaurant. Most Amish don't care what I do as far as overcomplicating my own life; they just have decided not to overcomplicate their own. The lifestyle is very different but the mindset not very cryptic. Most folks I met are well educated; lots of non-fiction fans.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 22, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Flowers, geometry and buildings can be represented in Islamic art. Muslims are actually using the same verse in Exodus to justify their beliefs.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 22, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Ah, there, now, you see? I find this intellectually very exciting. We pushed and pulled and prodded and noddled all around this question, and finally with Wilbrod's link we come upon a very full and (to me) interesting) explanation as well as exposition of the Amish and their mindset regarding photography, which turns out to be somewhat richer and more complex than we knew.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

We were watching the Canada Sweden womens hockey but have switched to mens arials, amazing what they can do. Will switch to the skating later.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

The Amish don't seem to be like to be photographed and it's a cultural thing whatever the explicit reason. On the other hand, plenty of people love posing for pictures when approached respectfully. Take for instance this one:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/731781041/in/set-72157600671767236/

I take a lot of candid photos and don't always ask permission. Commercially they are worthless without a signed model release, but I don't sell my pictures so that is not an issue. I do find that I get better results if I do ask first. My epiphany on that point was when I was doing my Paparazzi On Broadway thing and was following Julianna Margulies as she walked through Shuster Alley with a friend. She noticed me playing with my camera and asked if I wanted a picture of her. I sheepishly nodded and she posed for this delightful picture that was far better than anything else I could have taken.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/731781041/in/set-72157600671767236/

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I am Spartacus On Ice!

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that visual yello :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say I despise all those stereotypes about us Italian types. Except, of course, when they come in useful.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

This couple is skating to Bohemian Rhapsody. And I know 20 million people are crying out for Freddie Mercury.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Okay, the ice-dancing tonight is not nearly as stupid as last night. Occasionally lovely and very elegant. Although side-by-side "twizzles" done to Bohemian Rhapsody takes some getting used to.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 22, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, your links go to the same pic. Or are you being playfully ironic again?

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

And the good costume trend ends with a jolt, bedazzled.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

An 80's look oh my.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Earlier while watching womens curling, my wife was amused by my sudden fascination with the sport. I tried to explain that since most of the participants come from Nordic countries they tend to be tall and blonde. She raised an eyebrow and said "Unlike your wife?" I tried to backpedal but sometimes when you are in a hole you just have to quit digging.

Later when they had moved onto the 'bonus' match, they were commenting that one of the competitors was pregnant. I rhetorically asked "What other sport can you compete in while five months pregnant?" She replied, "Not pole vaulting." I don't think people realize how funny she is.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed NBC is not showing this couple with the 80's garb, her outfit is some sort of tank pink bra combo, with a glitter cat on the front of the t. He has glitter patches on his jeans.

Consider yourselves lucky.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. Cut and paste Fail. Julianna:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellojkt/3397624282/in/set-72157614967019978/

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

We're watching the Skiing Aerials. You know, where step one is to ski straight up into the air.

Insane people. We are watching insane people.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 22, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

That's a great picture! And cool to know she was nice enough to pose for you. I like her new series a lot.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

We were watching a bio on one of the Canadian aerialist earlier, eldest commented how crazy it was what they did, what she didn't know was that they were showing the summer training where they jump into water. When I explained that the actual event is landed on snow she just said - Wow that is nuts.

I am always nervous watching that event, don't want to see a big mistake.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

This last Chinese guy will find snow in his underpants. Very nice faceplant, a good 8.5-9.0.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 22, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Her new show is very good with a great supporting cast. I watched a few episodes but it couldn't overcome my general ambivalence over judicial procedurals.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Good photos, and glad to see that Washington Post's contingent of radical Dutch astronomers is humming along with its ordinary extraordinary comity.

You know, you can virtually ride the entire trans-Siberian railway here:

http://www.google.ru/intl/ru/landing/transsib/en.html

hat tip to the NY Times.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 22, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Phantom...On Ice!

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

That was really good. And they looked beautiful and tasteful.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Phantom of the Opera--The Music of the Night. And I like their pacing, faster than the music. Lots of energy. Davis and White!! Wow! They left it all on the ice.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite Jack Bruce songs is Escape to the Royal Wood (On Ice) - from Harmony Row:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esmfWj8uXg0

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Godfather...On Ice!

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

i am biased but Virtue and Moir were a privaledge to watch. What a competition.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Well! The Canadians got 110 points, now in first place! Virtue and Moir looking like they'll get the gold.

I like Felben's dress. They're doing Ave Maria and Amen.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | February 22, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Neil Diamond...On Ice!

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

The Canuckis *were* breath-taking.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Hoping for a North American sweep.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 22, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Cirque De Soleil...On Ice!

Posted by: yellojkt | February 22, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

How late is this going to go? I'm a night owl and I find this so unacceptable.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 22, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

music for the break.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVEdYYMlOJ4

Posted by: -jack- | February 22, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

The latest Achenscience story is up and will presumably be tomorrow's Kit.

I wonder about Beijing being the only million-person city in 1800. Edo (present-day Tokyo) was probably at least 1 million in 1700, but may have slipped in size as the economic burden of requiring feudal lords (daimyo) to live part-time in the Shogun's city led to smaller retinues and less showy life styles. "A concise history of world population" by Massimo Livi Bacci calls Edo the world's largest city in 1800 (via Google Books). A population of 1 million is reported in "Edo's Importance in the Changing Tokugawa Society" by Gilbert Rozman, Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1974), pp. 91-112 (first page via JSTOR).

Edo suffered population bust in the mid 19th century when the Tokugawa Shogunate fell, so Tokyo is in many ways a new city that occupies the site of the old. Wikipedia's entry for Edo has a stunning photo panorama of the city circa 1865, by Felice Beato.

"The population history of England, 1541-1871: a reconstruction" by Edward Anthony Wrigley, Roger Schofield, and R. S. Schofield gives London's population in 1811 as 1,009,546 (page 66). The British seem to like to think it was the world's largest city at the time.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

As for earthquakes, I wonder about the pace of infrastructure reinforcement in the US. California seems to be rotting away before our eyes. I admire Portland, Oregon for earthquaking public structures, including the historic brick firehouse in my neighborhood that had been turned into a music center.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Could someone at the Post follow Ezra Klein around for a day and report how he manages to do so much? If Krugman deserves 10,000 words, Klein merits 1,000.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 23, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

London's population in 1800 was pushing a million. Not bad considering the much smaller population of Europe with respect to Asia.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2010 5:22 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all, hi Cassandra! Temps in the middle 40's this morning, I'm getting spoiled and will be most unhappy when it gets winter cold again.

Geekdottir called last night with happy news: her SO has been accepted into a doctoral program. If he ends up entering this particular one, at the university where he's earning his master's in May, she's going to insist on moving to an apartment with a dishwasher.

Breakfast egg/cheese/ham croissants on the ready room table this morning. My thanks to TBG for her run to Costco yesterday. It's good to have the bunker adequately stocked for all contingencies.

Posted by: slyness | February 23, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Once you start up that ladder of indoor appliances, you can never stop. From dishwasher it goes to washer/dryer combo then disposal, cumulating at an in-door ice dispenser.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

As far as earthquakes go, the 1755 Lisbon quake and tidal wave has to be the most significant natural disaster in history. It affected science, philosophy, and religion as well as eliminating Portugal as a major colonial power.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 23, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh... the in-door ice dispenser. When we moved into this house, the fridge had one. I used to kid my mom with, "Ewww... you have to touch your ice!" We can't live without it now.

Believe it or not, we have ants in the house! I'm waiting for the exterminator now. This is why we keep a contract going. Snow ants.

I'm sure I'm being Mudged at this point.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 23, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Yup! Mudged... New kit!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 23, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

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