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A go-nowhere existence

To stave off senescence, as well as the effects of old age, one should exercise one's brain in order to maintain its youthful suppleness and precocity. It is crucial to expose the brain to novel circumstances. This is why people in Washington are suddenly much smarter and mentally nimble because life as we used to know it has come to an end, and we now live in a place where a majority of traffic arteries are gridlocked from morning until night, and thus getting anywhere means diving down very narrow backstreets that are lined with jersey barriers made of ice.

All streets are now one car width across. Since they are technically two-way streets, driving anywhere means engaging in a novelty-intensive, motorized game that's a bit like playing Asteroids, except you're dodging oncoming cars instead of digital space rocks. You do lots of squeezing-by. You learn how far up the side of the snowbanks you can drive before your car flips. There are many hand motions to other drivers, and dipping and ducking and lurching. The dance is complicated by pedestrians who have abandoned any hope of driving and insist on walking in the street as if their parkas provide sufficient padding for any potential kinetic event involving a car.

This sharpens the mind. So, too, does the mental exercise of trying to conceive of a route through town using only back streets, alleys, sidewalks and, in emergencies, large storm sewers and water conduits. I carry a sewer map now in addition to the usual street map. Although fetid in the extreme, and dark, the sewers have the prepossessing quality of being free of snow and ice. Tooling along underneath Constitution Avenue in a brick-lined tunnel built shortly after the Civil War, I find myself singing road-trip songs such as "Love Shack" and pounding the dashboard as I keep the beat. It's fun! Alarming, too, when you see the rats the size of greyhounds, but at least you're getting somewhere.

This is a town in which everyone is in a hurry. The hardening of the arteries and the clogging of the back streets has turned viscous the basic social and professional intercourse. Everyone in town is squirming. You dread a social invitation. I'm supposed to be WHERE? Merely taking out the garbage through the icefield of the back yard requires the kind of pluck and courage not seen since Apollo 13.

We're all living a go-nowhere existence. It's increasingly like the 18th century. You live your entire life within a mile of your home. If this keeps up much longer I'll have to learn the names of my neighbors.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 16, 2010; 9:53 AM ET
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I've discovered that on the streets in my neighborhood where people usually park along each side, the huge snow mountains have kept them from parking on either, thus making the streets even wider.

But Joel's right about going nowhere: I've had to cancel my Ladies Bunko night on Friday because there is no parking in my neighborhood and my driveway is a narrow canyon; you could park in it, but you wouldn't be able to get out of your car.

And taking the trash to the curb has been an interesting experience... like those puzzles where you try to move the numbers around to put them in order:

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Mr. A, you have the grid. With the grid you can 'go places' without leaving home.

You can even learn the names of your neighbors.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

At least the rats are only the size of greyhounds, and not Greyhound Buses, which would be quite distressing.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 16, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of going nowhere, my commute from College Park to Bethesda took nearly 2.5 hours this morning. I was not even on the Beltway. I take MetroBus.

I am still frazzled.

I shall take the train home this evening.

Posted by: Moose13 | February 16, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Asteroids? Ummm, JA, your age is showing. Next thing you know, you'll be referring to something called tin foil. That, and talking about how in your day you had to walk two miles to school, uphill both ways, in snow up to here, while sharing a pair of shoes with your brother.

Note: when playing Asteroids, you can shoot the oncoming blob.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh great. You had to spill the beans about what, up to now, I have considered my own Tubeways.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 16, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The tenderloin of the greyhound-sized sewer rat is a rare delicacy, indeed. Seared, then buried under a pile of salt to be baked for 25 minutes at 400degrees. Served with a shallot/soy reduction, it is simply to die for.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | February 16, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

What seems to be the district's strategy to get rid of the snow, bring April 6 weeks forward?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Mounties in full dress carrying signs to organize the curling crown.

The US jerseys look like soccer unis but with more give. ...the Germans are wearing white polos with Deutsche flag shoulders..and princess seams to give fit to the polo -- a bit of an effeminate touch...players are miked...both skips sport baseball caps...lots of who how, ayeps..etc. Special chirps or curling...and international language...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 16, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately when I go to DC I am usually swimming against traffic. Friday it took me the usual 75 minutes from my house to the Union Station area while outbound traffic resembled Calcutta at rush hour.

I just drive around DC by dead reckoning and relying on routes that have worked in the past. If I can stumble onto Connecticut or New York, I am home free.

This weekend I thought I was golden because I was on 17th right at K only to find Connecticut filled with front end loaders and dump trucks. I eventually hit Dupont Circle from Mass Ave but it took some doing.

Since left hand turns are impossible in downtown, I have a new trick too go to BPHs. I find myself on K Street heading west, drive past M&S and then do a U-turn into the access road right around 20th. Works like a charm and hardly anybody ever honks at me.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.


***fending off attack from R.O.U.S.***

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The road to my office (which has an MVA emissions station on it, so it's no backwater) has only the inbound side of the road cleared, so every evening there are some games of chicken getting out of the office park.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Up until Sunday our neighborhood was much as Joel describes. There was a single lane of plowed street. Everyone engaged in a form of vehicular Chicken. You know, traffic control through intimidation.

The rule seemed to be that the car closest to a cleared driveway would pull in to let the other person pass. Unless, of course, you were in a pickup truck and then the limited turning radius, evidently, precluded you from yielding to anyone.

On Sunday we finally got some serious snowplows in the development. You know, the ones that are occasionally confused with prehistoric carnivores. Now, these gentleman did a bang up job of opening the roads, but in doing so they covered many painstakingly-cleared sidewalks.

I was out walking my dog and abruptly encountered a four foot wall of some snow-like substance the consistency of metaphoric rock. The dog was not pleased.

As a result, now I need to occasionally walk on the street, which makes me wonder if all that plowing really had a net increase in public safety. Especially given those pickups.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

he's a real nowhere man...

doesn't have a point of view,
knows not where he's going to...

isn't he a bit like you and me?

nowhere man, please listen
you don't know what you're missing

the world is at your command...

--lennon and mccartney

Posted by: butlerguy | February 16, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm fortunate in that I need not go into the city proper to get to work. So my commute was pretty good. Except, of course, for that "getting out of bed" business. That will still take a while to get used to.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I did my part for mental flexibility this morning. There are two ways out of my neighborhood, but the way I usually go now consists of 10-inch ice craters.

The dog walk has been reduced to an up-and-back on the two streets with (mostly) cleared sidewalks.

The funniest sight was the car whose owner has yet to shovel it out, but was apparently afraid that the plows would think it was a snowbank that needed removal. The creative solution? An orange traffic cone on the car's roof.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

RD, you're working today? I thought about it, but Fat Tuesday got in the way. Cheers.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

They looked at me funny when I came to work in my Carnival parade costume.

It's cold, too.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Yep. I'm in. You think snow piles up? The pile of work is almost as scary. I'm thinking of putting one of those orange cones on my head should it collapse on me. That way they can dig me out.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, enough beads already!

Ok, ok, here you go, big guy...


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

A question for the Canadian boodlers watching the Olys. Someone commenting on Shales' column (about how he luvs what NBC is doing with the Games) wants to know if the Canadian Olys broadcast is in hi-def.

This particular commenter, like most who are responding to Shales' piece, is less than thrilled with the job NBC is doing.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Ow!!! My eyes!!!

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Far as I'm concerned, every freakin' Tuesday is Fat Tuesday.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow, am I out of it. It didn't sink in that today was Shrove Tuesday. Now I've got to figure out where to snag some Fasnachts!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Throughout high school, I thought something similar about Wedesdays.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'll let dmd answer that one. My 1998-era 24" electron gun isn't HD, of course, and the tuner in the computer hooked to the HD monitor doesn't do HD.
I know, I need to do something about it. On the other hand, Norwegian curlers in HD could send me in cardiac arrest. That or Larry King without make-up.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

scc: Wednesdays.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

How many different movies in the past have featured sewer scenes? Why am I reminded, in your words, Joel, of a scene from Dan Brown's book, "The Lost Symbol--not an auto, but being moved along by conveyor belt under Washington, D.C.?

As for rats the size of greyhounds, you have undoubtedly tripped upon, or driven past, the (extinct? and mentioned in Dennis McCarthy's "Here be Dragons") Ratzilla (used by me before to describe Mr. Ratzinger).

So, you know the backroads intimately because of snow. I know them here regardless of weather--mostly sunshine--because of tremendous gridlock, particularly the Loop 1604 and Highway 281 interchange. Took me a while to learn to navigate them (and a streetmap or two are permanent fixtures in my glove compartment), and now, for me, some of these streets are as good as gold.

Lucky for NYT's Tom Friedman, it's the shortest of hops from the airport to his speaking destination at Trinity University tonight. Char Miller didn't hang around town after his presentation Sunday night at the Holt Center, I was told by an organizer. (Since Miller had made a gratuitous remark about the Spurs before launching into his talk about Western waters, I'm wondering if the Holt Center, about a block from the Trinity Campus, is the old family home of Spurs owner Peter Holt? A strong perhaps, and the subject of caterpillars must be introduced.)

I wonder if Friedman will spend any time here whatsoever, to get a real flavor of this place, environmental or otherwise? Traffic-wise? His hot, flat, crowded book mentions water in a number of places. How often will Friedman mention the subject of water tonight?

Posted by: laloomis | February 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Out west, Pennsylvania Dutch fasnachts have morphed into spudnuts and are available year 'round in certain areas.

Good luck in your search, RD.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

There should be a sizeable market for metallic hats that block radiation from cell phones and other devices. And all those radio waves contaminating the environment.

Not to mention those impact beanies, impact jackets, knee protectors, and whatnot. Iceproof your body.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Tut went nowhere, dying at age 19. It looks like malaria was the final culprit. Scientists discover he had a generously endowed "peanut," too.

Posted by: laloomis | February 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

great kit, as per usual.

... "increasingly like the 18th century."

your comment puts me in mind of an excellent book I am just finishing... Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before. Tony Horwitz' description of confined communities along the shores of Alaska where Cook last visited. It gives the reader an appreciation, as does your kit, of how our environment can curtail our lives so dramatically.

Posted by: MissToronto | February 16, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Q: "How many different movies in the past have featured sewer scenes?"

A: 203. (Source: )

Some samples:

The Third Man
The Fugitive
Sherlock Holmes (2009 Robert Downey version)
Life of Brian
Mystic River
Les Miserables
Phantom of the Opera
Sweeny Todd
Flushed Away
Numerous Teenage Nija Turtle flicks
Several Batmans (Batmen?)
The Blob
Ghostbusters II
Alligator and Alligator II

And numerous TV shows.

I'm not sure about a scene in Slumdog Millionaire.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

We were going to Brassarie Beck on Friday night for my birthday. We left the house a little after 5:30 for a 7:00 reservation. We finally arrived at 7:45. Fortunately, we called a couple of times to make sure they held the reservation, which they were kind enough to do. But downtown, from about 16th and U in, was an absolute disaster in both directions. And a guy who works for me left Rockville at 5 p.m. and didn't get to downtown Silver Spring until 2 1/2 hours later!

Posted by: ebtnut | February 16, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking how many featured asteroids.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Hello boodle! I'm having one of those days where there are lots of errands to be done, but all among people I know, and many who not only know me but the frostrents as well. Everything moves slower this way. If you want to pick up your mail without talking fishing, weather, hunting or the state of the tourist economy with the postmaster then go when she's at lunch.

Sunny and, be still my heart, 40F in the sun of the front porch-30 elsewhere. Snow melts fast in weather like this. Really, it does.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse


Perhaps "The Betsy Ross Story" is on that list?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

King Tut: 8

Peanuts: 72

King Tut's peanut: 0

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Okay, 204.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse


Just off the top of my head:

The Empire Strikes Back
Deep Impact
Titan A.E.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

And how could I have overlooked Dark Star?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure there were some in at least one Star Trek movie, and er, maybe the The Black Hole.

And on that note, yello, I think I know what you're thinking. Please don't -- this is a family Blog.


I used to be pretty good at Asteroids and Missile Command, FWIW.


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

One of my personal favorite sewer scenes-

"Phantoms," quite possibly the worst movie Peter O'Toole ever made, (and the worst movie Ben Affleck has made [so far]) ends in a sewer scene appropriately.

Best foreign sewer monster-

The third Indiana Jones movie had a sewer scene set in Venice, which always struck me as a little strange.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Er, does Meteor count?


Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Something I brought up about a week ago, and should have followed up on today.

For some of us, those aren't jersey walls made of snow and ice, they're berms for caroming off of like a motocross bike or a hockey puck.

When I was a teenager, we used to ride dirt bikes in the snow, too. None of those 3- or 4- wheeled ATVs either, real two-wheel motorcycles. That was *way* too much fun - big flat-track pitch-the-tail-out-on-the-throttle-heel-the-bike over and-use-your-inside-foot-like-a-speedway-dirt-racer turns, with 20 ft. roostertails of snow. What a hoot. Until we accidentally knocked down the 6 ft. wood fence in the back yard. Well, a bc-sized-and-shaped section of it, Wile E. Coyote-style, anyway.

Oops. I swear, the throttle froze open.



Posted by: -bc- | February 16, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I've tried to send that flick down the memory hole. It's bad by Maximilian Schell movie standards.

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

Die Hard 3?

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you left Finding Nemo off the list of movies with sewer scenes.

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Die Hard 3 was in utility tunnels (supposedly at Dulles Airport) not really sewers which must be by definition either storm or sanitary. The logical lapses in that movie defy enumeration and beggar description.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The middle film of Andrzej Wajda's WWII "trilogy," "Kanal," is set mostly in the sewers of Warsaw. A very intense movie.

The other two are "Ashes and Diamonds" and "A Generation," and I heartily recommend all three as an antidote to Hollywood style war movies.

Posted by: rashomon | February 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Die Hard 3's MacGuffin was a water main being dug from the Catskills to Manhattan. So not a sewer pipe, but an underground aqueduct.

Die Hard 2 was set at Dulles but the PacBell phones are visible all around the place.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from lunch, and I must say the predominant subject of the moment is not helping my digestive system.

I was going to do another installment of "What's Baking at the Olys" but I'll come back once the sewer movies topic has run its course.

Please carry on.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

And Die Hard 3 was a Ken Burns documentary compared to Die Harder 4: Yet Again. I'm still looking for that four level corkscrew on-ramp on the Baltimore beltway.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

You're right, yello, I was thinking of DH2. I myself was particularly taken with the Metro DC Police providing security at Dulles.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Not often I get to correct kguy about movies. But I'm frightened by how much I know about the oeuvre of Bruce Willis.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked! Marion Barry has been implicated in wrongdoing.

So many of the city's most serious wounds are self inflicted.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"He Walked by Night," a noir with Richard Basehart as a killer being hunted through the LA sewers. One of the first movies to use the pseudo-documentary style that became familiar in "Dragnet," and about a thousand Fox detective movies in the '50s.

Posted by: rashomon | February 16, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

But who set him up?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The Italian Job (original Michael McCain version) had Minis driving furiously through a huge drain pipe. The stunt drivers evidently ruined several cars by trying to drive (briefly) upside down. I think the Wahlberg version had something similar.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

That was a very young pre "La Strada" Basehart IIRC. It would take almost as long to recall all the flix that have scenes in the dry channel of the LA river.

Terminator II
The Italian Job remake
Repo Man
To Live and Die in LA

and many more obscure cop flix

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Italian Job remake was in the LA subway. Who knew they had one?

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Even "Point Break", the Keanu Reeves movie portraying its star as a midwestern football type who has to learn surfing for his new job as an FBI agent, made use of the Los Angeles River. Prime example of a modest movie with an astounding after life on DVD and now even on Blu-ray.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Everybody who saw "Speed" knew that LA had a subway. The remake chase goes through the subway but ends up in the river channel.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I recall the Italian Job remake having the cars come out of a big sewer....

LA subway construction got shut down by populist bus ridership resented having their fares increased to pay for a luxury project. Or by lawyers purporting to represent such people. A new bit of transit tunnel opened recently. There's also been some amazing proposals for expressway tunnels that might rival the ones around Taipei.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"Point Break" was also directed by Katherine Bigelow of "Hurt Locker" fame.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I had forgotten that part. Your 3:37 list would be a great Netflix queue for a snowy weekend.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Point Break" was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, director of "The Hurt Locker," Dave.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Point Break got good reviews for its foot chases through houses and back yards (with hand-held camera), something that reappeared in one of the Bourne movies. Also the lawn mower scene. Gary Busey, who had played a surfer in "Big Wednesday", was an appropriate buddy for Reeves.

I didn't make the director connection. With luck, a few Oscars will put Hurt Locker back in the theaters.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: seasea1 | February 16, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

A *very* young Basehart, kguy. He's one of those actors, my impression of whom will always be based on their good-guy characters on '60s TV (Admiral Nelson on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"), so there's always a bit of cognitive dissonance in watching them in their early pictures where they mostly played heavies. Raymond Burr is a great example of that. And I always have trouble with "Double Indemnity," no matter how good it is, because Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray mean "The Big Valley" and "My Three Sons" to me. And all those Disney pictures in MacMurray's case.

Posted by: rashomon | February 16, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The sewer scene in "The Shawshank Redemption" isn't all that long, but it's memorable!

Posted by: bobsewell | February 16, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

rashomon, how come nearly episode of "VTTBOTS" included a dramatic scene in the reactor room?

Even as a young-un, I thought that was pretty stoopid. Couldn't say so out loud, as the BrosJS loved that show.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Although I liked "My Three Sons" very much, Kguy, I still always see MacMurry as Lt. Keefer, the "real" villain in "The Caine Mutiny," as well as the slimy "villain" Mr. Sheldrake in "The Apartment."

Incredible, incredible Fred MacMurray factoid: his very first movie was ...(wait for it)..."Girls Gone Wild." No, not THAT GGW. The 1929 version. He was also in "The Princess Comes Across" -- a title that probably couldn't be re-used today. Not in the same way, anyway.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 16, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe it's snowing here.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 16, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm just a little too young to remember the true awesomeness of those Irwin Allen shows like VTTBOTS (although the image of the sub dolphining out of the water is stuck in my psyche) and Land Of The Giants. Maybe they are on Hulu.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And all of Irwin Allen's sci-fi series got progressively stoopider as their ratings deteriorated, MsJS. It's like the writers got more desperate to retain the 10-year-old boy demographic as the adults in the audience jumped ship. In retrospect, I think you could always tell when the shows were doomed: nefarious aliens in silver jumpsuits would inevitably show up.

Posted by: rashomon | February 16, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I always thought it was sort of a shame that McMurray got stuck in all that shaggy dog son of flubber stuff. Perception is such a factor of age. To me he'll always be the tough talkin' investigator in "Double Indemnity". Here's a sample-

I think that Bruce Campbell must have been channelling Fred McM in his Ash portrayal in "Army of Darkness"-"Gimme some sugar, baby."

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The scene in Double Indemnity when McMurray is trying to kill time so he "bowls a few lines" and then goes to the drive-in restaurant for a beer is one of our all-time favorite movie scenes.

There he is sitting in his car at the drive-in with a glass of beer sitting on the little tray attached to his car window.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Irwin Allen died on November 2, 1991 in Santa Monica, CA.
Fred MacMurray died on November 5, 1991 in Santa Monica, CA.

Or so claims IMDb.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to speak heresy and say that Star Trek:TOS showed the same slope of writer fatigue only that it started off at a higher level. FSM only knows how awful a fourth season might have been.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Geez, now I know I am O-L-D. I can remember drive-in movies (in car heaters!) with their interminable campaigns against DST and drive-in restaurants with servers on roller skates and the little trays on the window. But some asked me my cell number today and I could not remember it to save my life. Just shoot me now.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 16, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Early episodes of "X Factor" tended to feature Duchovny jumping into sewage infested with monsters. It was hard to imagine an FBI agent of modest means ruining so many nice suits.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

kguy: Bang!

but in the nicest possible way

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Jean Valjean went through the Grand Égoût de Paris more than once, carrying Marius on his back, at the ripe age of 63. Pick your favourite version.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm just barely old enough to have hazy memories of Kolchak the night stalker wandering through sewers. Not sure if those are real...

Posted by: qgaliana | February 16, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Answering a question I saw when I was at work today.

Yes Canadian TV broadcasting in HD, on the main CTV, TSN and Rogers Sportsnet, maybe OMNI, there are also non HD channels available. Not sure about streaming as I haven't used it yet (just the results not live video).

Just home from work and watching the snowboard cross pretty vistas today - did it snow at Cypress.

Now to backboodle.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

No, no, don't shoot him now. Wait 'til you get home.

Posted by: rashomon | February 16, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, did you have to call Dr. K to get that information? I completely understand about memory loss!

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

That's ok, kguy, the warden will take you to your room.

The only Olympic coverage I could find so far today was hockey...

Posted by: seasea1 | February 16, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Great kit Joel, I am smirking, reminds me of last winter. My goal for the next two weeks is to be 1 mile from home, well actually not to be more than a few feet from the Olympic coverage :-).

Do not recall a sewer movie, but do remember the rat scene in El Norte, squirmed uncomfortably all through that - ugh.

Does flushed away count?

Another Canadian in the final of snowboard cross (female) beginning to like this sport.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Did someone already point to this? Sorry if I'm repeating... I was out of town and gave up on backboodling when I saw the 1,000+ comments...

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Gold!! Again - Women's Snowboard cross. :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Very cute, TBG!

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Just playing around with the live streams of the events, nice picture but can't tell if it is HD, and the choices, all events live - Sorry to rub it in, can see four different women's curling feeds right now.

Trying to decide what to stream figure skating or hockey, which to watch in HD

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

dmd: We deprived Americans will survive.


No need to pity us.

*sniffle sniffle*

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I lost all sympathy last night when I heard Bob Costas whine about having to move what they were going to show around due to the delays at facilities, on Canadian TV they just announced the different networks that would be showing alternate programming or programming switches due to the delays.

They do complain a lot on NBC, yes the events are unfortunate and some are very embarassing but all athletes must deal with it, and to be a champion you must be prepared to deal with the unexpected. Part of the training.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully you can at least see this page, if not the live video, there is also a live blog of the hockey game going on, plus other video. This is the selection we have, just online.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

All those olympic events and we are watching/listening...opera. No kidding.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Is it the sad opera about the city that held the winter olympics when summer broke out :-).

Canada in their home reds - love these sweaters, dmdspouse got the away version for his birthay.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

"Jacobellis Exits in Snowboard Cross Semifinal"
"Jacobellis crashes in Snowboard Cross Semifinal" "No snow cross for Jacobellis"

Wow. Reading the headlines only one would think she was owned something. It's a race. Most people lose it.

We had almost the same thing last night for speed skater Wotherspoon.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Young French figure skater, Amodio Florent just put forth a fantastic performance.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

A heartbreaking curling loss by the American women to the Japanese. I really love watching this sport.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe you all forgot a movie where asteroids provided a key plot device:

The Last Starfighter


Watched the U.S. women's hockey team practice their cycling against the Russians. At least they didn't try to match Canada's output against China.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 16, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Russians are a much better team, the Chinese played 16-18 year old girls here in town, they are good but not there yet. Think they beat our local team 6-1.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

That stupid Census commercial still doesn't make any sense and I've seen it so many times now.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

France seems to be having great games.

We just watched the last end of the Canadian curling team (won 5-4).

Madge and Edgar Syers, a married couple, were local London heroes back in 1908. Madge won the lady's single gold and the couple won bronze. Nice threads.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Aologize for this Canadian outfit.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Sidney Crosby just fired a bullet in the net for Canada's first goal, Norwegians holding thier own so far, early in the 2nd period.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Correction Iginla scored.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Slow footwork sequence by Plushenko.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm certainly no expert, but I thought the French kid looked the best.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree TBG, but Plushenko had more difficult jumps, but the footwork was sad, American announcers (one being Canadian Sandra Bezic) were kind giving due to the fame and not the performance.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I should say thought I am flipping channels so much I do not have a complete perspective.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

The Canucki was channeling Elvis Stojko.

Somebody needs to give Scott Hamilton a Xanax.

Get away from the fireplace and show some sports.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

For Dave, in case you didn't it on the right coast.

Posted by: bh72 | February 16, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Let me ask you all this important question--a source of much discussion in the G house: have Vikings always fought dragons? Really?

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I saw the women's biathalon pursuit this afternoon, pretty interesting. NBC actually showed just that event, no hopping from one thing to the next. Trying to remember who won, but failing.

Posted by: seasea1 | February 16, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Has Jackie Chan been on yet?

The Canadian hockey sweater is a darn shame. Sheesh. Like we don'tknow what a proper hockey jersey looks like.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

There's a Saturday morning cartoon about a girl and her dragon in a medieval village that this movie is a blatant rip-off of.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Patrick Chan?

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

NBc isn't even showing curling on the west coast. If the US isn't in metal contention, NBC doesn't show the event on the west coast.

MSNBC shows some streaming video but you have to change your browser to microsoft. Something this Mac used isn't going to allow on on his hard drive.

Posted by: bh72 | February 16, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Unlike the dragons of Eastern mythology, Norse dragons represent greed, evil, and destruction.

At least that's my understanding.

Sounds like a species to be avoided or fought, but that's just my view. It may be that some Norse were attracted to that sort of thing.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

A Gawker commenter wondered why Norse warriors have Scottish accents.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Knew I could Google it. It's Jane and the Dragon and its pretty cute.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I know there are dragons in Norse history, but I just don't think of Vikings fighting dragons. Putting them on their boats, yeah. But KNIGHTS fight dragons.

Oh well. That's a movie I won't be seeing anyway.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Witch no. 1 has been watching skating since she knew "Jackie" Chan will perform.

The Norse-speaking berserkers hockey players have been putting a good game on, just like the cheese-eating neutral monkeys did to the Americans this afternoon.

I'm warming up to the Norwegians.
On the other hand the shrimp stealing Greenlanders and Faroe Islanders, Danish colons all, I'm getting annoyed at them. 2700 tons of Northern shrimp is a lot od finger-licking goo stuff.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 16, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

2:20 today, I hear the bloodcurdling screams of my neighbor. She had compound fractures of both bones in the right forearm: one bone up and through, the other down and through. As she leaned out her second story window, poking at the huge ice dam, the dam and gutter gave way. Her arm was leaning perpendicular to the window sill. The arm took the impact. I would think the ice weighed about 50-60 lbs.

Just back from ER; she is staying for surgery with pins and plates. Stitches too, from the, let's be careful out there.

I am good in such emergencies. But, I am very queasy now...not so much boodling as I am going to lie down and contemplate my intact bones...and the little seepage spots on my walls...let 'em go, let 'em go...we shall repaint at leisure.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 16, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, CqP... so glad you were there to help! What an awful story. Please pass along Boodle mojo galore to your neighbor.

I called our roofer today (we got a new roof about 3 years ago) to ask about the huge ice dam along the front gutter of our house. He told me not to worry until I see water coming into the house.

He told me he could send a crew out to shovel the roof and remove the ice for, ahem... $485+ but I shouldn't spend any money until I see water coming in the house.

He said he sees this ice on roofs all over the area and that 95% of houses won't have any problems.

"Of course, I've seen about 10 houses I put a roof onto have a problem. But the other 3,000 houses I've done over the years don't have anything wrong."

I wonder how many roofers would have insisted they send their crew out to save me from "inevitable trouble." His honesty and integrity are why we hired him in the first place... and recommend him to friends.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 16, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

CP what a day for you, you always seem to be there when people are in need. You inspire.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

That is terrible about your neighbor. I broke my ankle on ice a few years ago, but a compound fracture would have me passed out.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

CqP, how fortunate for your neighbor you were there. Now it's time for you to take care of you.

Be safe, y'all.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Oooh what a horrible accident CP! I am glad you were there for support and comfort.

TBG - we have a pretty ugly accumulation of ice in the back of our house. Two stories up and massive icicles. Fortunately, no water in the house... yet.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 16, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

What is with the Jack Sparrow/Musketeers/Michael Jackson look tonight?

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thank God you were within earshot, CqP. Compound fractures are nasty things. I remember the lesson on them in EMT class. Ugly, ugly problems to have to deal with.

A friend noted the other day that her dad is taking B12 shots monthly to prevent falls. I didn't know that B12 deficiency was an issue in balance and falling, good thing I'm taking a B complex supplement. I think I'll keep it up.

Mr. T has the UNC/GT basketball game on. It's not looking good, so I'm going to bed.

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

There have been some frightful costumes haven't there - less is more people.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

slyness translation for yello: GT is up by 20 at the half.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Glove by men or women in figure skating should be a disqualification - so dislike that.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

ESPN360 will not let me play the GT-UNC game on my computer because of regional black-out. Looks like I have a major dilemma in a few minutes.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Patrick Chan is up next, he's the only reason I'm still awake. Very early morning for me tomorrow. Thursday I head to head to Tampa for some time with Mr. F. If I get enough accomplished between meetings and driving to St. Paul tomorrow I won't have to take any work with me!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC one of those head tos

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Not more gloves!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 16, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

And the Scottish Terrier wins Best in Show at Westminster!

yello: Still a 20-pt game with 4:52 left.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Weir got robbed.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

No he didn't Yello, little details missing, foot work could have been better and two footed a landing. I was hoping for deductions for the pink tassel. Sorry not a fan at all.

Posted by: dmd3 | February 16, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

GT by 17 over UNC.

I've always viewed figure skating judging as a subjective exercise.

Posted by: MsJS | February 16, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

A skeleton....which makes me ask: does the luge-like skeleton event ever use this as a uni?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | February 16, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I could make a small fortune this year selling "Honk If You Beat UNC" bumper stickers.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

French Sailor Boy was way geigher than Johnny Weir could ever be. Between him and the Italian Farmer I feel like I'm watching the audition for Village People on Ice.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

CP, I'd do the bloodcurdling scream, too. I was too busy going to a concert and prepping for tomorrow's trip to notice the UNC debacle.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 16, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

can't believe you guys didn't mention delicatessen as a sewer movie!! (great flick)

took me 2 hour 45 min on friday to get home (9.29 miles) and 1 hour 45 min to get TO work - fsm as my witness, i can't believe i'm saying this, but wisconsin ave (during rush hour) was the fastest way to get home today - just over 1 hour 30 min


Posted by: mortii | February 16, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

what's the drama behind weir? (who i think is adorable but i DO love my flamboyant boys) they keep talking about drama. i thought he looked elegant - i like his long thin thing going on.

Posted by: mortii | February 16, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

is it just me or does anyone else think plichenko (is that his name?) looks like a blonde steve perry from journey?

Posted by: mortii | February 16, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

*knock knock* am i the only one here?

Posted by: mortii | February 16, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Johnny is just a little too Obvious. He doesn't play the thinly veiled game. As one commenter at Gawker said, the guy with the velvet and royal purple had the straightest outfit out there. It's not exactly brimming with machismo on the ice.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

The Gawker crowd noted the Steve Perry resemblance as well. I don't see it. He looks more like a Die Hard/James Bond villain to me.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

i think that's what i like the most about him - he never said he was going to play the thinly veiled game... men's figure skating is not exactly the most machismo sport - yello... just saying... it's not hockey or luge... it's glittery costumes and sit spins...

Posted by: mortii | February 16, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Which is why I love it so much despite the self-hating homophobia, crooked judges, and annoying commentators. I need a Scott Hamilton mute button on my remote.

Good night.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Johnny Weir whips up drama if there is none. Right now PETA is after him for wearing fur on his costume. I thought Plushenko did well, but I was on the phone during his skate. Will have to go check the standings. The new judging takes some of the subjectivity out, but I think it's made the routines more boring...or I just feel like I've seen the same thing too many times. Plus I can't tell a quadruple from a triple, and it irritates me that women still can't do a triple axel.

Johnny Weir:

Dick Button on NPR:

Posted by: seasea1 | February 17, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Why why why is it always a toy who wins at Westminster? I have nothing against toys (as he said, every small dog thinks he is the equal of a big one, except Yorkies, who think they are better). Nonetheless, I would like to see a fine Lab or Bernese, from the sporting or working group, take BiS one of these days.

MEYE theory is that there aren't too many judges who can judge type in moving dogs. They much prefer little table-types.

Posted by: Yoki | February 17, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Well, yes, Mo. And male figure skaters have beautiful bums.

Only, you know, they don't care that we think so.

Posted by: Yoki | February 17, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. JA, nice kit, and the line where you describe the pedestrians walking in the street as if their parkas will save them from harm with an automobile, reminds me that here we say those folks act as if they have new "butts" at home or some form of that.

It's hard to find a trace of snow here, but the weather is indeed cold with all the sunshine. We know it's still winter although with all the sun one has the feeling it's warm outside. It's not.

Today is Wednesday, will try to do a little bit. We're are on the war path with a norovirus here. One from surrounding counties. I think that's what my daughter had over the weekend. She works in one of those counties.

I have two big boxes of Valentine candy, and I'm going to share one with the Bible study group if anyone shows up. They were on sale. Who can resist chocolates?

Mudge, Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, Lindaloo, and all the gang, have a great day. Hang in there, spring is on the way!

Slyness, public works doing stuff here in the county seat getting ready for spring. The cold weather gets us down sometimes. I sat on the porch for about ten minutes just to get some sunshine. It was wonderful. Time for the waterworks.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 17, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Because somebody suggested it:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

The raw scores on the men's short program just in case any quants can figure it out. As best I understand it, Pushenko's program was harder and Weir muffed on of his triple jumps.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

A Hank Stuever article about Weir from 2006:

And my blogpost about it:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, hi Cassandra! Good to see you up and around early in the morning.

I had to take Mr. T to work as he is going out of town this afternoon, which means a trip to the airport for me. I'll survive the discombobulating of my morning.

Since I didn't have a lot of time, oatmeal with all the fixings on the side, on the ready room table. Enjoy, folks!

Off for the walk.

Posted by: slyness | February 17, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Seasea, thanku thanku thanku! I was just on the verge of asking the Boodle if I was alone in being unable to tell how many spins figure skaters and high divers do. As far as I'm concerned, instead of calling them double axels, triple axels, quadruple axels, etc., they ought to just call the maneuvers something like "This is the part where he/she spins real fast and everyone pretends they know how many turns that was."

I have been watching Olympics now for something on the order of 50 years, and I'll be dammned if I can count how many times high divers turn when they do a "two-and-a-half in pike position." I have to assume it's two and a half, but hell it could be three and a half, for all I know. And the trouble with skating is the announcer sets you up and says stuff like, "Okay, now Ingemar is going to do the triple," and old Ingo launches himself up in the air and spins, and I'm thinking, way to go, Ingo, and the announcer says, now, he only did two, that's gonna cost him points." And I feel like a moron, because I've been able to count up to two ever since the Truman Administration.

I can spot the obvious faults and problems okay -- like when a skater falls down and shatters her elbow and has to be taken off the ice on a gurney. I can almost always tell when they fall down and get back up again, without assistance from Dick Button telling me that was a boo-boo.

Now, the ones I like are the sitz spins and stuff where they just spin like crazy and nobody's counting. They can go fast and then slow, and I don't need slo-mo instant replay, because it doesn't matter if it was 15 or 20 turns. I'm quite comfortable with 20 turns. It's 3 I can't handle.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | February 17, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Ooo! We're getting the first snow since December. Another hour or two of this and the grass will be covered.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 17, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link to the scoring, yello. Best as I can tell, they gave Plushenko the highest score in footwork. What? Yes, his jumps were great, but his footwork was slllooooooowwwww.

The DVR goes on tonight. My track record for staying awake for the whole competition isn't good.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 17, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Yoki, a big beautiful slobbering Newfie (the dog breed, not a St. John's resident) from the working group won the 2004 Westminster Show.

Recently the Sporting group has held prominence, with Sporting dogs winning 3 of the last 6 years.

There are 'ideal standards' for each breed, and it appears that it's easier to breed a near-ideal terrier or spaniel than a larger dog. Looking at the list of past winners, I'm amazed at how few large dogs win.

Posted by: MsJS | February 17, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes. Pushenko's footwork was the worst part of his routine. It looked slow, lazy and sloppy. That stuff always looks like the skater is trying to avoid a dog doody land mine or is stumbling drunkenly anyways.

The scoring shows that even this completely Byzantine allegedly more objective scoring system can be completely gamed to promote the favorites and punish the rebels.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Joel, you're right....we're not extending any social invitations until warm weather and green grass and camellias blooming, or at least that's how I see it just now. Who would want to come a cold country mile just to be sociable? We have great walkers but no sidewalks in the neighborhood, so everybody uses the street, we just don't have the shoulders to depend on for walking and parking sociable vehicles.

Interesting suggestion of the one mile living. I pretty much did that as a child, with family and friends living in small town atmosphere, close by. Elementary school, church, grocery store, drug store, hardware store, movie theatre, dentist and doctor within one to three miles.

Walking distance living.

It was a neighborhood within Norfolk. Downtown shopping district was a bit further away, we used the family car (Father had that for daytime work) or close by public bus stop. I think there was a neighborhood bar and restaurant or two, passed them on the way to the Saturday matinee and serials.

Not a bad way to live.

Posted by: VintageLady | February 17, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It's always nice when the Dawn Patrol lands at the Metro station to find a disabled train and a platform full of oh-so-cheerful commuters. *SIGHHHH*

Adapt, adopt and improve...

*no-TIME-to-lose Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 17, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

BroJS and I were talking about the Olys yesterday. He long ago gave up on judged sports like gymnastics in the summer and figure skating in the winter. Now he finds he no longer cares much about the speed sports, especially when the difference between first and tenth is, like, two seconds.

He'll watch and enjoy the thrill of the speed, but doesn't bother with 'winning' and 'losing'. To him they're all at the same level and the awarding of medals is unnecessary.

That leaves scoring sports, like hockey. He loves hockey.

As one who has had to adapt to a life largely lived within a mile of CasaJS, I can report it's possible to thrive and find wows close to home if you're willing to be open to the possibility of their existence.

Posted by: MsJS | February 17, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Hi, all! I haven't watched any Olympics, except vicariously through reading your comments. That's enough for me.

So, if we ate oily pesto and luscious crepes yesterday for Fat Tuesday, what are we supposed to eat today? I think maybe I'll make a big pot of vegetable soup, and maybe just corn bread from the box to go along with it.

Off to buy *another* set of new tires! It's like painting one room and then noticing how tired-looking the paint in the next room is. I replaced my tires, then noticed how measly the kids' car's tires looked. I'll ask for them to be checked, but I know I'll end up replacing them.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | February 17, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so is Stingo an unreliable narrator in "Sophie's Choice?"

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 17, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

MsJS, I have pondered that myself. As a kid, I lived within a walk of the grocery store, hardware store, toy store, gas station. They weren't always the ones we went to, but they were there. My mother used to complain about how far it was to the family doctor's office, a drive of 20 minutes or so. Now, a 20-minute drive is close by. My neighborhood is walkable (I do it most weekdays) but there's no shopping within a walk.

This is one reason I like the new urban planning. For my next home, I want to be where I can walk to everything I need, which means a move towards the center of the city.

Posted by: slyness | February 17, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, I guess life is more or less getting back to normal, though the traffic going home last night was still miserable, for no good reason that I could see. Probably time to see if the Miata will start; its been cowering under the carport for almost 2 weeks now. I can almost see the Volvo out on the curb. It's still plowed in, and it had a dead battery even before all this stuff started. That's probably Saturday's chore - get it dug out and down to Sears for a new DieHard so we can have two vehicle that are more or less snow-worthy. The Farmer's Almanac says we're due for one more big snow this season. Hopefully it will wait until this stuff melts down significantly.

Posted by: ebtnut | February 17, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I find myself strangely attracted to the snowboard cross stuff. Part of it is the four abreast jostling down the track Ben Hur chariot race feel of it. Part is the hurtling through the air off the jumps. But mostly I suspect it's that many of the guys are wearing blue jeans in the Olympics, and after watching sliders in super duper unis and speedskaters got up like superheroes and figure skaters in feathers and glitter, folks trying for a gold medal in their Levi's just strikes me the right way. Now I realize that all these folks are probably millionaires on the international professional snowboard cross circuit (I assume there is such a thing) and get big bucks from Levi Strauss and Wrangler to wear their product (or soon will), but even so, seeing them sliding to victory or falling on their denim clad derrieres males me smile.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 17, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Here is a Canadian columnist who agrees with my definition of sport:

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Psst Mudge... these outfits are outfitted with fabric that undergo a doppler shift according to how many turns they take. That and the bells on their skates are how the judges know.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 17, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: kguy1 | February 17, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Just how Freudian is that slip? Speaking as a guy that is on the record as obsessed with the male figure skaters' costumes.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

NYT's Tom Friedman took a walk on San Antonio's Riverwalk yesterday and thought the weather cold. I don't know if Friedman was alone or possibly with folks --perhaps one or two--from Trinity University? I wonder if one in 20,000 residents here would recognize him? Did anyone call out or acknowledge the rather short opinion writer from Montgomery County, Maryland, during his stroll of the river's banks?

The "river" portion of the larger word "Riverwalk" was the only mention of water or water issues during Friedman's presentation last night. I saw only two seats left in the university-donor seating section empty last night for Friedman's talk. Every other seat in Trinity's large Laurie Auditorium was taken. The woman waiting next to me for the auditorium doors to open had driven in all the way from Canyon Lake, where she serves as an elementary school principal.

Friedman's talk was supposed to have been the culmination of a three-day water seminar at Trinity.

Some part of Friedman's address last night is in his column today at the NYT, "Global Weirding." Friedman decided to combine two of his presentations into just one talk last night. His second slide was of a polar bear along with oversized text, "Bear Stearns." Somehow the bear, photographed in its snowy habitat, along with the name of the bank, accidentally crept into the very start of Friedman's powerful, hour-long presentation.

Posted by: laloomis | February 17, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

That's why I used ALL CAPS. And don't start talking about my slips. I'm strictly a camisole man.

Posted by: kguy1 | February 17, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think the one word that I would use to describe Friedman last night was "diplomatic," certainly in terms of how he answered questions after his presentation, and certainly a skill Friedman must have the opportunity to polish during his international travels.

Just to the left of where I was seated, there was a large group of friends who had come to hear the lecture together--though not all had travledin the same vehicle(s), several holding a number of empty seats until others in their party arrived. One of the women blurted out, "I bet there won't be any Teabaggers here tonight!" Which should provide a nice segue for Friedman's opening remarks--other than his joke about digging the Chunnel, which I may or may not get to later.

Posted by: laloomis | February 17, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to mentally organize Olympic events based on how easy it is to tell the competitors apart.

On the one extreme is figure skating where, in general, you can tell who you are watching. A Weir doesn't skate the same as a Pushenko.

On the other extreme there is, say, luge, in which one vaguely humanoid blur zipping down the track looks, at least to me, pretty much like any other.

Finally there are those intermediate events, like downhill skiing. Sometimes I can tell the difference between one skier and another, but lots of times they all pretty much look the same. Which is why the funky helmets are helpful.

Now, I realize this is probably more a comment on my naivety than anything else. I am sure that to a sophisticated fan the subtle variations between competitors stand out brightly. But I often feel as if they could just loop stuff from Albertville and I wouldn't be the wiser.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 17, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I admit to having burned the midnight oil the last two evenings reading Robert Harris' "The Ghost," (the story the basis of Roman Polanski's upcoming film), the litle paperback that I bought on Sunday playing a role in the Friedman backstory that I could tell, should I choose to.


Posted by: laloomis | February 17, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I know what you mean, RD. I'm loving the snowboard cross, but I can't tell the competitors apart. I have to watch very carefully before the race to see what color each is wearing to have any hope.

yello, I was struck by the same thing with the figure skating scoring. Supposedly they added all these scoring components to make it more objective, but it still doesn't prevent the judges from overscoring their favorite.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 17, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It's even more difficult to know who wins and everyone's position when the very own officials of the sport (that's you the International Biathlon Union) mangle the start and timing of the event.

Oooooo, I may have to take the snowblower out for a spin tonight. It will be like meeting an old lover.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | February 17, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Yello - I enjoyed that Canadian columnist, and agree he makes some compelling arguments. But, of course, this is one of those silly moot points. The Winter Olympics are filled with competitions that have, for historical and financial reasons, become well established. There is no real rhyme or reason to these inclusions, except, of course, the necessity for cold weather. Or at least extensive refrigeration.

I mean, does anyone really think the IOC is going to say, "Hey, we've decided to exclude figure skating and all that other fru-fru stuff with the judges and all because they aren't really sports."?

Yeah. Right.

Then there is this bizarre distinction between a sport and a "game." Can someone explain that to me? That columnist accused Curling of being more a "game" than a sport. But if games aren't sports, then why the heck are these called the Olympic Games?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I may have to take the snowblower out for a spin tonight. It will be like meeting an old lover.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen


You mean as in, "Watch where you put your hands"?

Posted by: byoolin1 | February 17, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Okay, it has been pointed out to me that "games" just imply competition. And certainly there are games that are not athletic. You know, like, checkers. Unless the pieces are those really big and heavy ones. So I guess the accusation being made is that Curling isn't really a sport because it isn't athletic. And I agree that it doesn't seem to require as much cardiovascular exertion as, say, Cross Country Skiing. (But then, neither does Golf.) But I consider Curling athletic for one simple and thoroughly compelling reason.

There is no way in heck I could ever do it.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 17, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

My definition of 'game' versus 'sport' would be that games involve significant elements of luck or chance as opposed to skill. Chess being the significant counter-example here. 'Game' also refers to a single sporting event, i.e. baseball game, which muddies the semantic waters even further.

Other than judging, the other axis that distinguishes sports from other types of competition is the physical/mental components. Chess is not a sport because there is no physical component at all. The major physical parameters are strength, speed, and coordination. Activities that rely heavily on coordination to the exclusivity of the other two are less likely to be considered 'real' sports. Nobody would call videogaming a sport even though the hand-eye coordination required is intense.

The distinction between curling and shuffleboard is pretty thin, mostly relying on the weight involved and the skill needed to guide the stone, but I would still call it a sport since there are objective criteria. Where horseshoes, lawn darts, and putt-putt golf fall on the continuum is debatable.

And let's not even open the motorsports can of worms.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Yello, I believe, with lawn darts at least, that it's all fun and *games* until someone loses an eye.

(And then, as a comedian once said, it's one-eyed fun and games.)

Posted by: byoolin1 | February 17, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Or as I used to be told:

It's all fun and games until there are no more eyes to put out.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 17, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Then there's mumbly peg, or whatever variation on that name it was called where you grew up.

It was considered a great 'sport' by the local boys until BroJS pegged the pocketknife in his toe, nearly slicing it off.

Posted by: MsJS | February 17, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I will surrender to the Borg and watch some snowboarding tonight, since my nephew wins prizes doing this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 17, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: MsJS | February 17, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

My interest in snowboard cross may have been misplaced. Biathlon definitely seems more exciting-

Posted by: kguy1 | February 17, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

New Kit! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 17, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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