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Knock knock. Who's there? Eyjafjallajokull.

[My story on volcanoes.]

The year of the earthquake has suddenly become the year of the volcano.

The eruption in Iceland is not large as volcanoes go, but the cloud over Europe has shed light on the awkward overlay of human commerce and a hot, churning, unpredictable Earth. It raises the question of what governments can do to prepare for -- and adapt to -- wild-card geological events that not only affect airliners but can also alter the planet's climate for years at a stretch.

The volcano with the difficult name of Eyjafjallajokull is not powerful enough to change the climate -- it has ejected material only as high as about 20,000 feet and would need to launch the ash to at least 33,000 feet to have global climatic effects, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Now airports are beginning to open again in Britain and the Netherlands, but no one can be entirely sure what will happen next in Iceland. Eyjafjallajokull could incite an eruption of its larger neighbor, Katla, which hasn't erupted since 1918 and might be ready to rumble. In all three historically recorded eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull -- in 920, 1612 and 1821 -- Katla erupted soon thereafter.

"The eruption that's going on right now is small in comparison to what we expect Katla would be like," said Jay Miller, a volcanologist at Texas A&M University.

Events in recent days have demonstrated the inherent uncertainties of volcano science. Although volcanoes are far more predictable than earthquakes, they remain quirky, with each one having its own personality. Scientists rely primarily on past performance to predict future activity for any given location. The Iceland volcano initially produced little ash, but a new vent opened beneath a glacier and the situation turned explosive. What precisely happened is still being researched, but it appears that meltwater and magma produced steam quite suddenly and the volcano popped its top like a shaken soda bottle.

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 21, 2010; 7:25 AM ET
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Next: Earth Day: War of the roses


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

Morning,friends. Volcanoes. I need to read more to in order to make a sensible statement. Will do.

Thanks, Slyness. Our pastor believed so much in what God had set out for him. His job, not an easy one,but he hung in there. And yes, we miss him terribly.

I'm taking strong pain medication, so I should feel pretty good if not goofy in a little bit. We always give up something, don't we?

Have a great day, folks. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 21, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Of course, in my case, not giving up much. Goofy without the meds.(smile)

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 21, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Volcanologists are like meteorologists, useless before the fact - they're nothing more than seers. But after the fact? Hey, they're right on, any fifth grader can do the same thing.

Posted by: KenpoDon | April 21, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Cool. When I was a kid I was terrified of volcanoes. Yeah... in Fairfax, Virginia. I'm a grownup now and I'm not quite as terrified anymore.

I don't get the folks who say the governments "overreacted" by stopping air travel. If something tragic had happened (or does), the cries will be everywhere. And I hate it when people claim that since no one was hurt, the precautions were unnecessary. That means they worked!

I also can't believe Joel buried this part of the story so deep...

"...John Eichelberger, head of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, who is stranded in Paris, where he had attended a meeting on volcanoes."

Posted by: -TBG- | April 21, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Any comments concerning volcanoes from Bobby Jindal lately?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Eyjafjallajokull Who?


Another first class piece Joel. (I think that Weingarten fellow is correct about your expository writing.)

Events like Eyjafjallajokull (Thank God for cut and paste) remind us that we are fleas on the shaggy dog of the world. Nothing is really stable.

Simon Winchester explores this notion nicely in his book, "Crack in the Edge of the World," about the San Andreas fault. Nothing is permanent when it comes to geology. Fortunately, as my family in the shadow of Mt. Rainier always remind me, geological time is pretty slow.

When looked at objectively, we aren’t special enough to justify unusual attention from the tectonic plates. Random bunching aside, significant geological events are still fairly rare.

Which is good as there really isn't much we can do about volcanoes. (Although Steve Austin once did this cool thing with a little time machine in that episode where Bigfoot turned out to be a robot from outer space. So there's always that.)

But barring the arrival of alien technology, our options are limited. You can't fire missiles at geological events, nor can you blame such events on rampant commercialism, excessive industrial growth, or the lack of dietary fiber. Uncertainty is just the overhead we pay for evolving on such a twitchy planet. All we can do is hope and, to some extent, adapt.

Of course one adaptation to the vulnerability of transatlantic jet engines to ash is called the "ocean liner."

But those are really slow. And, of course, you've got those icebergs.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

TBG - Ironically, when it comes to volcanoes I grew-up in one of the most dangerous spots in America, and I never gave it a second thought. Except, now as an adult, I sure do.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

And now just learn how to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull:

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 21, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Nice umlauts.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

There is all kind of travel drama going on. Cargo aircrafts are still not moving as passenger aircrafts are given priorities. So the local paper reports that thousands of lobsters are stranded in Halifax instead of going to their European destinations. Poor things.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 21, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'll kindly take in a few stranded lobsters. Perhaps a pair of two-pounders. Am I responsible for my own drawn butter?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

So if we get the volcanoes to cut down on their sodium, things will calm down?

Am I on-Kit yet? (not that that's ever stopped me, but anyway...)

*frantically-looking-for-the-"stop"-button-on-this-work-go-round Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 21, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse


me, too.

But, I think your area had more large software companies within a 4 hr drive.

That link is for you rd and TBG. I was trying to send something to my good friend in Finland to pick up her spirits and get her to go see UOGB when they visit Finland in a bit over a month.

She lost a trip for her mother to Hungary because of the ash.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 21, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Eyjafjallajökull who?

Ash of volcano killing the European airline industry.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I was confused because the article says "Mount Pelée on the island of Montserrat rolled down the slopes and incinerated 30,000 people in 1902" and I thought it was on Martinique.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 21, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Volcanoes and earthquakes are just the planet's way of saying, "you're not the boss of me."

Long list of annoying items need to be attended to today. Trying to motivate by thinking how good I'll feel when they're all done.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 21, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Some white trim finished. Next, gray on the walls, to set off the consternatingly immutable pink tub, sink, commode. Gray bathmat and identical gray curtain purchased yesterday, and taken to paint store for match. White linoleum replacement... soon?

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 21, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Good catch Jumper. Montagne Pelée is on the French DOM Martinique and the Soufrière is on the nearby English island of Montserrat.
The Soufrière is still spewing stuff but the Pelée is just bidding its time before the next catastrophic blast-off.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 21, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

As someone who believes a saltlick is a snack food, I'm glad we've moved on to a new kit.

Joel, a serious question: can someone find out how the airlines (and/or Wall Street and/or business economists or whoever) is calculating those figures on how much the airlines are supposedly loosing or have lost due to the restricted air travel? Because I am deeply, deeply suspicious of the numbers.

For instance, the "easiest" (read: laziest) thing to do is simply report that number as the gross revenue of the cancelled flights, which is apparently what the Post's story right now says: the airlines have "lost" $1.7 billion in the headline, which is a huge loss. But then in the story it doesn't say that: it says they lost $1.7 billion in *revenue." Which isn't the same thing.

When you "lose" money, it means you lose what you already have. But when you lose revenue, it simply means you lose something that you might have gained, but didn't. So yes, the airlines "lost" $1.7b in revnue. But if they weren't flying anywhere, they we'ren't burning any gas. So how much dfid they "save" but not flying any flights? Did they pay employees for not flying, or were some/any/all of those employees temporarily laid off/suspended/otherwise not paid? What about mechanics and some other ground staff? Baggage handlers who weren't loosing your bags anywhere, and therefore not spending time and effort tracking them down in places it didn't go?

Next, out of that $1.7b in lost revnue opportunity (which is actually what it was), how much of that would have been profit? How much of that profit would have gone to stockholders? Because that is what the true "loss" actually was, whatever that figure might be: the loss in profits the airlines would have otherwise accrued. Probably well above 90% of that $1.7b would have been turned around and expenses, in fuel, salaries, and so on.

So where is the number that says how many millions of barrels of oil (converted to aviation fuel) were "saved" by the volcano? Now that might be an interesting number. I'm not saying it was necessarily a good thing all that oil was saved. (But neither was it a bad thing, all by itself, on the theory that any time you save a gallon of gas, that's a good thing, as a rule.)

So: any chance we can get some decent numbers out of this thing?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Iceland Volcano’s particles arrived in other countries as well. I have read on Project Weight Loss that right now only the weather could help clear the sky from volcanic ash. A good rain could disperse the cloud. No one knows how long the volcano may remain active. In 1821 Eyjafjallokull erupted for 13 months.

Posted by: alexa_a_87 | April 21, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Born too loose.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 21, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - those are great points. What I wonder is how much of this "lost" money will be recovered now that people are flying again. That is, is this revenue lost, or just revenue delayed?

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Mudge - I had almost exactly that conversation with someone last night! Great minds...

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

We'll fix Martinique. Rush job journalism, fewer eyeballs.

Posted by: joelache | April 21, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Well, exactly, Padouk. I grant that in some percentage of cases, people may have simply cancelled trips and won't ever make them again, in which case that is indeed revenue that is "lost." But as you point out, a good bit of the "loss" is simply "delayed" or postponed revenue. All those people who are "trapped" are going to have get home sooner or later. A certain number of people who were planning near-term business trips and vacations may have put them off, perhaps even for six months or a year. But as you point out, that is merely revenue delayed. Yes, some people suddenly booked ocean liners instead. That is just revenue that went to B instead of A. (Though the liners probably would have been full in any case. I have no idea how many liners are trans-Atlantic and what their booking percentages are.)

But I believe that the only number given us, $1.7 billion (or $400 million a day) is basically worthless information.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Joel starts out saying the year of the earthquake has become the year of the volcano. I submit that it is the year of earthquakes AND volcanos. It is probably too short a time just yet to see a trend, but maybe the earth is starting to shrug itself a bit, and the tectonics are responding with fire, ash, and the shakes.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 21, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

There is also the fixed costs of maintaining a system on idle as well as non-revenue activities such as test flights and moving empty equipment from one airport to another. Flight schedules are very intricate and getting an airline going from a standing start requires an enormous logistic effort. A lot of money is being churned without any revenue being associated with it. Furthermore, all the backlog of stranded passengers needs to be cleared before new revenue producing flights can be conducted. How all this money is cubbyholed is going to depend on where the beancounters want it to go.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I have a trip to Europe planned for this summer and I'm rethinking my philosophical (read stingy) objection to trip cancellation insurance.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey, ebt, how about "The Year of the Volcano, Earthquake and Potato Chip"?

OK, wait, wait, I got it: "The Year of the Volcano, the Earthquake, the Potato Chip, and Health Care Reform."

No,, no, this is better: "The Year of the Earthquake, the Volcano, the Potato Chip, Health Care Reform, and the Last Episode of 'Lost.'"

Ooops, wait, I got it now: "The Year of the Last Episode of Lost, Volcanoes and Earthquakes, Hurricanes, the Death of John Forsythe, the Salt-Free Potato Chip, Health Care Reform, the Kitty Kelly Bio-smear of Oprah, the Return of Robin Hood...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Has "The Year Of Living Dangerously" been taken?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The airlines probably lose 100% of their lease payments. They don't own the aircrafts, as a general rule, and I'm quite sure that GE Capital Aircraft Services will insist on getting its pound of flesh even if the planes weren't flying.
Many cargo flights are lost outright, the flowers, fruit&veggie that were supposed to fly in (from Africa mostly) during those days aren't going to be replaced. New crops have come in and it's the fresh stuff that is going to fly.
There were serious losses, I just don't know how to figure it out.
Air France/KLM says they will sue the EU regulators for damages. We might know then.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 21, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Actually Mudge the bulk of those revenue losses are incurred by the pay toilets on Ryan Air flights.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Is it Eyjafjallajokull or Eyjafjallajökull? (I vote for the umlaut.) Is it pronounced, per the NY Times' Andy Newman and Bao Ong, "Hey, ya fergot La Yogurt?" (I hope so.)

To those who would condense its name to "Kull," I say call it "Kull, the Ash-Spewer" -- turn it into a comic-book/animé/movie franchise.

Posted by: cbustard | April 21, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Shriek, I don't think the amount of damages a lawyer is going to file in his/her lawsuit is very likely to reflect reality.

Anyway, that lawsuit ought to be dismissed outright as frivolous.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

In that case, kguy, the airline ought to be feeling pretty flush.

So to speak.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The name of the volcano turns out to be less dramatic in translation, being "eyja" (island, not to be confused with the Elvish greeting aiya), "fjalla" (mountain), and "jokull" (glacier), all of which are pronounceable if you substitute j for y. I was wondering if jokull had any connection with "yokel" but apparently no.

Posted by: engelmann | April 21, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Thank goodness there are no salt volcanoes (Except maybe on Dr. McCoy's ex-girlfriend's homeworld...)

RD, I appreciate that you grew up in one of the most dangerous spots in America from a volcanic perspective. How're you feeling about living around here, say, for the past decade? Personally, I've always lived near an area some regard as "Ground Zero," and employed a deft combination of ignorance, nonchalance and denial to get me through these past 40-some odd years.

But hey, I'm a nice Italian-American boy, and I'm always ready to frolic at the foot of Vesuvius.

The sword of Damocles is always overhead somwehere, I suppose. Could be an earthquake, volcano, plane crash, asteroid, car accident, a bomb, or I'll take that ceremonial slip in the bathtub.

I have no idea how much money those airlines and other businesses are actualy losing in this situation, but I don't know that it will be a fatal blow to any travel-related industry or business. However, there may be other impacts to consider -- it's probably going to hurt small farmers around the world who depend on air delivery to send perishable items (foods, etc.) into or out of Europe quickly, particularly those in the southern Hemisphere, where fall is heading into winter and the last harvests of the season took place, and your season's livelihood is sitting in a warehouse or hangar, spoiling...

Sometimes it pays to have insurance, other times, not so much.


Posted by: -bc- | April 21, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Can't believe no one mentioned this: in the last kit.

I was indifferent to Cate Blanchett until she became Hepburn in The Aviator. I was awestruck at her performance.

I also can't believe that none of the Dr. Who fans (and you know who you are!) have mentioned his new "companion", Amy Pond (Karen Gillan):


Posted by: DLDx | April 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

When living in Colorado Springs in the mid-1970's, near the NORAD complex at Cheyenne Mountain, it was generally assumed that we were all going out in a blaze of glory in the first minutes of WWIII.

Hey, what are you gonna do?

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

We just watched the new Dr. Who on Monday. I am quite taken with Amy Pond.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 21, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

That's silly, Bob-S. Back in the 70's, they lacked the targeting capability to take out a deep target like Cheyenne Mountain. Now, THESE days, sure. But not back then.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 21, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Just because the Rooskies couldn't take out our hardened facilities, it wouldn't stop them from trying. I think Bob-S's thesis was that even if Cheyenne Mountain could absorb a direct hit, the collateral damage from all the near-misses would have the Rockies glowing for several decades.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

I invite y'all to consider moving to TWC.

No volcanoes, no hurricanes, no earthquakes, haven't had a 10"+ snowfall here in eight years, and there's a big airport here ready to take you anywhere you want to go. Some areas are prone to flooding, but others remain quite dry. Soil's great for gardening, there are lots of good birding sites, and Lake Michigan is a great place to play.

OK, so the politics here are a bit bizarre, but most days one can ignore it.

Posted by: MsJS | April 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

SD, I was wondering if the insurance companies would be getting hit with Business Interruption claims, but it seems that the companies specifically address eruptions. So, in other words, eruption interruptions are not covered in the form of covered insured events.

As they say in a Business Week article, it isn't all that great at the insurance and re- companies as there have been a number of covered disasters that now have claims hitting the books.

Re-insurance allows the companies to mitigate their localized risks at a price, so many companies are going to shell out on the recent disasters.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 21, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

My ex-brother-in-law back in the year that four hurricanes hit Florida remarked that the insurance companies sure were making a killing. My uncle who was in the insurance business (and in the WTC on 9/11) tried to explain that that was not how insurance companies made money and spent the rest of Thanksgiving weekend suppressing the urge to kill him.

The fine print in insurance coverage makes a huge difference. The finding that the WTC attacks were two separate incidents was worth billions.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about a killing...or is everybody out to lunch?

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

seasea, I've been "out to lunch" all day just trying to keep up with the science and economics of this kit, my life and the rest of the world's shenanigans.

But I'm learning a lot from the boodle!

Gorgeous day here and I just learned my son, who I've not seen since the holidays, is coming tomorrow for a couple of days.

later, y'all . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 21, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Seasea, folks often say I'm out to lunch regardless of the time of day.

I read an article today on make-it-yourself laundry detergent. I'm seriously considering it, as it seems to do pretty well for about 10%-20% of the cost of the brand-name stuff.

Anyboodly ever tried it?

BTW, anyboodly appears to be a googlenope. So you heard it here first, I think.

Posted by: MsJS | April 21, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually eating lunch at my desk (as always). But my dear sainted mother always taught me not to Boodle with my mouth full. She was a woman of great foresight, since Boodling hadn't been invented in the 9th century.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Please post link MsJS?

Posted by: qgaliana | April 21, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I know that joy, talitha. I've barely heard from my son since the holidays...not even by email. He'll be here briefly in May.

Tom Shroder has a blog posting about re-reading books, and mentions some near and dear to the Boodle's heart (or some Boodlers' hearts, I should say).

Off to 2 lunches...(only eating one)...

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

And a FAQ list:

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

bc – interestingly, I never really thought about being closer to “Ground Zero” when I moved out to the DC area in 1987. I think that part of this is because I grew up with the fear of nuclear war. ( Even though I knew that huddling beneath the special desks Catholic Schools used would protect me from naughty radiation rays.)

That living here meant I might end up blown up four or five times instead of just once didn't much make an impact (No Pun Intended). Heck, I even frequently had lunch at that hamburger stand smack dab in the middle of the Pentagon courtyard. I feared the saturated fat more than incoming missiles.

And the reason for this, of course, is that people get acclimated to environmental threats. Which is why growing up within spitting distance of Mt. Rainier (Not that I would ever spit. It’s a filthy habit) I never thought much about lava flows or, more to the point, massive mudslides known as “Lahars”

I assert that learning to ignore chronic worry is a survival skill. It is especially handy when rearing children.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

In Washington State, about 15 years ago, a new subdivision was being built on a volcanic mudflow deposit from Mt. Rainier. The builder was having to excavate and remove 500 year old tree stumps

Then again, the region has lively geology: in 1700, a great subduction earthquake destroyed settlements on the coast and possibly set off the Bonneville landslide that blocked the Columbia River in the Gorge. When the dam burst, everything downstream was washed away. The lower Columbia reputedly has no archaeological sites.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Along with there being lots of islands, periodic disasters (including exploding volcanoes) must have something to do with the incredible number of anole lizard species in the Caribbean. Maybe 400 species. Regrettably, only one is native to the North American mainland, the cute green Anolis carolinensis.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 21, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Alas, I am keenly familiar with the subdivision in question DoftheC. My sister and her family live close by. Lovely view.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

This picture is from the pamphlet:

"Mt. Rainier: Living Safely with a Volcano in your Backyard"

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Second what yello said re airline fixed costs - aircraft leases and airport leases likely won't get an extension. And I doubt that they would stop paying employees, particularly the salaried ones, nor would they lay them off, at least until the disruption had lasted longer than a few days. Any airlines who are making arrangements to accommodate stranded passengers are paying for that, as well; that may or may not have been factored into the $1.7 billion figure. I'd guess it is a similar situation to the days after Sept 11, when all commercial flights were grounded here (except the volcano probably won't suppress demand after they start back up).

Posted by: tomsing | April 21, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Pilots and flight attendants are paid by the flight hour, so they are also getting socked financially. I don't know what their union contracts say about this sort of interruption.

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

For anyone having a bad day, here's your antidote:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, RD. Nuclear war, indeed -- we all grew up waiting for the Hammer to Fall.

(Anyone who can call that Queen video up, please feel free.)

Don't know if they did this where you grew up, but lin the local papers here from time to time they'd have very basic graphics of the city with circles showing estimated damages (crater, fireball/flash, incineration/firestorm, shockwave/concussion, levels of radiation/fallout, etc.) from various yield nuclear weapons (10 megaton, 20, 50, and the near-mythical 100) with Ground Zero at the Capital or White House. Always an interesting game to find my house on the map and see how badly we were going to get it. Since I grew up close to the city, there were few scenarios where there was going to be a 30 Seconds After for us, much less a whole Day.

Granted, never worried about Lahars or lava, though.

I will say this - if you have a basement, look into flood insurance. Learned that one the hard way.

Think it's still too early to name 2010, but when they make the movie, they'll have Karl Rove and Dick Cheney playing themselves in a satirical turn as the Dr. Evilesque bad guys, working from their secret lair full of uniformed Fembots, stainless steel and some Doomsday Device that can affect volcanism and plate tectonics (they'll say "magma" a lot), which they try to use in order to bring the GOP back to majority in Congress and to take the 2012 General Election for President. An intrepid reporter will track them all over the US (he's got a limited travel budget, you know) and save the day. Call it "Our Man Achenbach."


Posted by: -bc- | April 21, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

That is a great shot of Ranier. Here is mine of the southwest face:

In the event of an eruption, all that lumber is going somewhere. I had a bit of a revelation on my last vacation. Going through Petrified Forest National Monument (photos not available yet) I was reminded of the hundreds of logs still in the lake east of Mt. Saint Helens a decade after that eruption (look at the upper right of the frame):

Sure enough. The visitors center had a display pointing out that the MSH eruption created the same conditions of combining lumber with sulphur rich soil that leads to petrified wood. We just need to come back in a million years or so.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Off kit but about Seattle. Whale beached last week autopsied. Stomach contents are troubling:

Plastic floating in the ocean is another problem to keep me up at night.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I also believe a saltlick is a snack. Just not a main meal.

On kit, I daresay that there was no natural eruption. That seltzer excuse is weak.

Allow me to don my conspiracy trenchcoat and tinfoil hat....

SOMEBODY was doing an illegal nuclear test and picked that volcano to do it in, figuring it'd be great cover. The only problem with that bright plan... it was a volcano.

*cue doomsday music*

Okay, time for something fluffier-- bunnies!

Specifically, volcano rabbits.

These half-pounders are endangered. Hands up if you're surprised.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I am certified out of reach of storm surges from hurricanes. Sea level won't get here for a while, either.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 21, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey, cool! The Achenblog has overflowed its banks! Anybody else having it showing double-wide right now?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

And just how do evil overlord villains get homeowner's insurance on their secret volcano lairs? It must be hard enough just getting a construction completion bond on those things.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Never thought I'd see the day when Samuel Alito was my hero.

Supreme Court overturns anti-animal cruelty law in First Amendment case
By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Posted by: KBoom | April 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Not homeowner's yello, it's a place of business, like a manufacturing facility or office building.

How different could it be from insuring the RNC offices over on First Street?


Posted by: -bc- | April 21, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, me too, right after I posted my conspiracy theory.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

... back into the boodle... links were frozen... hey, 'like this'... nice addition JA!!!

Volcanoes & travel... we need a little 'blue energy' to solve the problem... hint: Anna rules!

Posted by: MissToronto | April 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Better hint... John May Lives!

Posted by: MissToronto | April 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

If the RNC were over a Hellmouth like Sunnydale, it would explain so much.

Super-villain lairs are more like home offices. They always come equipped with the giant bedroom with the round bed and the fishtank full of sharks with lasers on their heads.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

iPad theft in Colorado costs man a portion of his pinky finger. AND, the man was buying for a Canadian friend. Wow.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Never mind anything else. Here's the real problem:

Posted by: ebtnut | April 21, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Women who do not dress modestly . . . lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,"

Sounds like a small price to pay. I'm in.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The commenters on that whale story are a pretty humorless lot. The story isn't exactly ripe with humorous potential, but the self-righteousness was pretty thick. Too much cool sea breeze in their coffee, maybe.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Anders is not going to get me to watch the remake of something I avoided the first time around. Get Katee Sackhoff to eat a live mouse and we'll talk. (The Supreme Court did declare that legal, right? Further proof they are Visitors.)

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Bob, you are brave to wade into any comment stream. Here is your VitaBath wash to cleanse and renew.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 21, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Women who do not dress modestly . . . lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes," cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told worshipers in Tehran last week.

You know what they say ebtnut, "If the fault line's rock'n, don't come knock'n."


Posted by: DLDx | April 21, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

No yello it's a given that Bond will always arrive just before completion of the Archvillain's lair. The insurance claims start after he gets there.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 21, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, I think *Tim and others made some reference to that cleric's comments in yesterday's Boodling.


Posted by: -bc- | April 21, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Katee Sackhoff, hey, I can go with that. Asked my wife the other night while watching "24", "just when is that Parole Officer going to start stinking?"

Posted by: DLDx | April 21, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The Iranian cleric comments were pre-on-topic yesterday. We get a mulligan when Joel catches up with the boodle.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Hi all!

Coming up for a bit of air from trying to set up a custom Bibliography style in Word 2007. Hats off to the tech writers and report editors out there. I can't keep all the source formats straight.

Anywho, the homemade laundry detergent sounds interesting, MsJS. Could be a decent replacement for a surfactant detergent like All. It would probably be "green" if you used a biodegradable bar soap in it, too. I'll have to try it sometime. :)

Posted by: MoftheMountain | April 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I just came across this excellent title on a scientific paper: Giant radiating d_ke swarms on Earth and Venus.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 21, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Well,, if wimmin have that much power imbued to us, mebbe we outta start using it more overtly.

*shaking head and chuckling*

Posted by: -ftb- | April 21, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Judging by the string of natural disasters lately, I'd say you have been. I hope it was good for you.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The wideness on the screen is Very Weird. Oh well.

Thought for the day:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms…is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. …Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." General/President Dwight Eisenhower

Sorry, I'm just back from the dentist and that seemed relevant. How, I dunno.

Posted by: slyness | April 21, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, you *did* note the volcano, eh, yellojkt!

Posted by: -ftb- | April 21, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

People, people. There are Giant. Radiating. D_ke Swarms. Out there. Do I need to spell things out for you?

The best part is that I posted that title before back-boodling to see all the references to the geological significance of lascivious behavior among the wimmin-folk.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 21, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear, I got so excited I didn't notice the mistake up above. Soooooo, SCC: "outta" ===> "oughta"

It's entirely too warm around here now. Where's my fan?

Posted by: -ftb- | April 21, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

volcano jokes:

Posted by: LALurker | April 21, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

After a visit from MI7 and their friends sent over by Felix, the place is usually a complete loss. Minion stains are impossible to get out of the carpet.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Don't get the Asda joke. Can someone from the other side of the pond explain it to me?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Um, what are stale Facebook feed posts doing on the Achenblog? Do not want.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I think that's an extraordinary concept and a wonder band name, Tim.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

[We interrupt this Boodle to thank Mudge for the video of the hound dog and the orang. Normal programming will resume at this time. Thank you for your patience.]

Posted by: talitha1 | April 21, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yellowjkt, with those jokes(?) being UK-centric, and possibly even London-centric, understanding 9 out of the 10 is very unusual.

Asda is a large grocery store/supermarket chain. Other than that, I got nothing.


Posted by: DLDx | April 21, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I think you stunned it, talitha1.

Ok, give me some room.....!!CLEAR!! Whmmp.

Posted by: DLDx | April 21, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

_|__|__|__|__|__|_ 62 bpm 109/80

Posted by: DLDx | April 21, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. And I was trying so hard to sneak something in since I didn't know what the thread was when I posted.

*head hung in shame*

Posted by: talitha1 | April 21, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, a funny film clip (best seen full-screen):

Once you've seen it, you can discuss the satyr factor and the sheer weirdness a French equivalent to an American Thanksgiving movie (they don't have Thanksgiving in France, so it's a Chrstimas tale).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 21, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

BobS, I used to live in Colorado Springs, too. It wasn't just Cheyenne Mountain, it was also the Air Force Academy, the other two AF facilities, Ft. Carson and the Norad offices downtown that we always figured put us right at the top of the target list. My school never bothered with the duck and cover drills. I think they figured it was pretty much a moot point.

Apparently some of the real hazards out there aren't geopolitical in nature. A huge swath of the north central part of town (including the house I lived in) was built over relatively shallow, and very unstable, abandoned coal mines. And much of the front range is considered a geological hazard zone. The east face of Cheyenne Mountain, and the heavily developed land near it, has been called "a slow motion landslide."

I feel so much safer in Arlington, a few miles from the White House, the Pentagon, the Capitol... Nope, nuthin' to worry 'bout here.

Posted by: rashomon | April 21, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Another reason to move to TWC. We're not awash with military installations or institutions of high national importance.

Posted by: MsJS | April 21, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

In the end, we're all waiting for death.

We should at least live in a way that gives us the will to keep living. For some of us, that's forests and ducks. For others it's all about the hip city culture and staying connected, alive.

And for some it's petting and tranquil nights with a full belly.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

But you have to worry about those three foot snowstorms, MsJS. At least that never happens around here.

Oh, ahh, that is...

Never mind.

Posted by: rashomon | April 21, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

And all that wind...there's a reason it's called tWc. Also, it's so flat there, which doesn't seem right to me. I love catching sight of Mt Rainier and even Mt Baker sometimes, despite the fact that they could erupt. I figure there will be warnings of that. The big earthquake, on the other hand...Still, I've only experienced 2 earthquakes that I actually felt in almost 30 years. Timing is everything.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Ya see? Around here politicians -get- snow. They have to if they want to remain gainfully employed.

Oh yeah, and our last three-footer was 1967. Cost us two snow days. That's it.

Posted by: MsJS | April 21, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

A little late in the day, but this is for Jumper...

Posted by: -TBG- | April 21, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Or, Wilbrod, as MCR would have it, "You get what everybody else gets. You get a lifetime!"

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I was made to understand that the 'wind' in windy city refers to the politicians rather than the weather. Is that right, MsJS?

Posted by: -TBG- | April 21, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Is Europe awaiting a Katlastrophe?

Dunno. To busy worrying about the Big One closer to home since I live about a mile from the fault trace of the Hayward.

Posted by: edbyronadams | April 21, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

MCR, Yoki?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Adrian Higgins doesn't like all the azaleas in DC:
I think they're bee-yoo-ti-ful, and one of the reasons spring in DC is so wonderful. OTOH, I get his point about their ubiquity, and they're dull the rest of the year. I have a corylopsis pauciflora, which he recommends, although I only knew it by its common name, winter hazel. Mine is still small and hasn't produced flowers yet. I love its leaves - they hang straight down when they first come out. But it's not spectacular like an azalea. We have their bigger, duller cousins, the rhododendrons.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

MCR is My Chemical Romance. A most excellent rock and roll ensemble.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the 'wind' refers to the wind-bag nature of our politicians and not to weather phenomena.

Posted by: MsJS | April 21, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

My Chemical Romance.

For the hearing:

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

LOL, RD_Padouk! Most excellent, indeed.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

seasea, I am saddened that you find Rhodies dull. I mean, they are the state flower of Washington. Have you ever gone on the five-mile drive through the Rhododendrons near Pt. Defiance? I have early memories of my dad driving us through that in his Chevy Impala.

We had a bunch of Rhodies in our back yard. My dad used to insist that the dead center of the blooms be plucked. This was known as "dead heading." Later in life I once suggested that this made him a "Dead Head." He, unsurprisingly didn't get the reference.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The MCR quote is supposedly a paraphrase of Neil Gaiman from "The Sandman:"

"You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less."

Posted by: rashomon | April 21, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, the monster rhododendrons at Portland's Crystal Springs Garden astounded my eastern/Rocky Mountain eyes. I could scarcely believe such spectacular plants exist.

Here's a nice news story at the Guardian on volcanic destruction, with a howler about Irish fleeing bad weather caused by the Toba volcano in 1815, only to arrive in New England, where the weather was equally horrible. So they continued on to California. That's what the story said: California. Frozen-out New Englanders were in fact fleeing to places like Ohio.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 21, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Again, rhodies are thought to be somewhat unimaginative here because they are everywhere and grow as tall as houses, and are only of interest (pretty colors) in the spring. I figure if Higgins thinks azaleas are overdone, he would think the same of rhodies here. Weyerhauser has a lovely preserve with a gazillion rhodies, and the Arboretum is gorgeous this time of year.

The plant I truly despise is photinia:
It's everywhere in this neck of the woods.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Not Toba. I meant Tambora. Erupted 1815, horrible weather for 1816. Author of the Guardian story is Simon Winchester, who did that popular book on Krakatoa.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

rashomon mentioned earlier "slow motion landslides" in Colorado.

Called to mind, back in the 70s/80s, living in a box canyon at 8800+ft.alt. on the Western slope with 1,400+ peaks surrounding. Developers would come in hoping to build on certain swathes of real estate where houses didn't currently stand. The powers that be had to point out that (especially during the mine boom era) houses had been built there. Most were now in the river due to avalanches and mudslides during the spring melts.

Sadly the developers went on to purchase land from cattle and sheep ranchers up on the mesas which are now dotted with ranchero or pseudo-chalet McMansions.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reference, Yoki. Those lyrics are a bit dark and suicide-y for my taste, though.

Back to watching Glee: The Power of Madonna.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, yes, of course, rashomon, but it also alludes to a prison sentence. It is that meaning that amuses me, in a dark sort of way.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I believe Asda refers to Asda Story, an MMORPG

Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game

Developed by MaxOn Soft Corp, which I believe is German

Posted by: omni3 | April 21, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The Gaiman quote says, salted with wry grains, this very same idea:

"So do I," said Gandalf, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
-- Gandalf to Frodo
J.R.R. Tolkien in Fellowship of the Ring, Second chapter, "The Shadow of the Past," just after the Elvish writing and poem that describes the One Ring.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 21, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

RD, sad news - Harry Wappler, longtime Seattle weather guy, has passed away:

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Asda sadly reminds me of Error Flynn. But I've also got a smile knowing as I do that asdg lived a good life and touched the boodle in a meaningful way

Posted by: omni3 | April 21, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse


Just refreshed the kit . . . husband is watching LordoftheRings with Gandalf talking to Frodo as I type!

I'm going back to the loom . . . . . that's too much Twilight Zone for me.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 21, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

and i still miss nani

Posted by: omni3 | April 21, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

MCR is *always* about suicide and other deaths. It's a given.

But they are seriously good musicians, and punky-rock, so I love them.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

anyone remember "Disco roller frisbee punk rockers,we can be just like you"?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 21, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh my seasea. I remember Harry Wappler well. A charming character. He and the cherubic Wayne Cody used to be brilliantly funny together.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 21, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

MCR is too pretty to be punk. They're more screamo. Here is my favorite song of theirs:

I like the combo of the marching band uniforms and the skull masks. It's got an epic-ish feel that evokes something between The Who and Queen.

The lyrics:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I love this one:

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

Speaking of punk and rock opera, American Idiot got panned by the Post:

"The 90 minutes make for such stimulating spectacle, I would happily sit through them again. And yet, in its attempt to knit a story out of a band's discography, "American Idiot" comes across as ordinary."

But the Times thought more of it:
"...the show is as invigorating and ultimately as moving as anything I’ve seen on Broadway this season. Or maybe for a few seasons past."

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Really, Yellojkt?

The description you give immediately makes me think of an updated performance of "The Ministrel boy"-- with a modern military band instrument instead of a harp, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but it got a glowing review in the NYT:

I would *so* see it, if I could.

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

I just went and bought tickets for Mothers Day weekend. It's the only weekend my son is home between semesters, so we'll make it a family outing.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I took my whole family to NYC to see the Tiger Lilies' Shockheaded Peter, downtown, and included my brother and his girlfriend. I trust the NYT's theatre reviews.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Shockhead Peter!? Now that is some cutting edge theater.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Caps win 6-3 to go ahead 3-1 in the series.

I dig MCR, too. But then, I would, wouldn't I? Screamo? - personally, I wouldn't say so, yello. Heck - I think Avenged Sevenfold or Drowning Pool's far more screamo than MCR. Speaking of rock (sorta), what are the chances JA's hanging backstage at the Rock Bottom Remainders show here in town tonight?

rashomon, thanks for the "Sandman" reference. One of these decades, I might have to reread that series.

I'm amused at Higgins' anti-azelea huff. If you don't like azaleas, North America's probably a tough place to be in the between April and August. Sheesh.

Might as well complain about conifers.


Posted by: -bc- | April 21, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I am all about surfing the cutting edge, theatre-wise.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

*Not* North America. I am here, and can only have a small azelea in a pot, indoors (and it doesn't reliably bloom).

I think the small zone 2 belt suits azaleas.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of growing grass in places where grass don't wanna grow. When I was living on the Air Force base in Del Rio (TX) it was required that we put in the effort to keep a reasonably lush, reasonably well-mown lawn in a climate that has no affinity for lush green grass. Silliness.

People and their arbitrary plant fetishes. Sheesh.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Not many up here, either. I feel strangely desolate of the crayon box of joy that azaleas provide.

But we do have hostas, roses, hydrangeas,irises, and pansies.... Oh, and the tomatoes.

I couldn't imagine the metro area without azaleas, either.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I've been resisting the urge to comment on rhodies and azaleas but what the heck. I am getting over my loathing of rhodies that developed back when my ex insisted that we deadhead them - what a sticky, awful task that was. Around here people use Rhodies as foundation plants, which is just wrong as the plants want to grow large, so unless you live in a castle, you either have to prune the heck out of them or let them cover half the house. I can now appreciate them if they are planted away from buildings so they can grow unmolested. There were two in front of the house when we moved here - there's one now and I'm tolerating it.

Azaleas are okay but some of the colors just don't appeal to me. There's one in the backyard that is orange. I don't like it but don't have the heart to dig it up. There is also a purple one near the house, I like purple but somehow I don't like it as an azalea color.

Gee, I sound really grumpy about these shrubs, don't I? Guess I'm just waiting for lilacs and hydrangeas.

I'm just counting the days til the lilacs bloom.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 21, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

badsneakers, I say go wild with the orange azalea. One downside of azaleas is that they are kind of hard to grow companion flowers with because they grow so large if you let them.

I must correct you, though, with much shame-- azaleas and rhodos don't only eat HALF the house. I've seen it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Where were the Rock Bottom Remainders and why am I just hearing about it now?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Me too, sneaks. I love that brief couple/three weeks when I walk down a Calgary street, the breeze blows, and I get a sweet hint of lilac.

An unexpected gift. Mid-May, usually.

On our Road Trip!, TBG showed me some crape myrtle shrubs. No blooms yet. I wish I could go back in July and experience them.

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

Joel's been busy, and he's come around to the Earth Day/gardening/azalea/life-in-the-universe topics too.

I have columbine flowering, noisette roses too. Lilacs are out, but I don't have any, except for a tiny Korean lilac in a bonsai pot. Also have an azalea as a bonsai, and a few we inherited from the previous owners (no orange).

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Matt Groening?

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

My point earlier was that it's kinda silly to complain too much about what does & doesn't grow in your neck of the nape of the corner of the woods. And kind of crazy to expect people to cultivate flora that doesn't naturally thrive in a particular area. You can always put a grow light in your closet and raise... well, something.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I keep thinking I should reread it too, bc. When Yoki posted the MCR quote, I thought it sounded really familiar. I'm not familiar with the band, so I was pretty sure it wasnt' from there. After a little googling I found the Gaiman reference. Which means that I was remembering a line that I had read once, 17 years ago. Since I generally have trouble remembering what I had for lunch, I thought it was a pretty good testament to what a terrific writer Gaiman is.

Posted by: rashomon | April 21, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Amy Tan? Scott Turow? Dave Barry?

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

It's in the low fifties with strong winds and rain here in usually balmy San Diego. Just won't stay warm.

But(!)a big blue whale has been hanging around the San Diego harbor for days finding food. Awwwww. So cute. :-) Locals have named the whale Balboa. He was some discoverer of, like, the Pacific ocean.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 21, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but they are there, aren't they, folks?

More constructive activities are calling... have a pleasant evening, all.


Posted by: -bc- | April 21, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Crape myrtle are pretty, but I want my blooms as early in spring as I can get 'em, not in blazing 100 degree heat, or I'd be a wisteria fan.

There's a gorgeous Wisteria (I believe) near the Rosslyn key bridge, DC side, you see it mostly when driving past, it's always in full sun. Wisterias are supposed to be vines but it looks like a tree.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 21, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Yep, they're a rock band too. I've had the pleasure of seeing the RBR with kbertocci at the Miami Book Fair. They're fun and sometimes suprisingly good - except when they're awful.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Point taken Wilbrod! Yes Yoki, the smell of lilacs is intoxicating. I only have one small one here right now - bought it two years ago for ten dollars as it was a leftover at the nursery. Last year it had one flower; this year it has seven! I need to find a place for another lilac bush.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 21, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Back-boodling. Lilacs--love them. Have buds. Can't wait!

RD I meant to comment that I noticed you were quite the commentator in the salt kit!

Posted by: Windy3 | April 21, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

But peonies still rule.

Posted by: Windy3 | April 21, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Here are my tree peonies - just one bush, but about 10 flowers this year. Lightly scented, not like the herbaceous peonies. There's also a pic of the noisette rose, which I raised from a cutting.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes Windy, peonies are gorgeous! I have one out front. I didn't do much last year, but it rained constantly thru peony season last year. I just read Joel's piece on earth day. I assume it will be the Kit for tomorrow so I won't tell my hybrid rose story, or my other rose stories right now. Not that they're really great stories...

Gotta watch Jon Stewart.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 21, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Hah! I just heard that Virginia's lieutenant governor Bolling is stuck in Europe because of the volcano. Which only leaves two of the stooges in Richmond. Now *that's* a silver lining.

Posted by: rashomon | April 21, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I am a peony. A big blousy broad of a flower.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

OK, I have to take a stand on this last rock, and be driven into the sea to perish if I must.

It's a "crepe" myrtle, dammit. I don't care that 99% of the people who spell it at all always spell it "crape". If you'd feel silly calling crepe paper "crape paper", then you should feel silly calling them "crape myrtles". It's just creepy.

I know that I've long since been outvoted on this issue, so I won't raise it again. I'll just quietly gurgle off to sea.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Surely you jest, Bob. And quit calling me Myrtle.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't let them drive you out to sea, Bob. I hear that there are volcanos on the islands out there.

Posted by: rashomon | April 21, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I'll buy that. My deficit is that we don't have crepe myrtles, so I looked it up, and got it wrong. And who knew that shrubs could be in mourning?

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

"crape myrtle": 146,000 GoogleHitz
"crepe myrtle": 133,000 GoogleHitz

I've always spelled it "crepe" but I think we've lost this one, bob.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

No, I think BobS is pulling the Boodle's leg. Of course, we really should call it Lagerstroemia.

OTOH, I haven't had a good crepe in years (last time was in Miami):

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

This is bad news for you as well:

The Encyclopedia Britannica has been using 'crape' for the paper since the 1911 edition.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

It's a Southern thang:
(scroll to the note)

Posted by: seasea1 | April 21, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

But suzettes are still crêpe.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 21, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Holy crepe.

Posted by: Yoki | April 21, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I know quite well that it's become exhaustively accepted. That doesn't mean that they're not all mistaken.

If we must, we must. But we really ought to settle upon one spelling for somethings which are Shirley related.

Crape myrtle:

Crepe paper:

Posted by: Bob-S | April 21, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

yello inspired me to check out the google hits on another pet peeve of mine:

another think coming (39,600 hits)


another thing coming (932,000 hits)

Looks like the usage that I consider correct has been pretty much clobbered.

Posted by: rashomon | April 22, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, far be it from me to enter a formal demurrer in the face of a pronouncement from so august a body as the Crape Myrtle Farms of Archer, Florida.

But I have to admit that it's news to me that "Lagerstroemia Crape Myrtle" is a recognized nomenclature. I reckon I should get out more.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 22, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

"Think. Think."

Good night, dear Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

rashomon - Well, I know which rock I'm going to next. All 932,000 of them are sweet, ignorant boobs.

Mom to willful child: "Oh, you 'think' so, do you? Well, you've got another 'think' coming!"

I know, I know, the fight has already been lost. But we're still right, no matter how many of them are wrong.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 22, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

No, it was Pooh.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Indeed! I'd forgotten that.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 22, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

All spelling variations of That Bush lead to this wikipedia page:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I blame Judas Priest:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

jkt, that's definitely a big part of the problem.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 22, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Judas Priest was being ironic. It's apparently an increasingly uncommon trait.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 22, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

"Mabberley's Plant-Book, Third Edition" calls Lagerstroemia indica "crape or crepe myrtle, crepe flower. The US experts all seem to use "crape". US National Arboretum (where crapes are a specialty):

In China, it's bairihong, "hundred days red".

Unfortunately, crapes in Florida seldom escape the attentions of landscapers and homeowners who mimic them. The poor things are chainsawed annually, reduced to bleeding stubs. Only the crapes at Disney seem safe.

The Chinese discovered, and started breeding repeat-flowering roses a thousand years ago. In a sophisticated urban area like Washington, it must be possible to find heirloom Chinese roses that would likely thrive.
My gosh, I think it was a 'Louis Philippe' or 'old Cracker Rose' that I bought from Blooming Idiots of Okeechobee for my sister (Nelson's Roses in Apopka has it, too). Hardy enough for DC? Probably.

There's so many good garden plants that there's little reason to tolerate poor performers. Enron-style personnel management for the yard: mulch the bottom 20% every year. (Or was that GE?)

Columbines like limestone
I've never planted a peony without moving to a different climate a year later.
Camellia japonica "royal velvet" put on a good show this year.
Camellia sasanqua should do well in Washington. Red Barber mentioned them from Tallahassee on NPR. Great yard plants, but why won't mine grow???
Chionanthus (fringe tree) is neglected.
Loads and loads of fine hydrangeas.

Thinking of Chinese plants, incredible amounts of cabbage used to be transported to Beijing every fall. They were tucked away in cellars with turnips to keep everyone healthy until spring.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

How I wish I could throw my true high-hill southern drawl into the discussions of crepe myrtle and azalias and rhododendra.

Such a cliche'd thing, the true southern accent. But being able to tell if you're from Sah-VAN-nah or Vahl-DOS-tah or Ah-GUS-tah or 'lanta or up t'wards Da-LON-a-guh. That's the trick.

My parents said that when they went to college in Macon in 1948 folks could practically pick them out by the county judging only by their accents.

I don't begrudge our blending pronounciations, but it is nice to hear a voice from home once in a while.

By the time I post this y'all will be talking about the relative chemical output of volcanos vs the economics of super-heros as opposed to flight attendants' compensation during the meltdown of saltmines in the bird preservation sky rockets of the next kit, but I will keep learning from you anyway. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | April 22, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

talitha, I used to work with a guy from West Virginia who once told me "I've got relatives who live so far back in the hills that they still say 'thee' and 'thou.'"

Now *thats* an accent.

Posted by: rashomon | April 22, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. It's much too early, but I was awakened by the niece and her mother, on the way out to catch the bus to go to Charleston with 91 other kids and their parents from her school. My task is to get the nephew to school on time and then to pick him up. The life of a retired aunt!

I'm with Adrian on azaleas. Lovely for ten days a year, otherwise, meh. I have three rhodies in my yard, two a gift from Mr. T's mother and the third a descendant of the ones that covered my grandmother's front porch. It's still small and hasn't bloomed yet, but it's growing. I love crepe myrtles but don't have any - yet. Maybe this year...

Time to get moving so I'm not in the nephew's way in the bathroom.

Cassandra, I hope you have a pleasant and pain-free day!

Posted by: slyness | April 22, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... if it looks like a tree, then it's Oleander and not Wisteria.

And why wouldn't you want a bloom in the heat, when you've got so many in the cool spring? That's why I love Crape Myrtle: it shows color and life when the rest of the world is wilting.

We planted a Crape Myrtle in my mom's honor in the hospice garden and specifically asked that the name plate have the plant spelled correctly as it was a pet peeve of Mom's. They spelled it wrong, citing some odd source that said it was an "accepted" spelling, and besides, they didn't want to have to replace the other name plates on the other such trees. Sigh. The life of an editor is he11, I tell you.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 22, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Morning 'boodle, been lurking far too long. Slyness, rhodies coming up (well, blooming,)in the mid-west. along with the tulips.

Posted by: ra1967 | April 22, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Editing must be almost unbearable these days. "I'm going to the store, you wanna go with?" Arrgh...

Posted by: ra1967 | April 22, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Dangling what?

Posted by: ra1967 | April 22, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Hi ra1967! Welcome in from lurkerdom. My rhodies will bloom in a couple of weeks, around the first of May. The wild rhodies in the yard at the mountain place bloom the end of June/first of July.

Posted by: slyness | April 22, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Crape myrtle wood makes great implements such as knife handles, etc. Also there is a new kit.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 22, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Gardening is now officially on-topic.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

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