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The debt bomb

[My story on the debt, in Outlook. Your thoughts, pro or con, left or right, trenchant or deranged, welcome as always! I can't imagine that this topic could generate any controversy.]

Bill Gross is used to buying bonds in multibillion-dollar batches. But when it comes to U.S. Treasury bills, he's getting nervous. Gross, a founder of the investment giant Pimco, is so concerned about America's national debt that he has started unloading some of his holdings of U.S. government bonds in favor of bonds from such countries as Germany, Canada and France.

Gross is a bottom-line kind of guy; he doesn't seem to care if the debt is the fault of Republicans or Democrats, the Bush tax cuts or the Obama stimulus. He's simply worried that Washington's habit of spending today the money it hopes to collect tomorrow is getting worse and worse. It even has elements of a Ponzi scheme, Gross told me.

"In order to pay the interest and the bill when it comes due, we'll simply have to issue more IOUs. That, to me, is Ponzi-like," Gross said. "It's a game that can never be finished."

The national debt -- which totaled $8,370,635,856,604.98 as of a few days ago, not even counting the trillions owed by the government to Social Security and other pilfered trust funds -- is rapidly becoming a dominant political issue in Washington and across the country, and not just among the "tea party" crowd. President Obama is feeling the pressure, and on Tuesday he will open the first session of a high-level bipartisan commission that will look for ways to reduce deficits and put the country on a sustainable fiscal path.

It's a tough task. The short term looks awful, and the long term looks hideous. Under any likely scenario, the federal debt will continue to balloon in the years to come. The Congressional Budget Office expects it to reach $20 trillion over the next decade -- and that assumes no new recessions, no new wars and no new financial crises. In the doomsday scenario, foreign investors get spooked and demand higher interest rates to continue bankrolling American profligacy. As rates shoot up, the United States has to borrow more and more simply to pay the interest on its debt, and soon the economy is in a downward spiral.
Of course, at least in theory, this problem can be fixed. Unlike a real Ponzi scheme, which collapses when no new suckers offer money that can be used to pay off earlier investors, the government can restore fiscal sanity whenever our leaders decide to do so.

But that premise is what has people like Gross worried. In addition to running a budget deficit, Washington for years has had a massive deficit of political will.

Over the past decade, lawmakers have avoided the kind of unpopular decisions -- tax increases, spending cuts or some combination -- needed to keep the debt under control. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified recently that, for investors, the underlying problem with the debt isn't economic. "At some point, the markets will make a judgment about, really, not our economic capacity but our political ability, our political will, to achieve longer-term sustainability," he said.

The economic recovery has been picking up steam in recent weeks -- "America's Back!" trumpets Newsweek -- but the political recovery has been feeble. Whether on taxes, entitlements, military retooling, financial reform, energy policy or climate change, Washington is mired in a political enmity that makes tough decisions nearly impossible.

In the fiscal debate, the default position, as it were, is to do nothing. Debt is the grease of Washington legislation; for short-sighted leaders, it is less a political problem than a political solution. As long as the government can continue borrowing at reasonable rates, citizens can have their tax cuts and government services, and eventually the growing debt becomes someone else's problem.

"This is all an exercise in current generations shifting burdens on future generations," economist William Gale says. "Future generations don't vote, of course."

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 23, 2010; 2:48 PM ET
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Next: You get the government you deserve


Hmm. If this is gonna be a front page story, then I suggest that we have the Bunker ready for the onslaught. Slyness? Mudge? You know what you have to do.

You know, corporations operate -- or certainly used to -- on a debt system all the time. It becomes invisible money after a time. When you don't see it, you don't necessarily feel the pinch.

I think that both parties operate on pretty much the same system. The Democrats tend to want to spend money on behalf of those who don't have much, and the Rethuglicans tend to want to spend money on themselves. That's only fair, eh? It seems that the Rethugs are only concerned with debt and the deficit when they're out of power. When they're in power, they're like pigs at a trough.

It's all so boring. I think I'll get back to work in that case.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 23, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The article's on the Front Page, but we seem to be safe for now.

Perhaps we could convince the bears that debt is tasty and nutritious?

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, but there is nothing about our debt crisis that a quick round of hyperinflation won't cure. Just add three zeroes to all the currency and leave the Chinese holding the bag.

My advice: Buy wheelbarrows. To carry your money around it.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm here, ftb. Yeah, I gotta hunch this thumbsucker's gonna be up all weekend, and yeah, it's gonna draw some drive-by Deranger Ricks out of Der Looneywald. So the bunker is all prepped and ready. However, there is a new bunker rule: NO MORE FREAKING FACEBOOK POSTS ALLOWED. I don't care if you've Facebooked Lon Chaney and you're bosom Twitter pals with Tweetie Bird, I've had it up to HERE with this crap, OK? If ya wanna Facebook yerselves go do it on... (drum roll) Facebook. Isn't that what's its there for? Please. Have some consideration for us innocent bystanders. This Facebook crap has been like a pink eye infection.

There. I feel a little better now.

You may proceed.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 23, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

For me the most telling quote here is from Bill Gross: "At some point, the markets will make a judgment about, really, not our economic capacity but our political ability, our political will, to achieve longer-term sustainability."

The Emperor (the Ewe-Ess) is parading around in "new clothes," meaning it's wearing little more than its reputation as a military and economic superpower.

For now, that's enough. In these times, few countries are tackling their debt so no one, save maybe China, will tsk-tsk the US for accumulating more debt in the short term. In fact, they need it to jump-start their economies.

I've been hearing doomsday stories about America's debt since the 1970s. Certainly it needs to be addressed, but I think we have a long while to go before the markets seriously question the political will issue.

Posted by: MsJS | April 23, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The really good time to buy non-US bonds (at least CDN) has probably already passed. The C$ dropped with world commodities, but is back at par with the USD. I don't suppose most of the boodle will find it useful if I suggest higher weightings in USD. If a person had some tolerance for risk some higher rate Greek govt bonds would probably be attractive right now.

Posted by: engelmann | April 23, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't want my Facebook feed cluttered up with silly sniping about how boneheaded the web czars at the Washington Post are. I have important Farmville updates to read.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Facebook, this has been the Number 1 WaPo linked story for two days now:

And Code Red has nothing to do with nuclear safety and everything to do with a certain advertiser on Glee.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Mafia Wars and Sylvia the Mystic, yello...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Joel is quite right that interest rates are the key issue. What makes this debt manageable in the near-term are low interest rates. Which is why inflationary pressures are real dangerous.

Even though it has bad connotations, there is something to the "Steins Law" that says that anything that can't continue forever won't. I am convinced that the continual expansion of the debt won't get to catastrophic values because forces will arise to limit it.

The question is how painful those forces will have to become before the political will comes around. And part of that political will is getting down to specifics as to what taxes should be raised and what benefits should be cut. The answer "somebody else's" isn't going to wash for long.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 23, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter." I know somebody famous and important once said that, but I can't quite remember who. Socrates? Plato? Aristotle? Newt? Spiny Norman? No, no, it was a Dick, I'm sure the guy was a Dick, but which one? Oh yeah, it was Dick Cheney, and if that Dick said it, it must be true.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 23, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Any sentence that begins with "If this trend continues indefinitely..." is immediately false because they never do.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

kguy, if that Dick said it, he's still a ... d**k

Posted by: -ftb- | April 23, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yello may not like his name in the same post as the upcoming rant, but I did want to ask which comments in the Q/A were his. My comment didn't make it in (wherein I posited that if anyone thought e-mailing your IT department to explain this was going to do anything but have IT send his/her boss a not-nice e-mail is delusional).

I realize almost everyone in the world except me uses FB. I want to point out a few things from the chat as well as saying that promises are broken more easily than piecrust.

- Note the use and re-use of the word "data." Your FB information, family pictures, everything they know about you is data. Buyable, sellable, non-private, already formatted in nice, easily- transfered fields of data.
- What your friends see through the FB GUI may be private/non-private. What FB sells or otherwise gives to clients via backend reports, interfaces and files has nothing to do with your stated preferences re: friends.
- Although the chatters were at pains to say the WaPo will not see what your friends see, I'd be astonished to find that WaPo is not getting your demographics via a different conduit. Did you know that when you friend a company on FB or get coupons, the company can receive most of the information FB has about you, if not all.
- more-

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

So Mudge, how is an unwritten baseball rule enforced?

Posted by: bh72 | April 23, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

- Although you may not mind WaPo receiving information about you, you have no control over what information they receive (WaPo is a stand-in here for any other company. Personlly, I like the WaPo). Unfortunately, this is also true of potential employeers.
- The current setup of FB probably will not be what it is in 10 years. Don't think, however, that the information you type today won't be available in 10 years. I can imagine a spinoff where you pay a fee and FB takes you back in the archives. Or sold that information to someone else who will.
- How much information is out there about us anyway? When you bought a house, joined a company, posted in UseNet in 1987, did you think then about what might show up in the future? Yeah, me neither. Is it there? Absolutely. Do you have any control over it? No.
- Remember a few weeks ago when we found craigslist sellers purporting to be soldiers stationed abroad?

In today's Q/A the FB's guy reasoning sounded to me like the banks explaining the $35 overdraft for the $4 Starbucks. But, but, our customers want this! It's more convenient for them!

Okay, so rant over. Really, I deal with privacy issues every day. My blood pressure hasn't even gone up while I typed this :) I just hope we don't come to the point where we vote electronically and a little window pops us to tell us how our friends voted. Because, you know, they know who our friends are.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Boy, can I clear out a room fast or what?

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

dbG, thanks for the tips, the way I look at it I have a wallet full of reward programs all of whom can sell my data to others, revealing my full address, email, phone number, spending habits, income, work location - all info not available through FB, I think I am doomed no matter what.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm another one, dbG, who won't go on FB. I do use (and perhaps not as much as I should) LinkedIn.

It's my opinion that at least the youngsters who post on FB, are craving for attention -- any kind of attention -- and do not think about the consequences. It's part of the job description of a teenager or pre-teen. Nothing bad will ever happen to them, and it's no big deal. Until it does and until it is.

I have no intention of FBing ever and there we are.

And as Mudge so eloquently put it earlier, "you may proceed."

Posted by: -ftb- | April 23, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, dbG. A lot of good info here.

Late in my career, I worked for a company that, among other things, compiled data of all sorts on about 80%-85% of American individuals. The data we couldn't get directly we inferred through statistical modeling.

What Facebook offers in the way of apps it does for one reason only: money. Anything you post to or through FB is constantly being evaluated for its ability to generate positive cash flow. From experience I can tell you data miners thrive on this sort of challenge and nothing is ignored in the quest to use information about you to generate revenue.

Posted by: MsJS | April 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The unwritten rules are enforced by spankings from the invisible hand.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

While I am in rant mode, I would trust that any company who researches potential employees through Facebook, would not be one of the many companies now setting up pages on Facebook.

I shall hold off on my rant about how repugnant I consider Facebook type searches re potential employees are, perhaps acceptable for high security employees othewise I just believe it an invasion of privacy - people have a right to a private life, unless laws are broken and the evidence is public.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I was the first question from Baltimore and the one from Tralfamad, Ore. They kept insisting that WaPo is getting no user data from Facebook and that no cash is changing hands. Information may want to be free, but it's usually shackled to a desk somewhere. Somebody is getting taken to the cleaners and I don't think it is Mark Zuckerberg.

The technology to automatically send an article to your Facbook/Twitter/Digg feed has been around a long time. The new capability is to push posts OUT to third parties. The more I look at this selective feed, the lamer it looks. My friends list is at least 50% hardcore boodlers and I am the only one that has linked to a WaPo article at all. I suspect that in a more random population sample, the rate is even less.

On my RealName account, only that Code Red article has been linked by anybody and it doesn't even show in my list. The real eye-opener is how many people have their privacy settings on Everybody. It's these random strangers showing up under Friends' Activity that is freaking out a lot of people. Justifiably so, because I bet most of them don't know that their Walls are available to anybody that stumbles onto their WaPo related activity. For example, Thai Pham has lost his(her?) Economics textbook which is going to make finals at MIT tough:!/profile.php?id=797523286&v=wall

I also now know the names of all of Scott Elridge's kids. (You are on your own to find that out).

The most relevant info revealed on the chat, from my perspective, was that "Don Graham, our Chairman, is on the board of Facebook." This is not an arm's length agreement.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Kinky, kguy.

MsJS, eloquently said. If FB were saying this upfront I'd have no problem with them.

dmd, one of my less-technical colleagues was just asked to resign because he'd been on approved medical leave for 2 months, hadn't returned to us but had posted his return to his (more strenuous) 2nd job on FB. You just don't know who's going to see it!

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

/Tralfamad, Ore

Yeah, I noticed the WaPo Chairman on the Board of FB too. In a business that took technological security seriously, this could be a conflict of interest.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Again that would be an issue I would consider a legal one dbG, insurance fraud and I would think they had reasonable suspicion that that person was being less than honest.

I also have little sympathy for someone who would be that stupid.

I do try to be careful what I post, work is excluded, nothing too extreme etc.

If a company wished to refuse employment to me because of what I posted then I would say it is definitely not a company I would want to work for anyways.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe he was that stupid either. Many of my colleagues are on FB, all friended. Once the rumor starts, . . . I liked him too. We started at the same time.

Off to clean the kitchen. Catch you all later!

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The feds went through the debt reduction exercise north of the border for several years (unfortunately I think one year of recession deficit spending undid it, but easy come easy go). They squeezed everyone and everything when the economy was doing well. The political capital spent was actually surprisingly small. The interest groups howled bloody murder, but it's easy to sell to the average voter that you've shaved down the national debt by 5 billion instead of dispersing the funds into regional agricultural transport subsidies, solidarity funds for suburban forestry renewal, property enhancement distributions for corporate redesignations, etc, etc. Even if your pet project was somehow axed you still have a certain personal stake in paying down the debt.

Of course you want to be actually paying down debt, not just reducing deficit. That may require some particular economic conditions.


DBG, for the record no Facebook for me either. Here and any other board I'm somewhat sparse with personal detail (no offense people, but there are a thousand eyes for every voice).

Posted by: qgaliana | April 23, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I take what you all say to heart, and have always been careful with my privacy settings, but I couldn't, and wouldn't, be doing without my facebook.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

re: enforcement

Well, it has been shown that displeasing a man whose livelihood is earned by throwing objects in your general direction at some fairly substantial velocities can result in some undesireable consequences.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

My other chat location is Fo, MA but ChatLady changes that to Fo, Mass. The new chat format asks for a topic, not a location, so a whole new witty moderator attention grabbing paradigm has to be developed.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

A coworker of mine has a firm rule: Never friend a fellow employee. You never know who will through you under the bus.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I swore I would never use Facebook, either, but someone lured me there with the promise of flower pictures. I block practically all the games. I figure WaPo has everything they need to know about me already, from doubleclick and all the ad sites that get called every time I click. I'm good at ignoring the ads, but I have to say that yellojkt's mug is hard to pass by, and the real estate for why I'm reading the WaPo in the first place is shrinking. Hope you can opt out soon.

I'm so tired of the debt/deficit story. Where was everyone during the previous administration when some of us were jumping up and down about this? Engaging in war is not good for the economy either, at least not the wars of attrition we get into now. Who argued against the wars? Not the WaPo.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 23, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Playing Lone Ranger superpower is a burden no one needs. Scaling back military spending like mothballing 9 aircraft carriers, would be a quick step toward economic sanity.

Valparaiso The City That Refuses To Die is out.

Guaranteed to be less gloomy than Joel's article.

Pitchahs for Frostbitten coming out soon.
Have a good weekend, Boodlers. :)


Posted by: Braguine | April 23, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Well, amazon is a real grown up. :)

yoki, if you know all this and stay on it, I certainly respect your own grownup decision. I'm not saying I wouldn't use it under an alias.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse


another point of view

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

bh, that particular unwritten rule is quite easy to enforce. The next time A-rod comes up to bat (and there's nobody on base, not a critical game situation), you pitch four times right at his knees. If he gets hit, well, he needs to learn how to have a little more respect for the pitcher. Then, if he doesn't seem properly humble when he's on first, you throw 27 pick-off moves at him. If one or two of those pickoffs drill him in the back...sorry, Alex.

That's how you enforce an unwritten rule.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It really is a game of chicken. The two parties one-up each other hoping to gain as much short-term and magically be out of town when the bomb goes off.

I was at a regional industry meeting (civil/transportation industry) the heads of two major industry organizations (AASHTO and ECAC) both said the same thing: 1) the federal highway trust fund is going to go broke in a couple years unless they find a way to raise more money. 2) neither party would be willing to do the most sensible thing... raise the federal gasoline tax and 3) both parties realize we have to keep spending money on infrastructure... and that the federal government will be the primary player in funding.

For a solution, the "best case scenario" was that A) the idea will be floated this summer to just bond out the money to replenish the highway trust fund... about $150 billion. B) Both parties will stammer and hedge that we can't possibly add that money to the deficit.... and it won't get passed until C) the November elections are past.. and the lame duck Congress passes the bill, with support of all or most of the people who just lost.

The thought is that they borrow the money and AGREE TO PAY OFF THE BILL WITH FUTURE TAX REVENUES. The hope is that in five years or so there will be enough gumption to pass a gasoline tax... when we have to or else the bonds don't get paid.

Too long a story already, but the summation: we need to keep spending or increasing spending. Short term we won't raise taxes, just run deficits. Long term... we hope that the tax fairy gives us a present.

Ugly. Scary. Destructive.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 23, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Dang proofreading. The second organization was the ACEC (American Council of Engineering Companies).

Posted by: steveboyington | April 23, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Facebook is on my tekcub list. Things I will never do as long as I live. So far the tekcub list is short, but impressive and undefeated. Go to Disneyworld/Disneyland. See the movie Titanic. Set up a Facebook account.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 23, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I will say that if it were not for my children I probably would not be on Facebook, I joined just to make sure they were safe and would encourage all parents of teens to do likewise, I trust my child others not so much. Our rule is I must be friended, That said I now enjoy getting updates from my friends and relatives.

steve - laughing about Titantic wish I had seen your list first.

dmdspouse is at the Sabres/Bruins game tonight - look for the guy in the crowd in a Bobby Orr jersey who is probably getting beer tossed at him, looking at the current score perhaps they are just laughing at him.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Tekcub: Watch "reality" TV. Attend a Sarah Palin rally.

Posted by: rashomon | April 23, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: teddymzuri | April 23, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Mine is far longer:

No to shaking hands with Pat Buchanan let alone visiting his bedroom, etc.
No to seeing the Passion of the Christ or any other movies known to cause vomiting, etc.

Titanic is tame in comparison: it's a mere a cheese-up of Romeo and Juliet, the Hairy Ape, etc. Just turn the sound off if you hate Celine Dion.

But I respect your choice. The world needs a few people who haven't seen that shipwreck of a movie yet.

I mean, the ship sank. What heck kind of ending is that?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 23, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey mudge, just read the "unwritten rule" discussion. As a big fan of baseball, and a player in high school and college, that rule is VERY real.

Cutting across the diamond and stepping on the mound/rubber is akin to driving your car across your neighbor's front lawn to get to the next driveway over. Not cool. ARod continues to be his own enemy.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 23, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and facebook is a given tekcub for me. dbG and MsJs is right about the data mining.

I already know that they could probably datamine me down to how many zits are on my butt at this moment. Why give them even more?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 23, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Tekcub: cute, sb'ngton.

I will never see the exorcist or any of the chainsaw movies. Ditto on any Disney place.

The glassbowl rottie next door, who has bitten several people, knocked out one of the stockade pickets in the backyard today. Emma saw him pushing his muzzle in and started barking insults, totally ready to take him on. I called her off and probably not wisely, went to the gap. He wasn't making any noise, but was watching
me. I scolded him, asked him what he thought he was doing. He slunk to his back door and scratched to be let in. Good to know he sees me as an alpha. I fixed the fence but I really need a new one. Suggestions for one that's extremely durable, strong and 6 ft tall?

Posted by: -dbG- | April 23, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

A six-foot chainlink fence works for Wilbrodog and for any dog who would dare threaten his realm.

That dog can easily hop 3 feet high on a standing jump and jump onto a 5 feet stone wall, so we planned on 5 feet minimum. Even when the snow drifts nearly eat the fence, it still helps.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 23, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I am de-friending mudge...unless you can explain to me like I am a 4th grader, so i can explain to other 4th graders, why i say "a history book" but "an historical event".
Thank you.

Posted by: teddymzuri | April 23, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Teddy, this tells all.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 23, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

steveboyington! Too funny. My list is short but non-negotiable. No Disney theme parks, never Las Vegas, no all-inclusive beach resorts, no Caribbean cruises... see a theme developing here? I don't go out out in the noon-day sun. Pretty much no adult-type daycare situations.

But, but, on my bucket-list is Scotland, specifically Edinburgh for the Fringe and Leithside just because, Dublin if even for just a weekend (again, and just because I feel at home there), Patagonia (again), Easter Island, The Solomons (again), Vanuatu (again), any country in East Africa (love love), Tchad and Cameroun (again)... I'm more about culture or adventure travel, where I can be oot and aboot and active.

Nice to see tedymzuri back here, too. Hi!

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC: teddymzuri. Sorry. I hate it when people get my name wrong (too often Chris! or Pat!), and hate to do it to others.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I've been to Vegas... but not to stay or gamble (was there on the way out of a Grand Canyon raft trip). I loved it... for the people watching alone. Great place to be a fly on the wall.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 23, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

OK, Teddy, sit down, take a deep breath. This one ain't for the faint-hearted.

It has to do with how one pronounces the "h" AND whether the first syllabel is stressed or not.

Now, in Murika, we would simply insist that it is "a historical," not "an."

However, in Britain and some certain foreign countries who shall go nameless because they are immediately adjacent, they would say it is a two-part rule.

First, if the h is pronounced and the stress is on the first syllable, as in "history," it gets an "a." If the has two or more syllabels and the stress is on the second syllable, it gets "an."

Hence, these words get "an" because the "h" is pronounced but the stress is on the second syllable: historical, historian, habitual, hereditary, hysterical, etc.

When you use "a" before the word, you fully aspirate the "h." When you use "an" in front of it, you usually don't aspirate it very much (or at all), and the "gh" may even disappear entirely.

Tricky example:
I have a hemorrhoid.
I'm having an hemorrhoidectomy. Why? Stress has moved to the "ect" syllable and the "h" kinda disappears. And because the b@st@rd really hurts.


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

OOOhhh! A place to collect types and dialogue for my next (first) novel!

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Funny Yoki, we were discussing our bucket list last night on the car ride home. One of mine was a coast to coast tour that included all the old CP hotels (now under their various names).

Vegas was always somewhere I have had on my not interested list but I might have to go there for work next year.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

You made me lol, 'mudge. But, here's a funny. One of my brothers somehow got the British/Canadian rule wrong as a very young boy, and to this day says, "An *H*otel." I mean, it should be an otel, or a Hotel, but An Hotel makes no sense at all. And I find it adorable in him, 'cause he's my brother.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"Adult day-care situations." Love that, Yoki! I'm going to steal it...

It's been 36 years since I was in a Disney park. I may go back one day, but it's low on the list. High on the list: Windsor Castle.

I'm with you on the movies, Wilbrod.

Posted by: slyness | April 23, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, if you are French, live in a country that has considerable French influence, or you like French cooking, you may spell it "Tchad." However, if you live in Murika, or similar places, you spell it "Chad." Otherwise, yanno, we'd be eating in Tchinese restaurants and swooning over Richard Tchamberlain movies.

Well, some of us would. Not me, though. The movies, I mean. I like Tchinese food. Also crabs from Tchesapeake Bay.

Why the French do some of the colorful things they do is a mystery to me.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Once again I discover I am a muddled mess of Canadian/American and British grammar. At first read Mudge's explanation made perfect sense.

But then I thought about it and I think I would use, an historical,an historian, a habitual, a hereditary, a hysterical, etc.

Which explains why I do not write for a living!

I also say zee not zed at least 75% of the time.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Now here's an interesting if problematic WaPo headline: "E.U., IMF hash out Greece bailout."

Now, why does E.U. get periods, but IMF doesn't?

I have no freaking idea. I suspect the answer is "Becuz."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I happily grant it to you, slyness. You don't even need to footnote me.

dmd1, I've stayed in the Digby Pines, the Chateau Frontenac, the Chateau Montebello, the Royal York, the Palliser, the Hotel McDonald, the Banff Springs (*waves* at TBG and dbG), the Prince of Wales, the Empress. It still leaves a lot on the future itinerary. The thing that I love is that most of those now differently-owned properties try to live up to the grand railway hotel tradition.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Pourquoi? Par-ce-que le Franch own l'Union européenne

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

So agree Yoki, stayed at a couple, Jasper Park Lodge, Chateau Montebello, and visited quite a few others, love the history and charm, and well the food and service are nothing to complain about either.

Are there Grand Railway hotels in the US I would gladly add them to my list - not to mention old castles in Europe. Please note #1 on my bucket list is somehow acquiring the money required for me to fulfill all the other items on the list.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 23, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

What does it mean to "stress" a syllable?

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 23, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

You tell it you're two weeks late, and that normnally you're as regular as clockwork.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I just did a quick search on the Post site and found 33 uses of E.U. in the last seven days, and 113 of EU. The Post stylebook probably covers it, so one is obviously wrong -- I'm guessing E.U.

Writers who use E.U. are probably basing it on the standard usage of U.S. (rather than US). The AP stylebook uses "U.S.", but I think it's probably because "us" is a word, since they don't, for instance, use "U.S.A." or "U.S.S.R." -- neither gets periods.

I suspect that, in this case, it's a mistake, and it's because the Post gave pink slips to most of their copy editors. Surprise.

Posted by: rashomon | April 23, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

You're undoubtedly correct, rashomon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

indubitably! I'm late for dinner and dance. Good night, Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

While I haven't been since my twenties, the Disney parks are also fascinating places for people-watching. Although at my age, I suspect I'd be picked up and questioned for doing too much of it.

Curmudgeon's note about the "E.U., IMF..." headline reminds me to renew my periodic whining about the habit of initializing "Ob-Gyn". [O.B.-G.Y.N.?? What the heck does that "Y" represent? Is it some sort of penis-envy thing referring to the Y-chromosome?] Since the letters don't stand for anything, stop doing it. You're not fooling the kids! Just say "obgine" (long "I", silent "E"), with equally accented syllables and a clear conscience.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

NY girl helps choking friend, credits 'SpongeBob'

NY man pleads guilty in plot to bomb NYC subway

NY toughens rules on gas drilling in watersheds

Mom accused of killing son in NY asks for bail, US

Japan moves to ease strain with U.S. : Proposal aims to settle the allies' dispute over Okinawa...

Charges against piracy suspects indicted in US

...and at this moment the hed above the EU/IMF hed is: Japan moves to appease U.S.

So yup, it's take your son/daughter to the Post Copy Desk Day. Sometimes it's NY, sometimes it's N.Y. Sometimes US, sometimes U.S.

Rashomon nailed it. Pink slips.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I refer, of course, the habit of actually saying out loud the letters "O-B-G-Y-N".

I realize that nobody inserts the periods when writing it, which is kinda my point.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Which, of course, brings up the question of why the spell-checker in their word processing software hasn't been customized to include their stylebook. Probably because they gave pink slips to half their IT guys.

Posted by: rashomon | April 23, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Or is that I.T. guys?

Posted by: rashomon | April 23, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Ooops, forgot to add it: "Guilty plea in N.Y. terror plot"

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

sb, that was my tekcub list too, except now I'm on Facebook. I've been to Vegas twice, for work-related conferences (when I was working). It's an odd place. I found the art exhibits, which were calm and quiet and as un-Vegas as you can get. The courtyard at the Bellagio is nice too. It's just not the same without the Star Trek exhibit.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 23, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, goodie! More Caps hockey in Montreal!

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yellojkt:
(instructions for opting out of the Network News "feature")

And I meant that Vegas is not the same with the Star Trek stuff - not that it was ever in the Bellagio's courtyard.

Also, I have no desire to climb Mt Everest.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 23, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Hi Boodle!
Have been AWOL and am halfway through reading today's kit.
Wanted to say I abandoned a Facebook account two days after a family member talked me into setting it up and I got requests from 50+ people in one day.
Over and out on that s**t!

I had read to that part on the kit (dbG's info) when I barged in. Will catch up with you all later.

[ps - any help I can give in protecting the bunker, let me know. Otherwise, I'll hunker down with you until the coast is clear. ;)]

Posted by: talitha1 | April 23, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I've been to Disney (too many times to count):

And to Windsor Castle:

Disney has better rides.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Good heavens! Men, seriously, how can you do this?

Ob-gyn = obstetrics and gynaecology.

In Canada, they are ob-gyns. Ohbguyns, not O-B-G-Y-Ns.

I am rather offended. It seems as though you object to femaleness. ObJTFM. Ohbjeftem!

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

On our honeymoon we stayed at Le Reine Élizabeth in Montreal. We didn't stay at Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, but our B&B overlooked it, which in some ways is better.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the debt is it is just so hard to think of those huge numbers as real money. Also, the size of the numbers makes the problem appear insoluble short-term. Politicians tend to think short-term. Statesmen think long-term. To reduce the debt we'll need fewer politicians, more statesmen (of all genders).

I, too, am on Facebook primarily to keep up with my son and extended family. I don't put much on there, don't play games or take quizzes, and my privacy settings are very restricted. For my very limited use, I enjoy it.

Mudge had that stressing a syllable exactly right.

I look forward to reading Brag's article (keep 'em coming please) but right now the rabbit & I must toddle off. Buenos gnocchis, Boodle. Vaya con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 23, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

This made me laugh, loudly. From one of my young friends in Montreal,

"Our father, who art in Centre Bell, Hockey be thy name. Thy will be done, the Cup be won On ice, as well as in the stands. Give us this day our hockey sticks And forgive us our penalties As we forgive those who get penalized against us.Lead us not into elimination But deliver us to victory.In the name of the fans, Lord Stanley and the holy Habs. Amen."

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, down here we actually do say the letters, O-B-G-Y-N. We don't say "Ohb-guyn."

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 23, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Snort, yello. Us Anglos call it the Queen E.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - You've partially restored my hope for rational language usage. If the Canadians can figure it out, then (with enough proselytizing) maybe USAians can, too.

And the Montreal prayer is quite good. I hope that your friend finds hockey happiness, although I'd prefer that it come in the form of bittersweet appreciation of a hard-fought loss Monday night. (Hey, I said happiness, not elation.)

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I just love love that we have different cultures! I went to a Food Lion with TBG and SonofG last week in Charlotte. Yup. We're not the same!

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, everyone I know says O-B-G-Y-N. If I sit quietly I get to go to the P-A-R-K after.

Posted by: engelmann | April 23, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Do not fret in vain Warshington people. We (the Habs) will fold in time.

I haven't spent a single night in a CP Hotel but I've had a drink or three in 6-7 of thems. I'm quietly wondering what it means here. While shaking the ice cubes in my glass.

Steevo, the Federal excise tax on gasoline shall be quadrupled, at least. This is a different world. The USA can't keep on being the land of the 5000lbs single-passenger pickup in this day and age. it angers other people.

RD Padouk, it's official. You are the last guy in North America without a cell phone. I succombed to the temptation.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 23, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

e-man, I'm old. Very very old. Perhaps O-L-D.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Caught up.

Yoki, Scotland is at the top of my bucket list. I do Cape Breton, N.S. as a fallback whenever possible.

I'm woebegone on economics but as long as the boodle speaks in "real life" terms I'm not a total goner.

And could someone please tell this non-techy round-headed right-brain how to refresh the thread without having to go off-kit and sometimes even turn off the darned laptop to get back up to speed?
I freely admit to being a simpleton about these things. (Can knit you a mean sweater though!)

Posted by: talitha1 | April 23, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC I got giddy because of today's game. And I watched the Ottawa/Pittburgh game until it reached its bitter end, a bit past midnight last night.
"them" 'It" and "succumbed".

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 23, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

talitha, welcome fellow roundhead!

Are you using Chrome? I was just talking to one of my pointy-headed friends about this deficit.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

shrieking, I'm not a guy, but I don't own a cellphone, either. For roadtrips solo I borrow my husband's in case of emergencies.
So RD Padouk, you're not alone.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 23, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod called me a round-head trying to explain to omni the other day why I didn't understand some link mechanism she was trying to explain. He told her I wasn't a pointy-headed techy. She didn't get my "right-brain" comment, so we're even.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 23, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I use my right brain all the time. This is why I make bad dumb drawings and stories, but I'm getting gooder at all of it. I think. Of course, I'm left-handed. So that is that.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I just saw Ivansmom pick up her rabbit and leave, but I will write this anyway. I made her recipe for Brownies today and if any of you have not made them, get busy. So good and so simple. I will post her recipe again ---

"I'm baking brownies for the science bake sale at the Arts Festival. Mmmmmmm. This is my old reliable standby, the One Bowl Brownies recipe from the McBride Ranch in Llano, Texas.
1 cup vegetable oil
6 Tablespoons cocoa
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Put oil in a bowl. Stir in cocoa, eggs, sugar, Karo and vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together, add to cocoa mixture. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased 8x12 pan and backe at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. If a glass pan is used, bake at 325. They are chewier if not overbeaten or overbaked.
I usually use a 9x13 pan and have skinnier brownies.
Posted by: Ivansmom | April 3, 2010 11:02 AM |"

I used a 9 by 13 glass pan, baked them at 325, and probably had to bake them right around 40 minutes.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 23, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Whatever button/symbol thingie on your browser window "reloads" or "refreshes" the current screen will do it, but there are other routes:

Highlight the address in the address bar of the browser (for example, mine currently shows: )

and press enter. That will probably take you to the top of Joel's post, so you'll need to scroll back through all of the comments, but it should get the job done. The conversation will be (or at least SHOULD be) updated without going elsewhere first.

If your browser always uses a cached version of the page when available, and you keep getting the same not-updated page, you'll have to get trickier, but I won't get into that unless the above method doesn't work.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 23, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so don't go into it, Bob-S. Reely.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Following Bob-s's directions you need not scroll back down after your page refreshes, you should have a down arrow on the keyboard that will do it.

Or put the cursor on the little slider on the right side of the screen, right click, and you get a menu of all kinds of travel possibilities.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 23, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Ack! I know how to use my 'puter. I have a lovely macbook, so I just do command-down.

But I don't want to.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks BobS and nellie!
Actually have some of those functions in my limited repertoire. Will work on your methods. I'm Windows7, btw.

You know, my internet connection has gone wonky on me twice since I started posting.
Probably heard me saying I wasn't a techy and got insulted, or wanted to prove it to me big time. ;)

Think I'll give it a rest for the evening, especially since I have to be up with husband at 5:00am . . . he's got a gig at 9:00am up near Harper's Ferry and I like to send him off in person. <3s, you know!

Goodnight, one and all, and thanks for the help and for being here in general. Such sane people in a world of crazy!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 23, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

That Habs prayer made my day, at the dinner the other evening someone was running around the room shouting Habs lose, Habs lose. I feel vindicated.

Shriek even having drinks in those hotels is an enjoyable experience.

Off to bed to repeat that prayer, still Centre Bell doesn't seem right even after all these years, should be the Forum.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 24, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

As for U.S. (or is that US?) railroad hotels, I don't know of too many still in existence. Besides THE Corner, Winslow has La Posada Hotel, a restored train hotel right on the tracks. It had been converted to an office building in the 50s and was slated for the wrecking ball before it was lovingly restored and updated. Here are some pictures:

The backstory of the hotel is that it was the masterpiece of Mary Colter, an architect who did many projects at the Grand Canyon and throughout the Southwest. The hotel's backstory is that is was a replica of what a wealthy land baron's ranch might be like if it were a hotel.

And it has some great Spanish influences. I mean, if this isn't the Hotel California, what is?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 24, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Talitha, you got that right about roundheads. Yoki coined that term for herself, actually.

BTW, I did have a brain fuse blow following your comment.

Omni is definitely a dude-- or was the last I saw him, at least. I suppose he might have decided to come out as a belle recently, at least online.

Whatever makes his electrons jump.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

It should be the old Forum, on Rue Atwater.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

nellie - I'm not presented with any options when I right-click (or left-click, for that matter) the browser screen slider (running Firefox under Windows XP). But I do have a key on the keyboard labeled "End".

Gets me right down to the bottom of the page, no matter how fierce the comment-storm has been.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

yello, you do take some really nice pictures. I liked the Sedona ones, too.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 24, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Hey, got it back up and running!

Sorry, omni . . . your picture didn't do you justice! ;)

Wilbrod, did you have a replacement package of fuses or did you go all night without power? I missed two whole kits and am hoping to see some haiku tomorrow when I start catching up.

Truly goodnight now!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, nellie. I so appreciate the compliments. The photos give me a reason to go to all the places I do and something to do once I get there.

I've found my secret is to only put the good ones online. You would not want to have to wade through all 2000+/- shots that I took.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 24, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

This paragraph from James Grant's column on Friday ["The best financial reform? Let the bankers fail"] is worth pondering, and (for bonus points) has a nice populist feel to it:

"The substitution of collective responsibility for individual responsibility is the fatal story line of modern American finance. Bank shareholders used to bear the cost of failure, even as they enjoyed the fruits of success. If the bank in which shareholders invested went broke, a court-appointed receiver dunned them for money with which to compensate the depositors, among other creditors. This system was in place for 75 years, until the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. pushed it aside in the early 1930s. One can imagine just how welcome was a receiver's demand for a check from a shareholder who by then ardently wished that he or she had never heard of the bank in which it was his or her misfortune to invest. "

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

If we're discussing yellojkt's photos (his worst are vastly better than any I've ever produced), I'll say that I thought this one probably was a "you had to be there" shot.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

omni is a beautiful man. No contest.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Your post quoting James Grant on bank/shareholder responsibility prior to FDIC takeover was a very lucid insight for an economics layman like myself. Thanks for that!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

“…..he [Gross] has started unloading some of his holdings of U.S. government bonds in favor of bonds from such countries as Germany, Canada and France.”

Germany is shouldering most of Greece’s bailout. And Greece might not be the only one that needs bailing out. Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland are time bombs as well. We don’t know when the obligations of these countries come due, they’ll be able to pay them. If they don’t then it’s going to put more strain on EU countries specifically Germany and France.

There don’t seem to be many countries whose bonds are safe. South American and most Asian country’s economic environment are volatile. So are African countries.

I think at some point, somebody will have to commit political suicide by raising taxes and tightening belts.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 24, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Big yardsale at Casa Curmudgeon this morning.

Grant's statement, "This system was in place for 75 years, until the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. pushed it aside in the early 1930s" is so totally lacking in context that it is actually intellectual dishonest. He ouight to be shot for a bald statement like that. You'd think he never heard of the depression. In fact, the FDIC didn't "push it aside"; the FDIC was *created* specifically to rescue the country from the worst economic collapse in history, which Grant seems to be clueless about. Because he is clueless. And anyway, Conservatives just love to let people fail, go belly up, and starve to death. For them the suffering of others is simply a spectator sport, and it makes them feel superior.

Meanwhile, here's the headline on Milbank's column about Florida Gov. Charlie Crist: "Crist's Crucifixion." You think the WaPo isn't going to get a zillion complaints about that one? And I'm on the side of the complainers. More of Rashomon's Syndrome: pink slips causing loss of editors.

Anybody wanna buy an antique drug store soda fountain? A 16-bottle wine rack? A 1978 MGB? A 3-piece Brooks Brothers pinstripe suit several sizes smaller than anyone (male) who lives in my house right now? Everything must go...

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 24, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

*waving just up the river to talitha's dude, since I'm not jogging THAT far up the canal path* :-)

Speaking of the C&O towpath, I forgot to mention a curious event a couple weeks ago. I was wrapping up my usual run and came across a group that was doing some cleanup. That wasn't unusual, but their companions were. I've seen horses on the path, I've seen deer, I've seen dogs being walked and peeking out of backpacks. Up to that point, however, I'd never seen goats on the path. Particularly not goats carrying buckets on their backs! *L*

Not that this is news to the Boodle (well, maybe the contract extension), but still:

*hearing cardinals peeping @ the feeder & sneaking a look through the blinds -- lovely pair* :-)

Is it REALLY Saturday? I'm losing track, I tellya...

*off-to-a-nice-jog-and-weekend-fulla-chores Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 24, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

I could make a Denis Leary-style Poison joke, but that would be wrong...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 24, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Does the suit come with a vest or a cummerbund?

My point exactly. Nobody is going to splash thousands of gallons of water over your head at Windsor Castle.

But not all tourist attractions are made alike. The Winslow Crater is just a huge hole in the ground no matter how you look at it:

And not all the pictures on my Flickr account were taken by me. My wife did this wonderful composition of the San Francisco peaks (and nobody has explained to me how they got to Arizona) through an observation opening at the Winslow Crater visitor center:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 24, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

According to the right wing revisionist economists, FDR lengthened and deepened the Depression by putting in place the socialist programs which have crippled our nation's vibrant free market economy for eighty years.

Imagine how rich and powerful we would have been if not for him. All that economic power we could have mustered for domestic production by sitting out World War II. The free-trade opportunities with a united Europe. No need for a Cold War with a defeated Soviet Union (aka the Lebensraum Colonies). If only we had not elected a socialist who bailed out and nationalized the banking system.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 24, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I see early Boodlers are active. Good morning everyone. I Woke up to a bright red sky. The red sky in the morning, sailor takes warning type. Leaves are busy turning yellow and jumping off trees.

I am busy staying out of the way of the approaching winter.

La Piojera (The Lice Den) is collecting long Johns to send south to the epicenter area. I will go there and have a vino con chicha.

Valparaiso The City That Refuses To Die:

Happy Saturday, everyone. :)


Posted by: Braguine | April 24, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse


What a fabulous analysis. An early united Europe with lotsa Lebensraum would have been phenomenal. It makes me want to sing Springtime for Hitler! :)


Posted by: Braguine | April 24, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning Boodledom!

Even if the Caps lost, the Red Wings won (which, you know, is the *real* point) and the next (and, I hope, final) game is in Deeeetroit.

It's suppose to start raining in a few hours, and continuing on and off through Tuesday, which I think is a good thing. I'm planning to get the usual Saturday morning outdoor errands done in time to at least be in my car before the onslaught, and I've got tons of work to do. Just got a writing gig, so my weekend will be filled with my fingers dancing on the keyboard. Let's hope they dance in tune and with some semblance of musicality, hitting all the high notes without screeching and the low notes as appropriate.

I like your 8:28 comment, yello. A guy I know in Michigan, who's a banker and a RINO, told me yesterday that he thinks this country is on its way to socialism. I burst out laughing, and said "I sure hope so, buster!" and kept on laughing. Unbelievable.

Breakfast awaits. BTW, looks like we didn't need the bunker, after all.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 24, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Isn't most of human history a documentation of blame? Perspectives of history change, which may change blame assignment, but it's there, all the same.

One of the many philisophical issues with a probablism versus a determinism is that with probablism is that no matter what you do, to some degree you're always wrong, and that just about everything can be your fault. Determinism means that you're *supposed* to be wrong, and you can deflect some of the blame (to the Great Determinist).

In the course of human events they're impossible to distinguish, but on an individual basis, accepting determinism may let you sleep a little better.

The title of this piece - as I see it - is "The Debt Bomb," but I keep thinking of it as "The Debt Charge."



Posted by: -bc- | April 24, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. It looks like it will be a lovely, if windy, day here. Perfect Arts Festival weather.

Nellie, I'm glad you liked the brownies. It is a VERY forgiving recipe - the last time I made it, due to an unfortunate eye-brain coordination mishap, I used baking soda instead of baking powder. They were fine, if a trifle puffier than usual.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 24, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

A little late, Jack, but we are golden.

Looking forward to a whole weekend of cleaning. The yards are gorgeous because they HAD to be done before it became impossible. My cousin's staying for four days starting next Friday. I'll put her up in a hotel if I have to, but would prefer not to.

Meet you all for imaginary lunch. Mudge, are you grilling at that yard sale?

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, can you bring brownies?

I'll bring fresh, steamed jumbo shrimp. Now to get bubba's voice in forest gump out of my head.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping for something like "It just rolls off the tongue easier" instead i get Oxford's Encyclopedic on the aspirate!!!

Thanks mudge. Hi yoki, I'm always watching!

I love this place.

Posted by: teddymzuri | April 24, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I mean Yoki:)

Posted by: teddymzuri | April 24, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

My 'bizarre title' of the day award goes to David Broder's "Three Ring Circus". There wasn't anything clownish or crazy about the first two UK leadership debates, nor did Mr. Broder try to suggest there was. The title seems to be the work of some overly eager WaPo staffer taking advantage of the lack of supervision on a Saturday.

As for Milbank's column, it's just another let's-bash-the-GOP column. My, how original. Yawn.

*looking for more coffee*

Posted by: MsJS | April 24, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I can fire up the grill, dbG. What's your fancy? Hot dogs? Burgers? Pork chops? Shrimp? Can also grill some romaine. Also got two frozen pizzas.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 24, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Never tried grilling a frozen pizza. Sounds interesting.

Shall I bring cake, Mudge? Baked a nice apple bundt cake yesterday.

Posted by: MsJS | April 24, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bob-S -- sorry, I should have said I was using IE when I started giving directions on navigation. I just switched to Chrome and you don't get the navigation menu there -- but you do get a few odd choices. What the heck is "inspect element?"

Posted by: nellie4 | April 24, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If it's already been mentioned, my apologies for repeating, but our own Mr. A will be holding a live Q&A Monday at 11am ET.

Posted by: MsJS | April 24, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Whoever thinks that you don't need the bunker: you are wrong. And: If the French spelled Chad the American way, they would pronounce it "Shad" I suppose, which definitely has a different ring to it. I wonder whether it is Ciad in Italian, or Tschad in German, all sounding the same. Well, I checked it out: the pronouncation is preserved, therefore the spelling has to change.

Posted by: gmbka | April 24, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

gmbka... Funny that I assumed Tchad was a typo, but I see your point that the French need the T to make the hard "ch" noise. Thanks!

And I hope you're not implying that anyone would go to the bunker to avoid you. There's no lock or password on the bunker door anyway, so everyone's always welcome there--as in here, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

All sounds great! Mudge, grilled romaine. Yum. I'll make some rhubarb sauce for that cake, MsJS.

I saw today that Ms. Palin thought bad acts deserved consequences (re: the hacker). I take hacking seriously, but 50 years is a bit much. No comment on her own unconsequential bad acts.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Typical European cultural sensitivity. Here in the U.S. we not only change the spelling but also the pronunciation, ha

If anybody is looking for that Broder piece it's in tomorrow's paper

Posted by: omni3 | April 24, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Rhubarb sauce? Yummage, dbG!

Posted by: MsJS | April 24, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Damn, damn and damn... Gonna be otherwise occupied at 11 Monday. :-(

Hey teddymzuri!! *surplus Grover waveage* :-)

TBG, I wonder how the French deal with Tchaikovsky! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 24, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Our talk of Heloise the other day led me today to her website. There is, for some reason, a page where she has posted pictures people have sent in of their old irons (I guess they are still using them?). One is listed that it "Dates back to 1900s."

Wow? It's 10 years old?

Oh hey... also.. the only reason MY Facebook profile pic and suggestions didn't show up in anyone's WaPo feed was that I logged out of FB as soon as I realized what was going on. I WAS posting WaPo articles often on Facebook, but I certainly won't anymore.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

For the dog peeps. Buddy the GSD saves his family home from burning down. His owner told him "We need to get help," Buddy headed to the highway and got the attention of a trooper whose GPS had failed him when he tried to find the fire. The trooper said he got a clear "follow me" signal from the dog.$51935

Also from another article on this, it was noted that in his spare time, Buddy chases bears away from the family home and his momma was a police dog.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I will say that Emma would have done the same thing except she would have jumped into the troopers' car and scrounged for doughnuts while giving them directions.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Jason just traded to the Raiders

Posted by: bh72 | April 24, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

What am I doing wrong? I never had any crossover from WaPo to Facebook. Of course, I DID change the privacy settings per Yello's instructions as soon as he posted them.

Good afternoon, all. I'm home and glad to be here! Had a good time with the nephew and enjoyed the visit with my brother and the rest of the family, but it's good to be home. My own bed will feel wonderful tonight.

On kit, I got nothin' but to say, raise the d@mn taxes. It's the MPA in me, I don't mind paying my share and I believe in being solvent. Don't tell me the money could be used better by the private sector, that's not correct and it's unreasonable to boot. There is a reason government services are governmental. Support what needs to be done, and make sure it's done efficiently and effectively.

Posted by: slyness | April 24, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The Post's Jason Reid writes:
"Details were not immediately available, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Redskins would receiver Oakland's fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft in exchange for Campbell."

Only a football reporter would use "receiver" in place of "receive."


Posted by: MsJS | April 24, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

You mean untrained people actually pay attention to dogs signalling emergencies?

-Wilbrodog, too flabbergasted to Haiku-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

We were flabbergasted too, wilbrodog.

Maybe humans are smarter than we thought.

DbG's dogz

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

A solution is proposed here

In essence, we suggest a method of controlling deficit which we believe is both politically and economically practical. Deficit limits would be set by a council of economists and would have to be accepted by Congress absent a resolution of disapproval.

Posted by: dicklepre | April 24, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It's garden day here at the Vast Padouk Estate. Each Spring I tell myself that this year I shall go find some Heritage Tomatoes with cool names like "Octavian Crosshatch." But then scheduling concerns intervene and I end up poking around the parking lot stands folks set up in front of the Chuck E. Cheese.

Still, there was a nice selection. I procured a winsome little hybrid called "Celebrity," two pretentious Roma varieties, and, joy of joys, a healthy vivacious Mr. Stripey.

They are all settled in nicely and resting comfortably amidst their organically-enriched soil. (And I put up dual layers of protective chicken-wire to ward off the Varmints.)

I do love putting in the new 'maters. They're so gosh-darn cute when they're little.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 24, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

And relatively harmless...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Ahh... Mr. Stripey. I love summer.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

dicklepre, interesting concept.

I don't see the US Congress touching this with a twenty-foot pole, however. No sense in establishing a new independent agency if it's going to be ignored. And it would be.

Posted by: MsJS | April 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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

Hi, friends. Just stopped by to say hello, and hoping everyone is having a good weekend.

Yesterday's appointment brought on more appointments. It's never ending with these folks. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 24, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Mowed the front lawn and did some weeding. Was hoping to plant lettuce and peas, but the garden is still a mud hole which wasn't helped by the quick half inch of rain we got in the thunderstorm on Thursday. I don't see improvement for a while as it's supposed to rain on and off tomorrow thru Wednesday. The climate this year is just weird. We've cut the grass twice already, which is two times more than I can ever remember doing this early.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 24, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely no one worried about the debt bomb when the Bush adminstration was in office, and they spent like someone at a blackjack table in Las Vegas! What changed?

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 24, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

We now have realists in office, Cassandra. You know, people who notice and CARE that we have a budget problem.

Perfect day to plant the two tomatoes, green pepper, basil, parsley and various flower seeds. It's overcast, not too hot, and rain's in the forecast. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted by: slyness | April 24, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Pizza on the grill is intriguing because my oven doesn't go to 700.

Enjoying comments by yello, Brag,

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 24, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Is that like saying your oven doesn't go to 11, bc?

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, curmudgeon.
Two posts down from mine about BobS.'s quote from Grant (at 12:45ish last night) and you shoot the whole theory down. I'm staying out of any discussion of economic theory because I'm clearly "lost in the woods". I only know that the economics of my homestead manages quite well.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

*talitha's dude waves back at Grover*

Curmudgeon, hope the yardsale went well, and please forgive any "mudgy" dirty-lensy thing I write. Really just trying to unnersan dis muny tawk.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Notice all sales taxes proposed are limited to internet retail sales (for) or the VAT (against) which stealthily leaves huge categories of sales untaxed. Sales tax on stocks, real estate, imports? No, not to be mentioned. Anathema, forbidden.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 24, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

imports= tariffs. No?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet that trooper had a puppy as a kid

Us humans are only as smart as our pets


Posted by: omni3 | April 24, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

My radical debt bomb problem solution: 1) freeze entitlement spending. 2) freeze the federal income tax rates relative to each other. 3) each year that there is a deficit, raise all federal income tax rates the same amount so that the increase would make up 1/2 of the deficit of the previous year.

What 1) would achieve: those who receive benefits (SS, Medicaid, Medicare, a lot of other programs) would not see a watershed change in their benefits, but inflation would reduce their benefits over time. This would occur as long as deficits continue.

What 2) would achieve: stop all the pandering and arguing and wrestling about taxing the rich or cutting taxes for the poor or vice versa. It would prevent stupid things from happening, like cutting taxes.

What 3) would achieve: we'd actually start to fix the deficit. We would ALL pay more until the deficit was gone. We would ALL benefit once taxes had been raised to the point that there was not a deficit.

Done. This solution is, in my opinion, inherently fair. Everyone who gets benefits would take a haircut the longer the deficit lasted. Everyone would pay more in taxes. There would be nobody who makes out to the detriment of anyone else.

Since it would be inherently fair, and would require everyone to pay, nobody would be for it. Nothing to lobby for. Nothing to cut deals on.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 24, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm just catching up with the dandelion boodle.
I have about 500 to fax to them who make wine and salad and such from them. Only about 2000 more to go.
I'm with IMom on the ecosystem thing, especially with a pond just downhill from my house.

I can't imagine what they do to my neighbors' blood pressure, given their perfectly tended garden and not a single flower growing wild.

Still much to back boodle; in the meantime, hope SciTrooper is doing well.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | April 24, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey wasn't vouching for the historical accuracy of Grant's statement, and it's certainly true that banks per se aren't the biggest part of the financial problems. AIG isn't a bank, most of Goldman Sachs isn't a bank.

The more general point about investors not having their own skin in the game isn't without validity, however.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

My not-so-radical debt bomb solution, as others have said = a national gas tax.

And cargo transport by rail rather than via Eisenhower's now ridiculously overburdened interstate model of national highways.
Even Dwight wouldn't have wanted me in the bumper-car-ride-at-the-carnival whenever I drive through Bristol/Knoxville TN on I-81/I-40 just to visit my folks.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, BobS, we were posting over one another. OK, I didn't 'git it' . . . will read more before I pretend to understand.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The yard sale went pretty well, talitha: $400 worth. Sold about half the stuff, I think, and decided to hold it again in two weeks and see if we can sell the rest. It started to rain (mist/light drizzle) about 10 a.m., and literally put a damper on things. We had 2/3 of our stuff inside our garage, and suspect if we'd had sunny skies there would have been larger turnout as well as being better able to display stuff out on the lawn. Hence the re-play.
Success came with a cost, however: my legs. Bouncing around on cement for several hours just about cripples me, and after cleaning up I need three Tylenol and a nap.

And my wife said, "We're not gonna want to cook dinner tonight, are we?" And I said no. And five minutes later our neighbor came over and asked if we wanted to join them for dinner out at a local Chinese buffet. My wife laughed and said sure, because now we're filthy rich from the proceeds of the yard sale. So I am shortly going to go and drown my pain and sorrows in sesame chicken, crab Rangoon, and salt & pepper shrimp.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 24, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Steveboyington - In general, I like it! I can hear the shrieks of anguished outrage already.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

dna girl I returned from my trip to find my lawn a sea of yellow from the dandelions. Since there isn't a lot we can do here, and spot treating would cover about 75% of the lawn I figure I will live with them, the leaves are green :-). I really do not like chemicals and try to avoid them, much to my neighbours displeasure.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 24, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Gas taxes would penalize truckers, your local newspaper guy, independent distributors of magazines, newspapers, grocery stores, etc.

It would inflate prices in remote locales without actually increasing revenues, in fact businesses could close in small towns.

People who already are priced out of the areas they work in (policemen, teachers, cooks, cleaning staff) would be paying even more of their meager salary to commute to work.

Any flat tax on a necessary good (transport, food, water, salt) always translates to an excessive tax on the poor.

Of course you could make an exception for commerical vehicles, but such loopholes in the past drove a mega-suv market because trucks were tax-deductible as business expenses (and cars weren't). SUVs qualified, bingo the mass buy.

I have no traffic problems up here, but in exchange I don't have great access to a lot of things you take for granted in a city, and I'm much more likely to die if I get in a car accident on a rural highway.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

talitha - There are a lot of good reasons to increase the gasoline/petroleum products tax. But it's only able to be (a relatively small) part of the long-term solution to our financial problems. Time to grab an envelope and sharpen a pencil...

In round numbers, the U.S. consumes about 20 million barrels (42 gal bbl) of petroleum per day, around half of it as gasoline. Most of the rest is kerosene, fuel oil, and various natural gas products.

So lets bump the gas tax to $2 bucks a gallon, that's gonna get us around $300 billion per year. [ (20 million barrels) x (20 gallons per barrel) x ($2 per gallon) * (365 days per year) = $292 billion ]

That's almost a thousand bucks per man, woman & wee bairn, and doing it all at once (as we learned a few years ago) causes some real economic disruption. Just as importantly, it's not remotely close to enough to balance recent annual budgets (deficit about $1.5 trillion this year, about the same last year, about $600 billion the year before that).

Three hundred billion bucks is nothing to sneeze at, and bumping up taxes on petroleum-based products is going to be an important part of the inevitable weaning away from them. But we won't solve our budget problems that way.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Oops, forgot to provide any sourcing. I relied on a number of places, but for the oil figures, this is a start:

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The deficit is certainly a mounting issue and there are no easy options. At first blush though, I do rather like steve's proposal (5:09) particularly as I couldn't possibly care less about my "entitlements" just at the moment. Taxes and government spending have always been a hot button issue in this country and they'll always be problematic when placed into a philosophical framework of governance where the original founding principles were a fundamental distrust of federal power.

When it comes to the deficit it's not a difficult problem to solve (unlike many policy issues): don't spend as much and increase revenue. The implementation of those two changes is where the wheels come off the wagon. As we all know, taxes are difficult to deal with politically (unless you're cutting them) but I believe the recession has made the concept of raising them even more untenable for Congress and President Obama than would otherwise have been the case. It's quite easy to say "Screw it, just raise the damn rates" but if all we get back is owing ourselves less money on the debt then it becomes impossible to do. I think people generally understand the concept of sacrificing for the common good (as long as we are not personally involved in giving anything up for that good) but we have a large group of people in this country who are having or have recently had very real experience of economic hardship for themselves, their friends, and their families. Their good may have been sacrificed on the altar of Wall St. bonuses and quarterly statements rather than for the more general benefit of their country but the salient point remains that it is hard to come back to these folks an ask them to give up something more no matter how necessary.

-- more --

Posted by: cowhand214 | April 24, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

One of the things the anti-tax rhetoric of the Tea Party movement has called attention to is that many, many United States citizens do not feel that they're getting enough back from the government for what they put into it. Leaving the validity of this perception to one side, it further complicates the taxation and spending discussion. I often wonder what would happen if the government (at any level) made an explicit effort to put taxes to the use of visible and tangible things for taxpayers if that would make a difference to people's perceptions of taxation rates. The most obvious example in my mind of this type of effort would be investment in infrastructure. I recently drove down from Boston to DC which is a trip I've taken many times. It also cost me an absurd amount of money in tolls (see above where I was implicitly pointing out that the common good should not cost me, personally, a damn thing) but one of the things I was reflecting on (aside from the fact that so many of my fellow motorists are idiots) is that the physical infrastructure in this country is often in an appalling state. Toll booth complexes, bridges, rest stops, and the roadways themselves reflect the wear they've been put to in a rather depressing way and I wonder how much longer that can last. However, my point is, if we saw potholes being filled in, bridges rebuilt, rest stops refurbished, etc would we feel differently about our tax burden? I suspect so; at least a little bit. The distrust of government runs deep but I think the argument, espoused by so many, that "we send our money off to Washington and what do we get? Nothing!" is something that should be explicitly addressed and could be in a real and necessary way.

My expectation would be that if folks got some tangible benefit from government then a politician can more plausibly make the argument that we need to raise taxes in order to pay down the deficit. At the moment, that is not even something a politician could think about in broad daylight. Taxes and spending policy is fundamentally about trust and that is something that is so lacking between government and the populace at this point that we cannot address any complex problem at the national level in an effective way simply because so many of us want to opt out of the social contract.

I know that's kind of a simplistic take on the thing but with April 15th so recently passed that is kind of how I feel about it (especially for my state taxes). "If you'd fix some potholes (and make the forms intelligible) I wouldn't hate this quite so friggin much!").

Discussion question: why do I use parentheses so often? Does it indicate I cannot form a thought without mentally backtracking to clarify terms and conditions at least once a sentence? I fear this may be the case.

Posted by: cowhand214 | April 24, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

You just don't want your thesis orphaned by forgetting your parentheses, Cowhand.

(Inside boodle joke).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Parenthetically, I'm also a chronic offender.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Parentheses (the kid you used, cowhand) are quite handy (I use them all the time).

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Cowhand214, I submit that we all just need to look around to see the benefits from our taxes. Not just roads but schools and fire stations (complete with firefighters), passports, parks (local, state, and federal), law enforcement, oh I could go on and on and on. My point is that we are blind to all that government, on all levels, does for us, until we think that we are neglected and/or treated unfairly.

My husband and I drive I-81 through the Shennandoah Valley on our way to visit his brother. Last year, two out of three rest stops, in both directions, were closed. Now there's an impact!

I worked for a local government that is required to balance its budget. Sometimes that's a lot more difficult than other times, but it's always done. What has been tough here is that sales tax revenue has fallen, with predictable results for schools and social services that depend on it. The recovery of the economy will be a significant help.

Posted by: slyness | April 24, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Me too (the parentheses overuse).

cowhand, you have a good point. But a lot of the Recovery/Stimulus money went to road projects, and you see how well that went over. A lot went to tax cuts that people didn't see, because withholding was reduced, instead of sending checks. My biggest pet peeve with the tax complainers is that they are usually receiving more in taxes than they pay (as a state, or a region). Washington state is heavily populated and Democratic in the Seattle/Tacoma area, but most of our state taxes subsidize eastern Washington, which is rural and Republican. We only have sales and property taxes here - don't even mention a state income tax.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 24, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

The Bush income tax cuts were a horrible idea and reversing them will be a good thing. Don't I recall that they will expire at the end of this year or the next? But obviously that won't solve the deficit problem.

The IMF says that Americans need to work longer and lower their expectations. I would like to know what they mean by that. I retired at age 53 with a pension that pays me 58 percent of my final salary (I just did the math). With all the taxes and deductions for retirement and savings out of my salary, I actually bring home about the same as I did when I worked. While I don't have a salary now, I volunteer weekly and do contracting work now and again. I consider myself a productive citizen. How do I need to lower my expectations?

Posted by: slyness | April 24, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

You do have a point, cowhand, but I tend to agree with slyness. We only notice the potholes, not the lack of potholes. Plus, the process of road repair is irritating, even if the result is good -- I need to get to work, and they're blocking my way! Plus, they're already doing it. Various highways under repair in my area have signs saying something like "brought to you by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." The governor's got his name on the sign, too. No matter that he wanted to reject some of the stimulus money. I wonder if he'll put his name on people's newly available insurance policies after he fails to repeal health reform.

Posted by: -bia- | April 24, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

(I meant the KIND you use, cowhand)

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I think I may the most parenthetical Boodler. I see their use as an essential element of maintaining a desultory conversational style. When we converse in person we seldom speak in full paragraphs, but meander through digressions and asides until we end up where we set out to be.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

slyness - I think you're supposed to plan on dying sooner & hungrier than you'd envisioned. And if you're not living with your children, then take in a couple of drifters so they're not out wandering the streets.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

In dandelion news, the day's storms have passed, and I just came in from taking advantage of the wet soil to pull a big pile. My second bout of dandelion pulling, and so far it makes me feel all productive, but I bet I'll get sick of it before I get ahead of them. We'll see. Philosophically I'm an ecosystem type, but apparently aesthetically not so much. I wouldn't mind having much less lawn in front, but I'm not sure what to do instead. I'm going to have to gradually work on filling my outdoor space with things that want to grow there that I also like looking at.

Posted by: -bia- | April 24, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The Impossible Mission Force is telling me to lower my expectations?

As it is, I do not expect to receive back $.01 of the thousands I have paid into Social Security. Those are pretty low expectations as far as I can see.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 24, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I wouldn't disagree with your statement that all we need to do is look around. However, let's take it and stand it on it's head (perhaps we should shake the change out of its pockets while we're at it).

I would submit that all we need to do is take a look around to see the benefits from our taxes: failing schools (falling more behind other countries every year), fire stations (complete with firefighters who are receiving enormous pension benefits), passports (illegal immigration is solved!), parks (got me (except possibly from a Western land use/sagebrush rebellion perspective)), law enforcement (Ruby Ridge/Waco).

My point is not that there are not benefits of taxes all around us but that they are rarely explicitly stated as such nor are they ever enumerated. My point with the above too is not that I agree with the parenthetical comments (and how often could I say that?) so much as there are two sides or rather two perceptions to every argument. I agree with you that there are benefits to what we are receiving and that we could go on and on in that list. I guess my argument actually comes in more of a question. Part of the objection many people have to paying the tax burden required of them is that they do not personally (or communally) see the benefit of what they are paying. Is there a way for government to make that connection more explicit for people?

Posted by: cowhand214 | April 24, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

SCC: there are several errant apostrophes and other abominations in the above. My apologies.

Posted by: cowhand214 | April 24, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

And *eye* thought I was the parenthetical queen!

(Thank you, TBG, for fixing my inexplicable sign-in problem!)

((Although, note that I've been promoted to Grade 11!!))

Posted by: rickoshea11 | April 24, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

We are (perhaps) co-regents.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Can I be a co-regent, too? (Because any diligent examination of my posts ought to show an undue preference for the parenthetical.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 24, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Bob S, you know where plans like mine are drawn up and enacted? The World Bank/IMF type of entities that walk third-world nations back from economic catastrophe.

My guess is that we had better enact the austerity measures I advocated ourselves... or that sometime in the near future some outside entity will do it for us.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 24, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

And yet, people keep pulling out ideological objections to the World Bank and similar International Financial Institutions (full disclosure -- I've been involved as a vendor in WB-funded programmes and projects for more than 15 years, and think highly of the motivated individuals I've met who work for the Bank, and I am critical of some of its policies) when both the IFIs and IMF do, I think, make a positive difference to the little guys on the streets of the countries to which they lend/consult.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

War. (No one sees the orphans your tax dollars paid for.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 24, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I like the anti-government folks who say what a cesspool the country is now compared to some nebulous glory time period.

Look around is right. We are the wealthiest nation. On any real metric we are the envy of everyone else. Not bad for a cesspool.

The question to the anti-government folks... how did we get here?

Posted by: steveboyington | April 24, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Um, not everybody else.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, cowhand, I'd love to see the enumeration of the services, by local, state, and federal.

That said, I have to take issue with your assumption of lavish pensions for firefighters. In this city, the firefighters have their own system, into which they pay about 13 percent of their salaries each pay period. They opted out of Social Security when such was possible (over 60 years ago, IIRC), and when they retire, they get what they get, with no COLA's.

My pension is basically a collective 401K. In this state, a percentage of each paycheck (6.75? 7.25? I have forgotten the actual percentage) is deducted for the appropriate system. The jurisdiction for which the employees work is only required to match the amount necessary to keep the system actuarily sound. Thus, the employees are providing most of the funding for the system. And yes, all the systems are in decent shape. (The retirement newsletter is very good at communicating the state of the systems.)

I am grateful that past legislators in this state had the foresight to establish pension systems that do not stiff the taxpayers.

Posted by: slyness | April 24, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Admit it, Yoki: you just like the World Bank because they give you a toaster when you open a checking account with them.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 24, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Not only am I aware that such plans are hatched & encouraged there, but I fairly regularly play trivia with some of the people who hatch & encourage them.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

No no no. It is the immediately-non-functional 29" flat-screen TV that they send me after I open a low-interest, no-minimum savings account.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Wait, there are toasters available?

Posted by: cowhand214 | April 24, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused by this headline:
"W.Va. and Gulf of Mexico disasters muddy the image of 'clean' energy industries"

OK, I give up... Who has been in the habit of calling the West Virginia coal industry and/or the Gulf of Mexico oil industry "clean"? I'm not aware of any such image available for the besmirching.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

That's like our very own premier Stelmach suggesting that James Cameron should visit Fort Mac to see that oil sands exploitation isn't dirty.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

cowhand, I'm sorry to say you must be a real bummer to hang out with. Do you really only see the few bad examples and think that's the way things are?

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, when I opened my World Bank account the promotional gift was a Belgian wafflemaker. The grid is round and makes an Azimuthal projection mapped waffle.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 24, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I want one now, CqP. And I don't even like waffles much.
(Rhubarb sauce would take care of that problem.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that cowhand was pointing out a view held by many people, not necessarily espousing that view.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 24, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

So do I.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Sigh, awaiting the bubarb any day now. Need my tart fix to face the rest of the year.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 24, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I love rhubarb (not as much as CqP, but a lot) and it is still hard for me to buy it at the market. Given that I grew up where it took over whole gardens, and sprouted wildly. I don't think I've made a compote or jam in years (years and years). Does any Boodler know if it is possible grow in containers? On my balcony (which doesn't get much [any] sun)?

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

And then there are the Diary Of An Economic Hit Man conspiracy theories that the World Bank and IMF are just tools of Citibank to keep the third world indebted to the banking system, particularly the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Hapsburgs, and the Bavarian Illuminati.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 24, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Of course.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Think it would freeze, Y. Garage it? Funny, really because it needs cold. PA is about the limit around us.

Off to pick up the CPboy from jamming with dudes in a ska punk rockster way. I uploaded by accident, some of his iTunies....try Slightly Stoopid for a ska-reggie-punked-bluesy ecletic bit o sounds.

And, yes, the socks and shoes are around in full bloom. Summer comes anon and swimmer sandals shall reign soon. I HATE TUBE SOCKS. Rant endeth. In the scheme of world problems (on kit!), my burden is a hair on a mole on a flea...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 24, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

A hearty quibble on that very topic follows here, Yoki.

Those containers would not be small ones, rhubarb matures to be very large. You may need to find a compact variety.

How much would it cost to ship you rhubarb, Yoki? We shall have ample, and it does dice and freeze well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and BobS -
Sad day here, so only catching up.
OK, Bob's back of the envelope and Wil's overview show me that my simplistic gas-tax thought is idiotic. Thank the heavens I was born to sew on buttons. I wouldn't be a boodler if I didn't want to learn, so bear with me.

Still catching up on the kit. We had a dear neighbor die unexpectedly this afternoon. Just sitting down after 'doing what can be done' to catch my breath and enjoy all your news. *smile*

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Yoki you would probably need an insulated container as well, our rhubarb when I was a kid, grew under the shade of evergreens in the back corner of the yard. Perhaps Holes in Edmonton might have a suggestion, pretty sure they have a good website and ship.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 24, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

talitha, I'm so sorry to hear about your neighbor. That's terrible.

I hope the Boodle Hugs you'll get here make you feel better. They always do for me.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 24, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

nix gas tax, ok
talitha is here to learn.

sad day . . . dear neighbor died unexpectedly and we've been busy accordingly.

anyone else had their posts "unaccepted"?
didn't realize I'd been abusing the system.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Condolences, talitha. Always hard to say goodbye. And the worst thing is that they *stay* gone. I deal with the immediate crisis pretty well, it's the forever thing that troubles me.

I have a fairly huge balcony, so could do a sort of horse-trough container. It is the light I wonder about. My unit is dark except for 1 hour in the late afternoon in high summer. Cold I can do!

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

my post are bouncing off the cyberwalls apparently.
trying to commune with family in GA
and with boodle has poor little laptop confused.
Many thanks for your condolances, TBG!
A dear lady who let her garden grow wild and the flowers just raised themselves in joy. How I will miss her .........

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

(Sorry, been watching too much tv with brits of late. The diction does rub off.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I love(d) the Holes. Mother and son both.

My problem is that my childhood (formative!) rhubarb grew in our Edmonton back yard, and Calgary has an entirely different climate.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I have been called a bum before now. I'll even happily behave like one, it's true. That said, I'm not entirely sure how I've given offense, TBG.

Slyness, I'm in favor of the parts where we agree! I meant the firefighter's pension fund or lack thereof to stand simply as an example of its type rather than an encompassing item of its it own.

Posted by: cowhand214 | April 24, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

thanks to you yoki.
and y'all do me a favor . . . stop or I'll start crying again, the antithesis of why I'm boodlin' in the first place. :)

Posted by: talitha1 | April 24, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

talitha, so sorry about your neighbour.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 24, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

You're OK with me, cowhand. Don't worry too much. Keep posting. TBG is an amazingly vivacious and positive person. I *adore* her.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

*Back to goofy, for talitha*

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Himself saw Leonard Nimoy, at a distance, at Calgary's ComicCon, today!

He was in the presence of Mr. Spock. Awesome.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Talitha, I lost a neighbor like that. Over 90, but still.

I must release some flowers into the wild in remembrance.

*hums "Born Free"*

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 24, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Over 90 is sad, but not tragic.

Posted by: Yoki | April 24, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Back from a day as a sort-of Cast Member at Disney. Getting to drive into the backstage area with its weedy lawns and casual landscaping feels like a huge privilege.

They were busy and the landscaping seemed miraculously unperturbed by the winter's persistent cold. I suspect that they're careful to put cold-sensitive plants in warm spots.

I haven't come to terms with Characters having invaded Epcot. Inserting Donald Duck into the cute Mexico boat ride seems like Pride and Prejudice & Zombies.

Also got a first, distant peek from the street of Hogwarts or whatever at Universal. I'd forgotten they have so many roller coaster-type rides. They were having some sort of Grad event.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 24, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Yoki. But I shall release the flowers all the same.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 25, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a very diverting day, Dave. I note you didn't even mention cycads.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 25, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Look at this, Yoki:
Alberta! Alberta, don't let your hair hang down...

Posted by: seasea1 | April 25, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

amazing smilers
boodle hearts at talitha
flowers in my heart

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

apologies to Wilbrodog.
heart redundancies abound tonight.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Gosh. Golly whiz. I'm not sure about that, seasea1.

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

boodle hearts at talitha
and hearts true, not peripha.

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

On reflection I think I'm more upset than I realized from news today of my friend and neighbor's failure to improve much from his stroke. He still can't speak. He was giving guitar lessons up until the day of his stroke.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 25, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, so sorry Jumper1.

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

'flowers for my soul'

thank you, boodle. Sleep well, all.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

The first link was Nimoy in Vulcan, Alberta - sweet story. The 2nd is from Festival Express, on its way to Calgary. At the end of the clip, Janis Joplin asks if they're in Calgary yet, and someone says they're in Alberta - and she says - Alberta! Alberta, don't let your hair hang down...which is an old folk song (actually, Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Low). Sorry - should probably have explained more.

Jumper, talitha, sorry to hear about your neighbors. A neighbor of mine passed away about a week ago. She had been in ill health for quite some time, and had been in nursing homes more than home for the last year or so. She was in her eighties.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 25, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

The perils of investing in a foreign country….

Ecuadorean President is pressuring foreign oil investors to change their contract from a production-sharing agreement to service contract, or else face expropriation.

Expropriation is not uncommon for companies that are involved in mineral, oil and gas extraction.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 25, 2010 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Stephen Hawking said aliens exist. Just don’t try and talk to them…

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 25, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Anyone called a Front Page Alert yet?

And far be it from me to throw parenthetical stones, as it were.

But what does a World Bank provide for interest -- asteroids?

Speaking of banks; Yoki, please let Himself know he now has an unlimited line of credit at the First Scottynuke Bank of Frenvy. I do believe Leonard Nimoy is one of a very select few who would strike me dumb by his very presence.

*extra-long-armed Grover hugs for talitha*

Dagnabitall, I read this article and I can't help wanting to replace "Brewer" with another name in the news. I'm certain folks in certain quarters will feel this is deliberate. *shrug*

Let me get this straight -- Sen. Graham was already working on immigration legislation, but because recent events pushed that issue to the top of the heap, he's abandoning work on a bipartisan energy bill. *eye roll*

*hoping-for-a-relatively-dry-Sunday-cuz-of-all-the-chores-on-tap Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 25, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni3 | April 25, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 25, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Awareness Day (International)

Posted by: omni3 | April 25, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni3 | April 25, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Talitha, Jumper -- I am sorry to hear of your neighbors. I think the good stories and your strength help all around you and will continue to do so as all involved continue their journeys in their own ways.

I'm glad that Jason Campbell is going to get a fair crack at a starting QB job somewhere else, but, oy -- Oakland may about the only NFL organization more disfunctional than Washington.

It is interesting to me that the Administration and Congress are jockeying several legislative pushes around at this point - immigration, energy policy, financial regulation, government spending/debt, etc., and also prepping for the arguments over whoever President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court (the public posturing and arguing and private negotiations being far more important that the actual vote IMO).

Maybe feeling around to see what low-hanging fruit are left before the mid-term elections?


Posted by: -bc- | April 25, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Just read in the Daily Telegraph that Alan Sillitoe ("Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner") has died in his early 80s. Now, see, I was under the mistaken impression that he died long ago. I did read those books, though, back in the early 70s, IIRC. Great writer, although of the breathtakingly depressive view of life. Very "real" literature, though.

*note to self -- try to find those books and re-read*

Very gloomy looking outside (in keeping with Sillitoe's works, I suppose). Good day to get stuff done indoors. Yep. C'mon, self. Get outta yer chair. Go do stuff. Uh-huh.


Posted by: -ftb- | April 25, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

It's worse, you can add the achenWidget to web pages. We "rEALLY" never know anymore.

Did we ever know?

Was informed a week ago that I was 1/4 Dutch.

Those things start to gnaw at you pretty quickly. Last night, someone said something in bad taste about Holland and I took it personally.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 25, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

omni, have you had your Sunday brunch, yet?

Posted by: russianthistle | April 25, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

nope, raging debate as to where going on in my mind right now

Posted by: omni3 | April 25, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Taking advantage of my oddly variable Internet access to catch up on comments. Talitha, I'm so sorry about your neighbor, and I hope today is a better day. Jumper, I hope your neighbor's recovery proceeds apace.

I liked Cowhand's question, because it is mine as well: how can gummint do a better job of communicating, in a way people care about, what people get from their tax dollars? My end-of-year state payroll statement now contains a nifty pie chart, showing not only my take-home salary but the hefty chunk of change which comprises my benefits, broken down by category. It makes everyone feel a little better about their pay grade and we all understand what we usually take for granted.

Today: gardening and mowing. There's a guest choir at church, the sun is out. Soon I'll disappear outside, and plant all those herbs I bought yesterday.

OnKit: The saddest thing about this Kit is that, two days in, we never needed the bunker. The debt is a real and serious problem. It deserves widespread attention. I'm not sorry the wingnuts didn't come to share consternation, but darnit, consternation there should be.

Of course, there could have been some important pop culture phenomenon which held everyone's interest instead. Football draft? Basketball playoffs?

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 25, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Goo morning, y'all.

Bacon, huevos rancheros, warm muffins, coffee, OJ and mixed fruit on the table. I was hungry, what can I say?

To those who've lost friends/neighbors or watched them lose functionality, my condolences. Remember that in their hearts/souls and in yours perfection still thrives.

OK, debt reduction.
According to this link, the US has troops in...*drumroll*...135 countries. It has 700 military installations located on foreign soil.

Yeah, the numbers are dated, but I doubt much has changed in most of these places since 2003.

Posted by: MsJS | April 25, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse



Condolences to Shriek about Ottawa's elimination.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 25, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I am filled with glee ftb. The Sens are NOT my team. A rare thing for me, I watched their next to last game right down to its bitter end in third overtime. I made sure not to watch any bits of the game last night so that the Flightless Birds were not jinxed.

Fantastic day here. The place is a riot of spring flowers. I have to mow the lawn and it's still April, a lifetime first for me.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 25, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I-mom, the front page link goes to Mr. A's article in the Outlook area, not to the A-blog. If you peruse the 250+ comments posted there, you will see the usual variety of verbiage.

Posted by: MsJS | April 25, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Oh, dear. Does that mean that you are *not* backing my wonderful (most of the time) Red Wings? You actually back the *gulp* flightless birds? Is that because Sidney is a Canuckistanian, and most of the Wings are Svenska?

*pacing and muttering with disappointment*

Of course, I really have no intention of watching the Red Wings game this afternoon. I am a simply horrible fan, as I get entirely too nervous to watch. I simply root for them from afar.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 25, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

My hockey comment was directed at Shriek, btw.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 25, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh my, MsJS, thanks for the magnificent brunch.

Posted by: -bia- | April 25, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Since you noticed the absence of cycads in my Disney comment, I need to admit that I spent the day with a guy who produces cycad seeds on a vast scale and landscape-sized cycads on a much smaller scale. His plants are all over Disney, but especially in the dinosaur habitat at Animal Kingdom.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

cowhand... I'm sorry I offended you. If you were "quoting" others' points of view, I did not see that clearly. So sorry.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I got nothing against the Wings ftb. I've got a soft spot for the original 6, minus the dreadful Leafs (they shall rot in the bottom of the standings forever, they have a good start at it but it shall continue). I'm still not over yet from the way Ottawa gained entry in the NHL. Let just say that smoke, mirrors, deception and misdirection were involved. Hamilton/West Toronto wus robbed. Lemieux made me appreciate the Flightless Birds, in his time.

I like the Caps too but they play my team right now. We'll know tonight if the Canadien's next game will be next Wednesday or next September...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 25, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm sincerely hoping the next game is Wednesday. Go habs!

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes we was robbed Shriek, not sure what Bettman has against Hamilton but really between the owner of Tim's and the owner of RIM you would think money would have some influence. Leafs deserve to rot in the bottom if they had any part in blocking the attempts of Hamilton/SW Ont.

As for the Sabres I wish someone would show me the map where Buffalo is in a 50 mile radius, because it would make trips across the border shorter.

Morning everyone.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I think that the "click here to keep reading" link at the end of the A-blog has diverted all the crazies to the Outlook version of the story. Even if they start reading here, they finish -- and leave their droppings -- over there.

The Post must have decided that they weren't attracting *enough* crazies to the article, because they changed the headline on the front page to "National Ponzi Scheme?"

Posted by: rashomon | April 25, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again to the Boodle for the tip on King Arthur flour. I made my first good loaf of whole wheat bread ever. So am doing it again today.

I have found that even intimate acquaintance with how to wing it with pizza dough does not allow me the same leeway on bread. So I followed a recipe. (sheepish grins) Almost. (added raisins last time, and will again.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 25, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, the military installations around the world numbers...not to be flippant, but, yeah? so....what? The article you linked to had a definite slant to it, and that's cool...everyone's entitled to their opinions. But while I think what he's written is true, it's not accurate. Less misleading statistics would parse out those installations to include stuff like conflict vs presence, northern/southern and eastern/western hemisphere numbers, as well as look at those numbers *over time.*

On the base of the Marine Corp War Memorial (aka Iwo Jima Memorial) is a listing of every major Marine Corp engagement to the present day. Without numbers and statistics, just dates and places, I think those inscriptions put a much more meaningful light on what we're talking about here.

That said, I think there's little wisdom in advocating a blanket withdrawal of troops from around the world. It would leave our friends to stand alone (we're not those kind of people) and expose states within our own hemisphere as ripe for the taking by our enemies (we're not that dumb).

Posted by: LostInThought | April 25, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

One of the comment threads on the main article is about how the Fed has secret stock owners which include the Rothschilds, Goldman Sachs, Chase Manhattan and others. Pretty much the same theory I posited last night only with tongue much less in cheek.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 25, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Jumper -- when I used to make bread all the time, I would throw all sorts of stuff in the dough, including seeds and nuts and herbs. Tasted great, especially toasted.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 25, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Here an economist argues that other economists have ignored, under-analyzed, under-modeled fraud in their analyses.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 25, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Greetings, all.
Quiet here this afternoon which I hope means many of you are out gardening and otherwise enjoying an April Sunday!

Many thanks for all the boodle hugs last evening and to bc, Ivansmom, MsJS and Scottynuke today. Grover's long arms were especially comforting. *smile*

Jumper, I was sad to hear about your neighbor. Stroke is heartbreaking; I have seen in my family several folks experience that debilitation. Very hard.

Am delivering casseroles and beverages to my neighbor's family today.
Their house is overflowing with folks paying respects.

Later all . . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

LiT: Good points.

I'm not advocating a blanket withdrawal of US troops from around the world. I do think it's appropriate to ask what the purpose of each installation/troop presence is and whether/how the host country could/should be responsible for some of the costs.

If you want the detail you mentioned, some of it is available on the Dept of Defense website, btw.

As to exposing "states within our own hemisphere as ripe for the taking by our enemies", the US is very intertwined economically, militarily, clandestinely and otherwise to most of them. Again, another area for a more open discussion about the appropriateness of the US' various roles in the hemisphere.

Posted by: MsJS | April 25, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, cool. Yeah, I know all about those kinds of numbers. I could bang out 2000 words on this stuff without breaking stride. Why I'm such a hit at cocktail parties.

I didn't mean you were advocating; the author was. And yeah, that's what I meant about the statistics he throws out. There's no context. Are we there as conflict resolution or by invite? Cleaning up past issues, preventing future, or both? What's the net value gained from each, both to ourselves and to our friends? Is it really fair to be counting countries as one tick each, equating the Bahamas with the DMZ? Or Iraq?

How are we able to respond to natural disasters because of our installations? (By being so rich and powerful, what's our responsibility here?) Then there's a couple x factors to be included in these kinds of calculations: influence on general mindsets of other cooperative endeavors (intelligence, science/medicine, etc.), as well as influence on the general mindset of the subtle, but there, and necessary to take into consideration.

And yeah, all those realms you mentioned are intertwined. But take one out, and the whole thing changes shape.

I agree that these things should be looked at, carefully and constantly. But that's not what that guy was saying. He said 135 countries is 135 too many. Really?

Seems to me the author is tossing out an awful lot of meaningless statistics in an effort to guide one's thinking, not get one thinking.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 25, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Ms JS invite me again; the invite disappeared or I clicked badly.

Pardon the crpytocomm here.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 25, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Not sure I understood the question but Buffalo is directly across the Niagara River from Fort Erie, Canada. one the major routes of trade between U.S. and Canada

Posted by: omni3 | April 25, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all. Busy day, just getting time to check in.

Talitha and Jumper, I'm so sorry to hear about your neighbors and my thoughts and prayers will be with you and them and their families.

Cowhand, peace! :-)

Gardeners, I have a question. Mr. T and I spent part of the afternoon pulling periwinkle infected with a wilting fungus. I'm ready to pack it in with that plant; we put it in the spring of 2001 and it's been nothing but trouble. Any suggestions for a groundcover that will take shade and Southern summer sun? I will appreciate any advice!

We had my favorite twin boyz for lunch, and their mom and dad came along. Talking and running, that's what they're doing these days. So very precious!

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon. Boodle.

Does this make any sense? "Given the pitching matchup, the catcher and the Dodgers have to like their chances in today's finale against the Washington Nationals."

First, it ain't a finale. But mainly, "the catcher AND the Dodgers"?? Huh?

If I were Joel, I'd be complaining about that gratuitous Ponzi scheme headline. Among other things it makes it seem as though Joel is claiming the debt is a Ponzi scheme. But that's what I hate about those &*&^%$# teaser question headlines.

Was reading the back cover of the paperback of Steig Larsson's second novel at Safeway today and found a major editorial error, an extra word. Pretty rare to find goofs in that kind of copy.

Giant has snow crab clusters on sale for $4.99 a pound; it's what's for dinner.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 25, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Doing an eyeball estimate I'd say Buffalo and Toronto are 60 miles apart by crow and 100 miles by car (97km/161km

Posted by: omni3 | April 25, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure someone already posted this:

" 'Boobquake' Comes to D.C. on Monday:

Methinks the circle might get a little crowded...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 25, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

It is close omni, the argument was that if Hamilton were to get an NHL franchise they would have to pay both Toronto and Buffalo for encroaching on their territory. Hamilton to Buffalo is just a tad over 50 miles, by major highways. Buffalo has more to lose if Hamilton gets a team, so many of their fans are Canadians with either seasons tickets or single game tickets - since Leaf tickets are unavailable people go to Buffalo games - maybe 10 - 20% of the crowd. They could fill Hamilton arena with ex-Toronto fans and not make a dent in the waiting list for Leaf tickets, merchandising or TV revenue - they are just whiners. (OK rant over).

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Travel distances,

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I am not a big fan of ground covers, but I like this one, colours vary widely depending on how much sun they get, just needs to be kept watered. Not sure if it can withstand your heat but probably.
Leaves smell nice as well - it can be somewhat invasive, but most ground covers can.

Chameleon Plant, Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The young woman whose off-hand comment set off the 'boobquake' explosion has some interesting things to say in her update post today. I only read a few of the comments but O M G !!!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse


The Wings lost 5-2 against Phoenix! I mean, they live in a desert FCOL!

*nursing wounds to my hockey sensibilities*

Yoki? Got any hugs left over?

Posted by: -ftb- | April 25, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Note to Slyness, this plant will spread so it needs to be placed in a spot where that is OK - under pines. It is wonderful in planters as well.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

That's not one I had ever heard of, dmd, thanks for the suggestion! I'll look into it. It will grow in this zone...

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I am currently sporting amorphous blotches of enamel semi-gloss having finally painted out kitchen. I figure that if we are rushing towards financial Armageddon I, at least, want to do so with a shiny fresh coat of paint.

And regarding that Armageddon, although lack of political will is certainly a lot of the problem, I think politicians could find the will if they could all agree on a strategy. That is, I think an increasing number of politicians understand that the deficit is unsustainable, they just disagree, violently, on the best way to deal with it.

It's like a war. Everybody wants to defeat the enemy, but different generals can have radically different ways of doing this. The biggest challenge, I assert, is finding consensus on strategy.

Now, many of these approaches involves putting a greater tax load on future citizens. While many decry this, I don't think it is *necessarily* an unjust solution. The morality of such approaches depends an how much a restructuring will benefit future citizens in ways other than their tax load.

It's like sending a kid to college with the understanding that that kid will have to take out a big student loan. This is morally okay so long as the benefit to the kid of the college education is significant enough. The premise is that a future with big loan payments and a college education is better than a future without a college education and, hence, no big loan payments. The sole metric can't be loan payments.

In the same way, so long as the future enabled by aggressive government action is "better" in some meaningful way, then it is okay to expect future citizens to pay a bigger share of the cost.

Now, this doesn't imply that present borrowing will automatically translate into a better future for our offspring. But it is, I assert, a reasonable thing to keep in mind when attempting to tackle the problem in a rational way.

But that just might be the paint fumes talking.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 25, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's good reading

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 25, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

After further reading I did see a lot of comments about how invasive it is so be careful - it is zones 4 - 9 so I think that covers your area. People also complained about the smell, I like it but rub the leaves to make sure you do.

To be safe do not mix in a perennial bed.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, that was fun. Just came back online from a two-hour power outage. Whole neighborhood was out.

It's drizzly here, but hardly dire, weatherwise. Probably some poor critter fried itself in a local electrical exchange box.

*moment of silence*

But the power's back just in time to start thinking DINNER! Due to the large brunch, it's really more of a light supper: curried chicken salad w/ romaine and carrots, sourdough bread, the last of this morning's fruit.

And cookies. Of course.

Posted by: MsJS | April 25, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Slyness: kudzu.

Oh, you meant a ground cover you WANT.

I have returned from the Great Outdoors. Ivansdad got the big mower and did the East Forty (okay, about an acre), Dog Yard, and a couple of miscellaneous acres. I did the postage stamp in back and part of the dog yard with the hand mower. I also cleaned off the patio, raked some flower and herb beds, planted some herbs and a couple of container tomatoes, and - triumph - found the drain in the front yard. Ivansdad and I installed this under the driveway when we first moved in, with great effort, to prevent the bottom of that yard from becoming a morass. Every few years it gets covered. Every year I swear I'll keep it open and never quite do, so it always takes some time when I set out to find it. Operational now.

We had a lovely very early supper. The downside is there is still a lot of work in the house yet to do, and the Boy's science project construction to supervise (complex machine). Alas.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 25, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Just had a robo-call from one of the Republican candidates for Congress (there is a Republican primary in June). Apparently the teabaggers have targeted our district and our first-term Democratic congressman.

The robo-caller told me that "repealing healthcare" would be his first priority. Not even "the healthcare bill" or "healthcare reform," but "repealing healthcare."


Posted by: -TBG- | April 25, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Dinner: 1 lb. snow crab clusters (each); 1/2 head of romaine, drizzled with EVOO and grilled, then tossed with crumbled blue cheese.

That's it.

Oh, and a bottle of Stone Mountain's Bacon Hallow Revenuer's Select (our very fav wine).

Don't get any better than that.

I liked the Tim Wise column jumper linked to.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | April 25, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse


Ivansmom, that is one scary thought. Nope, don't need a groundcover THAT badly.

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, my neighbor planted coleus in the shade in the virginia summer heat. It should grow in your area just fine.

Coleus has pretty leaves (no major flowers), so it provides an even look through the spring, summer, and fall.

It doesn't go nuts like kudzu; it's an annual so you may need to replace it. It doesn't grow too high or too wide.

Hostas are also good ground cover for shady places, but they grow big, not as big as rhubarb, but pretty big, so they kind of have a "shrub-like" presence, rather than filling things out. You may not want that.

Another thought, if you don't mind a little enroachment, is to just grow violets in the shade. We did well with wild-seeded violets at one time, we never mowed 'em down around a tree and the bed just expanded. The violets, once they had finished blooming, kind of gave ground cover similar to coleus, but less exciting leaves-- just dark green.

Lilies of the valley also do well in the shade, but I wouldn't depend on them as the only ground cover plant, the smell is very potent with only a few plants, you wouldn't want dozens.

Hope those give you ideas.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 25, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I like Wilbrod's thinking, again stating I do not like ground covers, mostly because I end up being the person ripping them out.

Could you mulch the area, with a few select large perennials and then add planters to add some colour variety? That would be my preference. Just bought my container gardening magazines today - can you tell :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I like Wilbrod's thinking, again stating I do not like ground covers, mostly because I end up being the person ripping them out.

Could you mulch the area, with a few select large perennials and then add planters to add some colour variety? That would be my preference. Just bought my container gardening magazines today - can you tell :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

slyness, if you want the big viney groundcover patch I've got around a corner of my patio, I'll fax it to you. I don't know what it is. Not terribly invasive, though I did just have to discipline it for trying to climb up the inside of the drainpipe and sneak under the siding. It's certainly more visually interesting than just grass. But it just looks like such a nice rodent habitat. Or maybe snakes. (Come to eat the rodents, presumably.) And it's so close to the house. I'd rather have bushes instead. So, shall I warm up the fax?

Posted by: -bia- | April 25, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wilbrod. The problem is that part of the bed is in shade and part of it gets full afternoon sun in July and August - so finding something that will take the variation won't be easy. I love hostas and have a bunch, haven't grown coleus in years. Maybe liriope is in my future, as overdone as that has been.

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, dmd, you rip out groundcovers? Wanna come rip out mine? I get a boodle discount, right?

Posted by: -bia- | April 25, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Ground cover for Slyness...


Posted by: -TBG- | April 25, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Coleus do well in Florida in the summer, but need to be watered. Liriope thrive (Disney World has it by the acre).

We have the option of cast-iron plants (Aspidistra). Plants are expensive and they grow slowly enough that you never realize they're spreading. Do they actually live outdoors in Washington?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 25, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Slyness -
Have you ever tryed pachysandra? We had it as groundcover in Baltimore (a beautiful 65-year-old garden, well-established) and, though it was mostly mixed shade/sun, it did well in full sun. You can easily mow right up to it's edges. Weeds and grass are totally controlled by it and it doesn't invade, trail or grow much above 8" high. Not bad to look at, though not colorful.

Vinca is another, though it trails and has to be cut back like ivy.

Love coleus and there are some varieties out now to grow in sunny areas. But having a groundcover that has to be replaced every year depresses me to even think about.

Investigate Pachysandra as a possibility.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Love it, TBG! Just wish I could plant it in the yard!

Maybe I'll just put in daylillies.

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Talitha.. I was going to recommend pachysandra, too. I love it. I'm always amazed at how well it fills in but doesn't spread. How do it know?

We have some pachysandra beds that were created from cuttings from my parent's yard. Son of G was just saying yesterday how nice it is to have some of my childhood home (and his childhood second home) in our yard.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 25, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey RD_padouk, the missus and I just painted our kitchen, in semi-gloss as well. We paid extra and got one of the "no VOC" paints available now. We have a soon-to-be 3yr old in the house, and are expecting, so we wanted no fumes.

It worked great and no real terrible paint odor. We are sold.

I also now have two new shirts to add to the "bum around the house in" pile, as they are speckled beyond repair.

Posted by: steveboyington | April 25, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Pachysandra was one of the ground covers I ripped out last summer, the roots go very deep and are runners, took forever to get rid of, looks nice but spreads and is difficult to remove if you need to.

Love that you have some from your parents TBG, I have several things I dug out from my parents.

Bugleweed is another good option Slyness but again a spreader and quite quickly and will also spread into the lawn.

How about a thyme, creeping thyme or the steppable ones (too low?).

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Ajunga - very pretty when in flower and comes in a variety of leaf colour from green to burgundy to varigated.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 25, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I love pachysandra, Talitha. Unfortunately, the sun's too hot for it this far south. Periwinkle is vinca minor. If I could just get rid of the fungus and the weeds, I'd be happy with it. It seems my options are ivy (no, no, and no) and liriope (boooring). We'll see how successful the yard maintenance folks are at treating the fungus. Otherwise, the bed may go back to grass.

Wilbrod, I've tried lily of the valley several times, but I haven't been successful with it. Instead of buying plants or pips, I should ask Mr. T's aunt, for whom it grows gangbusters, for a start.

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Ajuga, now there's a thought. I'll have to check and see how well it does in sun. My mother had it at the back of the yard, around the clothesline. It was shady there.

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Some think these garish or unsophisticated. They are hardy however.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 25, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

steveboyington - I used on of those "no VOC" paints a few years ago to paint our bedroom, and they are indeed virtually odorless. Of course, even the hardware store brand seems to be far less volatile than it was a decade ago. Of course, I still find it's a good idea to open a window or two to keep the magic animals at bay.

Regarding pachysandra, my wife planted some in a shady flowerbed near the back of our yard about a decade ago. At the same time I planted a few varieties of mint. I figures it would be the herbaceous equivalent of a Cage Match.

The pachysandra won.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 25, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Ornamental sweet potato.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 25, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Pachysandra beat mint, RD? Wow. I have some spearmint (from my mother, natch) and I fight it all.the.time. I guess I should get rid of it, but it came from my mother! Most of the plants in my yard came from her: the camellias, the Russian tea olive, the lenten roses, the fairy roses, my grandmother's old-fashioned rose, the irises, the little white violet (I fight those, too).

The weeds were indigenous.

Posted by: slyness | April 25, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Interesting you'd say pachysandra spread. Probably ours did but we just mowed it down! I can see how it would be terrible to rip out, something we never needed to do.

Next time I need gardening advice I'm coming to the boodlers first. You folks are better than my American Horicultural Society gardening dictionary and weigh about 20 pounds less!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Make that 'Horticultural'.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 25, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Liriope boring? Say it ain't so.

I have coveted it for a very long time. Sadly it will remain out of my comfort zone (so to speak)and remain a thing to covet.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 25, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Aspidistra! There is rather a funny limerick about these plants as potted around WWI and WWII dance-halls. But I am far too proper and prudish to provide the text thereof.

However, there is this, from my paternal grandmother, who had rather a low sense of humour.

Sally Brown put on her skates
Upon the ice to frisk.
She was, it seems, too cautious
Her little *.

Posted by: Yoki | April 25, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Boodle dear. I apologise!

Posted by: Yoki | April 26, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, can you grow society garlic?

Or what I call "freeway daisy" and my gardener says "Call it by the latin name!" which is Osteospermum. Also called Trailing African Daisy.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 26, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Just looked back at the comments. Agree with dmd that putting down mulch on garden fabric, with cuts for a few plants -- or else planters -- would be a great idea. I have an orange tree on a piece of yard by the driveway. Had all sorts of things grow under the orange. (Nasturtiums were the best.) But have had mulch on fabric for about two years now and really like the simplicity of how it looks and the ease of upkeep.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 26, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

I managed to let spearmint die. I think heliconias shaded it out.

The same area now has a thriving mass of small-flowered wild-type Salvia coccinea, with nothing like the masses of big flowers you see on horticultural varieties. This sage has a huge natural distribtution, from South Carolina to perhaps Paraguay. It's naturalized around the world.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 26, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Hostas -- the plant that keeps on giving... *L* NukeSpouse has replanted and rearranged cuttings all over the place, and they continue to explode every year. We'll see if this season's version survived last night's deluge. Had a moment of worry when a tornado warning appeared to the west, and the local "superdoppler" image indicated rotation in nearby cells, but I'm Boodling, so things must be OK.

*hoping-I-can-get-to-work-in-my-suit-without-too-much-of-a-soaking-before-a-hectic-day Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 26, 2010 5:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning and happy Monday, all! Hi Cassandra, I hope you're feeling well today. Scotty, you're up early.

No liriope in your part of the world, dr? Really? I thought the stuff was ubiquitious. Around here it's everywhere and very sturdy.

Ham biscuits, a mixed fruit bowl (fresh local strawberries!), and hot and cold beverages on the ready room table. Hopefully this will hold us over till MsJS gets here.

Posted by: slyness | April 26, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, Dotc has a great idea, I planted this sage last year and is was in full bloom from May to November, I am on the upper edges of its' hardiness so it should be fine in your area, likes sun and after established drought tolerant. I have other sages that go in and out of flower but this one is non stop.

Posted by: dmd3 | April 26, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Good mornickzz, Boodlers!

Zipping about on a frosty autumn morning in Santiago and doing a bit of studying how geography changed as earth re-arranged itself on Feb. 27.

Two lakes have tilted, a river may possibly change its course.

A mamoth effort was made to get ALL kids back to school today. We won't know until tomorrow if the objective was reached.

A lot of schools operate in tents.

With frosts becoming general, the Colzoncillos Pa' Chile (Knickers Fo' Chile) project of sending long johns to the demolished areas is underway. Customers filled the bars sponsoring the project.

Brag :)

Posted by: Braguine | April 26, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: dmd3 | April 26, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

New kit.

Posted by: Boomslang | April 26, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The biggest reason I oppose term limits is that it short-circuits the democratic process. It tells people that they are not allowed to elect the best person available for the job. Heck, I'm not even that keen on the 22nd Amendment forbidding a third Presidential term. (Although I do acknowledge, in that case of the Presidency, the real opportunity for abuse.)

The notion behind term limits is that Washington is somehow intrinsically corrupting. And there is certainly something to that position.

But, to me, the biggest problem is finding and keeping really good people who are willing to serve in Congress. Once you have one, I think it is the right of the constituents to keep him or her in office.

And if a Congressperson becomes corrupted? Well, vote he or she out.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 26, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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