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Under the volcano


[Photo from the Telegraph of London.]

I've been telling everyone that it's pure coincidence that we've had all these earthquakes. Then the volcano erupted. Then a giant fireball streaked across the Midwestern sky. Then, this weekend, I noticed the robins hopping along the lawn kept heading straight for the back porch. I'm not paranoid but I know when I'm being charged by a robin.

I've been on edge for weeks, since my houseplants began giving me the willies. I bought three little green potted plants in January and put them on top of a cabinet at work, to add life to my sterile environment, and then I forgot about them, and never watered them, and just ignored them, and one day I realized -- with a shudder -- that they were still alive. And green! It's like they were fake plants, only they were the real thing, and they should have been long dead. So that wasn't normal. Those plants completely freaked me out.

Had to throw them away, just for my sanity.

I'm not saying doomsday is nigh. I'm just saying something's not right, and by gum I'm not going to be the sucker who falls through the giant crevice in the earth. I'm hunkering down and strapping in. Bring it on!


[Photo from Boing Boing.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 19, 2010; 11:48 AM ET
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Next: Government salt regulations


On their Thursday show, Mike O'Meara was ringing the panic bell as well. Something funny is going on. How many signs of the apocalypse are there?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

If the world ends this afternoon, I won't have to grade this huge pile of homework that the class really needs to get back this evening. That'd be nice. From my lack of focus over the weekend, you'd think I was counting on it. Maybe not the best idea.

Posted by: -bia- | April 19, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The Philly Art Museum had an exhibit on Shakers. Counting on the world ending in the very near future has traditionally been a bad business model.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Dramatic photos, boss. Of course, being the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and Hitler's birthday, it's a dramatic day. This too will pass.

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I worked at pm and worked on that exhibit. My coworkers were astonished that people still made springerle (after I brought some in).

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I had to look it up.

Where do you get those lovely molds/rolling pins? I like anise.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to think of this day as Patriot's Day and honor those brave colonists who fought the British. (And those who run the Boston Marathon)

Posted by: rickoshea1 | April 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

When I heard about the earthquake in Tibet, I started thinking, maybe not a coincidence...Living in an area overdue for a big earthquake, and in the shadows of active volcanoes, I am a little twitchy.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Scc: PMA

the best ones come from Generally the bigger the mold the easier it is to use.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I make a motion that the International Geologicial Societ have a rule naming volcanoes like they do hurricanes, because half of all volacanoes I'm aware of have utterly unpronouncible names, like Eyjafjallajokull.

BUNYARUGURU (OK, this one is pronouncable. But you gotta admit "Bunny, are you guru" is inefffably weird.)
FUKUTOKU-OKANOBA (I'm not touching that one.)
HROMUNDARTINDUR (same place as Whatchamacallit, Iceland)
HUNGA TONGA-HUNGA HA'APAI (Nope, not making this up.)
KARANGETANG [API SIAU] (Hint: it's in the Sangihe Islands. Hope that doesn't give it away too much.) (No, I have no idea, either.)
LLULLAILLACO (No, it's not an Irish lullaby.)
TINDFJALLAJOKULL (Likewise, Iceland.)

And of course, who could forget
TUNGNAFELLSJOKULL (Everybody, sing!)

The list I was working off contains 1,585 volcano names. It is from the Global Volcanism Program (, which I think has more sites than Starbucks. It turns out there's a whole ----load of them on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which, in my opinion, ought to be juswt shut down right now. They have more volcanoes than Maryland has drive-through liquor stores.

These things are *everywhere!* It's frightening. Of course, yeah, a lot of them are dormant. That's what they *want* you to think.

Now, there's a volcano up in Canada called "Fort Selkirk." Now THAT's how you name a volcano. Something nice, simple, civilized. Not too scary. Easy to spell. Easy to pronouce. Very...Canadian, doncha think?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 19, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And the rolling pins are easier to use than the boards. I have the showstopper one. Gorgeous.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 19, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Whooo, pictures!

dbG - got it . . . check back!

Glad to hear the roadtrip was a success -
but parting is not always sweet sorrow, eh?

later . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 19, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Let's look on the bright side. April 19 is also the anniversary of "the shot heard round the world" at Lexington in 1775. The Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943. Francis Drake sank the Spanish fleet at Cadiz in 1587. The 1934 film "Stand Up and Cheer" introduces a new movie star, Shirley Temple. New ABC TV network begins operations in 1948. George Steinbrenner becomes Yankee president in 1973. Claude DeBussy's "Pelleas et Melisande" is first performed on this day in 1897. And in the highest scoring opening day game in MLB history, the Phillies beat the Braves (then known as the Boston Beaneaters) 19-17 in 10 innings on April 19, 1900.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 19, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Of course, somebody seems to have gone and built a fort on it, which I'm thinking wasn't the best idea in the world. But then again, a bunch of SciTim's buddies went and built an observatory on top of Mauna Kahlua or whatever it's called. Or maybe that's a drink, I forget. But it's something like that.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mudge.
Why can't we have some good ole' Amuricun
volcano names, huh?

Read an easier way to say the current one, unless speaking directly to a native Icelandian:


Just in case it comes up in conversation, or something. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | April 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I *know,* talitha, that's just what I was thinking! There's a volcano out in the Solomons somewhere named "Billy Mitchell." True. Why that is I can't say. But there it is.

I've noticed, too, that they put a lot of these volcanoes on islands. Why I don't know. You'd think it wouldn't be very good for the tourist industry. I mean, who want to go to a Club Med kinda place somewhere, and one day you're relaxing on the beach having a drink with a paper umbrella, and right behind you some damn mountain explodes, and next thing you know you can't get home from Europe. Me, I wouldn't stand for it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 19, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

In the small scheme of things, what the ScienceFam is going through frightens me more than volcanoes. No pretty pictures, I realize, but very scary. Yes, SciTim, we will assume that the vaccine will be 100 percent effective and that the SciTrooper will be fine, in the short and long runs.

I'm gonna leave in a few minutes to go have a blood draw. After being on the registry for over 20 years, I've been called to see if I'm a match and can give marrow/stem cells for a child with leukemia. Hoping and praying that I can help...

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know paper umbrellas were allowed to drink, Mudgie.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | April 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

My wife are PMA members for the year so we can see the Picasso exhibit (closing soon) and the Renoir show (this summer). Each time we are up there, I wander around a little even though we have seen the whole museum on multiple ocassions.

This time I took a bunch more pictures of different pieces to add to my Flickr set of PMA artwork. The special exhibit rules for the Picasso show made me laugh because photography was banned, but most of the works were PMA acquisitions just relocated for the show.

For example, I already have a photo of Dali's 'Soft Construction with Boiled Beans' from an earlier visit:

But since it's part of the surrealist portion of the Picasso show, it's now verbotten.

This time I was focusing on bare breasts through the ages (which aforementioned Dali fits in with), although I couldn't resist the Brillo boxes among others. Even when I am trying to be merely prurient, I get drawn in by the True Art.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

And aren't most o'them islands just floatin' around in the ocean anyway, likely to tip over if you move a military base off to one end or sumpin' like that there? It just don't figger. *scratches head and wanders off* . . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

One of the trickiest things to comprehend is that random doesn't mean evenly distributed. Things naturally bunch up from time to time. This is why the nighttime sky is filled with constellations.

That said, I also know that the "New Geology" goes on a lot about how interconnected geological events thousands of miles apart can be. And many loved friends and relatives live in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, which, despite being way easier to say than Mt. Eyejabbathehut or whatever, is a scary place for them to live. So I am hopeful that this statistical fluctuation settles down before Mr Rainier gets all caught up in the peer pressure.

I have often suggested that living in the shadow of a geologically active volcano might not be prudent. But they really like the area, what with the daffs and all, and simply accept the overhead angst as part of doing business. I guess on some level we are all fatalistic. Too much worry can lead to complete paralysis. Ash happens.

Although I am darkly amused by the alleged suggestion by Limbaugh that this Icelandic eruption is God's Wrath for passing health care reform. Yeah, America passes HCR and God decides to ground all the planes in Europe. Talk about your mysterious ways.

But so long as long as dogs and cats aren't living together in sin I'm not worried.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Joel, are your pants "pothos?"

I have had one for many years that simply refuses to die. Whenever I forget to water the thing it simply goes into a snit.

Pothos also really like florescent lighting. I'm still trying to figure out how this adaptation came about.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 19, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I mean are your *plants* pothos. Your pants can be whatever you want. As long as they aren't you know, pleated pothos.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 19, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Dropping in quickly in between meetings. Joel neatly encapsulates my unease that all this Natural activity portends something. People hate randomness. In this case I'd rather embrace the possibility that all these natural catastrophes are random, than concede the idea that The Planet is Out To Get Us. Or, worse, doesn't care and is venting, etc., purely for its own amusement.

April 19 will, here, forever be the day of the Oklahoma City bombing. While the city's response was and continues to be heartening, it was a terrible thing. If you come to OKC please visit the Memorial. They really did it right. To everyone who insists we can't try terrorists in federal court: it worked with Timothy McVeigh. The question isn't whether it can be done, because it surely can and has. Heck, we fairly tried his accomplice Nichols in state court.

I'm holding out good thoughts for the ScienceKid, SciTim & SciSpouse. The S*Kid should get at least an excellent science fair project out of this.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Here is my photo tribute to volcanoes.

Mt Ranier:

Mount St. Helens:


It's a slippery slope from beautiful and scenic to downright frightening.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wider view of Vesuvius:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

rickie -- the little paper 'brellas do get limited drink coupons. The tiny plastic cutlasses? No. They violated the terms of drinking long ago. And, the damage to the puce velvet draperies I edged in hand-tatted lace....I am still angry about that.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 19, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The OKC National Monument is one of the better ones I've seen. It combines open spaces with solemnity and some truly moving symbolism. My pictures only do it a little bit of justice:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

As I repeatedly tell the astrologically-minded: nobody's life is ruled by the stars and planets and mysterious forces of the universe, except for me. Well, and then there's that gravity stuff. But aside from that: no body and no thing. So unlax, dudes. Crack open a cold one (unless you are British, then it may be a lukewarm one), settle back, and admire the majesty of nature. Dude.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 19, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I've seen those all over offices, RD. They don't half seem real sometimes.

Are your bunnies safely sequestered from snacking on Devil's Ivy, RD?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

And don't forget that 4/19 is also the day before 4/20.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Whoa there, TBG. 4/19 is a fact, but 4/20, that's only a theory.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 19, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I say we have a Boodle Porching Hour and Glaucoma Test Pilot Reunion (BPHAGTPR, which would be a good name for a volcano) on 4/20 at 4:20.

Another good name for a volcano: TANSTAAFL

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

sciTim -- I told your story in class today. We are working on the horrifying concept of "science denial."

See this Michael Spector TED video on what happens when magical thinking by well educated grown ups takes over our logical faculties.

Glad sciFam did not take this herbal remedy for rabies:

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 19, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

For better or worse, the near-year I spent in Iceland was quiet. Only had one minor earthquake to my knowledge. Surtsey blew up off the south coast about a year after I left. However, they didn't call it the Land of Fire and Ice for nothing.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 19, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

A commenter at the New York Times urges readers to go to the airport and rescue a stranded tourist, or a few.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

For a minute there I thought Padouk was kidding about Limbaugh, just making a Rush-is-an-idiot joke. But no, Limbaugh really did say that. Here's the quote:

"You know, a couple of days after the health care bill had been signed into law Obama ran around all over the country saying, “Hey, you know, I’m looking around. The earth hadn’t opened up. No Armageddon out there. The birds are still chirping.” I think the earth has opened up. God may have replied. This volcano in Iceland has grounded more airplanes — airspace has more affected — than even after 9/11 because of this plume, because of this ash cloud over Northern and Western Europe. ... It’s got everybody just in a shutdown. Earth has opened up. I don’t know whether it’s a rebirth or Armageddon. Hopefully it’s a rebirth, God speaking...." --Rush Limbaugh, Friday.

What an idiot. Everybody *knows* it wasn't caused by Obama and health care. It was the gays, clearly.

When will the media stand up and just tell the truth: Limbaugh has unshipped all his oars. The man is certifiable.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 19, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

If our health care law caused the volcano, why are the Europeans getting punished?

I guess it's because it's their socialist medicine systems that inspired our socialist president. Nevermind, I answered my own question. It all makes sense now.

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

They got it wrong ScienceTime, it's the foxes that need the rabies vaccine, not the kids.

The bait is a little chewy but you get use to it as emergency food. Eh, it's better than jumping on a dead sheep and eating its eyes out like this British commando guy does on TV anyway.

Using a toony as a scale reference isn't very helpful for the American tourists.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 19, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I have a friend who was planning a family vacation to Iceland in May. I haven't seen her since this started, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things calm down enough for them to go.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 19, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps kguy or mudge or somebody can suggest some volcano movies to go with the allusion that Joel used as the title.

My humble suggestions would be:

Volcano (1997) - duh
Dante's Peak (1997) - aka The Other Volcano Movie
The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)
Krakatoa: East of Java (1969)
Joe Versus The Volcano (1990)

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

SciTim, good advice about cracking one open and relaxing. Especially if you're in a northern European airport bar, because you may not have much else to do.

I'm always amused when folks ascibe Acts of God, to, well, God. Which, I suppose, is fine (as much as I don't really see the universe as deterministic, but that's my problem), except when they begin to assign motivation - isn't that what some Shamen did? Maybe Augur is a better word, since they looked at birds. I'm ready to drop a bug in Limbaugh's ear that global climate change is happening because the Creator is just saving a lot of time and energy by bringing the perdition we've brought on oursleves right here, as a home delivery.


TBG, yello, y'all beat me to the 4/20 reminder.

Perhaps it's all just a warmup (ahem) for 2012.


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I like Pierce Brosnan & Linda Hamilton just fine, but by the end of "Dante's Peak" I was fervently wishing that they'd all just die already. People that dumb deserve to be consigned to fiery oblivion.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I've been fighting to get that Jimmy Buffett volcano song out of my head for days, then I read Mudge's comment about islands, drinks with paper umbrellas, etc and here we go again:

Ground she's movin' under me
Got ya tidal waves out on the sea
Sulphur smoke up in the sky
Pretty soon we learn to fly

Hey I don't know
I don't know
I don't know where I'm a gonna go
When the volcano blow

Now my girl quickly said to me
Man, you'd better watch your feet
That lava comes out soft and hot
You better lova me now or lova me not

See I don't know
I don't know
I don't know where I'm a gonna go
When the volcano blow

"Hey Mr. Utley."

No time to count what I'm worth
Hey I just left the planet earth
But a' where I go I hope there's rum
Not to worry, more soon come

I don't know
I don't know
I don't know where I'm a gonna go
When the volcano blow

But I don't want to land in New York City
Don't want to land in Mexico (no no no)
Don't want to land in the Three Mile Island
Don't want to see my skin aglow (no no no)

Don't want to land in Commanche Sky park
Or in Nashville, Tennessee (no no no)
Don't want to land in no San Juan airport
Or the Yukon Territory (no no no)

Don't want to land in no San Diego
Don't want to land in no Buzzard's Bay(no no no)
Don't want to land on no ayutollah
I got nothin a more to say

I don't know
I don't know
I don't know where I'm a gonna go
When the volcano blow

Posted by: newengland1 | April 19, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on the names Mudge. If you may need it in a rapid emergency statement it should be easy to say.

On the other hand since Latin characters keep being imported into languages that are not, it's possible Eyjafjallajokull actually sounds like E-ah-koo to a native icelander. Easy enough to shriek out in a panic.

Posted by: qgaliana | April 19, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Just as a warning, the youtube links I posted earlier were:
Jack Bruce - The Consul at Sunset (which has the lyrics, "under the volcano", referring to the book by that name)

Jimmy Buffett - Volcano

Since no one seems to see my posts or follows my links, you all are safe.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and 4/20/1999 was the date of the Columbine school shooting. Another reason I get twitchy this time of year.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Um, the robins are looking for berries from human me. Give'em a break...just try'n to survive and prosper in the urban jungle.

Fabulous pictures! So glad the US was spared this particular volcano nightmare. But looking for awesome sunsets before too long like we had when St. Helen's blew.

The weather in San Diego is living up to its reputation today. Gorgeous. Now if it will just stop those sudden earth shakes.

Back to work!

Posted by: Windy3 | April 19, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Didn't mean to step on your toes, seasea1. Can't open video links from work computer.

Posted by: newengland1 | April 19, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think there was a fair amount of lava flying around Mount Doom in "LOTR: Return of the King."

Posted by: kguy1 | April 19, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I have documented the general indifference to (or perhaps just suspicion of) my links long enough that I fully expect to be ignored. I too am self-censored for YouTube links at work and often forget to go back and watch them at the end of the day. And I was definitely humming the Buffett tune cootie earlier today without prompting.

Relevant lyrics are always appreciated for those of us you can't, won't or shouldn't watch YouTube.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Here's a list of volcano flix from the USGS-

A few are worth watching, some of them are just awful, but most are pure crap.

I love Tpmmy Lee Jones, but "Volcano" with (gag) Ann Heche definitely falls in the last group.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 19, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Someone suggested calling it Katla's little sister which is just wrong as Katla is 505 feet higher

Posted by: omni3 | April 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Tpmmy Lee Jones is actually a slightly better actor than his look-alike cousin Tommy, but is less well known because he refuses to speak any language other than his native Icelandic, whereas Tommy is fluent in three languages- English, Spanish, and Texican.

Posted by: kguy1 | April 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Hey, ya fergot la yogurt is 505 feet taller than Katla

Posted by: omni3 | April 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Johnny Maestro, one of my fav old doo-wop singers, age 70. He died a few weeks ago, but I just found out about it. He sang "16 Candles" when he was with the Crests, and "Worst that Could Happem" with the Brooklyn Bridge.

Little known is the fact that the Crests were one of the very first (if not the first) interracial groups back in the 1950s, back when that just "wasn't done."

"There were three blacks, one Puerto Rican,” Maestro said, “and I was the Eye-talian.” They all came from the Lower East Side of NY. One of the blacks was Patricia Van Dross, Luther's sister.

"16 Candles" was the B-side, of all things. A completely unremembered song called "Beside You" was the A-side.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

A few more to add to yello's list:

- The Devil at 4 o'clock
- The Last Days of Pompeii
- When Time Ran Out (Truly awful. The only part I really remember is a sequence in which characters are trying to cross a damaged bridge over a gorge filled with lava, which is lifted directly from "Devil." It's one of the most blatant cinematic thefts I've ever seen.)
- St. Helens

Posted by: rashomon | April 19, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Journey to the Centre of the Earth/Voyage au centre de la Terre.
It's an extinct volcano but hey, a volcano's a volcano.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 19, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

USGS has a pretty expansive definition of 'volcano' if CE3K counts. My beef is mostly so I can link to my picture of Devil's Tower:

The origins are unclear and it may or may not be from some ancient volcano.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

One more:

- Congo (A so-bad-it's-good movie. Pure 1930s Pulp-o-rama.)

Posted by: rashomon | April 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Aw come on, doncha remember the scene where Richard Dreyfuss and the kids put vinegar and baking soda in the pile of mashed potatoes and made the gravy flow?

Posted by: kguy1 | April 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different (really, this time):

I just took a look at Charlie Rose's interview with Niels Arden Oplev, who directed "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" film. Poor Charlie, he really had a hard time pronouncing the names. It was a very nice interview nonetheless. Makes me "homesick" for Sweden and sad about all the stories Steig Larsson might have written had he not died so early.

Ivansmom -- has the film come to your fair city yet? Have you started the second book yet? It is all so addictive.

I've started to read "In Code" by Sarah Flannery and her father David (I think that's his first name) Flannery. It's maybe 10 years old or so, and follows her path from school in County Cork, Ireland, to be a mathematician. I've read the first chapter and it's quite enchanting. I'm still in nonfiction mode, it seems.

*faxing more scratches around the ears and under the chin, along with tummy rubs to Wilbrodog, just because*

Posted by: -ftb- | April 19, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, didn't mean to take umbrage - I was kidding, but obviously that didn't come across. I'm as guilty as anyone for not following links. The Jack Bruce tune is worth taking a listen to, whenever you can. It's so little known, but so apropos. The song refers to Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry (which I tried to read, but didn't get far into).

16 Candles is a great song.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Normaly, there is a guy who holds a loaded gun to my head if I even dare to open the A-blog. Today, he's asleep, I guess.

I note the boss's comments about robins. I, too, have been plagued with a psycotic robin. He zooms, Kamakazi style, full bore into the screen door, and rams it loud enough to wake my wife up from a sound sleep. Time, and time again with the banging. Why in the world would a bird *do* that?

And don't get me started with the mess he's leaving behind. Some calling card.

I've made a deal with the neighborhood watch-cat. All the MeowMix he (and his crew) wants in exchange for this bird. So far, no cigar. Any advice from the munificent, all-knowing, boodle would be appreciated.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | April 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Don! It's been absolute ages! Too bad you couldn't join us at the IBPH last week. Hope you're well, despite the robin.

Posted by: -ftb- | April 19, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I would have joined in the IBPH, ftb, but the black choppers held sway on that time slot. Murphy's law.

We're getting inspected this week by the big boys. I worked here all weekend to get ready.

Back to the salt mines.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | April 19, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

We have had birds try to fly through the closed windows of the sunroom, to perch in the branches of the 7.5-foot ficus tree. Once I can understand. After that, it gives a new meaning to the term bird-brain.

Posted by: slyness | April 19, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

There was an early-to-mid 1970's Disney movie called "The Island at the Top of the World". I only vaguely remember it, having seen it during its first run, but (in addition to the great whale graveyard and a tribe of lost Vikings) I'm pretty sure it's got some volcano action going on.

Posted by: bobsewell | April 19, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Don--Maybe your screen door is too reflective and the male robin thinks he's attacking a foe.

I would suggest buying an eagle shadow or just putting up a large photograph of a hungry cat watching him right where he tends to attack the door. Problem should improve.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 19, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess there must be folks stranded at Dulles, right? Anyone know how to offer help short of showing up at the airport? I see some message boards, but not sure if I want to blanketly offer a spare bed to anyone (ha ha... just noticed the pun).

Any advice?

Posted by: -TBG- | April 19, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Just posted an offer to help on Twitter with hashtags #putmeup #stranded #volcano.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 19, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

You're an angel, TBG.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, seasea (chuckle). Let's see what happens first, though.

Here's some great knitting...

Posted by: -TBG- | April 19, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse


Someone said earlier that 4/19 is Hitler's birthday. It's actually 4/20, also my sister's, which the poor child never gets to forget.

qgaliana - try: EYE-jaff-jalla-YOH-kull

What a relief the boodle is after a scrum-crummy day . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 19, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Sorry you had a crummy day, talitha. Come on in here and set a spell.

Care for some wine? I also have leftover strawberries and some soft cheese from our breakfast this morning. Help yourself.

Posted by: -TBG- | April 19, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the knitting link!

(odd - just as I typed that while watching Antique Roadshow, a person said the word "knit" while diplaying an ivory yarn swift! Twilight zone time)

Posted by: talitha1 | April 19, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of volcanoes, the Caps are exploding all over Montreal in the 2nd period this evening, with three goals in less than 9 minutes, including the first goal scored with Washington short-handed as Montreal was in a power play...(I had to rub my eyes at that one -- "Wha? Whoa! Wheee!"

Caps leading 3-0 at the moment and the Nats are even ahead of the Rockies 5-1 in the 4th inning...


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG, wish I could stay, even nosh and knit a while . . . alas, must do some phoning to deal with ye olde familie.

many thanks . . . later . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | April 19, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm nuts about the felted acrons.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 19, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey Boodle. I'm back home in Calgary (and boy, does the landscape ever look brown and dry and wintry!).

What a delightful time I had from Thursday to Monday. Saw 15 Boodlers in 4 days... aside from the MegaBPH, that may be a personal best. And a great delight to me.

The flights home worked well, but I'm still exhausted.

Have a great even- zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: Yoki | April 19, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Good to know no volcanoes got in your way home, Yoki.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Well then, Caps and Nats win tonight.

Not bad at all.

On a side note, I ended up talking to my radio during my commute home this evening when one of the news stations broadcast sound bites from some of the folks down at the gun rallies in NoVa today.

One suggested that the Obama Administration was trying to bring down America as a prelude to setting up a World Government (thus his need to bear arms was to prevent this), and another whipping up sentiment for an armed overthrow of the American Government. There seemed to be a consensus that this Adminisration was going to take their firearms sooner rather than later, even though there is no evidence in word or deed supporting such thing.

The combination of misinformation, paranoia, fear and firearms are an unsettling combo, particularly in light of the anniversaries of tragedies Oklahoma City, Columbine, and Waco. I know that holding the rallies on this date to coencide is intentional, but -- sheesh.


Posted by: -bc- | April 19, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Yep - the turnout at the rallies was described as "dozens" (the take your gun to the park rally) and hundreds (at the Washington Monument). That was good news for me.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

That article about the gun rally says the guy from Alabama who urged people to throw bricks through lawmakers' windows is concerned about getting arrested for not having health care insurance. There is no prison penalty - just a fine. Lawrence O'Donnell claims that there is no penalty for not paying the fine, even. Some people look hard for reasons to feel oppressed.

Rachel Maddow had a special on Tim McVeigh tonight, which I couldn't bear to watch.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 19, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I was pleased that NBC, at least, gave the gun nuts the amount of coverage that their numbers warranted: Zero. Zip. Nada.

When I saw that the media actually outnumbered the protesters in Virginia, I had a bad feeling that it would be a textbook example of how a non-event would become a media-made-event. They have to write about *something* when they get back to the office.

Posted by: rashomon | April 19, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm headed to Martinique where I'll be safe.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 20, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Safe travel, Jumper.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 20, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

As I recall, the famous survivor at Martinique was imprisoned. Have you settled upon a crime of choice?

Posted by: Bob-S | April 20, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Is everybody sleeping in today? Is there something you folks haven't shared with me?

Okay, good morning all, hi Cassandra!

Last night I went to a lecture about religious attitudes and politics given by a scholar who has surveyed the subjects for several decades. Very interesting, although not surprising. He underscored the importance of asking the right question correctly, to get an accurate response. That's easier said than done.

Did anyone else see the story this morning that an Iranian cleric says that immoral women cause earthquakes? Uh-mazing what some people think...

Posted by: slyness | April 20, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, who does that Iranian cleric think he is, Pat Robertson?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

If people need something to do when they wake up, they can look at my photos of Sedona:

Warning: Lots of rocks and a good number of them are red.

I did play with some HDR compositing using some demo software. Have a look and let me know what you think:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, and a good 4/20 (aka the "Festival of Lighters") to those former and current GTPs who choose to celebrate it.

It was suggested that some may eat a slice of cake, a brownie, or entire boxes of Entemann's Coffee Cake-covered dounts or Ho-Hos as a show of solidarity.

I heard a report of that Iranian cleric's comments, and wonder if he meant that as a metaphorical statement -- I'd like to believe the earth moved somewhere in my vicinity at some point, and been known to participate in a few tear-inducing Mirthquakes (ideally, not at the same time).

Ok, I doubt that cleric meant it metaphorically, and maybe the translation was supposed to be "stops traffic" rather than earthquakes...?

Or something.


Posted by: -bc- | April 20, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Well, I suppose it's possible that an "immoral" woman might be able to make the Earth move, for a select audience. For which I say: thanks, gals.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Was watching the Shuttle land live.

Down safely -- sweet.


Posted by: -bc- | April 20, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of women who can move Heaven and Earth: having taken care of the part about moving the Earth, Dorothy Height takes on the other task:

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 20, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I was sad to hear about the passing of Dorothy Height this morning. But she made it to 98 (same age as that my mother would have reached this year), so that was certainly an accomplishment. She certainly had and made for herself a life worth living. She was a true American heroine.

I suppose I should pay attention to the details of this conference call I'm on. So, I bid the Boodle adieu and an "a la prochaine".

Posted by: -ftb- | April 20, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Sheesh. Come we now to the Hindus, some of whom appear to be pissed off that everyone has appropriated their yoga, without so much as a thank you. (And we're not doing it right, it appears. I suppose this means I have to finally take down my John Lennon/Yoko Ono poster. You know the one.)

And some idiotic group has gone so far as to claim (it appears erroneously) that yoga predates Hinduism. And now some guy has his sari in a twist over it.

Even more remarkable, however, are the comments under the column: the first time I can recall the comments seemed more calm, rational, and made much more sense than the article they are commenting upon. Present company excepted, of course. No, that didn't quite come out right. But you get what i mean. I think.

I especially liked the very first comment, which demolishes the entire column in only 10 words.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 20, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Boomslang | April 20, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

*faxing ftb a bunch of photos of me making funny faces in a valiant attempt to make her laugh and snort coffee through her nose during her conference call*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 20, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Bless you, Mudgekins.


And a BIG snort-out to Yoki, who we are glad is safely back in the winter climes of Calgary.

Man, are my pollen allergies explosive this morning! Simply horrible!

*snorffle* *snorffle* *sneeze* *snorffle*


Posted by: -ftb- | April 20, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Happy 121st birffday to Mr. Hitler and, much more important at CasaJS, happy 21st birffday to Niece#2JS. I made a b-day video and put it up on Facebook so if you're a friend, stroll by and check it out. She's studying in Seville this term, and her 'rents managed to duck the volcanic ash to be with her by flying through Madrid.

Note how with that last sentence I managed to stay on kit, sort of.

Posted by: MsJS | April 20, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I have a strong suspicion that "Hippo birdie, Adolph" might be a Googlenope. But I'm too chicken to check.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 20, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle

Slyness, my first thought about the Iranian cleric's comment ties into the news of Dorothy Height's passing:

"Well behaved women rarely make history."

A well worn adage but timely.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 20, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Shots, ftb. Once I switched from a so-so allergist to a very good one, I benefitted immeasurably.

Aveda? Mudge, you're telling me my shampoo is Hindu?

Two of three today's meetings have been cancelled. What a gorgeous day!

Posted by: -dbG- | April 20, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Talitha, Harley-Davidson makes a woman's tank top with that very slogan. It's one of my faves.

Yello, I commented on your photos. Thanks for sharing. I went to Sedona twice and had a wonderful time. MrJS and I bought a couple of art pieces there, which still grace CasaJS.

Posted by: MsJS | April 20, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I resolve that I am perfectly capable of performing a downward facing dog without needing to become a devotee of Ganesh.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court has just ruled that your right to free speech includes the right to sell videos of small animals being crushed.

Or I guess they ruled that the law prohibiting such stuff was badly drafted.

I suppose the makers of such videos can still be prosecuted for torturing small animals?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 20, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

MsJS - ;-)

dbG - Aren't "snowdays" fun?

Sedona - When I lived in Colorado (a ski resort town) we would take off-season breaks in that magic town. Came very close to settling down there. Yello - your photography is a delight . . . thanks!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 20, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I imagine Wilbrodog does a fine downward facing dog every time he checks out his doggie bowl.

Posted by: MsJS | April 20, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

MsJS and talitha,
Thanks for the kind words on my pictures. I really like setting up and taking the huge panoramas. Part of the problem is that Sedona is so beautiful that it is almost impossible catch on film. The colors are just too rich. Sunsets are a bit magical even if you discount the new-agey vortex stuff.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

(At my food bowl? No.)
I learned to ignore gnome's bow
Yoga looks like play.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If Hinduism isn't getting proper credit, they should be upset with the yoga teachers. My first one, years ago, made a point of explaining the relationship. In the class I attend now I doubt anyone even knows what namaste means.

Beautiful day here, can't get over how early our spring is this year. I don't remember the leaves out this early before - ever. Granddaughters are coming for a few hours this afternoon so we'll all get to play outside.

Regarding people blaming the volcano on all matter of things and people - have they never heard the phrase "sh&t happens"?

Posted by: badsneakers | April 20, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I respect the spiritual aspects of yoga but I don't need to believe in chakras to get benefit from the concentrating aspects of the physical exercise. But you have to love any sort of work-out that always ends with a nap.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

That guy should try some yoga to unbunch his panties.

Boko! This is for you:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | April 20, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The concept behind the yoga piece escapes me. What is it that the Hindu American Foundation thinks is being taken from them, and by what theory do they suppose that they rightfully own it?

There's some fuzzy thinking going on there, I think (fuzzily).

Posted by: Bob-S | April 20, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

[off kit]
yellojkt - I've been wondering ever since I first saw your nom de boodle . . . can you, without revealing anything too revealing . . . tell me the reason behind it?
I ask because, being from Georgia originally, GaTech Yellowjackets' mascot was adopted by my high school back in the 1930s. Cheered for the Jackets, marched in the band for the Jackets, and our yearbook was called The Yellowjacket.
I'm also deathly allergic to blasted critters!

Posted by: talitha1 | April 20, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I've figured out the yoga thing. They're operating under the same theory as youths who don't like to see old farts attempt to dress, speak, and act younger than their age.

Well, I certainly understand this fairly universal feeling, but it's not a particularly legitimate claim on the control of the actions of others.

-- -- -- --

Talitha, yello & I both attended Georgia Tech, he more successfully than I.

Posted by: Bob-S | April 20, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The yoga guy is just as fuzzy thinking as the Catholic clergy that discourage yoga as a gateway activity into polytheism.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

They're worried about McYoga, Bob S.

I like yoga, especially asthenga yoga. To me, it's clearly a precursor of greek gymnastics, only less focused on the athletic feat and more on the yogic stuff. I don't know what that guy thinks is being taught as yoga, but Hatha yoga isn't the only kind.

I think they're largely afraid that their Americanized children will practice yoga and other cool cultural stuff and still think Hinduism isn't for them.

There's a news flash for them: this happens to every religion, whether the pagans appropriate their most fun rituals or not.

Take Christmas for instance. Way overcommericalized, but that cultural epidemic isn't going to threaten the faith of those who believe. The threat, sadly, is more to the religions who DO not celebrate.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 20, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Obama has friends in the Pentagon.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 20, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

My affinity with Georgia Tech is pretty well known on the boodle:

I once wrote a series of blog posts about the various other Yellowjackets I'm aware of including the jazz band and the superhero.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

thanks to both jackets!
I'll catch on to all this
some fine day.

Posted by: talitha1 | April 20, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, it was either Georgia Tech or some sort of homage to John Belushi.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 20, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Buzz off!

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I would practice more yoga except that I'm allergic to spandex. Anyway, I am already noted for my calm, beatific countenance, and I am perfectly capable of taking naps without it.

Anyway, we Jews don't do inner peace all that well. We're all about the angst thing. Also kvetching. After all, somebody's got to fret. And also, the children never call.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 20, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, only you could come up with a post that uses "spandex," "yoga" and "kvetch."

And I think I just came up with a new game. Take a well-known phrase, and substitute "kvetch" for the verb.

--kvetching while intoxicated
--kvetch and the world kvetches with you
--born to kvetch

Posted by: Raysmom | April 20, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, perhaps, perhaps they will text. Mine do. But call? NEVER.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 20, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Kvetch. Can we name a dog that?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 20, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Kvetch would be a good name for a sad-eyed Basset Hound.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 20, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

No, I'm having trouble hearing in my head a Jewish mother complaining, "The children never Twitter."

Much less "tweet."

It may be true, but I'm just not hearing it.

A dog named "Kvetch"? Sure, why not.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 20, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Hiya How r u? <3 u & wondr can i hve $$ for Gr.Dy opera tix? K,8ter

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 20, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

It's the schvitzing and the kvetching and the kvetching about the schvitzing...

Bend and stretch and schvitz and kvetch! Work it ladies! You sir, yes you on the end- all the way to the floor, no cheating!

Posted by: kguy1 | April 20, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, how about some famous books?

The Sun Also Kvetches
To Kvetch a Mockingbird
The Right Kvetch
Kvetching and Sensibility
A John Grisham courtroom thriller called "A Time to Kvetch"
Erica Jong's Fear of Kvetching
Hunter Thompson's Fear and Kvetching in Las Vegas (derived from Kierkegaard's Fear and Kvetching, of course)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | April 20, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Dd. Cn u build a custm frm f my fishtnk? YorN? & cn u kp my ten pirana fsh f 10days? Mjor flood. Apt. man angry. N kool. <3uXoXo

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 20, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

D,did u gt m txt? Y?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 20, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

What is Green Day doing with an opera? American Idiot tickets are hard to get. And if he goes I want to go along too.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

YJ Stp I ASKED 1ST. U gt tix to GeoClinPFunk. Nt fair.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | April 20, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

For frosti, robot place kicker looses to a 49er. Just goes to show even them can't take the pressure. Sush, "he was making them from 60 yards in practice."

Posted by: bh72 | April 20, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Slaughterhouse Kvetch
Cat's Kvetch
Venus On The Half-Kvetch
Mother Kvetch
Breakfast of Kvetchers

Posted by: yellojkt | April 20, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

At last we have an explanation!

"Iranian cleric blames quakes on promiscuous women"

Posted by: kguy1 | April 20, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

To Kvetch and Kvetch Not
Kvetcher in the Rye
Profiles in Kvetching
Kvetching for Dummies

Posted by: Raysmom | April 20, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

New Kit kvetching on salt.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 20, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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