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Send in the golf balls [Updated]

[See end of item for update.] Send in the golf balls! That's the BP plan. Read our story today about Plans A through F in the gulf (Plan G is "Despair").


Engineers have developed at least a half-dozen distinct lines of attack on the leaking well -- what might be called plans A through F.

Plan A was tried right away. Engineers at the surface used robotic submarines to try to close valves on a massive apparatus called the blowout preventer, which sits atop the wellhead 5,000 feet below. That tactic didn't work, and BP abandoned it.

Plan B, which received a flurry of media attention, used a 100-ton, 40-foot-tall steel containment dome, or coffer dam. On Thursday night the dome was lowered onto the largest leak, a hole in a pipe called a riser, which is now partly buried in mud.

But deep-sea chemistry foiled the effort. The dome became clogged with methane hydrates, an ice-like slush created when pressurized gas from the well mixed with cold seawater. The hydrates, which are lighter than water, stuck to the inside of the dome and made it buoyant, Suttles said.

The latest hope, Plan C, is the "top hat." It is a small containment dome -- four feet wide, five feet tall and shaped like a barrel cut in half -- that will be lowered over the main leak. The smaller dome will not capture nearly as much seawater as the large dome did. That, engineers hope, will cut down on the hydrate formation. But it might also mean that less of the oil is captured, Wells said.

Plan D: The "hot tap." Engineers want to tap into a section of damaged riser and suck up the oil before it can travel farther down the pipe and spew from the large gash.

Plan E: The junk shot, also known as the "top kill." The idea is to plug the blowout preventer with materials of various shapes and textures. They will be injected directly into the contraption, the larger pieces going first. If the blowout preventer clogs as hoped, the next step would be to inject drilling mud down into the wellbore to "kill" the well. Then would come cement to permanently seal the well.

It's risky. BP technicians said they think the blowout preventer is partly closed, constricting the flow from the well and preventing it from becoming a full-blown gusher. "In each of these steps, we are weighing the risks of making things worse," said BP Executive Vice President David Nagel.

The final tactic detailed so far, Plan F, is the relief well. It's a daunting task that requires the drilling rig to bore through rock at an angle and hit the existing well, a seven-inch wide target, at the very bottom, about 3 1/2 miles below the surface of the gulf. If it works, engineers will inject cement to kill the well.

[FYI, in the news briefing yesterday someone asked about blowing up the well with bombs. The BP guy seemed a bit consternated and said the reservoir is beneath miles of rock and that he hadn't heard anyone suggest bombing it. I'm thinking that's Plan Z.]

[It will be bad if we get beyond Z and have to shift to Greek letters.]

[Here's a good piece in the Times-Picayune on what went wrong. It's based on one source, a freelancing scientist, but it matches well with what has been written previously and it goes into detail about what was happening on the rig just before the explosion.]

[This Wall Street Journal story has good information, too, on what went wrong. And it matches what we reported Sunday, that they pulled out the heavy drilling mud and replaced it with sea water before they'd set the second cement plug deep in the well. Crash course here in petroleum engineering.]

Update 10:48 a.m.:

I've just gotten the prepared testimony of Steven Newman, the CEO of Transocean, which owned Deepwater Horizon. As I read this, he is blaming the cementing job, which was conducted by Halliburton:

Drilling had been completed on April 17, and the well had been sealed with cement (to be reopened by the Operator at a later date if the Operator chose to put the well into production). At this point, drilling mud was no longer being used as a means of reservoir pressure containment; the cement and the casing were the barriers controlling pressure from the reservoir. Indeed, at the time of the explosion, the rig crew, at the direction of the Operator, was in the process of displacing drilling mud and replacing it with sea water.

For that reason, the one thing we know with certainty is that on the evening of April 20, there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, the casing, or both. Therein lies the root cause of this occurrence; without a disastrous failure of one of those elements, the explosion could not have occurred. It is also clear that the drill crew had very little (if any) time to react. The explosions were almost instantaneous.

What caused that catastrophic, sudden and violent failure? Was the well properly designed? Was the well properly cemented? Were there problems with the well casing? Were all appropriate tests run on the cement and casings? These are some of the critical questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks and months.

Over the past several days, some have suggested that the blowout preventers (or BOPs) used on this project were the cause of the accident. That simply makes no sense. A BOP is a large piece of equipment positioned on top of a wellhead to provide pressure control. As explained in more detail in the attachment to my testimony, BOPs are designed to quickly shut off the flow of oil or natural gas by squeezing, crushing or shearing the pipe in the event of a "kick" or "blowout" - a sudden, unexpected release of pressure from within the well that can occur during drilling.

The attention now being given to the BOPs in this case is somewhat ironic because at the time of the explosion, the drilling process was complete. The well had been sealed with casing and cement, and within a few days, the BOPs would have been removed. At this point, the well barriers - the cementing and the casing - were responsible for controlling any pressure from the reservoir.

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 11, 2010; 8:18 AM ET
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Next: Where's the video of the gulf oil leak? [Updated w/fotos]


I am reminded of the Mythbusters segment where they replayed a boat salvage operation from a Donald Duck plot where they floated a sunken boat with lots and lots of ping pong balls that they got into the boat.

BTW, it worked, but they needed a truckload of ping pong balls which made a factory owner in China very happy.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and because of my position in the Boodle, be fearful of Chinese farm-raised shrimp. They, most likely, are not good for you. Sadly, thank BP for threatening the US shrimp supply.

Grill, baby, Grill.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

A junk shot is what you commonly get on Chatroulette. So I've heard.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

If you are thinking that I am some sort of nut to repeat my warnings, read this:

Public Citizen's painfully detailed discussion on the topic is frightening. We already charge a 112% duty on the Chinese Farm Raised Shrimp (or did a couple of years ago and I am sure that it didn't go down).

You don't need a Shrimp Cocktail that badly.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. I see they left out the G, meaning God. That's exactly who they're fighting against, and their only source of relief. Oh well, some of us have to learn the hard way. I'll continue to pray.

I'm checking to find out if Ivansmom and her clan are okay. I hope so. Prayers for the folks that are going through the tornadoes.

I worked the little flower spot yesterday, digging, pulling, turning, and boy, am I paying this morning! But I have tomatoes. I do hope they grow. I dug awhile, I sat down awhile. Finally finished late yesterday evening.

Slyness, it is chilly enough for a jacket here, and looking so much like rain. Yet the weather person isn't talking rain for us.

Have a beautiful day, folks. Love to all, and a special prayer for the folks in the Gulf, and our beautiful natural resources in that area.

Posted by: cmyth4u | May 11, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm banana bread, coffee and ruby red grapefruit juice on the table.

Well I'm grateful BP is moving away from the term "junk shot." Was it you who clued them in on the term's alternate meaning, Mr. A?

I've also read that a second relief well is in the works and could spud as early as Friday.

*note to self: add hash brown potatoes to this weekend's brunch menu*

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Ever used "Stop Leak" in a car's Radiator; just more "Junk" in a pipe to plug a leak. In the '20s they used Corn or Oat meal; that was before pressurized engine Cooling systems were required. Today, Some Anti-freeze brands add a leak preventer to their mix to accomplish the same task.

Under near 5,000 Psi the Oil gushing out that well needs something a little more substantial.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | May 11, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

My theory is to take all of the geese from the golf courses (collect golf balls while you are at it, ye-old a bird in the hand...) and parking lots, blind fold them, and drop them into the oil slicks.

Birds are known to get covered in oil during oil spills and this seems like a win-win situation. We rid the suburbs of the geese and clean up the oil.

What says you?

Posted by: ladanday | May 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

My theory is to take all of the geese from the golf courses (collect golf balls while you are at it, ye-old a bird in the hand...) and parking lots, blind fold them, and drop them into the oil slicks.

Birds are known to get covered in oil during oil spills and this seems like a win-win situation. We rid the suburbs of the geese and clean up the oil.

What says you?

Posted by: ladanday | May 11, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I won't be convinced this will work until I read some learned commentary from Red Mercury, drconcerned, etc. I mean, we all know the Illuminati are behind this, in their never-ending attempt to get us all to go back to using whale oil, and I wish the MSM would just tell the truth, for once.

[Hey, this being a total wackjob is fun! I gotta try it more often.]

'Morning, Boodle. You guys see the clips of those twisters? One of 'em was a triple. Scary.

*faxing assortment packs containing CN Soup (it couldn't hurt), linement, sympaki, cookies, Old Bay, flashlight batteries, Chinese shrimp repellent, Betty Crocker Hash Browns [for emergency use only], umbrellas and rubbers (the foot kind), a fleece-lined jacket with hoodie, to various and sundry Boodlers who may be in need of one, some, or all of the above*

*faxing #3 dottir to the Gulf Coast. If anyone knows how to clog up a pipe, it's gotta be her. I won't go into the details*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Ruby red grapefruit juice? Mmmmmm. Somebody has my number.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Warm banana bread, yum! I'm bringing the cream cheese, MsJS!

Cassandra, we're cool and getting a sprinkle of rain right now. I'll be okay with it becoming a real rain. Good thing you got the tomatoes in yesterday! I planted begonias, myself.

I'm working on tomorrow's Bible study; we're starting Matthew and I learned something. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Yeshua (Joshua in English). That I knew. The Hebrew means "he shall save." I had never known that. Wow.

Posted by: slyness | May 11, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of being non-PC let me say that getting rid of the overabundance of geese would be a good thing. I do worry about the accusations of cruelty associated with stuffing them down a well pipe tho'.

Another beautiful but chilly day here. Cassandra, I'm glad you got your tomatoes in and hope they do well. Rest up today and recover from gardening, it does tend to make one quite sore!

Posted by: badsneakers | May 11, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wow indeed. That Gabe was one insightful flapper. I wonder how he knew?

Posted by: Boomslang | May 11, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

Cancelled a lunch date today (for obvious reasons). I suspect things are better, but I didn't even want to take my thyroid pill this morning. The ginger tea is still staying down, thankfully, so I'll try some toast later. Bleah.

Sorry you're still under the weather, Snukie. Although, when I typed that last sentence, I thought of those in Oklahoma, where it's much worse than what you and I have. *sigh*

Geese are good roasted and stuffed, if you can get all (or most) of the fat out. "Tastes like chicken."

Gloomy and chilly today. Tomorrow the temp goes way up again. Mother Nature and her mood swings, I tell ya.

Loved your explanation of rubbers, Mudge. You *R* a funny guy!

Posted by: -ftb- | May 11, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. Our severe weather is over but the aftermath is pretty bad. People dead and injured, houses smashed, vehicles tossed about, a whole lake marina detached from shore with sinking boats. . . this was our first real tornado day this spring but they made up for lost time. Thanks for all the kind thoughts and well wishes.

I have several buckets of golf balls to contribute to the cause.

I hope someone in the newspaper world is paying attention to those Times-Picayune stories. They look like prize material to me. Thanks, Joel, for sharing them. Thanks also for your own work on the subject.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 11, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who prefer the usual, like MrJS, we also have muffins and OJ.

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I think "Jesse" is a derivative of Yeshua also, although Jesse James was perhaps unworthy of that name. And I'm not so sure, Cassandra, that it is God who is the personage behind the troubles in the Gulf.

I got a call from the office of a national politician this a.m. regarding some unfortunately prescient remarks I had emailed to several government offices about East Coast offshore drilling proposals. How young the staffer seemed.

It is raining here, good for all the plants I installed around the yard yesterday. I should find a place for my new beloved marjoram plant, the only one I have not transplanted yet.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, final warning for your "fill your freezer with great steaks week"... today is it.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel for pointing out the Times Picayune article. Once again they seem to be doing the best reporting on the matter. I am dismayed at the reports of the previous well kicks. Matters should have been clear at that point.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

OK, completely off-topic, but sh-h-h-h - The Nats are in second place in the NL East, 2 games behind Philly. Don't want to make too much of this in the middle of May, but it beats the heck out of the last 2 years.

Posted by: ebtnut | May 11, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Sshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, ebtnut!! Why do you think they never show the NL East standings at Nats Park anymore??? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I might have missed a post or two, weed, but am not getting the steaks-in-the-freezer thing. What's today's deadline all about again?

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

Scotty and ebt, I was just thinking this morning that "The Nationals are in second place" was probably a major Googlenope.

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

$5 Porterhouse/T-bone/Strip Loin ...

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks. I'm on it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Times-Picayune seemed the only source of reliable information during Katrina. There was often little overlap between what appeared at their website and what was being circulated by local television stations.

I'm happy to see accurate, readable explanations of what could have gone wrong with Deep Horizon.

More innocently, a glass lizard was in the back yard this morning. Hadn't seen one for at least a year or two.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 11, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I would include this article in the good coverage of this sad event by the Times-Picayune.

Posted by: -CB- | May 11, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

mudge, if they don't have your steaks, get a raincheck. (of course) I think having a raincheck is better than having them in the freezer.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

What I don't understand is that the spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico... if it's in the Gulf of Mexico, why don't they have to pay for the clean-up?

Posted by: russianthistle | May 11, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse


It's men's mess. I'm looking at it from a "first cause" effect. If that is the case, and I believe it is, than we must seek the Holy One for relief, and that through prayer. Prayer, folks, it works. Nothing is impossible with God, in the Name of Christ. I believe.

Scotty, hope you get to feeling better. And Slyness, we have some rain!

Posted by: cmyth4u | May 11, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Hello Boodle!

rt-have been heeding your warning re: Chinese farm raised shrimp. Funny, the influence of imaginary friends.

Mudge-frostdottir could join your #3 to form a crack pipe-clogging duo (as opposed to a crack-pipe clogging duo).

Thanks to stimulus $ increasing the funds available for Small Cities Development Grants (fed $ awarded as block grants to states), Our Fair City will have enough money to renovate 10 houses occupied by low-income, older, and disabled owners. We will concentrate on energy efficiency-doing our small part to reduce the growth in demand for the oil spilling into the Gulf. Daunting, but we do what we can.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 11, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

According to Joel's update, the BOP which only partially worked was to be removed once the well went into production. Seems to me this is a bad idea since you can never have too many emergency valves.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Weed, I like the idea behind your 12:15.

Is there a country named Atlantic or Pacific?

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't make me quote Ed Asner on SNL, yello...

*feeling-somewhat-better-after-a-nap Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Exactly which sketch would you be quoting from:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Knowing me and the "you can never" phrase, you have to ask??? *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse
Sweden wind farm

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 11, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness I'm not at risk:

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Reminder: new episode of "Glee" on at 9 tonight (not tomorrow night), for those of you addicted to silly TV programs instead of dwelling endlessly and obessively on Gary Masters-approved Conservative issues.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

If they have robots that can maneuver down to the piping that is leaking to line up the top hat, why can't they design the robots with an appendage designed to plug the hole? Call it a robot dutch boy. My guess is the pressure of the leaking stuff would make it necessary to muckle on to something to stay steady, but that shouldn't be hard. It also allows me to use muckle.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call myself addicted, Mudge. Just a causal weekend user.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 11, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

That idea is one of the ones I file in the category of: If it were that easy, somebody would have thought of it already.

My guess is that the pressure of the oil is too extreme to get close to. Kinda like trying to screw the cap back on to an open fire hydrant.

Part of the whole conceptual problem is that the "pipe" is really a bidirectional conduit. The failure happened while trying to plug the outer ring which means oil could be flowing through both the inner pipe where it should and the outer pipe where it shouldn't.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

Oy, it's been a day...

The junk shot (Plan E) reminded me of that attempt to plug up a mud volcano in Java several years ago...

I also liked the references above to oatmeal and what we used to call "Bars Leaks," though IIRC later versions of that stuff (the little pellets) were designed to melt and seal leaks...

One concern I have about the junk shot is that if they're depending on the rope to swell to help seal the holes, I'm not sure it would under the conditions down there at 5000 ft.

Have a good day, all.


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

On the other side of the pond, Gordon Brown has resigned as UK Prime Minister and Tory leader is on his way to Buckingham Palace.

The Queen will ask him if he is in a position to form a new gummint. He'll say yes and she'll name him the new Prime Minister.

Brown is also immediately resigning as the head of Labour, although he'll stay on as an MP.

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Your television habits are entirely your own business, Wilbrod, no matter how much or how little they might be. What steams me no end is the smug, sanctimonious notion of certain people that we on this blog are not allowed to discuss various and sundry pop culture, TV, movies, music, knitting, sports, canine-authored haiku, etc., and that we must at all times maintain a level of humorless seriousness.

Although I must say, there hasn't been much puppy poetry recently. Give that mutt a shove for me, wouldja?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, MsJS, after listening to NPR's commentary last night I fully expected Brown to take that route. Her majesty is perplexed or relieved, I wonder? Boodlers with insight may illuminate me, thank you very much.

I'm still recovering from mercury poisoning from the last kit. Hope Scotty and ftb are nursing their hurts and will recover posthaste.

Glad to see that 'junk shot' may be on it's way out in MSM and that wiki refs aren't entirely without merit. And as much as I wish a beneficient deity has a hand in the Gulf cleanup, I believe only in cleaning up our own messes. Spilt milk and all that.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

David Cameron, the new UK Prime Minister, has just left his audience with the Queen.

Once he gets to #10 Downing Street, his immediate staff can enter their offices at #11 and start working. No transition period.

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Boy, for a magazine that's going under, Newsweek has a really interesting and revealing piece: the GOP wouldn't accept Reagan today.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I was Googling 'junk shot' (more on that someday) and came across this article which links to Joel's explanation of the disaster.

It's good that it's getting passed around. I was dismayed to find the oil spill off the dead trees front page. How quick we become complacent.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

David Cameron is the 12th PM under Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Emotions like perplexed and relieved don't really play into it.

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Fur's lost to the wind--
clean-smelling, black and fluffy
Lost in bath: my pride.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 11, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Happy now.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Gordon Brown, Colbert (or his writers) had the line of the campaign.

Hey! Wanna hear something interesting about Gordon Brown? So does everyone else.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 11, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This may be really important in another week -- a drifting TV satelite threatens to end entertainment as we know it --

Posted by: nellie4 | May 11, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

In more Glee/Newsweek related news, the writer of an article that says Sean Hayes is too gay to play a straight man on Broadway defends himself against charges of homophobia by Kristin Chenoweth.

In the original article Ramin Setoodeh also said that the gayness of Jonathan Groff (Jesse St. James of Vocal Adrenaline for you Gleeks) undercuts the sexual tension between him and Lea Michelle on Glee even though the two played seducer/rape victim on stage opposite each other for months.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like a disaster that would personally affect more people than the gulf oil spill. Geosynchronous orbit is another place where accidents are hard to fix.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, MsJS. I didn't mean any offense. Transitions of office in other countries are fascinating to me, whether by coup or six-weeks of peaceful democratic choice. Better than our constant media-driven campaigns or the solved by SCOTUS fiasco ten years ago.

Don't mind me, boodlers. The constant rain here has me indoors and fretting about Oklahomans and pelicans and the broken washing machine. Tell me a good joke that will go over my head. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | May 11, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like it's about time for one of those "scheduled months ahead of time only nobody heard about it" geosynchronous launches from Vandenburg that "has a launch malfunction" and "accidentally" steers into Galaxy 15... *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 11, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: six weeks, no hyphen.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 11, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I'm not sure that "seducer/rape victim" works for me grammatically/syntactically/politically as a binary, yello. One or the other of those is probably wrong, methinks, yes?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 11, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

One is. The question is which. You have to go see 'Spring Awakening' to decide for yourself. The show had partial male and female nudity, so I've seen more of Rachel and Jesse than Fox will ever show.

One of the early episodes of Glee very consciously mimicked the picnic scene from Spring Awakening without actually consummating it.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think I had to use antibacterial gel while boodling, but I've been feeling worse all day and think I caught it here. After I go the store to stock up on ginger, tissues and various over the counters, I will officially succumb to being sick. The auditors will just have to muddle along without me.

I have soup in the garage freezer. I don't know if I can make it that far. :)

I saw oklahoma tornado footage on CNN while I was in the gym today. Glad the ivansclan is okay and hope the rest of the population is too.

Posted by: -dbG- | May 11, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

talitha, please don't hypenventilate about it.


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

How did the Achenblog boodle not make the cut?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "hyphenventilate"

Sheesh. You'd think I could get something like *that* right.

Scottynuke - ixnay onnay ethay andenburgvay eosynchonousgay bitoray auncheslay, udeday. yeseyay enopay orfay ethay labckbay opperschay.


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse for you, talitha.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 11, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Feel better dbG, I have spent a day flaked on the couch, unable to go to work today. Feel a little better but not appetite at all, at least most of the chills seem to be gone. Virtual flu - a first! :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | May 11, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Zooooooommmmm, bzzzzzzztttt !!!!!
Caught it.
I feel better now.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 11, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Blackhawks hope to wrap up the series against the Canucks tonight in Vancouver. If not, game 7 awaits.

Posted by: MsJS | May 11, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dear. What hath the Boodle wrought? You know, virtual "having a case of the cruds" wrought?

I have just eaten for the first time in a day-and-a-half (1/2 of rice with powdered ginger mixed in). It was quite good (thankfully) to my starving body. I had a chance to gaze at the beautiful strawberries in my fridge, and the fresh asparagus and fresh spinach. Maybe tomorrow.

Proceeding "gingerly" -- gonna make some more ginger tea now (it's very comforting).

Hope all the others who were trampled by those of us who preceded you all will feel better soon.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 11, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

SCC: 1/2 "cup" of rice

Posted by: -ftb- | May 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

thanks, Wilbrod.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 11, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone saw this link, but it was posted in the comments section of the Times-Picayune article--a couple of guys who were fishing right underneath the DH when it blew. It doesn't add a lot of insight, but it is interesting in a voyeuristic way.

I have fished below some of those rigs in the Gulf before (but never the DH). Their scale is hard to believe until you pull up in a little fishing boat. Even the little unmanned natural gas production rigs are pretty big. They are also great places to fish because of the structure that they provide in the otherwise-open ocean.

In addition to following all of the happenings related to the oil spill, I am also transfixed this week by the discussion about the potential enlargement of the Big Ten and what that's going to do to college sports (and in particular, footbaw). It appears that Nebraska said yes to the Big Ten before they even asked. One would assume that will lead to the demise of the Big XII. Speculation is that Texas wants to go to the Pac 10, but I'd assume that they can go whereever they want (and take their kid brother A&M with them).

It's easy to dismiss it as "just games", but if you look at the numbers being thrown around, it's really big business. It's probably a good example of game theory in action as well.

Posted by: Awal | May 11, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Awal... that link is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

I do think the loss of the meaning of "10" in sports conferences is an important topic. Always willing to go there. Just glad the NCAA didn't expand to 900 teams or whatever.

Posted by: -TBG- | May 11, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Just saw "Invictus" and recommend it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 11, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ...expand the NCAA basketball tournament...


Posted by: -TBG- | May 11, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

A happier fishing story - #2 went out fishing with her husband tonight. She caught two large bass (29 lb and 35 lb). She was thrilled, especially since they're the largest ones caught on his boat this spring (he charters) and *she* was the one who caught them. She's always been very competitive and loves rubbing it in.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 11, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

The NCAA basketball tourney has gone to 68 which is a ridiculously odd number designed to make 8 teams rather that 2 feel like outcasts.

The Big Ten (+Penn) has been awkwardly sized for years having kicked off expansion fever but never following through.

The ACC should have had Syracuse instead of VT, but state legislatures got involved and made the older brother play with the baby tag-along rather than hang with his friends. But that is water under the bridge.

The Big 12 rose out of the ashes of the SWC which imploded when half of them were on double-secret probation all at once. So watching them all want to join a real conference is a bit unseemly. They need to show some self-respect.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Those are huge fish. What size dynamite was she using?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

So did they write the whole Jesse storyline JUST to lead up to this song?

Posted by: -TBG- | May 11, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

It does seem a little convenient. I'm just trying to figure out what a totally gleekified Chevy is.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering that, too. TBG.

The notion of playing "A Man and a Woman" in the background of Kurt's scene with the girl is pretty funny.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 11, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful article, Joel. And kudos to the WaPo artists.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 11, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

LOL Yello, I don't know what bait she used, she's just a fish magnet I guess!

Posted by: badsneakers | May 11, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

slyness, can you swing by the store in the morning and pick up some Pine-Sol and a couple of extra mops? I think we're gonna have to disinfect the entire Boodle, not just the bunker.

Maybe a couple of those Purell anti-bac dispensers, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 11, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Everything's coming up Kurt!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 11, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

That reminds me of the stupidest commercial in recent memory. You know, the one for the electric anti-bacterial soap dispenser with a motion sensor, so you don't have to pick up germs from a hand-operated pump.

See, it seems to me that you touch the pump *before* you wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap (and don't even get me started on whether that is necessary in the first place!).


Posted by: Yoki | May 11, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Kurt doing Ethel Merman is why I love this show.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

If this is a "classic rock" song, why have I never heard it before?

Posted by: -TBG- | May 11, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Are you a classic rocker, TBG?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 11, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

On a side note, I'd been wondering if former British PM would surrender 10 Downing St. voluntarily, and if so, to who. Or izzat 'whom?'

Clearly, we have our answer.

I wonder what Brown's saying under his breath about Cameron, Clegg, and others as he's being driven away this time, but I think he'll have the chance to shout it at them since he'll still be an MP.


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

U2 is a very expansive definition of classic rock. My wife the Bono groupie recognized it immediately.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

One by U2, TBG, love, love that song, and didn't mind there version.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 11, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

SCC their, I am blaming the fever, night all.

Feeling old now that U2 is considered classic rock.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 11, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Mudge, you mean you used up all that I bought last week already? OMG! You know I prefer Spic 'n Span to Pine-Sol, did you pour it down the drain or something? If we need that much stuff, I'm sure I (and all the rest of the ladies) will take a pass on the bunker till you guys have cleaned it up. I don't EVEN want to think about it!

Posted by: slyness | May 11, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Sweet cheeses, I am ancient if U2 is classic rock. They were my second Beatles.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 11, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Up date on granddaughter's condition: After being under heavy sedation, she was awakened yesterday. She has movement in both legs and one arm. She responded to voice commands to look at her husband and to look at her mother. Don't know about speech since she is still on a respirator.

She has a golf ball-sized clot too deep in the brain to remove surgically. As I understand it, it was planned to use a long needle to try to suck the clot out. I haven't hear if that was successful.

One big thing in her favor is that she is in a hospital that specializes in neurological issues.

That big knot of fear in the pit of my stomach has eased up.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 11, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Manon, thank you for the update. Your granddaughter is in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 11, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I didn't catch "Glee" this evening, but I feel compelled to suggest that I bought my first U2 album on vinyl darn near 30 years ago.

Which I believe might be a roughly equivalent time span between, say, Bill Haley and the Comets and Guns n' Roses... or U2.

Having said that, "One" is probably getting on 20 years ago. Think it's on "Achtung Baby," or something like that.

Again, very roughly a time span as between Elvis' "Teddy Bear" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" or the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK" (coming back 'round to 10 Downing Street...)


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Manon, I'm so very glad you've had at least a little positive news. My hopes for continued recovery.

Posted by: Yoki | May 11, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

From golf balls to stop oil leaking to sucking a golf ball-sized clot. Hmmm.

I think I trust neurological surgeons more than petroleum engineers at the moment.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 11, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh Manon, this is my first reading of your family troubles. Keeping a good thought!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 11, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Fingers still crossed, Manon.

slyness, Spic-and-Span will do fine. Um, yeah, about all that Pine-Sol. Seems that over the weekend there was this poker party in the bunker, and, well, things got a little messy... Don't worry, it's all cleaned up now. And we were able to save almost all the doilies.

Most of them, anyway.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 11, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

sending good thoughts your way, manon, and the same for the cadre of boodlers that have fallen ill this week.

Posted by: -jack- | May 11, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Manon, my thoughts and hopes for your granddaughter's continued improvement.


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

More boodle mojo on the way. It's powerful stuff.

The Classic Rock era ended as Punk metastasized into New Wave. U2 (and Bono in particular) always wanted to be rock stars, but that era had passed. The Police are also frequently lumped in with Classic Rock although they too are really a half-genre off.

But to a teenage kid like the characters in Glee, its all the same stuff: Mom Rock played in the minivan.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 11, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for your continued support. It means a lot to me.

Mudge: be careful with those doilies. Remember they make beautiful chairs.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 11, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

yello, I don't agree with your definition of classic rock. It's too confining for me.

I always think of it as rock someone's parents grew up with.

Heck, maybe someday my grandkids will be making fun my daughter's Kid Cudi MP3 files, calling "Pursuit of Happiness" 'classic rock.' [And maybe secretly listening to it, too.]

Besides, younger rock stars today still party like rock stars, and some people only think punk changed because mainstream FM radio stopped playing it in favor or more pop-oriented New Wave. It's *still* here, just look around a little bit.

I think Bono perpetuated that 'rock is dead' stuff 20 years ago (and didn't The Who do it 15 years before that?) -- he was wrong about that then, and still is now. I know a 10-year old who's learning how to play guitar and has a friend who can play drums, and they want to start a rock band, bless their souls.


Posted by: -bc- | May 11, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think, bc, that anyone is arguing that Rock is gone, any more than Punk is. But certainly 'classic rock' is recognizable as music somebody's parents listened to when they were young (in this case, *we* are the parents and young means whatever age our kids are).

Of course there is still rock (see, Throwing Gravity and Big Audio Dynamite) and it is more diverse than the classic was. I would include Metal and alt-rock in the genre of New Rock. It just isn't as dominant as it was, sharing space with Pop, Hip-Hop, etc.

Posted by: Yoki | May 12, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Research ship near the spill. Jellyfish graveyard.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 12, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of ancient music, I sat in a Walmart parking lot, soaking up Fresh Air's visit with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, celebrating the Broadway revival of "Promises, Promises." It was 1968, an apocalyptic year (I'm reading the Revelation at the moment). Yet very classic pop was happening. Or highly sophisticated, challenging pop. The big song has 20 changes of time signature. Yikes!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 12, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

A gray whale has popped up off the coast of Israel. BBC and New Scientist have stories. The latter suggests it's a Californian, via the Northwest Passage.

A friend who knows quite a bit about whales is astounded. He writes that whalers took "scrag whales" in the North Atlantic in the 1600s-1700s. There was "always some suspicion" that they were gray whales.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 12, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

This whole BP business is sad.

In Europe, the rescue package for Greece is just buying time. How corruption helped to bankrupt Greece:-,1518,693973,00.html

Posted by: rainforest1 | May 12, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

*ongoing HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS in the Boodle pipeline for Manon*

Yes indeed, bc, "One" was high in the charts almost 20 years ago, as I did a stint as a DJ after leaving the military. Funny how time flies, and all that.

Well, here goes nuthin'...

*feeling-decent-enough-to-dip-a-toe-in-the-work-environment Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 12, 2010 5:21 AM | Report abuse

A waste of golf balls. Buy a house on a golf course and a electric golf cart. Open off shore bank accounts.

Posted by: tossnokia | May 12, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Classic rock is what *I* listened to as a kid. What my parents listened to was 'oldies'. Here is a very interesting distinction: Which Beatles songs are oldies and which are classic rock?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 12, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Mudge, I'll round up the boodle's knitters and crocheters and replace the doilies. But don't let it happen again!

Hi Cassandra! Did you get a decent rain yesterday? We got a little, not much. I sure hope today will be warmer, it was downright chilly yesterday.

Manon, your granddaughter is still on my prayer list, and I hope you'll have more good news to share.

Another busy day ahead. I'd better get moving.

Posted by: slyness | May 12, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Manon I will continue to keep your granddaughter and you and your family in my thought.

Attempting to go to work today, fever is gone and I feel somewhat better.

I started listening to U2 when they first started, they were on the "alternative" station then and still remember a video they did on MuchMusic (CDN MTV), I think on their first trip to Toronto, they were very young and idealistic, and were teasingly chastised for calling Canada 'America'. Trying to remember if it was CNN's John Roberts who did the interview, back when he was JD Roberts and was an excellent music VJ/Reporter.

I am only a few years younger than Bono, that is what hurts about the "classic rock" label :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | May 12, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

To engage in a tautology, classic rock is what is played on a classic rock station, a rapidly fading institution. The last one I heard in the wild had Nirvana and Pearl Jam on the playlist, bands that hit their peak after my son was born.

My wife's perhaps too diplomatic take: U2 may not be classic rock, but they are rock that is classic. And they are in the museum to prove it.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 12, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Slyness, I wore a jacket all day yesterday. It never warmed up! We complain when it's hot, we complain when it's cold. Can't win this contest! And we got a little bit of rain also, but the tomatoes are kinda perky, if you will! Mudge, borrowing your word. I always think of you when I see the word perky.

I see the oil execs are playing the blame game. These folks need to get real. History will not be kind.

Manon, keeping you and family in prayer.

Scotty, you doing better?

I'm going to attempt to jump in the bathtub. And believe me folks, this is dicey work. Have a pleasant day, and love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | May 12, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra!! *HUGSSSSSSSSS* Perhaps we could install a short water slide into the tub for you? :-)

Made it into the office and I'm feeling normal (is this a good thing?). *fingers crossed* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 12, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey 'Mudge, guess who's run out of original ideas:

*raised unibrow*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 12, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

It's been years since I've listened to commercial radio with any regularity, but I made a point of it on my recent trip from FL-MN. Much to my surprise it was not that painful-many stations seem to be breaking out of their programming genre strait jackets. Trying to duplicate the recommended-by-friends online experience perhaps. If college radio is any indication, Bluegrass is ready for a big breakout on the pop charts. At any rate, I think the term "rock" has become so broad it's lost all meaning.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | May 12, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

We listen to a lot of radio, don't watch much tv (except Phineas and Ferb, which cracks me up). DC has eclectic taste...tonight's gonna be a good night, she's brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack, and it's a quarter after 1, she's a little drunk and she needs me now.

Other times, she wants to know if I've ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day, she needs three steps t'ward the door, and her body's starting to quiver and the palm's of her hands are getting wet.

I'm in over my head, aren't I?

Posted by: LostInThought | May 12, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

DC's moods are like a circus wheel -- changing all the time, eh LiT? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 12, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

SCC: palms

When she's singing REALLY LOUDLY in the grocery store, my mother of the year award seems to go flying right out the window. Except when I'm her first, her last, her everything. (I gotta say...sweet little thing with pigtails and Princess sneakers singing Barry White is really something to see.)

Have a happy day.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 12, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all. Manon, continued good wishes for your granddaughter and your family.

LostInThought, I am disturbed and a little frightened to realize that I recognize all the song references in your post. Ah, what we learn hanging out with our children.

Canned genre rock radio stations are alive and well hereabouts. One oldies station not only plays all the rock and pop songs I heard in high school - they have resurrected all the worst ones. I am constantly apologizing to the Boy, when we skip by that station, and explaining that it wasn't any good then, either.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 12, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

Glad to hear hopeful news of Manon's granddaughter's recovery and to send hugs to them all. Gingerale and tissues for the ailing boodlers.

slyness, sign me up for the doilie brigade, though my creations might stretch the traditional lacey prototype. Perhaps the menfolk will take care before using them for mopping after the weekend frolics. ;)

I know
It's only rock and roll
But I like it.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 12, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Excellent, talitha! We are delighted to have you join the boodle handwork group! It's an eclectic crowd and we have fun. The guys are jealous.

Posted by: slyness | May 12, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

*mutter, grumble, grumble*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 12, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Faxing Slyness doilies from stock on hand (ready and waiting for just such occasions).

Manon, I'll be keeping her in my thoughts.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 12, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, BTW...

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 12, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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