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The mysterious end of Deepwater Horizon

[My story in today's paper.]

Deepwater Horizon was true to its name. The giant drilling rig, floating on submerged pontoons, set up shop 42 miles from land in the Gulf of Mexico. It was an award-winning rig that epitomized the technological hubris of the oil industry, successfully chasing the hydrocarbons far beyond the continental shelf in what can accurately be termed the abyss.

The drilling of Mississippi Canyon Block 252 this spring looked like an unqualified success. The rig struck oil and gas beneath 5,000 feet of water and 13,000 feet of rock. Executives of BP planned to make a splashy announcement. The Macondo field, as they called it, held 50 million to 100 million barrels of crude.

Then came the blowout. The gulf is now witnessing a slow-motion disaster, one that looked even grimmer Saturday with the bulletin that the containment dome that had been lowered onto the worst of the oil leaks has been sidelined by technical problems.

No one is sure what exactly happened on the night of April 20 to trigger this crisis. Critical pieces of evidence, including the immolated rig itself, sit under nearly a mile of water on the mud floor of the gulf.

What's certain is that more than one thing had to go wrong. Some failure of well control permitted a bubble of gas to surge to the surface, where it ignited and turned Deepwater Horizon into a Roman candle in the night. Moreover, the fail-safe mechanism known as the blowout preventer, a massive stack of valves and pistons that is the most critical hardware in the system, failed to choke the well.

There have been blowouts since the dawn of the oil drilling industry, but never a blowout like this. This one is the deepest on record, industry officials say. A blowout last August in the Timor Sea had some similarities, but it was in much shallower water. Capping the unsealed well, said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, is as tricky as getting the Apollo 13 astronauts home safely in their damaged spaceship.

"We have gone to a different planet in going to the deepwater. An alien environment," oil industry analyst Byron King said. "And what do you know from every science fiction movie? The aliens can kill us."

To extract hydrocarbons from the ground, even on land, is to take on powerful terrestrial forces. The oil and gas are in hot, porous rock, under pressure and trapped -- until someone sticks a straw into the reservoir. The deeper the well, the higher the pressure.

Engineers talk of the importance of having multiple layers of controls, or "barriers," when drilling. They don't pump the oil up, because they don't need to. Instead, they shove heavy drilling mud, a synthetic goo, into the well to act as a counterweight to the pressure from below. As the ultimate layer of defense they install the muscular blowout preventer with its hydraulic shears that can cut right through thick pipe.

But sometimes nature is harder to tame than expected. The consequences of a blowout can be dire in shallow water. At great depth, the consequences are only now, with each passing day, becoming fully apparent.

[Click here to keep reading.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 9, 2010; 8:46 AM ET
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Great article, Joel. Methinks the back up safety stuff wasn't as robust as it should have been because they weren't counting on counting on it.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful job, Joel. And as I mentioned earlier, I am really looking forward to your comprehensive reporting on this disaster from beginning to end.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 9, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The coffer dam attempt with the methyl-ethyl-terribles now sounds like a diversion while they prepped for their original plan: let it leak for months.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

This is interesting but could they really construct enough to make a difference in the short term?

Posted by: dmd3 | May 9, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

What I find sobering about this article, is that it refutes the notion advocated by some (including me) that a few obvious redundancies could have prevented this disaster. Rather, it implies that deep ocean drilling really is fundamentally different in several key ways from drilling in shallower water. I like the "another planet" metaphor. It reminds me of one of the stories in the "Martian Chronicles," where cherished lessons learned on earth simply no longer apply.

That multiple things went wrong doesn't, to my mind, make it a rare freakish "perfect storm" sort of occurrence, as much as the logical result of pressing technology and techniques into areas in which there are many unknowns. It tells me we don't really understand the process well enough to make intelligent judgments about the risk.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 9, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Ah, nice to see you A1 above the fold, Joel. Good work.

Good morning, all, and Happy Mother's Day.

The bouquet in the Bunker is from me; please enjoy it, ladies. Momosas and Bloody Marys for those that want them, exotic juices and beverages for all.

Eggs benedict and belgain waffles (and maybe some scrapple for the guys helping me out over here).

Have a great day, all.


Posted by: -bc- | May 9, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Brunch here is overnight french toast, pork wontons, corn muffins, bacon and fresh fruit salad. Coffee and juice of course!

Posted by: badsneakers | May 9, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Happy Mothers' Day, y'all. For moms can't be moms without children and we are all that.

Warm muffins, coffee and OJ on the table.

Thank you for the write-up, Mr. A. I saw one of the article commenters referred to you as 'two-bit', but each of us is entitled to the occasional mistake, yes?

Speaking of mistakes, I am reminded again and again as this story unfolds that drilling for oil has always been full of error and risk. MrJS lost two male relatives to oil-related incidents way back when. And this article from 2007
also emphasizes that mishaps are still very much part of the oil exploration process.

Also, without intending in any way to minimize the events currently unfolding, it is heartening to see that the info in this article indicates the amount of oil spilled each year has dramatically decreased since the 1970s.

Posted by: MsJS | May 9, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Howdy and a Happy Mother's Day to moms and them what has or had them.

I got up early enough to do a little digging, a little weeding before the day began. It looks like it will rain so perhaps those things I planted yesterday will be happy.

I too liked and learned from this article and, like RD, I eagerly await Joel's future prizewinning story on how they fixed it. Thanks, Cassandra,for the prayer. It can't hurt. I suspect there will be a special Gulf Oil Disaster prayer at church today.

I picked up on the same point RD did. As oil & gas folk I've known have said, deepwater drilling is similar to other more common types of drilling, but working under the deep deep seas really is a whole different kind of animal. Humans are good at extrapolating past experience to future endeavor. Sometimes things are not as alike as we think.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Just a momentary drive-by to mourn among imaginary friends. Just saw the score from last night.



Okay, then -- on with my day!

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Happy Mothers' Day to all of you.

We've all had mothers... and those of you who still do please give them an extra hug for those of us who don't.

Posted by: -TBG- | May 9, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Bouquets to mothers everywhere!

Libby Copeland's essay (OPINION "Copeland: Hardy Dandelion Child) was one of the many lovely gifts I received this day. Hope you all get a chance to read it.

And to parents everywhere, remember the words of the immortal Erma Bombeck: "Never have more children than your car has window seats."

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

My guess is that Halliburton or whatever the outfit was that was working on capping the well when the blowout happened was the victim of some level of universal human nature... at least in the construction-type world.

Things happen that are either new or dangerous or both. Initially things are learned, and the result is a series of safety measures are enacted to make sure the bad things that are anticipated are averted. Companies and contractors and construction people work under these safety measures for a while and nothing bad happens. What is the result?

Many of the workers and engineers who were not involved in the initial formation of the procedures begin to regard the safety measures with contempt. Why are we doing all this stuff? This is stupid. This will take us all day. Whoever came up with this stuff doesn't know anything, sitting at his desk.

The safety measures are watered down or are half-heartedly followed for a while and nothing bad happens. Now most folks are in agreement... the measures WERE useless and a waste of time and money. The measures are now routinely bypassed, except when all the white hats are around or immediately following an accident elsewhere.

Eventually, the safety manual/procedures are all but ignored until... you guessed it, a bad accident occurs. The cycle starts all over again.

This has happened just about everywhere I have ever worked, and, I bet, just about everywhere I haven't worked.

Posted by: steveboyington | May 9, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It's also instructive, I suggest, to think about *why* the containment dome has, apparently, failed. It didn't fail because folks couldn't position it properly, or because pipes weren't able to be connected, or any of the other similar technical challenges.

It failed because the hydrates didn't behave the way the experts expected. In other words, it was pre-ordained to fail because of a fundamental ignorance, I assert, of the detailed behavior of oil well effluents in this deep-water environment.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 9, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Best wishes to all you mothers.

Posted by: Boomslang | May 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

steveboyington, that's exactly why some industries and agencies have been focusing on "safety culture" for years... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Boko... greatest greeting ever. Thanks!

Posted by: -TBG- | May 9, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

TBG, that outing with your sisters sounded like great fun. Glad you had a nice time.

To all the moms (and to mine, to whom I woulda sent a huge bouquet), do have a lovely and immensely pampered Mother's Day!

And, to Snukie -- I am hereby faxing all the healing karma I've got. You feel better soon, as we're counting on you, yanno!

I was also pleased, after backboodling through the last kit, that our talitha has learned how to *snort* -- bless your heart, my dear. . . .

It's suddenly chilly in these here parts. But I'm still gonna wear my sandals outside.

Toodley Boodley.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

A sad Mother's Day here. My granddaughter suffered a massive stroke yesterday. She is only 35 years old.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

So now I'm a calculator, ftb? An abacus? What?? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

You and your family have my deepest condolences, Manon1. *HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS* :-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Manon, I'm so sorry to hear about your g-daughter's stroke. I'm sending healing to the entire family.

Scotty, I dunno whether you're a calculator or an abacus, but you're a big-hearted on and I hope you feel better pronto.

ftb, sorry about the Red Wings. At least they got farther than the Caps.

*looking to the southeast for flying projectiles*

Posted by: MsJS | May 9, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

My condolences, Manon. That's terrible; I hope the prognosis for recovery is good.

My Stroke of Insight is about a neuroanatomist who suffered a stroke at age 37.

She went through a lot of intense rehabilation, but she has recovered completely.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 9, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Healing energy aimed at Manon's granddaughter and to those who love her.
I am so sorry.

ftb, I've been *snort*ing for years, but I'm still shy on the boodle, and often stumble.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Manon so sorry about your granddaughter, healing mojo being sent her way.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 9, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone for your good wishes and thanks, Scotty, for the hugs. And, Wilbrod, I'll try to hold in mind your story of a good recovery.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Happy Mother's Day to all you Boodlers who are mothers, and Happy Mother's Day to the mothers of Boodlers who aren't themselves mothers. (Does that make sense? I made need to do an advanced syntax analysis here.) And Happy Mothers Day to Boodlers' daughters who may happen to be mothers. I think that covers it.

Scotty, hope you feel better soon. Go ahead and take the rest of the day off.

I only aware of half a dozen writers I'd want to tell the full story of this disaster when it's over: McPhee, Tracy Kidder, Richard Rhodes, Richard Condon, or JA.

Off to eat crabs with #1 dottir and her clan.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

London's Financial Times has a story that BP is planning to blast the leak with high pressure debris to try to clog it up. Funny how that's now yet being reported here.

Happy day to all.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | May 9, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Um, Joel reported it.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all. Cool day in the Carolinas, we are enjoying it!

Manon, I'll remember your granddaughter in my prayers. I hope she has a quick, uneventful, and complete recovery!

The Geekdottir gave me a USB port hub for Mother's Day because I complained about having to practically get on my knees to get to the USB port on the front of the desktop. So thoughtful! We'll plug it in after while.

Now, back to read that story that's on A1 above the fold...

Posted by: slyness | May 9, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Just came in from the great outdoors, where I was wearing a fleece jacket with my sandals. Contradictions R us, I suppose.

Manon, please receive my sympathy and my good wishes for a successful outcome, no matter how long it takes. She's still young, after all.

Scotty, you *are* funny, even when you're feeling carppy.

I figured as much, talitha, but remember that you don't have to be shy in Boodledom.

And as for the ideal disaster-writer, I vote for JA. Second place should definitely go to John McPhee.

And, if I haven't exulted on it earlier, HMD to all who wish to celebrate it! If I have exulted on it earlier, have some more.

BTW, thanx for all the condolences to my beloved Red Wings. Now I can concentrate on baseball -- my Tigers are doing reasonably well and I only have to start stressing out come late September. That gives me time to get my mojo back. And it's *much* needed, I tell ya!

Enjoy the rest of the day, y'all!

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Manon, sending good energy to your granddaughter.

Happy Mother's Day to all. :)

Posted by: -dbG- | May 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Manon, my very best wishes and prayers for your granddaughter.

Brunch done and I'm ready for a nap. I have a killer recipe for pork filled wontons that is quick and can be done mostly ahead of time if anyone wants it. Huge hit here this morning.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 9, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, I had enough energy to do what was left of the yard work, as my neighbor was kind enough to use his riding mower on the parts of my lawn he could reach.

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough energy to properly control the weedeater, which led to a totally FUBARed spool holder. *SIGH*

And of course, it's Pink Bat (and sweatband) Day for MLB! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

slyness, ftb,dbG and badsneakers: thanks to you all for your kindness. It's much appreciated.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh Manon, so very very sorry. Prayers and great hopes for recovery. Too, too young, my goodness.

Sneaks, recipe please.

We have western, blue, blue with clouds of puffy white inflated glory.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | May 9, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Back on terra firma, one of the tenured members of Marquette University's Department of Theology has asked for the university president's resignation in an open letter.

Posted by: MsJS | May 9, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's the recipe. I got it from my friend who cooks for a living. I made the filling yesterday so all I had to do was fill the shells and bake. You do need mini muffin tins for this recipe.

Janette’s Pork Breakfast Wontons

1 pkg wonton wrappers

1 pkg sausage meat
1/2 onion or whole shallot or scallions or chives

Fry sausage, add onion towards the end and finish cooking, drain grease.

1 1/2 c sharp cheddar- shredded
1 c monterey jack-shredded

1 bottle Hidden Valley Ranch™ dressing

combine sausage mix and cheese mix.

Using mini muffin tins, put one wrapper in each and stuff in sausage mix.

Bake at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes watching to be sure wrappers don’t burn.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 9, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, please fax about a dozen gross of those over here.

Pretty please with a wonton on top. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Hoo-boy, sneakers! Those sound great and super easy. They're in the recipe file already.
I'm making my own M-day dinner tonight, which is fine because I love to cook. Shrimp, asparagus and portobello alfredo with spinach salad and garlic loaf.

Scottynuke, don't overdo now. Momma said so. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

So, um, when would you like me to come over, talitha?

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Howsabout I dilute the wontons with some chicken soup (it couldn't hurt), talitha? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Thank you,cqp

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Manon... so sorry to hear about your granddaughter. Much love and Boodle Mojo sent her way and to her mom and grandmother, too, and all who love her.

I hope for the best possible outcome for her. I also hope you find comfort in the friendship and kindness here. I know I have when I've needed it.

Posted by: -TBG- | May 9, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Manon, be sure to sign your get well card 'Manon and the Boodle'. It's sure to get a smile, and as they say laughter is the best medicine.

Don't tell her the part about the Boodle being a vast Canadian conspiracy to take over the USA, it's a secret.

Posted by: omni3 | May 9, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, omni, at least when the Canukistanis take over the USA (and after the right amount of fumigation), it will be a *much* better country!

And, appropriately, hockey will be the national sport, too. Cool, eh?

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

TBG: I am finding comfort in the kindness and friendship here. There is nothing I can do except wait for further helpless.

omni: if I start talking about *Boodle* and a conspiracy, my people will give me *the look*, shrug and say Grandma's being ditzy again.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, chicken soup for the wonton on the way.

If I may go back to last kit for a moment.

Omni, I hope you realize that I was teasing you about the hue-test. It was late and I'd just watched SNL. Anyway, I've thought a lot about what you, Wilbrod and rashomon wrote. While I don't know the science of color-perception and heredity I do understand the RBG factor. And when I took the test it was on a very new and large laptop. I deliberately darkened the room and, like rash said, could discern the gradation better. I took it twice more this morning under the same circumstances and got a '4' and a '0', for whatever that's worth. 8-]

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

SCC: not Richard Condon. Meant Richard Preston.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

talitha, I hope I didn't come across as cranky. I knew you were teasing. It was just me thinking and thinking you know. I sometimes do that to the point where I give myself a headache

I once spent a near a month after reading "Fermat's Last" thinking and thinking. I almost came up with an app using my limited understanding of quantum theory to find a loophole. but I gave up on the idea because I realized I'd need a super computer to run it. oh, that, and my head was hurting

Book review...I just finished 'Running With Scissors'. It was a laugh about every other page. but the best was saved for last. I kept laughing almost every page for the last three chapters. to the point I was twice asked if I was alright

I'm still giggling about the christmas tree

So one of the women who asked if I was alright now has the book

Posted by: omni3 | May 9, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Who was talking about "The Music Man," 'Mudge?

Oh, you said RICHARD... *facepalm* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Manon, I'm so sorry. Waiting and not being able to see for yourself is the worst part.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 9, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I think Snukie is feeling better ........

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Omni, in my profession, running with scissors is an occupational hazard. I wear them on a cord around my neck. Once I forgot to take them off before going grocery shopping and got some odd looks before I realized why. They're pretty gold stork scissors, so it *could* have been a necklace.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I know, ftb, he does seem to be perkier, doesn't he? And here I gave him the afternoon off. Sheesh. Some people just take advantage of my generosity.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yep, me perky under me blankie. Chills and all. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

It was the wonton and chicken soup whut done it, Mudge. How were the crabs? I am frenvious.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod: Waiting is awful, but I just got a call with a tiny bit of encouragement. After talking with my granddaughter's doctors, her mother, my daughter, is a little more optomistic about her survival.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Take as many *HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS* as you need, Manon. Still thinking the best possible thoughts.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The Boodle is behind you and your family bazillion percent, Manon.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh Manon, the glimmer is what hope is made of. I know your daughter needs you so much; hard times do reduce us to needy childlike states. I am sorry that, likely, your mom is not here now. May you be rich in love and support as you carry your dot and granddot.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | May 9, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Boodle hugs are very comforting. Especially those looooong ones.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Continued good thoughts and prayers and a hug too, Manon. A horrible way to be reminded of how much we take for granted.

I hope the faxed wonton are helping Scotty. I think they'd make a good hearty hors d'ouevre as well.

It's been very cool here all day, which would be normal for us if we hadn't got used to such warmth. My peonies are full of buds which should, if we don't get too much rain, make for a spectacular show in about a week.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 9, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Manon, many hugs to your granddaughter and to you and the family. I'd also avoid giving them greetings from "the Boodle" as it might get you odd looks. I myself have much better luck passing on greetings from my imaginary friends.

My cousins & uncle today hosted a fabulous Mother's Day family brunch. It is so nice to have a cousin who is serious about cooking. He made some kind of fancy corn fritters, a layered potato thing with both sweet and regular potatoes, some kind of quiche-ey type dish, bacon-wrapped asparagus, I think it was, with miso seasoning,baked eggs, and a chicken terrine with macadamia nuts. Yum.

I'm cooking our Mom's Day dinner tonight. I have a local farmers market steak, potatoes, tomatoes with herbs, a little asparagus (for me!) and fruit. The vegetables are also local produce.

It is finally sprinkling a little here and cool enough to be downright chilly.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 9, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Chilly day here as well, but the sun was warm if you could stay out of the wind. Spent the day cleaning up after the storm, 4 pages of tree twigs, and small leave branches. Cut the grass, did some weeding, cleaned the pool, folded laundry.

Grass now looks nice, you can't even tell it is mostly weeds when it is freshly mown.

Supper is being prepared for me, stuffed roast pork, potato wedges and other stuff, but most important a bottle of Chablis has been chilling in the fridge all day.

Manon will keep you and your family in my thought.

My peonies are close to blooming as well badsneaks, they are very large this year.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 9, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

My cousin's peonies, just up the road, have big gorgeous blowsy blooms. Mine are stealth peonies. "Blossom?" they say, "What is this blossom to which you refer?" I know they're there because I see the foliage.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 9, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my peonies had very few blossoms last year (which was just as well because we had so much rain that all the blooms got waterlogged and decomposed on their stems). This year there are loads of buds. I think they like to rest every now and then, maybe yours are just lazy?

Posted by: badsneakers | May 9, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

NukeSpouse is very sad (but not surprised) to find the NukeFelines have done not a jot for their "mother" today.

She hasn't checked the litter box yet, though.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom -- from your description of the "eats" I have gotten the "mother" of all contact highs (as we used to say in the '60s).

Snuke -- you are too much, even when you're feeling punkish.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 9, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

great article Joel! very informative.

Posted by: MissToronto | May 9, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The wretches! Sharper than a serpent's tooth, and all that, Scotty.

Manon, I am thinking of you and your family. Believe me, I do understand how gruelling this is. Much, much sympathy.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

CBS News tonight had a news story on the usual profusion of marine life around oil rigs off Louisiana, with beautiful video of fish and invertebrates.

Meanwhile, over here, a young cardinal has fledged in the backyard and for the first time, there's a resident rabbit. I think both are a matter of increasing cover at and near ground level. A tall but scrawny young hercules-club tree should be feeding swallowtail caterpillars. The first coonties are putting out flushes of new leaves.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | May 9, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Dallas Braden of the Oakland A's threw a perfect game today. Well done, youngster.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Haven't we been here before?? Say, one administration ago? *SIGHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 9, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmon and Yoki: Thank you both. The Boodle is a wonderful thing!

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Manon, the best to your granddaughter, her mom, to you and the rest of your family.

S'nuke, I know you far too well to pursue that 'perky under your blanket' comment. Clearly, you're feeling better, or at least well *enough,* my friend...

Joel, the frozen methane hydrates (preventing the intended operations of the dome) remind me of conditions on the surface of the Titan, with frozen and liquid hydrocarbon lakes and seas, methane and even possibly water among them. Anyone been in communications with NASA to discuss behaviors of such things? [Hello, SciTim? This may be right up your alley.]

Also, I imagine someone has considered heating the dome, or doing something to it to warm it enough to prevent the slush from forming inside, like an auto rear window defogger. I doubt it's as simple as running electrical current through it -- it's likely something that would need to be installed on the thing, but you know what I mean...

As far as corking the thing up -- instead of giving it junk, let me suggest feeding it lots and lots of cheese.

And maybe painkillers.


Posted by: -bc- | May 9, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, bc

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

dmd... no fair! you have dinner prepared for you pretty much every night, don't you? I've been lucky enough to have one of those dinners with you, too. Yummmmm.

Discussing with Son of G the possibility of him coming home to work this summer. We realized we'll be paying rent on his apartment whether he's there or not, but it may be wise to NOT stay in a city with 15% unemployment when he's looking for full-time summer work (no classes this summer).

My sisters and I made good money during summers as office temps. He has the same qualifications we did--well, more skills, really, than ANYONE had at the time, come to think of it.

Posted by: -TBG- | May 9, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I hope everyone has had a pleasant Mother's Day.

Manon - I fear you have not, and I am saddened by this. I used to think of strokes as being something only old people have, but in the last few years I have heard of two people under 50 who have been so afflicted.

Best thoughts for you, your granddaughter, and your entire family.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 9, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

A wonderful Mothers' Day feast was enjoyed by three mothers and some sons. And one daughter-in-law. Beautiful. Plus I was given a pot of live marjoram, a pot of thyme, and a rosemary plant. Plus some aloe to plant in the always-need-more shade-loving plants part of the yard.

Two items to add to the kit above: drilling mud doesn't really do much to bring oil or gas to the surface. It just controls the pressure. Some wells have pressure; some don't. The ones that don't need pumps installed, and the pumps use long rods all the way to the producing zone deep down, with one-way valves on the cups at the end. The weird misshapen camlike thing at the top is a counterweight so the weight is on its downstroke while the rod, cup, and stroke of oil is on the upstroke.

Wells under pressure are usually throttled down so as to not ruin the production zone. Picture a strata of porous sandstone capped on the bottom and on the top by effectively impermeable shale strata. Oil and gas, being lighter, concentrate near the top pores in the sandstone and water near the bottom pores. If you produce the oil or gas slowly, you get more oil or gas which moves in from the side and keeps producing. If you try to just let it blow, water from underneath will move upwards where you don't want it entering the well. Slow is better. Accountants figure out how slow.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 9, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The original plan was to keep hydrates from forming in the pipe and dome by injecting warm water and methanol via the riser through which the pipe would pass. Unfortunately, they failed to predict how quickly the hydrates would form in the dome itself.

I have read that there is still some thought of sending down a warm water pipe to flush out the dome, but this flushing would have to continue until the main pipe and riser could be attached - which seems a logistical nightmare.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 9, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

IN the pores not "near them."

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 9, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

No parsley and sage, Jumper?

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank you,RD.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

To be sure, the Huygens probe that went down to Titan was built by the ESA - I wonder how they engineered the probe to deal with liquid methane and ice? Maybe there's something they know about such things...

Scotty, I saw Holder's comments re. Miranda rights and terrorism suspects earlier this afternoon, and decided to take a deep breath and count to 10.


Posted by: -bc- | May 9, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Anyone needing a good laugh ought to read Valerie Strauss's column about the most humorous commencement speeches, which include those by Ellen Degeneres, Bob Newhart, Will Farrell, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart...and Ray Bradbury.

Bradubury? Well, okay...

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a hard time finding sage this year. My plant overwintered but then died early in the spring. Got the rosemary, parsley, and thyme going strong. Also spearmint that is almost impossible to keep in check.

Posted by: slyness | May 9, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there, Manon.

Cassandra, thinking of you on this mother's day, too. And TBG, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | May 9, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this article, Joel. I look forward to reading more as we learn more about this dreadful incident. One hopes the authorities will be cautious in laying blame until more facts are know, Markey's caution is this is admirable. Let's see if it holds up.

I also liked Richard Clarke's piece in Outlook about the most recent terrorist attacks, also with a plea not to go over the top in response:

My best thoughts to you and your family, Manon. That is sad news and a tragic event for one so young.

Posted by: -pj- | May 9, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse


I'm so sorry to hear your news. Will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Posted by: cmyth4u | May 9, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

A few weeks ago Michael J. Fox was interviewed on Weekend Edition. He said he has given commencement addresses even though he never even graduated from high school. He said is first words in his address are "What the hell were you thinking?"

Posted by: -pj- | May 9, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Funny TBG, actually lately the family has had to suffer through my cooking a lot, as dmdspouse has been working some long days lately due to work deadlines. A relaxing meal without anyone rushing off somewhere was a treat.

Naturally I received gardening stuff, gloves, books etc. but the hugs and love are the best gift.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 9, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

thank you, pj and cassandra.

I've known it all along, but I want to say that the people of the Boodle are the finest people I've ever "met".

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Manon, it's very nice of you to overlook our wanton behavior today, but that was all Scotty's fault. Still, that's probably better than being here on eggdrop day, bird's nest day, or sweet-and-sour Tuesdays.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, are you multi-tasking like me while you watch The Pacific or waiting for a later showing?

Full of shrimp alfredo and momlove tonight.
Nice to share part of this day with you all.

Posted by: talitha1 | May 9, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking that there should be an eighth day in the week, one employers have never heard of, to be devoted to nothing but things interesting/amusing/entertaining/engaging (as you will), called Theusday.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Mudge: sweet-and-sour Tuesdays sounds
very tasty.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

When you get to my age, every day is bittersweet *day.

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

I already have sage, Yoki! I haven't had luck with parsley though I've tried. Maybe I should just give it some thyme.

I will point out that the hydrate plug is purely conjectural at this point. I suspect they forgot something very basic and are covering their behinds until they get back in gear.

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

That used to be the Sabbath or Sunday, Yoki, till someone got the bright idea that stores and services should be available every day. I agree it would be a great idea to go back to that, or add a day to the week.

I worked all day today so that the people working for me would get a paycheck with all their hours for the last week, while they kept telling me, "It's Mothers Day!" when I told them they needed to stop by to turn in their time sheets to me today.

I'm beginning to rethink this whole "work" thing.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 9, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

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

Thanks Yoki, what a pleasant way to remove some annoying tune cooties.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 9, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Very annoying!

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


Posted by: -TBG- | May 9, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I hope your granddaughter has a quick and full recovery. As I get older, I keep getting reminded how fragile and fleeting life is. I hope your family surmounts this unexpected tragedy.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 9, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, *very* multitasking, Talitha. Watched "Vicky Christina Barcelona," which I've never seen before, then flipped to the last half og "The Pacific" (taped it, so will watch the first half later tonight), and am watching the "Jesse Stone" flick only because I like Tom Selleck and Kathy Bates (although the dog is my favorite recurring character in that series). When that's over, I'll watch the first half of The Pacific. Meanwhile, I've been working (writing), doing fairly well, about 1,600 words so far today. May try to hit 2,000 before I go to bed.

Yes, the crabs were very good, large and sweet, better than usual for this time of year. But a bit expensive: I think they were $3 each. Had the cream of crab soup first, of course, as is my custom. The place we always go (Cap'n Leonard's) has very good C of C soup, and as you may or may not know, I am a connoisseur of C of C soup.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, yello.

Posted by: Manon1 | May 9, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Why, darlin', you're a connoisseur of everything crabby.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I would just note that it should be amateur or connaisseur (as a good Canadian). I don't know where connoisseur came from.

Posted by: Yoki | May 9, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Post is reporting Elena Kagan is Obama's pick for the Supreme Court.

Posted by: badsneakers | May 9, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

It came from . I hadda look it up to get it right. Now, where wiki got it I dunno. However, you're well aware of my legendary prowess with the French language.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

oh, man. If it's Kagan, there's gonna be a s---storm of crap from the wingnuts. It's gonna be dirtier and fouler than usual. I'm not looking forward to it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 9, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

SteveB you've pretty accurately described the usual corporate culture that leads to things breaking catastrophically.

Part of ingraining a safety culture is getting people to think of the money invested in mitigation as having saved you from something nasty, not as being wasted because nothing nasty happened.

Posted by: qgaliana | May 9, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Manon - I hope things go well for your granddaughter.

Happy Mother's Day to all you Boodle moms and those who are mom-like.

It's been a while since I've got to read the Kit and today's edition is great. Thanks for the coverage Joel, I know a lot more about the complexity of the situation now. I just hope the smart people in our world can help us stop the mess.

This SCOTUS appointment of Kagan ought to give the news people something to do for a while.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | May 9, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah, crab soup of any kind, the red with piquant upstart tomatoes or the milky-smooth cloud suspension of chowder. God DOES exist.

Asparagus and rhubarb, my gracious, are such riches; again a benevolent force in our lives.

Good night, all.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | May 9, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Lena Horne has passed away -
Quite incredible what she went through.

Posted by: seasea1 | May 10, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

RIP Ms. Horne... One of my stronger memories of "Sesame Street" was her captivating various Muppets, even the lowly inchworm. *SIGHHHHHHHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2010 5:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning you all, and Happy Day After Happy Mother's Day. Manor, I hope that by now you will have received some positive news regarding your granddaughter's condition.

Thank you JA for your article.

Hope you're feeling better Scotty, glad you have a kind neighbor.

Here's a little Mother's Day History memo distributed with red and white carnations before church yesterday:

Mother's Day was established by Anna Marie Jarvis, following the death of her mother Ann Jarvis on May 9, 1905. With the help of a Philadelphia merchant, John Wanamaker, a small service was held May 12, 1907 in the Andrew's Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where Anna's mother taught Sunday school. But the first "official" service was May 10,1908 in the same church, accompanied by a larger ceremony in the Wanamaker Auditorium in Wanamaker's Department Store in Philadelphia.

1910 the holiday was declared officially by the state of West Virginia

1914 Congress passed a law designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

1914 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation, declaring the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag to honor those mothers whose sons had died in war.

1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a stamp commemorating the holiday.

The Grafton's church, where the first celebration was held, is now the International Mother's Day Shrine and a National Historic Landmark.

(more comin')

Posted by: VintageLady | May 10, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Good to see you, VL!!! :-)

Yes, I'm lucky in neighbors, but perhaps a bit foolish in general -- taking the Dawn Patrol into work and feeling flushed all over again. *SIGH*

Still sending my best to you and your family, Manon...

*probably-not-fully-recovered Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 10, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

The Carnation Part of the story.

Carnations have come to represent Mother's Day since Anna Jarvis delivered 500 of them at its first celebration in 1908. This started the custom of wearing a carnation (chosen by Anna Jarvis because it was her mother's favorite flower) on Mother's Day. At the time, due to the shortage of white carnations, florists promoted wearing a red carnation if your mother was living or a white one if she was deceased. This was tirelessly promoted until it made its way into the practice still observed in some churches today.

Note: No source was given with this information.

Another Note: When I was a child we did wear the flower to church on Mother's Day, but it came from my mother's rose bushes, not store bought or a florist. It was perfectly permissible to wear a pink flower instead of red, but only a white flower for the deceased. The carnation requirement was definitely not a "southern custom".....

Posted by: VintageLady | May 10, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

RIP, Lena Horne. She owned "Stormy Weather."

Let me start you out early with this morning's most excellent Borowitz Report:

"Republicans Insert Name ‘Kagan’ into Speeches Opposing Obama’s Supreme Court Pick

"New iPhone App Generates GOP Rhetoric

"WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - Moments after news of President Obama’s choice for Supreme Court justice spread across Washington, congressional Republicans rushed to insert the name “Elena Kagan” into speeches opposing the President’s judicial nominee.

"In the text of a speech released Sunday, hours before Ms. Kagan was selected, House Minority Leader John Boehner (D-Ohio) states, “I opposed the nomination of BLANK because I believe BLANK would lead the court down a dangerous path towards judicial activism. In short, I cannot think of a worse choice for Supreme Court than BLANK.”

"The anti-Kagan rhetoric was generated last week before Ms. Kagan was nominated, GOP insiders said, by using a new iPhone app called iOppose.

"In other news, study of the Neanderthal genome at UC Santa Cruz has revealed that mating between humans and Neanderthals may explain one of science's most persistent mysteries: the existence of Glenn Beck.

"We believe that sex between a human and a Neanderthal may have resulted, some fifteen thousand years later, in several of the Fox News Channel's primetime hosts, including Glenn Beck," said a leading genetic researcher at the university.

"But while sex between humans and Neanderthals may explain the existence of the controversial Fox host, other mysteries remain, the researcher said: "While it is likely that a human would have sex with a Neanderthal, it is unclear who would have sex with Glenn Beck."

"The discovery that Neanderthals and humans mated fifteen thousand years ago took many scientists by surprise: "Previously, we thought the first time this occurred was on 'Jersey Shore.'"

Elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security said that it had been following Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, “but only on Twitter.”

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 10, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

And, I think John Boehner is a blankety-blank and am pretty sure he's not a "D" from Ohio. I'm sure I will be corrected if I am wrong.

Posted by: VintageLady | May 10, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Yes, you're right, VL. Good catch.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | May 10, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

As we see, kids, the slick spreads with no hope in sight. As I said, scientific sensibility, which some who spout on this blog disdain, specifically the thermodynamics this writer knows well from having taught it at Rensselaer Polytechnic, makes it clear that there is NO FIX for this mess, all so called efforts by BP being "we are trying our best" Public Relations games by a billionaire outfit who has the money to play them. (They have a few engineers on their payroll who also understand that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall.)

The enormity of this disaster as it unfolds unabated over the next few months will rival a good sized asteroid hitting the earth.

The point, oh ye Dicken's readers of tiny foresight, is that some things are not reparable. You have to deal with them from the front end, ahead of time. That is the only tangible and indirect lesson we will learn from this spill.

The point that none of the gentle people writing here who live for watching their favorite silly TV programs seem to be able to catch is that another disaster awaits us all in the form of the grand nuclear "spill", that is, nuclear war that promises mankind's extinction coming soon.

To avoid that, one needs to galvanize all the sleepy dreamy non-realistic people like Scott and JmJs, etc., to DO SOMETHING, NOT JUST SIT AND GAB AND GAB AND GAB AND GAB AND GAB. Excuse if that criticism is not apropos, much easier to bury your heads in the sand of TV silliness than worry about your kids and grand-kids, isn't it?

Check out to show you the way. A child's mind beyond a certain age is the mind of a fool, says Confucius. Wake up, children.

Posted by: drconcerned | May 10, 2010 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, and happy Monday. Hi Cassandra! Cool in the Carolinas this morning, I'll have to wear a jacket on the walk.

It's going to be a busy week and Thursday a friend and I are going to Atlanta to see the Princess Di exhibit. That will be fun.

Scrambled eggs, ham biscuits, hot grits, fresh strawberries, and appropriate hot and cold beverages on the ready room table, so enjoy!

Scotty, hope you are feeling well enough to survive the workday.

Posted by: slyness | May 10, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

drconcerned, dude...first, I'm pretty sure you're not a big fan of making friends and influencing people. You were kinda snotty there. Besides, if there's nothing to be done, what would you like them to get off their bee-hinds and do? Also, when flying off the handle about something you know only this much about (holding two fingers *really* close together), it's awfully tempting to throw in everything but the kitchen sink, but it just makes you look silly. I'd recommend avoiding it.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse


I agree whole-heartedly that the entire capping of the well was theater doomed to failure.

You are one of the more articulate trolls that have wondered in despite having that all too common affliction of CAP LOCK FEVER. And while shamelessly blogwh0ring is something I cannot personally disparage, some may find the repeated links to your page (which seems rather erudite if a bit in the 'perpetual motion machine inventor'-style incomprehensible) tiresome.

But calls to eschew silliness will always fall on deaf ears here. We embrace silliness. We revel in it. Wallow, even. It doesn't make us unthoughtful people, just more rounded and interesting. Give it a try.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

drconcerned... we may sit here and GAB, GAB, GAB, but you don't know what we do when we're not here. Some of us may even be in the business of working to prevent such disasters. Who knows?

Up early to run some errands before work. See y'all on the other side of the day!

Posted by: -TBG- | May 10, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Today the Globe came out with a special Africa edition, (Guest edited by Bono and Bob Geldof), so far what has struck me most is a letter from the editor written by a 7 year old girl, a very special letter - 3 or 4th one down. A great start to the day.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 10, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Sleepy dreamy non-realistic people? Yes, Scottynuke is dreamy, and I'm sure MsJS (not JmJS) is dreamy too (if that's the team you bat for), but non-realistic? You mean like Barbie with her oversized bust, undersized waist and feet, and non-existent butt? Well that doesn't sound like them.... Scotty, turn around. Do a little spin for us. Let's get a good look-see.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey Jkt, I seem to be missing all the fun here!? I have spent maybe two seconds looking at stuff, but I have to say that I have read all of Joel's stuff and it is great reporting. Me? Weekends are my week days, it turns out.

I will report for those Weingarten fans, I get to see him every Saturday morning as he dashes by on a particular shopping run. I will report that he is a man of taste.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 10, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

The synonymity of silliness and thoughtful rivals that of BP’s attempt that didn’t fail but just didn’t succeed. Along with the rest of your attempts at wit.

My father, long passed, ran the islands in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a Navy medic attached to the Marines. In the ninth wave that won and survived Sugar Loaf at Okinawa, the first eight up the hill all lost in this commonplace battle of attrition where he witnessed officers commonly shooting the enlisted who wouldn’t take the next step up and enlisted men shooting officers in the back in retaliation when they had the chance, he was next assigned to view and survey Hiroshima for a week following VJ day. A tough man with a tough stomach, without exaggeration the champion Graeco-Roman wrestler in the Pacific contingent, he vomited up every meal he ate that week uncontrollably from the horror of what he saw, so he told me when I was twelve years old. He had a different word for silly people, one I won’t use to avoid being removed for being abusive.

Posted by: drconcerned | May 10, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Silly would be thinking the ocean floor is six times hotter than the surface of the sun. (Isn't the surface of the sun around 9000 deg. F?) Isn't one of the problems ice? I know...why don't you go down there and check. I've got a candy thermometer you can use.

Posted by: LostInThought | May 10, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, about 30 years ago, I was sitting in a cafe at the bar enjoying the end of my day. It was late, maybe about 9 pm. My friends ran it and it was about a block from my building in Adams Morgan. I would put in a full day of computer work, then at 5 or 6, do another 3 or so hours of inside construction to improve the building.

So, there I was sitting and enjoying a bowl of gumbo and a biscuit--quietly contemplating the day that had past. I guess I still was wearing whatever drywall dust that didn't come of from a quick rinse. I noticed someone approaching and without glancing over, I knew that they had taken a seat to my right.

Just to be polite and maybe to see if I had been spacing out while a friend came in, I turned around to say hello and there sitting next to me was FREAKIN Lena Horne.

Talk about beauty. Man. (how articulate is that).

I really was praying that Stormy Weather didn't come up on the house music so I wouldn't be tempted to say something stupid.

I was saved, but I do have it on my ipod.

Yes, R.I.P.

Posted by: russianthistle | May 10, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: kguy1 | May 10, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Busy week, but back to usual today, I think.

Great article, Joel. Reading your clear concise article and I feel completely up to date.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 10, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all, and howdy to our new troll. I think it is so nice that he keeps coming back - Joel's writing must have struck a chord. Clearly it isn't our eclectic discussion. drconcerned, I respect your passion. You do sound very angry and it seems like your anger and frustration have grown until they spill over to corrupt whatever you encounter connected (however tenuously) with your passion, warranted or not. Like many people, I find repeated unfocused anger tedious; I suspect that if you keep posting in this vein you'll find you've lost your audience, whatever the underlying worth of your comments might be.

We had a domestic calamity last night. The Boy has been writing an English paper all week. Had it saved so he could open it under "recent documents", he thought in Word. He finished it yesterday but apparently, rather than re-saving, minimized the screen but left the document open. He came back to it, hit the wrong button, and it is gone. There isn't even a copy of the older, incomplete version. It is possible it was saved in something other than Word (an Internet document, perhaps?). Ivansdad is going to comb the computer today. In the meantime the Boy is rewriting the whole thing. The draft is due tomorrow. Having lost documents in my time I deeply sympathize, but told him the only thing to do was sit down and re-write while it was still in his head.

Posted by: Ivansmom | May 10, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Ah well, I was likely wrong which is not unusual. Well, not unheard of anyhow. But not spectacularly, insanely, heatedly wrong like that surface-of-the-sun remark from Dr. Doom. I suppose I should head out to the Gulf and bite it closed myself.

Yoki hit on a synchronicity at posting that Scarborough Fair link, as it played completely randomly - it was on a thumb drive holding about 20 hours of songs - as I returned from the mountains yesterday with my thyme. I should have kept going to Pawley's Island where I could ponder thyme and tides.

Posted by: Jumper1 | May 10, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, do you have the auto save feature enabled in word? When you open word the items at the bottom of the file menu should be your most recently opened files - does it show there?

Hope the document shows up.

Posted by: dmd3 | May 10, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Yeouch, Ivansmom! What a panic when stuff like that happens. I hope Ivansdad is able to pull it out of the abyss. When the Geekdottir awakens, I will ask for advice.

Posted by: slyness | May 10, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Note that it is me, just me, though it is not that I am not as concerned as some drs.

I firmly believe that a little levity is always in order. "Humor is also our way of dealing with the inexplicable. " ( )

Surely this situation needs a little humor.

Posted by: --dr-- | May 10, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey drconcerned! Any coping advice for drdino?

Posted by: Boomslang | May 10, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

That is a nightmare that wakes me up at night. I hope you can find some remnants of the paper.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I've lost documents before, and you are right, redoing it immediately is the best approach.

On rare occasions you can actually recover a lost Word document without using fancy forensics tools.

Good luck!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | May 10, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Belated good morning, y'all.

I awoke with a vague sense of concern today but it passed.

RIP Lena Horne. Thanks for the lovely link, kguy. I've always enjoyed her performance in 'Cabin in the Sky' and cursed the powers-that-were for substituting Ava for Lena in Showboat on screen.

VintageLady, we also wore roses from my grandmother's garden on Mother's Day.
I can remember picking them in the dewy Georgia mornings with my PaPa.

Ivansmom, am sending my imaginary bloodhound out in search of that document.
In my day we always found it crammed at the bottom of the bookbag. Times have changed. *sigh*

Off to save the world . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | May 10, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"Don't know whyyyyyyy, There's no sun up in the sky. Stormy weatherrrrrr ....."

Such a fine, fine woman and entertainer. So glad she made it to 92. Lena Horne, you shall indeed be missed!

Oh, Your Vintage Ladyship!!!!!!!! You're back, by popular demand! I will admit to having been worried about you in your much too long absence, and I hope you are well.

Hey, Snukums -- are you any better? I do have some chicken soup I could fax over.

Kagan's a great choice for SCOTUS. Despite any ridiculously and expected snarkiness from the Rethuglicans, I think she'll be in. Woo-hoo! Three wimmin on SCOTUS!

Cy'all later.

Posted by: -ftb- | May 10, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: yellojkt | May 10, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

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

I am dreamy, that's fer shur. What Cubbies fan isn't?

As for being realistic or not, I believe we create most of our reality. drconcerned's reality seems to work for him/her, just as mine works for me. At this point, I don't think we have a lot to share with each other.

since drc's posts are easy to spot, they are easy to ignore. I invite drc to ignore mine in return if it feels right.

I-mom, I lost all my notes when preparing a major paper in middle school. I managed to cobble something together in time and received a lot of understanding from the teacher for my sincerity and honesty in dealing with the problem. I am hoping for the same outcome for The Boy.

Posted by: MsJS | May 10, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, that file may be saved in the "Temporary" file, and if the machine shut down with the file open, it ought to pop up automatically in "Word" as a file saved for recovery; usually when you first open Word after the reboot, a panel opens on the left side of the Word screen that shows any documents left open. But as dmd said, it may depend on what Autosave features are activated. (Assuming it's a PC, not a Mac. Dunno about new Macs.)

I'm about half tempted to ask drconcerned two questions. The first is that with all due respect to his father the Navy medic who served with the Marines, just what the hell has that got to do with his mad raving about the gulf spill? And second, he has several times asserted that the gulf spill was somehow going to lead to nuclear war. I'm sorta curious to know who were are going to attack, or alternately who is going to attack us, nuke-wise, and what the spill will have to do with it. But I know dang well he's just gonna direct me to his cockamammy Web site, and at the risk of further inflaming GaryHumorImpairedMasters, I'm just not gonna go there and read drconcerned's raving, enlightenment be damned. I can only handle just so much enlightenment in one day, and anyone who considers drconcerned's ravings OR Karl Rove's Machiavellian agitprop to be enlightenment isn't exactly a reliable guide, anyway.

So my catlike curiosity will just have to go unquenched.

LiT, I too, had the same thought about the seabed under a mile of ocean being six times hotter than the sun (which, as well all know, often leads to the formation of ice crystals here in Opposite World), and thought several times about saying that, but it occurred to me I had somehow misread drconcerned's blather in some way. I went back and re-read it several times, but like you, that's how I read it, too. And that's only one mile deep. I image the sea temp at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, seven miles down, would be seven times hotter (I don't know if madcap delusions operate on a linear mathematical scale, or are algebraic or even logarithmic, like the Richter scale and the Dewey Decimal System). Be that as it may, those guys that went down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in those bathyscapes musta sweated their buns off down there, ya know?

Well, gotta go get some work done today before I go home and watch my silly TV programs.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | May 10, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

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