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Battle plans and contact with enemy

So they started the integrity test. No! Wait. They didn't start it. Never mind all those headlines saying they did. They didn't. Because the battle plan didn't survive contact with the enemy.

The choke line leaked. This is a piece of equipment fabricated at the surface and lowered to the gulf floor as part of the new 3-ram capping stack. This isn't supposed to leak. BP is trying to fix. In meantime, everything's on hold. There's no containment of oil at all. There's merely a giant plume from the kill line. Sounds bad, looks worse. Until they fix the choke line they can't conduct the integrity test or resume containment operations or resume drilling the relief well or do much of anything other than disperse and skim and curse the petroleum gods.

This will be great fodder for those who say BP doesn't know what it's doing and is a stumblebum and everything has gone wrong. Actually, a lot of things have gone right in the subsea -- but this isn't horseshoes or hand grenades or some other sport with a margin of error. There is only one standard: Kill well. Stop pollution. Anything less looks like failure and an outrage.

Here's my story from this morning. FYI, as late as 11 p.m. the usually reliable CNN hadn't quite picked up on the fact that the test had been delayed by the choke line leak. Which actually plays to a point Anderson Cooper keeps making: Why can't BP or the feds tells us what's going on in real time? We're not engineers, by and large. We don't really know what we're looking at. The only announcement of the leak that I saw -- and I stumbled upon it earlier in the evening -- was an agate-type sentence on one of the ROV feed web pages. No wonder most of the media missed it.

Excerpt of story:

A new piece of equipment designed to control the gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well sprung its own leak Wednesday night, the latest setback to BP's efforts to put an end to the environmental disaster.

BP said that the leak in what is known as the choke line could be repaired and that its effort to close the damaged well, and shut down the flow of oil permanently, would resume. But video streams from the seafloor showed a chaotic plume of oil and gas continuing to surge from one of the outlets on the 75-ton cap installed earlier this week.

It was unclear late Wednesday whether the leak would be a momentary hitch in the much-anticipated "integrity test" on the well, or if it would put the operation in grave peril. But the plumbing failure showed once again that nothing has come easy in the long campaign to kill the Macondo well, which blew out April 20 and destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig, killing 11 workers.

(Photos: Animal victims of the oil spill)

Federal officials green-lighted the test after a 24-hour delay, during which government scientists and outside experts demanded more information from BP about possible hazards posed by stopping the flow of the well. They are concerned that a spike in pressure as the flow is clamped could blow oil and gas out of the casing of the well and into the geological formations. Throughout the crisis, engineers have feared the possibility that efforts to fix the problem could make it worse.

Such concerns ultimately did not dissuade authorities from going forward with what could be a high-reward maneuver. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, the national incident commander, said that, notwithstanding the concerns of scientists, he is "gung ho" about the test.

"It will be terrific news if we can shut in the well," Allen said, adding, however, "I don't want to get anyone's hopes up."

Once BP engineers closed the main chimney on the new "capping stack" installed atop the well Monday night, that left oil and gas surging from two other ports. The protocol developed by BP and approved by federal authorities called for quickly closing one, known as the kill line, then very gradually reducing the flow from the choke line until the well flows no more.

The company said Wednesday night in a statement that the leak in the choke line "has been isolated and will be repaired prior to starting the test."

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 15, 2010; 8:08 AM ET
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Next: Earthquake!!!!!!!!!


This courtesy of K-chick.

BP, bringing you giggles since 1970!

Posted by: kguy1 | July 15, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I once again want to express my admiration to Joel for his coverage of this crisis.

Yeah, the limiting of information is, in some ways, more infuriating than the technical glitches. I mean, glitches happen, especially when you are dealing with largely untested equipment. And as anyone who has ever done hard time under a sink knows, containing fluid under pressure is always tricky. (Which is why there is a football-sized mass of plumber's epoxy beneath our in-sink filter. But I digress.)

The point is, restricting information is either the result of laziness or hubris. I don't believe that they are doing this because they think it benefits them any. Clearly there is no advantage to BP or the Feds to delaying info. As I said before, these aren't battle plans against a sentient opponent. There is no strategic risk in alerting the oil. All it does is tick people off even more.

And the attitude that they have more important things to do than keep people informed is a false choice. They can do both, and should do both.

Because not knowing what is going on is making me feel like one of the blood vessels in my brain is going to develop a leak.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 15, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Mr.A's excellent and committed coverage of this story was brought home to me vividly a few moments ago when mister walked in with the two local rags, er . . . papers (Harrisonburg and Winchester). Their front page pieces end with yesterday morning's "news" on the story. In their defense, they both publish challenging crosswords and sudokus.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I would offer the possibility that no one on either the BP or Gov't side has the authority to instantly post new info about the whole situation. Corporate and gov't bureaucracies are not conducive to rapid information dissemination. That being said, they should have a process to sidestep as much of the rigamarole as possible.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 15, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - that's a good point. They might have internal constraints. It might not, directly, be laziness or hubris. However, as you point out, by this point in the crisis they should have this worked out.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 15, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Not only that, Scotty, but I'm sure their focus is on the work that has to be done, not on telling the world about it. They need you, don't they?

Of course, if I were offered the position of communications officer for BP, I would run as fast and as far away as I could.

Posted by: slyness | July 15, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Please put down any drinks or food before reading the following, seen on the NYT site:

(pause for effect)

"Nick Jonas in 'Les Misérables' "

*raised unibrow* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 15, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Now they say the leak is fixed and the testing will go forward today, sometime.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't you just love pig? And only yesterday he became a widower. (Pastis rocks.)

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

So how do you repair a choke line without raising everything to the surface? I assume the industry has found ways to do nearly everything remotely, at depth. Still, it sounds potentially difficult.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 15, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Driving by to say hello, and catch up with the best coverage of the BP disastrahoochie.

Robotics camp, city business and family reunion converging. Look for me in the bunker in about 10 days. Cue "I will survive!"
(but this boodle worthy version)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | July 15, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I was just about to say the same thing about Pastis, talitha. :-)

slyness, people already run away from the job I currently hold!!! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 15, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I would add here that there may be battles for the hearts and minds of the public and for legal high grounds and that the media (ahem) for such battles might just be -- information.

Control the information (what people know and when they know it) and there's some means for managing what they think, right? Plus, information may entail legal exposures, correct?

Information warfare, the pen is mightier than the sword, and all that.

Sorry for the cynicism today, kids.

Seriously, this must be frustrating for Joel and the other folks covering this, and to Scottynuke's points, the amount of vetting required to dissemenate information through a bureaucracy in a situation as volitile and such high-level visibility as this -- well, I don't envy anyone involved in the situation.

As I'd noted previously, it looks like they were going to stage the closing of several valves in the new cap, reducing flow in steps until - if everything looked right - they shut it all off, and then observe the results and record data.

I wish I could say that I've never opened a brand new part or subsystem and installed it, only to find that it didn't work properly or had a secondary problem its own.

Wish I could.

Sometimes making things better is simply working through Sisyphean triage.


Posted by: -bc- | July 15, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Sisyphean triage"

bc, I love your way with words and you too!

Posted by: slyness | July 15, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who having been following the Steig Larsson books and discussion, here's a link to a good op-ed on NYT by Nick Kristoff (sp?):

Saw the dentist this morning and "look, Ma, no cavities. . . . " I am officially their poster child for excellent dental health.


Posted by: ftb3 | July 15, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear frosty, I clicked your link, and I think I'll be wandering down this garden path for a while longer.

Posted by: --dr-- | July 15, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

But on the other hand...even though the people don't say much, there is an awful lot of information available from all those ROV cameras...the live feeds from the ROVs are live, the time stamp is running the same as down in the corner of my pewter. So far, the pressure gauges are not moving and the valves on a manifold (Oly ROV2) are all open.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Good day all. Heading into the Big City, and will be at the McCormick & Schmick on K Street around 5 for a mini-BPH. Any and all are welcome to join.

Have a happy day.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 15, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I am reading this blog as a result of hearing Mr. Achenbach on the Diane Rehm Show this morning. What an outstanding job!

Mr. Achenbach is on top of the situation as much as any reporter could be -- and he explains it clearly. I found his description of the real-time display on his laptop especially impressive.

Posted by: pkalina | July 15, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Welcome aboard, pkalina.

I think Joel's doing great work on this, too.

Probably some others on here who saw him on the PBS Newshour the other night, as well. Good morning, folks.

Slyness, you're making me blush. Thanks.

Looking forward to the BPH this evening as well; it's always fun.


Posted by: -bc- | July 15, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hi pkalina! Pull up a chair.

Posted by: Raysmom | July 15, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey, pkalina! Welcome. You've discovered the gem of the internet.

(And once again I go in search of Joel on a media link.)

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The HOS ROV1 guage is showing slowly building pressure, back up to about where it was yesterday before they quit to fix the leak, so I suppose that means the integrity test is in gear.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

pkalina hi ho!
I am the most recently attached regular and these are some of the smartest, bestest people you'd ever want to blog around with.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

This is great reporting and even better writing. Thanks also to the boodlers for the very thoughtful comments.

My only observation would be that, if we were able to convince certain radio personalities that there were little more than trace amounts of Oxycontin in the oil spewing out of the pipe, that this problem would be dealt with.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Joel for your excellent coverage... I don't know what we would do without you!

Posted by: MissToronto | July 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Haven't heard Joel before when he's being serious. Pretty good on the broadcast media.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

DotC, NPR news this morning said they had to raise the new top device to the surface, and also another item I forget what. Detaching, raising, lowering and reattaching would consume a lot of time, not to mention fixing.

Posted by: Jim19 | July 15, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Listening to Rehm. New sport: crankball. Operator throws cranks at Rehm, Achenbach, et al; get three attempts to hit crank through wicket. Joel is ahead by 2 to 1.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any idea what that creepy thing Boa Deep C 2 is looking at?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, no kidding. I sat down to listen while I ate lunch and (almost) lost my appetite. Are they lending callers from the comments boards? No, not that bad yet.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

One of the only places I've seen the civility match this place is over at The Oil Drum. They get their share of nuts. But civility rules.

The horror. Went to lot of trouble making bread; weighed the ingredients vs measuring, used sponge letting it get fiesty all yesterday afternoon, assembled and kneaded by hand for full 6 minutes by timer, let dough go overnight, turned out and made two french-style loaves, set out on breezeway to final rise. My dog toppled the tabletop and ate both raw loaves. I hope she knows why she is going to get very bad stomach ache soon. rrrrrr.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey, feist and feisty violate the "i before e" rule. Huh. Never cataloged that before. "Heist" I knew but never consciously added to the list either. How weird.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So does "weird".
Weird, huh?

Etymology: Middle English wird, werd, from Old English wyrd

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that is awful, say, I hate to be alarmist, but eating stuff that expands can give animals worse than a tummy ache. Do you have a vet you can check with? I can if you like.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Doh on talitha.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. All my beasts are well vetted.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

We are weird.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 15, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Today, in the sprinkler my goddie and I were well wetted.

goddie is CPBoy's new name for dogs, who are, as a class, very worthy of being thought of as godies.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | July 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Howie Kurtz linked to this ad for a copy editor:

Posted by: seasea1 | July 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Another oil leak update, this time by Achenbach and William Branigin.

At the moment, things look promising.

Here in Florida, Apalachicola oysters and other seafood are still being harvested. Purchases are much appreciated.

And yes, Apalachicola (named for the pre-European province of Apalachee) is spelled with one "p".

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 15, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Well seasea, it certainly looks like they need one. lol.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | July 15, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

And on the Hill -

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

*Sigh* As the Charlotte Observer is the newspaper to which I have subscribed for over thirty years, I can attest to the need for decent copy editors. I'm not interested in it myself.

Posted by: slyness | July 15, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The robots are turning valve handles.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

No copy-editing robots, so far.

That Charlotte Observer job looks like it entails quite a bit of skill and responsibility.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 15, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I was so excited by storming the barricades yesterday I forgot to wish everyone a Happy Woody Guthrie's Birthday. There are some interesting parallels between Bastille Day and Guthrie's work. The Festival is ongoing through this weekend, in Okemah, Oklahoma. There will be some fine music played and sung, but gosh darn it will be hot.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News on the home page:

"BP: New cap on well fully closed and oil has stopped flowing"

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

They must still be testing things, because I see them turning the same valves on and off in differing combinations.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Okemah, Oklahoma

Etowah, Chattahoochee, Euharlee

I love just saying those names.

*rivers near my birthplace

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Great news! I look forward to reading Joel's take on the situation.

Posted by: slyness | July 15, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't that be "nearly THREE-month long oil spill disaster" (first graf), Mr.A.?

Great news - fingers and toes crossed.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Imom -- where is Okemah in relation to OKC? Is it near enough for you to go, with one of those cooling fans suitable for wearing? Or is it even too hot for one of those?

It's gonna be a stretch of hot and humid here for us. I'm gonna try to get out first thing in the morning to Trader Joe's (so happy they open at 9 instead of 10) and back again before it gets really ugly.

So glad the oil has apparently stopped flowing. Now maybe the cleanup can begin in earnest. BP oughta be good for paying people to do that. Jobs, people, jobs!

Spoke to a good friend from law school today. He's up in New Hampshire and he and his book club members are putting together an anthology, so he's reading. And he's *really* unhappy, as the submissions appear to be complete dreck. Too bad. I asked him to let me know when there are more requests for submissions, and I'll try to come up with something worthwhile myself.

Which reminds me -- time to start writing that legal article I promised. *sigh*

Posted by: ftb3 | July 15, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

It has to be good news that I see now frantic activity, none actually. The ROVs all seem to be parked.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

ftb, Okemah is a couple of hours away. I could drive there and back after the day of music - and I'd have to, because all accomodations are booked - but I won't, because it is really hot. Also, I have this gainful employment thing which tends to consume many daylight hours. While I could take leave, or even a furlough day (in advance, I've used this month's), the pull of the festival is not quite great enough to overcome the pall of the weather.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 15, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Doh! no not now

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Conducter Sir Charles Mackerras died at age 84. He spent his adult life mostly in Britain and was, among other things, an authority on Czech music. He did a lot to make Leoš Janáček's strange operas popular.

He had been scheduled to conduct at the Proms in London later this month.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 15, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse


We did talk about Anne Choi's beads at a BPH. I was admiring the bead you have on a red cord. I am definitely a fan of hers.

I can't wait to see your work at HdG! I think I still have your email address. If you don't mind, I'd like to send you a link to my Facebook page. I have lots of pictures of my jewelry there.

I'm really hoping this is the end of this phase of the disastrahoochie.

Have fun at the BPH tonight! Alas, I cannot make it.

Posted by: Moose13 | July 15, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

We just lived through the hottest June on record.

Posted by: simpleton1 | July 15, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

From the same article:
`This year has had the warmest average temperature for January-June on record -- 57.5 F (12.2 C).` and
`It is the 19th consecutive June with below average sea ice.`

Gawd I`m hot suddenly.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | July 15, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I will not believe the oil is turned off until Joel says so.

Posted by: nellie4 | July 15, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I ain't believing the villain is dead until the credits roll and everyone has left the theater. And they've cleaned up all the stuff stuck under the seats.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 15, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"the pull of the festival is not quite great enough to overcome the pall of the weather"

this is a really good phrase, Ivansmom!

Posted by: nellie4 | July 15, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I was away today, visiting the 1620's (Plimoth Plantation) so I didn't hear news until recently about the oil or the financial reform bill passage. Refreshing to get good news for a change. Also refreshing was the weather here. That's now two whole days of under 80 degrees. Didn't stop us from having ice cream for lunch tho' (altho' we did have some fudge as an appetizer!) I am such a 'bad' granny ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | July 15, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The villain is in a locked room but has a chainsaw. We have not heard it, and hope not to. The villain may cut out the back way. If he starts, we will have to open the door and hold him down though he resumes stinking up the place through the door. Or something.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

July seems to be shaping up like a hot one as well, hot here today.

In addition to the oil leak being capped, I was intrigued by this story today,

Posted by: dmd3 | July 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Just came in from helping mister whitewash the backyard fence. Even in the shade it was not fun and we couldn't "Tom Sawyer" the job out to neighborhood kids. They vanish in the summer.

MsJS, did you see that our pick, Olivia Walsh, won the America's Next Great Cartoonist Contest? I'm delighted for her and look ahead to enjoying her work.

Sneaks, can I be your grandchild in my next life? We love Plimoth Plantation. The drum corps plays the annual Plymouth Thanksgiving Parade every year (weekend before the holiday) and we always go out there at some point during the trip.

Please, oh please let this finally be the beginning of the end for the well.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, annual every year. Man, I'm heatstruck.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel's on PBS Newshour.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Joel is on the lead story on the PBS Newshour again tonight!

Posted by: -pj- | July 15, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it's a bit surreal to actually see Joel (on the News Hours right now). And yes he is as scrumptious as one might imagine...I mean intellectually of course.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | July 15, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

So utterly refreshing to see someone who's decidedly 'not a talking head' on the Newshour. Why, the man actually talks with his hands!

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Glad that Joel's on a media blitz - I'll have to catch him online.

More good news - Tom Shroder is writing a book:

And I have it on good authority (kbertocci) that TM Shine has one coming out too:

Posted by: seasea1 | July 15, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Dealing with the Very Large Old Lobster

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Joel's everywhere! You know, like Chicken Man.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 15, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

dog ok?

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was wondering how the dog/dough experiment was turning out.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 15, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, between sneaks at Plimoth and jumper's lobster feast story I having a serious desire to teleport to New England.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

scc: I'm

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Dog's okay, always
when dinner includes steak bits
with ham bone apertif


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 15, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the other dog
who ate bread in the raw rise
Wild guess: in trouble.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 15, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse


Once again you seem to have to most cogent analysis of what's happening. I'm an engineer, so my interest is technical. As an inhabitant of Earth, of course, I'm saddened. Still, it's vital to know the facts.

Posted by: markwamt | July 15, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Any comments on Matthew Simmons' take on the oil?

Posted by: Jim19 | July 15, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Jim, I'd comment, but I am a psychiatrist.

markwamt, this is a good place for facts, over time, for the most part. There are engineers here, so you don't get to just make stuff up because of your feelings.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Turns out my dog was not the dough eater; it was Bruiser, the boxer next door. He apparently expelled a quite monstrous mass - his owner, alerted previously but theretofore having no knowledge that it was him, described it as a "large perfect loaf of dough" - although it was two - from his mouth a bit later. That seems to have solved any remaining problem of mine. His owner had a different problem. Appreciate the concern for the culprit's health. I had begun to doubt it was my dog; her belly was quite trim. I even suspected a shockingly bold coyote but it wasn't.

All's well that ends well. I even shopped for more King Arthur's and made two more in time for dinner. For the record, that was slow cooked pork roast with a paprika bark, sweet potato, corn on cob, and the hot bread.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"...described it as a "large perfect loaf of dough" - although it was two - from his mouth a bit later..."

You could have slathered it with Durian pulp and baked it (outdoors); then call Andrew Zimmer and pretend you do it all the time.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Matthew Simmons is a disturbed and hallucinatory rabble-rouser, routinely offering inanely bogus "facts" offhand which demolish any further rants of his about anything at all. He is routinely described as "an expert" by third-rate journalists but this seems to be a description and opinion of Matthew Simmons. His "videos" of "rifts in the seafloor" are rover footage of stirrings of fine silt in the current, usually stirred up by rover propellers.

A conspiracy theorist would posit he works for BP in the capacity of throwing dirt in the eyes of the public to keep them confused. I think however, there is no shortage of people to perform this function without any assistance. Or perhaps he is a character with problems similar to those found in the TV drama "Breaking Bad.."

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I feel the bread dough arising.
I feel burping on the way.
I feel stomach aches disquietnin'.
I feel bad bloats today.

Don't come near tonight,
It's bound to be a fright,
There's a dog with a sad surprise.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I certainly could have baked it and fed it back to Bruiser over a few days... I don't know Zimmer.

"Damn it Jim, I'm a psychiatrist, not a doctor!"

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I see now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Moose, I'm ka8wp at comcastdotnet. Love to see them, bring some!

I'm toast, although still laughing about Sisyphean triage (I'm in the middle of one).

So wait--it's capped? Really?

Posted by: -dbG- | July 15, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I will sing that to Bruiser's owner, who's a major Credence fan, next time we meet, talitha!

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 15, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

With my condolences, jumper.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 15, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Weirdly, I am a major CCR fan. I work on the guitar parts, to this day, night actually, together with Sennheiser, so as not to offend. talitha, that is hilarious.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 15, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm so happy it's capped. I keep bringing up MSM website pages just to see it again, over and over.

Adding my thanks to Joel for all the info throughout this. I know it won't be over (cleaned up) for years at least, but today the news is good. So I'm celebrating!

Can't keep up with the Boodle these days, but the ranks of the familiar seem thinner these days - miss Mudge, Boko, Martooni, Nani, and others I'm forgetting right now.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | July 15, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Talitha, we'll have to be in touch around Thanksgiving to plan a New England BPH!

Just home from dancing lessons, it takes two to tango. Last lesson with this teacher as he is moving away due to wife's job. We have a new teacher in mind for the fall but will miss this one. I am tired having been on my feet most of the day. Glad to see the well is still quiet, for now. Funny how we all have no confidence in it staying that way...

Posted by: badsneakers | July 15, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

A spill lasting months and measured in the millions of gallons does that to people, Badsneakers. I mean, that's almost enough to fill all the swimming pools in Phoenix, right?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 15, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

It's summertime, Wheezy. They'll check back in, except for Nani, I guess. She hasn't been back in what, three years?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 15, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Cool story of Manhattan archeology (nautical, yet):

Posted by: woofin | July 15, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

"...and now from the elegant pump room in the palmer house high over chicago, asking that musical question..."

Posted by: -jack- | July 15, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

The National Academies have released a "Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards." This is a Big Deal in terms of reforming science education through high school. For those interested in a look, and maybe commenting:

Today's political coverage in the Post makes me suspect that, come January, we'll have a profoundly anti-science House of Representatives. Pro-technology for sure, but against coastal geomorphology, coastal ecology, marine biology, climate science, etc. As congressman Kasich of Ohio said in December 1994, "we don't need a Geological Survey."

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 16, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: talitha1 | July 16, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse


That was an interesting way to get ready for work! The D.C.-area quake was easily felt at the NukeAbode. Let's hope the Dawn Patrol strip is unaffected. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 16, 2010 5:28 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 saw the headlines, an earthquake in the District! I didn't read the story, will try to do that later. I do hope all the folks in the area that was affected are fine, and there aren't any injuries or a lot of property damage. That does sound odd, one just doesn't think of a quake in the nation's Capitol!

On CNN, last night, they claim we no longer have an oil leak, that it has been totally stopped, in fact, it was breaking news, in bright yellow!

I'm in the process of getting dress. The kids are going to the local Chinese restaurant today. They will absolutely love that. I'm taking the g-girl too.

It is Friday, and I'm so looking forward to some rest. Just a little bit, not much, just a little bit. Have a great weekend, folks. Love to all.

Slyness, yesterday it was so hot here, standing outside for five minutes would be like taking a shower. I'm not complaining, just stating facts.

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 16, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all, happy Friday! I hope the DC quake is not a harbinger of things to come.

Cassandra, Mr. T and I get up and walk at 0-dark 6 ayem. I come back wet every morning, even at that time. It's okay now, I won't be so thrilled in January and February, when the temperature is well below freezing.

Today's major task is to learn to cut fabric for a quilt. Our expert is being treated for cancer so I've been asked to take over the task. I'm glad to do it, as long as she's watching over me to ensure that I do it right.

Tomorrow we go to my brother's to celebrate the 10th birthday of my niece and nephew. I got the presents, I have to get them wrapped today. With his mom's permission, I bought my nephew a gift card to Game Stop. Got all sorts of girly things, hairbands, nail polish, etc. for my niece. Amazing that those cute toddlers are now in upper elementary school.

Posted by: slyness | July 16, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone!

Joel's latest:

So everyone is sitting around with crossed fingers.

Joel's article also includes the evocative phrase "The plume is off the well." This, to me, sounds like one of those code phrases used to confirm a clandestine meeting.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 16, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra! *HUGS* :-)

Enjoy the party, slyness! Just for giggles, switch the presents! ;-)

So, our temblette was centered near Gaithersburg, hm? *getting on the horn with NIST to see what experiments they're doing these days* :-)

Took a quick look at that Simmons piece, and I'd say Jumper's spot-on with his take. I'm almost intrigued enough by such ranting to check Wikipedia for "oil spill conspiracies," but then again I value my sanity.

Had a lovely little BPH last evening with LiT, bc, Raysmom, Don from I-270 and mo (although I only got a couple HUGSSSSSSS in between mo's arrival and my departure). We simply must do that again sometime soon. Two weeks, perhaps? :-)

*feeling-a-lot-more-like-a-TFSMIF-this-time-around-and-make-it-a-good-one Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 16, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

bagels, cream cheese, lox, eggs, bacon, sausage, and cheesy grits are out in the ready room. go nuts. and of course, proper coffee. off to prepare for tomorrow's open house at the shop.

Posted by: -jack- | July 16, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle! Here I am for the first time in days bearing seed bread and organic honey, only to find the table a groaning-board of delight.

I find it is quite possible to hold one's breath while celebrating even a temporary stop to the flow of oil.

I think Scotty's idea of a BPH in two weeks is full of merit.

Have a great day, all.

Posted by: Yoki | July 16, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

How about full of win, Yoki? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 16, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Beyond a shadow of a doubt :-)

Posted by: Yoki | July 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

So, what's shakin'?

Posted by: russianthistle | July 16, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

You all *know* I'm gonna do it, so here we go:

"I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumblin' down, a-tumblin' down ..."

I actually heard a loud BANG that popped me awake this morning and I thought it was maybe thunder or something. Nothing seemed to follow, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.

So glad that there was no destruction and no casualties. Kinda cool, really, and now I can relate to my friend out in California (who will undoubtedly laugh at me and tell me I'm a rookie).

Posted by: ftb3 | July 16, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morninckzz, Boodlies :)

A shaker in D.C.? Maybe it's an aftershock from the Iranian scientist who came out of the cold?

College qua Parkian,
Google´s nefarious crawlers detected the item you posted in June. Many thanks for mentioning my book and related kind words.
If one does a espionage thriller search in the Amazon site, Kingmaker will pop up first on the list. If simply searching espionage it hovers around # five.

It's very cold here (below freezing at night) but cheerfuly sunny.

Happy Friday everyone :)


Posted by: Braguine | July 16, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm jealous of your cold weather, Brag. Would you mind terribly if I asked you to fax some to me?

Jumper, I've back-boodled enough to find out about the *real* culprit what et the loaves of bread dough, and I'm soooooo happy I wasn't drinking my tea at the time, or my monitor would have been drenched. Truthfully! It reminds me of a story a friend told me about his Great Dane (probably > 30 years ago or longer), who would eat everything in sight, including bars of soap. The latter made him thirsty, so he would drink tons of water as a chaser. Once outside, he would (predictably) purge and the yard would be covered in soap suds. Too bad for the dumb doggie (and Great Danes are normally pretty smart), but I find myself still wiping tears of laughter.

I mean, ya can't make this stuff up!

Posted by: ftb3 | July 16, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Brag, the thought of below freezing is very refreshing to me. I could do some below freezing right now. Just looked at our 10-day forecast (my daily ritual) it still is 94-ish highs and lows that barely crack the 70's.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 16, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Holy Smokes! I made the mistake of reading the comments on Joel's current article. There are nice group of people who live in a fantasy land and have time, in between watching Glenn Beck re-runs, to post all sorts of nonsense. The seem to enjoy writing the same poo over and over. Knowledge can be a terrible thing, I guess. Especially when one's knowledge is basically wrong.

Posted by: russianthistle | July 16, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Faxing frigid south polar air to ftb, Russian thistle and other needy Boodlers, together with a bundle of warm, bunny pajamas.


Posted by: Braguine | July 16, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

ftb, we may have had an aftershock. I retrieved the newspaper this morning and noticed Bruiser's owner had placed a sofa cushion of foulness outside. Perhaps the first loaf returned somewhat later than the second?

Glad you laughed. I did document this at
but need to query the owner to see if I got the whole story. I'm glad the poor beast is fine.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 16, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

russianthistle, I pause with shaky hands every time I'm tempted to read comments on Joel's articles. There are folks over there still advocating using nukes or mercury junkshots. Be very afraid!

Posted by: talitha1 | July 16, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, I am truly honored that my doggerel was included in your post. (and thanks for editing disquietin').

Posted by: talitha1 | July 16, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I am glad the disastrahoochie appears to be stilled, if only temporarily. Count me in the "Pulitzer-worthy" Gang Of Boodlers for Joel's ongoing coverage.

Thanks, brag, I'll take some of that cold air. Our temperatures are only in the nineties but the heat indices have been above a hundred all week.

Nellie, I'm glad you like yesterday's turn of phrase.

I picked what was left of the hard peaches yesterday, but the critters and varmints had eaten most of them. They don't care if the fruit is ripe.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 16, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

This is a curious phrase from Joel's latest update:

"We've seen no negative evidence of any breaching," said Mr. Wells.

Okay, we all know exactly what Wells means. He means they have seen no evidence of something bad, or "negative" happening, by which he means breaching of oil.

And it would be a bit peevish to point out that this double negative means that they *have* seen evidence of breaching.

What is kind of interesting is that the phrase "negative evidence" does have a specific meaning. It is the implication that because you haven't observed something directly it means it doesn't exist. And in the extreme this is reasonable. We assume that there are no glowing purple cows in part because, well, we've never seen one. It's a form of empiricism.

But in a limited sense this kind of reasoning is horribly dangerous. It's like an affluent person in a gated community saying that there is no such thing as poverty because everyone he sees is doing just fine.

Which means that what Wells could have said is "We have negative evidence for no breaching."

This would be a true statement. But I have no evidence this is what he meant.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I overestimated Bruiser's wellness. He is in the vet's now for late night and 3:00 a.m. uncontrolled purging, dehydration, drunkenness and staggering with pain. I feel so awful.
I have learned several lessons and feel very unworthy of humanity and dogs.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Awww, poor Bruiser. I hope he survives his adventure (and I'll bet you do, too, Jumper).

*faxing non-toxic karma to Bruiser, along with a doggie manual of what **not** to eat*

Posted by: ftb3 | July 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

From Joel's article, this quote jumped out at me:

"We've seen no negative evidence of any breaching," Wells said.

That can't be right, can it? They've seen no positive evidence, or just plain "no evidence", right?

As best I can parse Wells' comment, it means that they've not seen evidence that it's not leaking, which ain't all that encouraging.

Posted by: bobsewell | July 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Jumper I am sad to hear this, though not at all surprised. I had stopped worrying when I heard the loaves came up intact, but now that I think about it, that is not anatomically possible. Hope he makes it. Problem is, in the raw dough, the tummy enzymes and acids can not kill the yeast which, in that perfect proofing environment, keep doing what they do.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 16, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, RD!

Posted by: bobsewell | July 16, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

If this works and the relief well works out in a week or two or four, the beginning of this disaster will be over.

The middle will last for a few years and the end will be some version of this and it will last for a very long time.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 16, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

May need a relief well to Bruiser's gut.

Posted by: bobsewell | July 16, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I don't see how Bruiser's misfortune is your fault. All you did was start the loaves and put them on a table. It isn't like you laid them on the floor and said, "here, doggy". I don't think that food on a table qualifies as an attractive nuisance, even for dogs.

Thanks, by the way, for the link to the giant lobster story. That bug was impressive. I miss lobster; it is one of the foods which I seldom if ever order in OKC.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 16, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, no. I just logged in to see that Bruiser is in distress. I'm so sorry now for my effort at parody. I so hope all will be well. *major sigh*

Posted by: talitha1 | July 16, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think that food on a table qualifies as an attractive nuisance..."

This is just what I was wondering, we have nice but litigious neighbors. Sometimes when we meet them walking, they give us updates on their various lawsuits, they are pro se, of course. Both retired, it seems like this is what they do for a living. Their dog and my dog are great friends and she is here all the time as is my dog there, goofing off in their yard and fields, they have ~100 acres. I fret about this situation, all that could go wrong, but then I scare myself, so I quit.

Worrying is waste of neurons, appreciating risk and managing it is not. I imagine there must be a body of case law involving pets and the attractive nuisance menace.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 16, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

This group should be able to hold their meetings in a single stall in the House ladies room.

Posted by: kguy1 | July 16, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

novel kit

Posted by: shrink2 | July 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ivansmom, that helps a bit. He was known for table-raiding, though. He had been confined to quarters recently and I thought it worth the risk as the breezeway was a perfect temp. Poor guy was wasting away from bad hookworm a few weeks ago which was treated and his health had improved a lot, but he tended to escape and was under what I thought was close watch. And indeed he was, but worked his mischief in mere minutes of inattention.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 16, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

novel boodle.

Posted by: talitha1 | July 16, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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