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Worst environmental disaster in U.S. history?

[Typing this on the bus to New York City so if the item crashes and burns it's probably just a connectivity issue.]

As you may know, I've been writing a bit about the oil spill, or whatever you want to call the gulf disaster. We're in the endgame. On Tuesday or Wednesday, or thereabouts, the engineers will try the static kill. If everything goes perfectly that will terminate Macondo even before the relief well pokes in there. All depends on where the HCs are flowing.

Question circling my brain and sometimes swooping in for a peck: Was this, as Obama said, the worst environmental disaster in U.S., history? (Did he say that or did I imagine that?) Obviously we don't have a damage assessment yet, so we're just speculating and arm-waving here. A lot depends on what's happening in the water column, in the deep, out of sight. Are the dispersants going to cause long-term damage? Or, as some have said, did the dispersants save the day and prevent much worse damage and higher mortality among birds and marine life? We don't know enough to say.

Whatever the environmental impact, this event will also be remembered as a technological crisis, for the struggle to plug the leak (the well was shut in on Day 87). There were highs and lows in the process, but on the whole it was a great stain for the oil industry and for government regulators. This will, and should, bust up business as usual.

I think it will also draw attention to the dumping-ground nature of the Gulf (the Times had a good story yesterday on this) and the off-the-books environmental costs of the extraction industries.

But worst environmental disaster? Doesn't necessarily look to me as though it's in the same category as the Dust Bowl, the destruction of the Everglades, or the many and various slow-motion environmental disasters involving habitat destruction, monocultural agriculture, toxic wastes, uglification of pastoral landscapes, etc. Some of this stuff has just become the baseline, and so we don't pay much attention to it. It's our wallpaper, our soundtrack.

I forgot to bring a camera, so can't post pictures out the bus window as we roll up the New Jersey Turnpike.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 31, 2010; 10:08 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Anthropocene
Next: Tomato season


As I mentioned in the last Boodle, I drove through Jersey last weekend and there are a lot of very pretty parts of New Jersey. As a rule, you don't run a superhighway through the nice areas. Although the area around Newark is impressive in its shear magnitude of intermodal industrial capacity.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I would second Joel's nomination of the Dust Bowl as the worst U.S. environmental disaster. Deep till farming and climate change combined to displace hundreds of thousands of people.

Worst world-wide environmental disaster: Eastern Europe under Communist rule, which is a superset that includes Chernobyl.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of Eastern Europe (talk about setting up your own segue), here are my photos from Budapest:

An astoundingly beautiful city even if their transit police are a little overzealously hostile towards turnstile jumping tourists.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

And in case you missed earlier references to the speedo wearing chess players, here they are:

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Wiping out the buffalo was a bigger environmental disaster. Ditto all the other tragedies that were more than just one event in time.

I'm glad this oil spill seems to be nearing the end, however. It could have been much, much worse.

Posted by: simpleton1 | July 31, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I think the oil "spill" was much,much worse. And we should continue to give it regular media attention.

The highways around NYC are very bumpy as I found out when I rented the Jeep Wrangler...which also has terrible shocks. Now I rent a Jeep Laredo, 2010--much, much better and I can see all the water. The whole area is so HUGE! Plus, I'm working with a bunch of fun Irish types--now I really want to(and will) visit Ireland as some of my heritage if from those parts.

Yellojkt--you've been getting around these days. Wow.

Posted by: Windy3 | July 31, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I think one could go with "one of the worst single environmental disasters in our nation's history." The Dust Bowl was the culmination of a disastrous system, as were many of the other problems that have been, or could be, cited. Butte, Montana comes to mind. The Spew That Would Not Stop can be identified as a singular bad event, but one can also see it as merely a phase in the ongoing slow-motion catastrophe of the oil industry.

I still wonder, however, how much world petroleum production would drop if we stopped burning it in cars and power plants. We still need it for lubricants, aircraft fuel, and as a source of chemicals for fertilizers and for a wide range of chemical products. Are those industries under-utilizing the current flow of petroleum? If we stop burning petro-fuels, will they become waste products of the other processes? I don't know, but I wonder. I suppose we could make lubricants from plant materials and extract complex hydrocarbons from coal (which has its own environmental problems -- but it doesn't spill or spew) to make chemicals. Aircraft continue to need fuels with very high energy density.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Like many arguments of this type, it comes down to how you measure "worst."

Certainly an excellent case can be made for the Dust Bowl. And anyone who has any doubt should read Timothy Egan's book "The Worst Hard Time," which not only describes the immense scale of that disaster, but also highlights the familiar pattern of overuse in the face of diminishing returns that caused it.

Further, of course, the generalized decimation of the natural environment in the United States is overwhelming when looked at in its totality.

Now, as Joel points out, it is far too early to tell how much havoc the Gulf Spill will wreak long after the visible oil is gone.

Maybe the coming months and years will make us look with awe on the recuperative powers of the gulf. Or, maybe we will be watching a predetermined tragedy unfold. Perhaps we have already killed the gulf, and we just don't know it yet.

But, in either case, what makes the Gulf Spill a legitimate candidate is that it has been so personal. And a big part of this is simply that it has been covered so extensively.

I mean, who will ever forget the merciless image of dark oil spewing into the gulf without pause? A strong argument could be made that this experience has left the country brutalized in a way that no other environmental disaster has.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | July 31, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

It wouldn't be as simple or efficient as pulling it out of the ground, but if you've got cheap energy from other sources, you can manufacture fuels with high energy densities for specific applications like aircraft.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The water is getting warmer; but pretty slowly. I guess I can relax for a while longer. Ribbet.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 31, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

DaveoftheC... you want to look into Migration Assistant to get your files to the "new" Mac.

Just want to thank the Boodle again today for existing--and Joel for making it possible. The past few days (and a few next week) have included real-life interaction with my imaginary friends.

I think I've said this before, but I forget that my mom died before this great forum existed. She wouldn't be surprised, though, to find out I'd made friends all around the world this way.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 31, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

The dust bowl was partly natural and partly man-made. Worst environmental diaster is correct.

Although there's an argument to be made for the interstate highway system, I think.

However, we haven't seen how this situation will play out.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Castor oil, SciTim. And we can make plastics from corn and such.

I agree with Bob S-- manufacturing rocket fuel is possible with cheap energy, raw ingredients, and a still-- it's only chemistry, baby, but the kick will knock yer socks off.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Someone may have already posted this, but I've been lost in the comments section here, where folks are writing letters to punctuation marks. There's at least one familiar name among the commenters, too...

Posted by: -TBG- | July 31, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

؟Irony lives?

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 31, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorite toy-from-the-past scene.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 31, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG: what's at-the-price-of? I'm trying to visualize grocery store signs and I can't think of a specific punctuation.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

It might refer to the disappearance of $ and also even the .00 in signs.

Apples/lb 3-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Typographers, I sure need help with this one:

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 31, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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

Hello, friends. We're here all together, and trying to stay cool. The heat isn't as bad as it was, but still hot.

If I'm understanding the kit, the oil spill doesn't come up to the tag of the worst environmental disaster because of other things that have happen in this country that already hold that position, bad things? Perhaps that is true, but it is certainly right up there, even though we don't have all the data.

Here in North Carolina we have the battle between the State and Alcoa, and this isn't far from where I live. Alcoa for years has polluted everything they've come in contact with. Of course, the State and corporations always make these sweetheart deals that regular folks never see. They(corporations) promise jobs, blah, blah, and the State goes along with it. Yet they never tell us about all that waste they have and where it's going. Badin Lake looks like rust and smells even worse. People are fishing there and eating the fish, and we won't even talk about air quality nor what these workers are exposed to. Now there's talk of doing a study to determine how many folks have died from exposure to this refuse. I think these folks have been disposing of that waste in every corner of a four county area,(I supect Richmond County included). Everybody got their dime or dollar and the relationship was fine.

It the same behavior just a different product.

Have a great day, folks, enjoy your weekend, and your families. Hope to see you in church Sunday. Love to all.

Slyness, the grandsons keep me busy, but finish with the Center for the summer. Getting ready for school now. What happened to the break!

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 31, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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

Hello, friends. We're here all together, and trying to stay cool. The heat isn't as bad as it was, but still hot.

If I'm understanding the kit, the oil spill doesn't come up to the tag of the worst environmental disaster because of other things that have happen in this country that already hold that position, bad things? Perhaps that is true, but it is certainly right up there, even though we don't have all the data.

Here in North Carolina we have the battle between the State and Alcoa, and this isn't far from where I live. Alcoa for years has polluted everything they've come in contact with. Of course, the State and corporations always make these sweetheart deals that regular folks never see. They(corporations) promise jobs, blah, blah, and the State goes along with it. Yet they never tell us about all that waste they have and where it's going. Badin Lake looks like rust and smells even worse. People are fishing there and eating the fish, and we won't even talk about air quality nor what these workers are exposed to. Now there's talk of doing a study to determine how many folks have died from exposure to this refuse. I think these folks have been disposing of that waste in every corner of a four county area,(I supect Richmond County included). Everybody got their dime or dollar and the relationship was fine.

It the same behavior just a different product.

Have a great day, folks, enjoy your weekend, and your families. Hope to see you in church Sunday. Love to all.

Slyness, the grandsons keep me busy, but finish with the Center for the summer. Getting ready for school now. What happened to the break!

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 31, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

One was too much, but two might kill the boodle. Sorry folks.

Posted by: cmyth4u | July 31, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

TBG, leave it to Apple to have a Migation Assistant. Actually, I migrated from PC to Mac without much difficulty.

Thinking of disaster, I think that NY Times article pointed out, once again, that degradation of the Mississippi delta (nearly the entire Louisiana coast) for flood control and for the convenience of the oil industry is an enormous disaster. When Deepwater Horizon started, I supposed that the oil would set off accelerated loss of wetlands. Thomas Friedman caught the notion that the event's a bad short-term problem contributing to the long-term disaster.

Louisiana and the US government would ideally make a lot of very difficult decisions and commit to the huge investments to restore the delta region. Come to think of it, at least one coastal scientist has urged the quick removal of as many dams as possible from the Mississippi drainage, to restore the river's transport of sediment to the Gulf. You can guess the reactions to that proposal as well as I can. There's been no success at managing the Missouri for anything other than barge traffic to Kansas City.

American farming practices were a long series of disasters until roughly the Great Depression, when USDA cooperative extension came into full play (a recent New Yorker story by Atul Gawande isn't bad).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 31, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I propose the deforestation of the Ohio and Missouri Valleys as the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history or the fires of 1871.

We won't know the total extent of the damage from Macondo for some time, but judging from the intermediate effects of the similar Ixtoc spill, they will not be that great.

Posted by: edbyronadams | July 31, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - Alas, nobody is going to make the hard decisions. But eventually Ole' Man River will make them just the same.

Mr. Go (the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet) contributed greatly to the devastation from Katrina, but ultimately the problem is that the father of waters has long since decided that its natural path to the Gulf goes through the Atchafalaya River. In theory, we can keep building the levees higher and longer to stave off the day (I'm sorry I'm not gonna be here to see the Mississippi River as an elevated watercourse soaring hundreds of feet above the surrounding countryside), but someday it will probably take that path. Removing upstream dams will only hasten the day, and there does not exist in this country an elected official who's ready to sign off on that.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

i didn't know we were conducting church today.
Environmental: of your surroundings—relating to, or caused by, a person’ or animal’s surrounding.

so the next question is....manmade or natural environmental disaster.

Worst manmade???? Hiroshima

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 31, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Hello, manufacturing/chemical plants are notorious for polluting. Rivers on fire, and my dad said Dow has its HQ in Michigan and the river downstream of that was all polluted so bad it was unsafe to go in.

Money talks and health walks.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Hiroshima/Nagasaki was an awful thing, but it's possible to make the case that much worse atomic devastation would have been probable in later years without those cautionary examples.

Ranking awfulness is a depressing sport.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

But in the good news department: I have learned how to access and clean the filter of a Sears Kenmore HE2+ washing machine, vintage circa 2008. You need to solve an F21 code? I'm your man.

Now, if only the toe-plate were as easy to reinstall as it was to remove... I wouldn't worry about it, except that there's a sensor that fells the presence of the toe-plate. Probably detects excessive vibration.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Some of the folks near Paducah, KY aren't too happy with the very man-made results of nuclear fuel enrichment processes that take place nearby.

But as crappy as it is, it's a fairly localized set of problems.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

¡ʞɔɪɹʇ ʎʌɹnʇ-ʎsdoʇ ʇəɹɔəs s,ƃqʇ ʇno punoɟ ɪ

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

madam I'm adam
ɯɐpɐ ɯ,ɪ ɯɐpɐɯ

mædəm aym ædəm
ɯepəɐ ɯʎɐ ɯepəɐɯ

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to be very annoyed if this ends up being a double-post, but:

SciTim - Since the folks on the Deepwater Horizon weren't concerned about deactivating their warning sensors, you shouldn't be either. I'm sure everything will work out OK.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The worst environmental tragedy in America's history was the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Posted by: pcc7407 | July 31, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris Columbus was a precursor, not a horrendously disruptive force in and of himself. Like the Mississippi River, that water was flowing downhill anyway.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

pcc7404 may have won.

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 31, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I bet if the oil was still spewing, people would be saying how awful it was, and why can't Obama fix it. Sheesh.

I agree, I was going to say that the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth was the worst environmental disaster in American history, but pcc7404 is correct. One person's progress is another's environmental disaster.

Posted by: seasea1 | July 31, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Peaceful, bright, obedient dogs live longer.

Well, chronically sick dogs get grumpy, and Bad Dogs have short life expectancies in our society...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

May I remind you all that:
1) it's summer,
2) it's the weekend,
3) fresh maters are now widely available where most of you live, and
4) it's more fun to vote for one's favorite cookie than the worst environmental disaster.

Posted by: MsJS | July 31, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm Immortal Dog!
Wait.. don't goldens now die young?
Meh, I'm not THAT good.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Oatmeal Raisin! Perhaps I'll go make some! Soon!

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

What we can learn from pigs:

Grumpy? Go out and have enriched fun even if you have to forcefeed yourself some.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Utterly disconnected to anything else we're discussing, I find myself greatly amused by the foofaraw over the Arizona illegal immigrant legislation, & think the administration has shot itself in the foot a bit by weighing in so heavily.

If Arizona is willing and able to enforce federal law, so much the better. If Arizona officials violate civil liberties in pursuit of that goal, then they'll be liable for the ensuing penalties.

Much like Prince William County (VA) before them, they'll have fun with overheated rhetoric until they come up against the fact that they can only afford to run so many background checks, can afford to house only so many prisoners, and can only count on the feds taking so many folks off their hands at any given time. This stuff all works out in the end, and (like the good folk of the Grand Canyon State) I truly believe that the feds are stepping on their own... Well, I think that the feds are not accomplishing anything worthwhile by picking this particular fight in this particular manner.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Great choice, SciTim!

Being an avowed chocoholic, I'm very partial to toll house chocolate chip made with bittersweet chips and toasted macarana nuts.

This time of year iced orange cookies are pretty awesome, too.

Posted by: MsJS | July 31, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If you're curious about getting yourself some pig toys, this site says balls like basketballs, soccer balls, or commerical pig balls (pigskins?): rubber tires, chains or cloth strips, lifter bars or swivel wheels.

Now y'all can go hog wild now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

And my personal cookie of choice after going amok would be oatmeal raisin, ginger snaps, or in a more grown-up mood, biscotti (I really like the olive oil based biscotti I made with chokecherry almond flavor).

While dark chocolate chips are delicious, I just like chocolate too much to put dough around it.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Those sound mighty tasty, too, Wilbrod.

Posted by: MsJS | July 31, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Does "biscotti" refer to any particular cookie, or only generally to slices of twice-baked cake?

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. My friend's retirement luncheon was a very nice affair. There must have been 60-70 people there; the food was good and the speeches not too long. I was wrong about one thing: she went to work for the IRS in 1972, so she had 38 years with the agency.

Speeches included a lot of acronyms that didn't mean anything to us guests, but obviously there was a lot of change and a lot of work done in those 38 years. She held various positions, but was an auditor for most of her time, including a stint in the big cases unit. Mention was made of a check of $150,000,000 to settle one...imagine having that one come to you!

I suppose a case could be made that the human race has been a disaster for the earth, but like SciTim and RD, I hope for the best.

Cassandra, amazing that school will start in a little more than 3 weeks. Where is the summer going?

Posted by: slyness | July 31, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

slyness - I was fortunate to be able to attend the retirement luncheons for both of my parents. Very cool to hear inside stories, and witness such outpourings of genuine affection & respect, from corners of their lives with which I was only fleetingly familiar.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Jumper... according to Wikipedia...

"The [@] symbol developed as a mercantile shorthand symbol of "each at"—the symbol resembling a small "a" inside a small "e"—to distinguish it from the different "at" (symbolized by the mere letter "a") or "per." F"

I remember seeing the "ea" in a circle, too, and I think it was probably hand done. It may still be appearing in stores; I'll keep an eye out now.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 31, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sad to say the SciFi Channel is showing "Princess of Mars."

Why sad? Dejah Thoris is played by...

Wait for it...

Traci Lords. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 31, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

BobS, biscotti are a particular cookie of Italian origin. They have morphed a bit in flavor varieties as they have become more international, but generally adhere to a specific base dough and shape which is, as you mentioned, twice baked.

Slyness, what a treat to attend such an event.

Posted by: MsJS | July 31, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I also vote for the Dust Bowl since its effects were long-lasting and widespread. The spill in the Gulf may turn out to be nothing more than a wart on the rear end of mankind.

The spill of the Exxon Valdez killed 100 times as many birds as the Gulf mess so far. The fishing areas have tested clean and restrictions on them are being lifted. The total of 350 acres of oiled marshes found so far are nothing compared to the 15,000 acres of wetlands Lousiana loses very year.

That Ol' Man River, he just keeps rollin' along.

Posted by: MrBethesda | July 31, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I think I'd always equated biscotti with croutons. Just something you do with leftovers.

While I understood that commercial interests led to their being created directly for sale (much like poultry farmers are currently funding the genetic research to produce an eight-winged chicken, now that chicken wings routinely sell almost as much per pound/kilo as breasts) I still thought that the term traditionally referred only to the treats made from leftover cake.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Fried rice fits comfortably in that category as well. "Creative & tasty use of leftovers"

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Biscotti aren't made like cake. They're a specific Italian recipe-- more like sweet bread that is then cut and baked again.

Cake is far more sweet than biscotti should be.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The difficulty in evaluating the disasterousness of the Gulf Oil Spew is that the effects are spread over a vast volume, not merely a vast area -- the whole water column is potentially compromised, as we know from the discovery of extensive subsurface plumes of hydrocarbons. The density of the effects is low, so it isn't so easy to see what the result is.

I stand by my suggestion that marine biologists and biological oceanographers should be out there inspecting the water surface, looking for bloated bodies floating to the surface from oil-killed benthic species previously unknown to science. The adversity has already been put into motion. At least reap the benefit of knowledge from it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Mmm, fried rice. I have been working on a soy sauce-free fried rice recipe.

There's always soup, of course, but...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, as happens often here with such word-slingers as ourselves, I think we run the danger of moving off-track only because we're lacking definitional synchronicity.

Cake is bread is biscuits is cookies, in a broad sense.

I thought that biscotti were traditionally treats made from leftover breads/cakes. Apparently, I'm incorrect. This is Italian hardtack, you're telling me, yes?

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, do you know chinablue sauces? There are a couple without soy. I'm a big fan of sweet soy glaze, but I never use much. Great stuff, if you find one you like. My Harris-Teeter carries them.

Posted by: slyness | July 31, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, tasty hardtack, or zwieback.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I still think of biscotti as Zwieback.

Posted by: -TBG- | July 31, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -TBG- | July 31, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Also, fish sauce, especially for thai and vietnamese food.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Now I got it! Zweiback, or Melba toast, or somethin' like that. But more tasty-ish.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

But couldn't you make them from leftovers of a nice, dense, not-too-sweet pound cake? Or would that not be the same thing?

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama said "worst environmental disaster in US histiry" not globally.

Still quite an exaggeration when you look at US environmental history - but you knew right away it was seen as a crisis that could be made into a power grabbing opportunity for Obama to spread hysteria - joining the Greenie hysterics and an entirely too credulous "ecosystem end of days" secular or progressive Jewish media.

1. The Dispersants of Doom!
2. BP burning sea turtles alive.
3. A dead sea of oil, evil oil, rolling over tourist beaches and baby seabirds for a thousand years!
4. Everything is criminal - and that is why every US citizen scared out of their mind must immediately back Black Messiah and his minions efforts to destroy all US domestic energy but Greenies beloved "magicsolutions" of Blessed Solar and Wondrous Wind. NO more drilling, not even for nat gas. No more evil coal or satanic nuclear! No solar or windmills near well-to-do environmentalists, though.
5. Carbon taxes on all.
6. Federal government must also increase regulation of State wetlands, fishing, marine services fleets!

OK, you get that it was a Obama-Green attempt to exploit a crisis to power grab. With media able participants in the cabal. AS the dust settles, we learn that only 350 acres of wet-lands in the US portion of the Gulf were hit, impact on fishing outside Fed Government shutting it down was negligible, impact on Red State tourism was severe not from oil but scare-mongering.

What were truly severe ecological disasters in the US?
1. Megafauna extinctions started by the NAs and added to by post-Columbus extinctions. Intro of diseases and new plants, animals, insects that fundamentally altered the landscape.
2. Similar extinction disasters in Obama's own Hawaii.
3. The loss of the Great Prairies and the Dust Bowl.
4. Deforestation - a swath that extended from New England to Wisconsin and led to 2nd growth forest fires that killed thousands.
5. Destruction of 2/3rds of the Florida Everglades. And 2/3rds of the Palmetto stand from FL to VA.
6. High Plains monoculture.
7. Dam and waterway work that transformed riverways and wetlands nation-wide.
8. Acquifer damage from mining minerals and coal (drilling is deep and is not generally of impact to water supplies).
9. The collective impact of mans highways and buildings displacing habitat. Right down to the Sierra Club office buildings and parking lots where evil oil burners park their PC cars.

Obama's little oil spill, while high in quantity of oil spilled, appears to have been quickly handled by nature and likely not even in the top 40 of major ecological events to hit the country. Add natural events that cause massive ecological damage like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, massive floods and certain hurricanes destroying whole islands and dozens of square miles of wetlands. Obama's "worst ecological disaster ever" is likely not even in the top 100 events.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | July 31, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Not the worst in history: That would be the last election.

Posted by: tonyjm | July 31, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Tinyjm is just not on the same page as me, and evidence suggests he is incorrect, but my major "Wow!" is for Chris Ford. He manages to combine reactionary right wing politics with anti-environmentalist "use-up-the-Earth" rhetoric and a strong dash of antisemitic bigotry, to concoct a flavorful stew of Don't-Bother-to-Read-the-Rest-I-Have-Nothing-Coherent-to-Say.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, not tinyjm, but tonyjm. I have no knowledge of his tininess, nor would I choose to comment upon it unless I had something really funny to say.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I've never been offered "sea turtles burning alive", but I'll bet it's tasty! Probably not the sort of dish that you can provide in a sustainable manner, though.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

First off folks,thanks for the recovery tips......I will try a few inexpensive things first,then just move on.But Thanks,it is much appreciated.

Second off, Worst natural disaster in US history?I don't know,It must be top 3 and I guess we will not know how bad it has been for years to come.

Third off,Joel your coverage of this oil spill has been incredible.From the intial explosion,to the sinking rig,to the denial that any oil was leaking,then to the realization that Yes,there is a major leak.
You have covered every angle,every possible scenario and every major detail to it's finest degree. The oil slick migration,the oil booms and skimmers,the local economic impact.Everything has been covered perfectly.I could go on and on about the wonderful coverage you have provided us Joel.

Simply put this has all been award winning coverage. I don't know if awards are given to blogs,but every article you have written about this oil spill has had me hanging on the edge of my seat,waiting for the next bit of information that will come.It has been wonderfully written,it has insightful,informative and has been funny,where it is needed to make light of such a serious situation.

Now I want to read all of your works.
Thanks Joel and keep up the Great work.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 31, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

If it wasn't for that darned progressive Jewish media, we'd all be in high cotton, you know?

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Yep, the problems are all the fault of those darned Progressives and their pernicious desire to increase the net happiness and effective liberty of the world's peoples, combined with Big Kosher and their villainous efforts to make everyone eat according to God's Law. If it weren't for those dudes, the world would be a capitalist libertarian paradise of market-priced clean air and an efficient mechanism of supply-and-demand to provide for innovation and to cure the world's ills.

Yep, yep, yep.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 31, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Having said that, I'm not certain that the myriad Methodist muckrakers or the many murmuring Muslim malcontents are doing us any favours.

To them all, I can only offer this traditional blessing:

"May an elephant caress you with his toes"
"May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose"
"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose"

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

The worst environmental disaster? Anyone ever remember the Love Canal?

Posted by: bobbo2 | July 31, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

ChrisFord1 - Just in case it hasn't escaped your notice, any comment that includes in its second sentence a reference to "secular or progressive Jewish media" is (for some very good reasons) considered by most reasonable folks to be the probable spoor of a mindless jackal.

When it comes to economic power, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and any random assortment of the heirs of Sam Walton (none of whom are Jewish, I'll note) could buy & sell the entirety of the "Jewish media" in any year that it amused them to do so. Walmart grossed roughly twice as much last year as the entire U.S. defense-industrial complex (subtracting such incidentals as actually paying the salaries of non-Jewish US service members) and the Jewish-controlled broadcast & print media combined, and you can bet your bippy that Walmart's net was a HECK of a lot better than any company representing the progressive Jewish media or the military-industrial complex . Or BP, for that matter.

Sure, Jews are handy if you want some flavorless kosher crackers, or if you don't have some Amish folks handy to ridicule. But if you're really concerned about sneaky power-mongers, I'd look somewhere other than the folks who've been prominently marked for several thousand years now. Nothing sneaky there.

Feel free to chime in any time with a thought that's, you know, thoughtful.

Lovingly - Bob S.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

*flinging **hearts** with sheer abandon to SciTim and Bob-S*


I once took a cab from Västerås, Sweden to Kolbäck (about 1/2 hour ride, as the Swedish crow flies). The cab driver was from Syria, IIRC, and we had a discussion about "the Jews" and how they controlled all the money in the world, etc., etc., etc. I suggested that the Swedish royal family, and the Wallenberg family (who basically "own" Sweden), the Queen of England and, well, even the Saudi royal family, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, as well as tons of others, have more money than many, many countries around the world, and -- gee -- they aren't Jewish, so I asked him what he thought about that! We went back and forth (all in Swedish, I might add) and at the end of the trip, after he had taken my luggage out from the trunk of his cab, he came over to me and put his hand out to shake hands with me. He told me he enjoyed our conversation and that he had learned a lot from it. I smiled, and shook his hand and wished him a pleasant day.

One at a time.

Not sure ChrisFord1 would appreciate the irony, but I suspect there are too many voices in his head to which he prefers to pay attention.

Posted by: ftb3 | July 31, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse


1/2 pound flour
1/2 pound sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

any kinds of nuts, chopped

Form two rolls of this gooey mass and bake at 180C for 35 min. let cool, cut in small slices and bake for another 8 min. at 150 C.

It's fast and easy.

Posted by: gmbka | July 31, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Pound cake hardtack? Er. Try it, Bob-S and report back.

Maybe you could invent cornbread biscotti while you're at it. I could get down with that, would be perfect for dipping in pork and navy bean soup.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Where's the olive oil, gmbka?

This is the basic recipe I used.

I added a little chokecherry cordial to that, plus around 1/2 cup silvered almonds, some partly crushed. Delicious.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I haven't located the source of ChrisFord's notion of "350 acres" of marsh affected by oil came from. Michael Grunwald's article at Time has that figure. He's a good reporter (wrote an excellent book on the Everglades), so it's likely credible.

A lot of effort went into sending more than the usual proportion of Mississippi water down the mainstream rather than the Atchafalaya. Also, all the distribution channels were opened up, so the river was sending considerably more water than usual into the marshes most likely to have been hit.

I suspect the extra river water has brought its own problems. Oysters may have been affected and the water contains a lot of nitrogen from fertilizer, just like in Chesapeake Bay. Aquatic biologists are used to discovering big problems caused by relatively small quantities of chemicals and nutrients. You should expect them to anticipate major damage from huge quantities of toxic petroleum.

Louisiana Gov. Jindal's willfully ignorant efforts to build rockpiles and sand berms were consistently opposed by the scientific community, on grounds that these damaging projects would do more harm than whatever oil they kept out of marshes.

How can Louisiana be so corrupt when petro-mineral Wyoming is pretty clean?

As for sea turtles being burned alive, the information source was a Los Angeles Times story. Their reporter accompanied Blair Witherington, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission biologist who was working on the Gulf. He knows turtles as well as anyone and was distressed by what he was seeing.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 31, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Your recipe sounds better, although I never baked with olive oil. I bookmarked it and I'll try it as soon as the heat lets up. Our electricity bill has doubled as it is because the aircon is working overtime already without me firing up the oven. Thank you Willbrod-Gnome.

Posted by: gmbka | July 31, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

There's no oil or butter in traditional biscotti, just eggs to hold it together.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 31, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

i would say that the nuke tests in the 40's and mt st helenes beat this

Posted by: tripferguson1 | July 31, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

The olive oil is great for infusing flavor, though-- it floats in your mouth.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Nuke Tests in pacific.Didn't that cause the creation of wierd of extremeley BIG beasts?

I am off to see BOC and GODZILLA Tomorrow!!!!

Yeah buddy

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 31, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

gmbka - Are you telling me with a straight face that I can have decent home-made biscotti in two or three hours?

That seems unlikely. Is there some sort of conspiracy afoot to make natural-born citizens like myself look foolish by trying to follow foreign recipes?

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Ranking environmental disasters isn't all that fun as a gloom-and-doom parlor game because of all the different timescales involved (as is plain from the examples cited in the comments).

One thing that strikes me about the Big Spew is that the very scope of the disaster appears unguessable at this point. The Dust Bowl had widespread effects and was a horrible thing to live through, but it was fairly prosaic, was it not? By contrast, I for one am so very ignorant of the deep ocean. The Big Spew makes me queasy and uneasy. The experts have offered us almost nothing to put a bound on the implications.

Posted by: woofin | July 31, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey, DaveoftheCoonties, I'm not saying that the idea of being offered flaming turtles isn't distressing to me. Sheesh, I'm not heartless!

As I ate them, I'd certainly be admonishing the restaurant staff for being such poor stewards of our natural resources.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I notice lately that I frequently come into the boodle at night and address conversations that took place in the morning. Sorry if this is jarring. Please to mentally transpose my comments to earlier in the day and then ignore...

Posted by: woofin | July 31, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget the stewardesses!

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi Bob, I am also naturally born and a citizen. We have that in common. Biscotti, pizza,spaghetti, sherbet: it's all one huge conspiracy. Beware.

Posted by: gmbka | July 31, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Just hearing/reading woofin say/write "The Big Spew" is making me a bit queasy.

But if it was up to me, commenting on discussion threads that started hours/days/months/years ago would be expected & encouraged. Possibly even mandatory.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Would you prefer to call it The Big Oil Hurl?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | July 31, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, gmbka! Glad you came out of lurkerdom, please pull up a chair and set a spell.

I have copied your biscotti recipe to my file. Do you have measurements in cups instead of pounds? I'm sure I could make the conversion, but I'm really lazy.

Posted by: slyness | July 31, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, y'all.

I just read the whole kit'n'boodle in one sitting, a first for me. Busy day.

Almost lost my biscotti when I got to ChrisFord's (um?) contribution but have recovered my appetite thanks to SciTim and BobS.

Bob, toasted pound cake is delicious (slice and spread a little butter, run under the broiler until edges brown) but a different critter altogether from biscotti, as has been pointed out already. I take it you're not a baker?

On kit, I feel it is far too early to rank the Macondo Spew on a "worst list". Deforestation or the terrible farming practices that resulted in the Dust Bowl certainly are in the top five on this continent. As to Columbus? meh. Someone was bound to sail into "America" eventually. Also, (who brought them up?) the Pilgrims weren't the first English colonists. That would be the folks that hit coastal Virginia a couple of decades earlier.

TBG, loved the punctuation letters. I got lost for an hour there. Weingarten was talking about @, wasn't he? As in "per"?

Posted by: talitha1 | July 31, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

When I bake, it tends to be yeast breads. Quite a different animal, I think.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: talitha1 | July 31, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

We have this discussion every October 12 and the Italian-Americans always take umbrage (and I don't know why since Chris was sailing for Spain) but while discovery by Europeans of the Western Hemisphere was inevitible (and I think the Portuguese had a secret jump on the Spanish), Columbus set some very bad precedents including slavery, genocide and deforestation.

And the overall introduction of new diseases that eventually killed 90% of the pre-Columbian population does have to go into some category of disaster.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Another issue is what makes something an environmental disaster and not another type of Bad Thing. The Johnstown Flood was another case of poor decisions and bad design resulting in catastrophe and the loss of 2,200 lives.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Worst ecological disaster in US history, hmm?

My brothers shared a room until they were 15 and 13. I believe that room is still sealed by a variety of Federal Agencies and the DoD as if there were Ebola, Marburg, Anthrax and synthetic weapons-grade viruses and biological agents loose in there. Weaponized boys' Fruit of the Loom tighty whities, Sears Toughskins, PF Flyers, knee-high athletic socks, dishes, bowls, silverware, athletic wear, old pet equipment and lord knows what all else brewing in there for the past 30+ years. Like something out of an HP Lovecraft story. I suppose it's not a disaster yet, though.

Not until someone reopens that room.


Posted by: -bc- | July 31, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I have occasionally, but seldom accurately, been accused of possessing a nimble mind. The following sentence (from a Friday Style section piece by Ann Hornaday [whose name I like very much, for some reason {sorry!}] which combined a review of the film "Dinner for Schmucks" [a re-make of the very fine French film "Le Diner de Cons"] with an overview of Steve Carell's career) nearly defeated me. More than one re-reading was necessary to discern the author's intent:

"After a springtime teaser with "Date Night," the frenetic but occasionally inspired "romaction" comedy Carell starred in with Tina Fey, the actor staked out precious summertime turf unequivocally with "Despicable Me," a G-rated animated comedy that has become one of the season's sturdiest tent poles."

I'm not complaining, really. Anyone who's followed my not-always-delicate manhandling of English prose (and the less said of my said of my poesy, the better!) can certainly handle a little Ann Hornaday.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I have your magic ring, Ford, and you ain't gettin' yer "precious" back. Ya slime eel.

Today I invented "French toast" corn tortillas. They are soaking in a thick mix of milk (of powdered milk & water made thicker than normal) and egg, with a bit of salt; overnight, in the fridge. To be pan cooked one at a time tomorrow morning. Wonder if the invention will work?

Posted by: Jumper1 | July 31, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I went to middle school in the Philippines and left my gym clothes in the hall locker for a month because I was too lazy to go to the far end of the school to check my stuff. When I finally did, the tee-shirt was just a giant ball of green fuzz. I had to hold it at arms length just to get it over to the trash can. But since that occurred in the Philippines, it can't count as a U.S. environmental disaster.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 31, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget the Boston Molasses Massacree of 1919. While only a few dozen folks were killed or severely injured, there are people to this day who can't properly enjoy baked beans or rum because the horror is never really far from their hearts & minds.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - Flour/meal (from any random grain) soaked in egg/milk, then fried? You can bet your buttocks it'll work. So much the better if at some point sugar and/or cinnamon are incorporated into the fun.

Slather the whole mess in butter & maple syrup, and you may have to fight for your fair share.

Posted by: Bob-S | July 31, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Mt. St. Helens was spectacular (some Portlanders who had nice views of the mountain lost them) but the long term impact isn't much.

The great epidemics that swept the Americas may have started with the Columbus voyages, and were raging when Cortez and Pizarro did their conquests. North America was stripped of its large agricultural societies, so that it looked quite different to the English and other settlers of circa 1600-1630 than it would have a century earlier. Interesting book:
Paradise found: nature in America at the time of discovery

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | July 31, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I have it on good authority that the dissolution of Panthalassa into subsidiary oceanic bodies was disruptive.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Florida's suffered its second serious tiki hut fire at a plush hotel. The latest is the Mexican restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne. A worse one was a while back at Cheeca Lodge in the Keys.

It's starting to look like a trend. Does this happen in California?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I know that the Tiki Bar near my buddy's place on the Northern Neck (of Virginia) was only opened this year after several years of permit-wrangling. If the joint burns down, it'll probably be a very long time before a replacement is operating.

I may start carrying a fire extinguisher every time I provide my custom.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

And to the smart one who thought I was unwilling to discuss this forthrightly in the full glare of boodlicity:

No, it was not 'Mudge who told me about the Panthalassian pandemonium. It was some Sarcopterygians of my slight but sincerely appreciated acquaintance.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting to me to realize that (what appear to be) the direct ancestors of today's coelacanths were already quite ancient when Pangaea started to break up. But (what appear to be) the direct ancestors of today's cockroaches were still dozens of millions of years yet-to-see the day they first began to skitter about.

When we get to the point where we have to lay our money down, don't sell tetrapods short. They're crafty, and they've got stamina.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Ooooh. We have a preserved coelacanth in a hallway at Drumheller, found on the desert site. Scary.

Really big teeth! What's ee gonna do?

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Time to get up sleepy heads! You've hugged the bed long enough, time to move. I know, I know, no one wants to get up. I'm even considering going back to bed myself. I'll probably be late for Sunday school if I do that.

Hope to see you in church this morning. Such a good way to start the week.

Slyness, I'll spend that three weeks trying to get this apartment in shape. A friend of mine came to visit and brought another classmate with her, a guy. Now she knew how this place looks, and had the nerve to bring someone with her. When I opened the door and saw her with him, I thought, she's thinking I've had a shot of energy and cleaned the place up since she was last here. Not so.

A spider just crawled from under my keyboard, a not so big one, but still a spider. The heat brings them out in numbers, all the insects, I believe they all live in my apartment. The complex sends someone to spray, but I think these guys have built up an immunity to that spray.

Time to go, love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 1, 2010 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra!
Good Sunday, y'all.

I've still got toys on the brain. Think little Charles takes a nice long nap after his workout in the "dinning room"?

Posted by: talitha1 | August 1, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Mazel tov to Mr and Mrs. Mezvinsky.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Never mind me. Wedding photos always make me a little verklempt.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse


Mazel Tov indeed, yello, and may they have some privacy from now on.

I think Ellsberg's "wish list" (apart from his 9/11 conspiracy-mongering) rather easily illustrates what an overhyped event WikiLeaks' Afghan affair is:

And we can parse the relative horrificness of point events (Macondo) and extended episodes (Dust Bowl), but we'll need a much longer perspective (talk to me in 2525, as was suggested a few Kits back) to really know what "tops the list." And let's not forget they're talking about attempting the "static kill" in the very near future.

And the Nats celebrated Dunn's non-departure with a win! :-)))

*rather-looking-forward-to-a-non-hot-n-steamy-Sunday Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 1, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Good luck on the housecleaning, Cassandra! I've decided my house would be much less messy if I didn't get mail. All those catalogs and bills piling up, it's no wonder I have to keep cleaning!

Story in the morning paper that July was hot around here. Ya think? We had rain last night, the kind that soaks in. Mr. T got the rainbarrels reinstalled, I'll have to check to see how much water is in them. This afternoon, of course.

Lunch after church with my two favorite two-year-olds. It will be interesting to see what W will do today.

Posted by: slyness | August 1, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

It always seems dangerous to claim a superlative, opens the way for critics to naysay. But of course it also commands attention.

During this crisis, my thoughts couldn't help returning to the Chesapeake Bay, definitely an environmental disaster of epic proportions. But one in slo-mo so we don't really notice until we realize there aren't any more oysters, crabs, watermen, etc. But then it's too late to overcome the political inertia to do anything that might offend someone or impose a fee.

Posted by: zlevay | August 1, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, zlevay. And welcome. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 1, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Worst US environmental disaster? How soon everyone forgets Love Canal.

Posted by: greg3 | August 1, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

And yes, the Front Page Alert is still valid.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 1, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Zlevey, we were just saying the same thing about the Bay right here a few days ago. It is heartbreaking for those of us who live (or have) near the Chesapeake Bay and love it and it's way of life to watch this slow death.

Sit down and stay awhile, zlevey.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 1, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I have no heart for the Great Disastrahoochie Comparison this morning. I do heartily echo greenwithenvy's praise for Joel. His coverage of this ongoing disastrahoochie has been both informative and insightful, in both traditional and blog form, and deserves recognition far and wide.

"Favorite cookie". What is this concept? While there are some I will make (or purchase) more frequently than others, "favorite" depends on the circumstances, particularly the cookie in front of me at that moment.

Cassandra, I sympathize about the bugs. We usually have fiddlebacks and scorpions by this time. We haven't seen any indoors this summer, but we are instead overrun with crunchy little millipedes. I know I should be grateful for the change, but I'm not. I hate the evil creatures.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 1, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

You're absolutely right, Ivansmom. My favorite cookie depends on the amount of milk in the house.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Pie qua tartlets

(What was the question? Cookie-fave!)

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 1, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: dmd3 | August 1, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

A little late but a big thank-you to the kind welcome offered to me at your BPH. It was a staid and sober event as you can see.

Posted by: I-am-Himself | August 1, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Not everyone, greg3.

Look above to about 6:39PM yesterday.

Have to second Scottynuke's suggestion of the possibility that Worst is Yet to Come. Though whether anything could be declared a 'US disaster' may depend on whether there's actually a United States of America at 500 years from now. Or if so, should it happen to be located on this planet.

Difficult to tell exactly what's going on in the Gulf, ecologically -- clearly, the complex ecosystems are in flux and we don't have a lot of solid information of what's happened and what's going on. I think it's still far too early to declare any results with a comfortable degree of certainty.

But Nature shows a remarkable resiliency, doesn't it? As was pointed out earlier, if coelacanths (not to mention other species such as sharks, large reptiles and all manner of insects) are still around after all what must have been unimaginable ecological disaster and change (not that coelacanths are known for their imagination rather than good looks and delightful smell) over millions of years, there may be some cause to believe that disaster is an endgame. Things might look different and probably worse (like the Gobi ocean), but life generally seems remarkably adaptable and hard to kill. Particular species -- that's a different story. I found a nice online recipe for dry rub Dodo wings that won't do me a darn bit of good.


Posted by: -bc- | August 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Now, now, folks. zlevay and gmbka have been around here before. zlevay is the fine fellow responsible for the awesome beauty in the publicly-released Hubble pictures.

Love Canal is memorable. It ranks right up there for horrific, but wouldn't seem to make the cut as a particularly vast ecological disaster because it was nastiness that stayed in one place and the number of people affected does not verge into the millions, as with the Big Spew. Love Canal was more on the order of a human-scale disaster, affecting one housing development (in terrible fashion). Unlike Love Canal, the Gulf is a body of water that can easily be seen from space with the unaided eye.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 1, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Himself! Thank you for the spendid pictures of what looks to have been a boffo feast.

Coelacanths are great. I became fascinated with them when, as a child, I read a book about how they found live coelacanths, which nobody had thought possible. I forget the title but if you like coelacanths you probably read it too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 1, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Hello Himself! Glad to see you here! Thanks for the pictures, too. Love the studio shot.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This was an inconvenience not the worst disaster. The dust bowl was with out a doubt the worst. It's effects last decades costing millions jobs, homes and their lives.

Posted by: askgees | August 1, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the pics, Himself.

Like the ethereal/dreamlike effect.

yellokt has that effect on people.


Posted by: -bc- | August 1, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

To me, Joel pointed out in the kit the sort of pointlessness of assigning scales to ecological disasters, because of the slow-motion aspect of some of them. It becomes a debatable game.

My contribution seems to have been, I had to go and mess with mouse evolution. Because the only ones to survive have developed extremely keen leeriness and burglary-skilled little light-fingered paws, rivaling ninja powers. The peanuts disappear, the traps unsprung. Heaven help us all.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 1, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Bigs environmental disaster would be the synergistic effects -- many unseen but gathering steam -- with the health-related ones for people the one we "feel":

endocrine disruption in the food chain (in us too)
particulates in the air, especially the small ones
tropospheric ozone exposure
pesticide residues
heavy metal contamination


That we live in situ, with many exposures not yet examined for their simultaneous or collaborative effect, would be one for the list of

BIG BAD unGREEN thingies that go whisper before they WHOOSH/BUMP in the night.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 1, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Himself!!!!


Seems you and Yoki got home alright. My bro hit Jo'burg yesterday and I spoke with his wife who had spoken with him, so all is well. He should be home in his country tomorrow. So much shopping to do, so little time, yanno. . . .

Back to kit for a brief moment. I feel uncomfortable with "the best" and "the worst" as it seems to bring out the ugly competitiveness in (certain) people. I remember the chemical "accident" in Bhopal, India, and they are still suffering over there as a result. But, well, it's not here, so it remains invisible. Love Canal is still up there in the standings, as are all the others already itemized here.

I remember looking at pictures of all the skulls stacked up in Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge, and the bodies stacked up like cord wood from the WWII Holocaust (to be distinguished from all the other holocausts throughout history).

To me, it's a bit tiresome. These matters become politicized in an instant and I lose interest, along with looking for a way to escape it all. I'm not particularly claustrophobic generally, but all this wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, all the while looking for a way to make a buck off it all tends to make me more enervated than energized. And, yes, angry, too.

Ah, well.

My brunch treat today was cancelled due to sudden illness of my guest, so it's postponed until next Sunday. In the meantime, I get to do those puttering-around errands inside. So far, so good, I must say (proudly). We'll see how long the back lasts before tackling some of the more physical duties. At least it's not bazillion degrees outside.

Cya later.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 1, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The Chesapeake, including its watershed, is in reasonably affluent, well-run states that began investing in water quality early, before the federal government forced such things. It's also in the federal government's frontyard, with unique institutions like the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

Nevertheless, the Bay is doing miserably, a ghost of itself, a bay gone to an ecological version of Sheol, a place of mere carbon copies of what once was.

Southern Louisiana was a far worse mess before Deepwater Horizon. Mufson's recent piece on Louisiana as a petro-state catches the atmosphere.

The Post has a short review of "Kook". Amiable reading, bubble gum from an adventurous and sometimes quite serious author. On the surfing theme, a low-budget Australian movie, "Caught Inside" looks like it might get some exposure in the US, though there's a problem. The language is Australian.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I recalled seeing gmbka here before, but zlevay must have been before my time. Never hurts to say 'hey, sit down' again.

Loved the pictures, Himself, thanks! Captions would have helped me as I only recognized yello and his wife from his travel photos. But I can make a few guesses and it's great to share in some of the energy from the gathering.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 1, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Hmm maybe the title was something like "The Living Fossil" or some such.

Because that's how I remember meeting the coelacanth.

Gould in "Ten Little Piggies" talks about tetrapods and how they didn't originally have five digits per limb. Fascinating evolutionary reading delivered in his dense, academic but readable style.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Calamity? Ukraine had Stalin, Hitler, Stalin again, and Chernobyl. It's a wonder anything's left.

A forgotten calamity is the destruction of eastern North America's native chestnut trees. I've seen a couple of mature ones in Portland, Oregon's Sellwood neighborhood. Big.

zlevay's slow calamities may, however, be just as important, or more so.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Himself, thank you for the pictures, looks like a good time all around. Picture report--

Yoki looks positively girlish in that tete-a-tete with TBG (last pic). I like that dazzling little sleeveless dress or shirt she wore to the IBPH-- it looks like a Monet painting to me, maybe Waterlilies-- blue, green, white, touches of yellow.

I do wonder what you were pondering when BC was talking to you-- perhaps whether Italian werewolf lumberjacks always wear flannel in plaid aqua instead of red, and if so, why?

Mo looks good in black, as always. Same for SciTim in his well-provisoned vest good for terrorist attacks, checking out odd noises in the garage, or measuring stars.

S'nuke and Yellojkt are dressed like government drone clones in blue shirts and tan khakis (only in DC..), and they still kick a partying look by the force of personality and an undone button or two.

That helps, Talitha?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki sported a Mad Men wardrobe on this trip, it seems. And she looks mahvelous in it, I must add.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't you take the train?

On your question: The Gulf spill might conceivably be the worst point-source environmental disaster -- though there have been some big releases of toxic mine tailings, ash heaps, etc. Every time a big river floods or dam bursts a huge amount of bad stuff gets released.

You mentioned some of the "slow motion" environment disasters. Others would include asbestos, PCBs, lead.

As long as self-interest (business and government) dominates, social and environmental wellbeing will be devalued "externalities."

Posted by: bobskis | August 1, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

As to the worst human-caused, point-source environmental disaster globally, I think Chernobyl would be my nominee.

And speaking of slow-motion disasters, any "worst" list would include the oil industry's destruction of the Niger Delta.

Posted by: bobskis | August 1, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Curtis Morgan of the Miami Herald has a story on the Gulf's recovery:

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, the French-toast corn tortillas were serviceable but no culinary breakthrough. The experiment was based on a very thin cornmeal pancake I made from some leftover fish-batter which I intended for the dog but found I had made a pretty good corn tortilla substitute, so pup only got some of it. But I had recently purchased the BIG stack of uncooked corn tortillas and I felt like 'sperimentin'. Today's will be a simple water-soak prior to griddling them.

Here's what I DO know of cooking tortillas on the griddle.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 1, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Long ago, when I transitioned from a big university in central Pennsylvania to an old one in North Carolina, one of the big differences was khakis. It was an inside joke that the newscasters at the university TV station wore khakis below their nice jackets and ties.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, that is brilliant! Next time I do tortillas (corn or flour) for any recipe I'm going to use your method. (I have to say that your step-by-step instructions read like a cable sweater knitting pattern, minus the heat and oil.)

Thanks, Wilbrod. Guess what? I had everyone pegged pretty well.

Man, this break in the weather is such a relief that I just had to comment on it despite the tedium of the subject. Whew!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 1, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

While living in an unassuming Wyoming town, culinary revolution arrived. A Chinese family set up a restaurant. Dishes at least at first were heavy on celery, which being a sturdy vegetable, was always available. A Mexican family set up too, featuring big, home-made flour tortillas that would have impressed palates anywhere.

Our corner of Florida doesn't seem ready for arepas, thick Venezuelan corn discs. Our Publix got some in, but for some reason never got the price from on high. So those who bought a package were charged a dollar. Odd.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I meant to mention that the Front Page Alert is canceled at this time (for any who can't see or didn't notice).

Posted by: talitha1 | August 1, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - Good work on the naming, except I don't think Himself took any pictures of... himself. That's actually me sitting next to Yoki in pic #4, and pondering bc's wisdom in pic #9. And all by myself in pic #7.

I asked innocently if anyone had taken any pictures, and was immediately photographed, repeatedly. I'm still sore from all the posing.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Bob, I like your hair. It's a longer do than I remember you having when *I* got to visit an IBPH in 2008. You look intellectual (that's a compliment, from me!)

Posted by: slyness | August 1, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Whoopsie, Bob-S. The one I guess at was wrong.

Be flattered that Himself was that taken by your full head of hair.

So what WERE you thinking as Bc talked?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think we decided that I'm going for a 70's rock star-meets-deranged college professor kinda hair look.

I have no doubt that bc was imparting wisdom that would have changed all of our lives for the better, if only we hadn't both forgotten it when the next round of beer/wine/buttery-garlicky shellfish arrived a few minutes later.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The plane that "wasn't supposed to be there."

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Is this the scene you would have picked to make a Lego set about?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I kept telling Bob he'd perfected the Paul-Rodgers-circa-"The-Firm" look, but I wasn't seeing the Russell Johnson part of the 'do...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh hey... talitha... check your email, please.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

TBG - That's so delightfully weird! Not the Legos of my youth.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

jumper... those fish on your blog are mesmerizing.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I'm not sure they had dumpsters in my youth. I think it was all trashcans & dump trucks & heaping mounds o' refuse back then.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Bob. You can only buy Legos in sets now. No more Big Tub of Blocks. There's gotta be a plan. What happened to imagination?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I was actually thinking Ludwig Beethoven, if you only give it a couple more inches, Bob S.

Although come to think of it, there IS a rock band called "Beethoven's Nightmare."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Those little fishies can be lured with one's mouse pointer.

I decided to see who Judge of Arizona immigration-law-reversal fame is. She was recommended by Jon Kyl, now Repub. Senate Minority Whip, and appointed then by Clinton. Approved by the U.S. Senate. 2000

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 1, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Pictures 5 and 6 sure capture the etheral zeitgeist of a BPH perfectly.

Is picture 10 from inside Zaytinya? If so, you sure know where to go for some nice Greek food.

I was just joking with my wife (who is playing on her phone) that someone caught her on camera playing with her phone.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

TBG - There's some vaguely disquieting about Jumper's fish. They watch me everywhere I go.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Picture #6 has the added attraction of including just enough of Moose to document that she's a cutie, without quite enough to overly encourage her many admirers, stalkers, & creditors.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

You got it right, yellojkt. Zaytinya. The only place I've heard the waiters (on different visits) discourage folks from getting a certain kind of wine.

"Have you had Retsina before?" they ask. And there's a reason. If you say NO, they'll steer you toward another kind.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Aw shucks, Bob.

Posted by: Moose13 | August 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a gorgeous well-maintained garden of my own to photograph, so I have to borrow one.

I've been waiting for a nice Spring day to go to the National Arboretum for the first time and today was it. While just a little overcast and humid, it was a nice day for a bike ride and some photos:

And to prove my wife doesn't always have her nose in her cellphone, here is her admiring a butterfly:

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Himself knows where to eat well because I'm in charge of restaurant selection :)

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I know I've told this tale before, but I'm getting old and have only my past glories to thrive upon now:

I was in a small Mexican diner in San Antonio (the kind that has no English descriptions of most dishes on the menu), and because I'm fearless I ordered a dish at random that I'd never heard of. Hey, it was cheap! The waitress gave me a very quizzical look, and asked me if I was certain that I wanted that particular dish. It won't surprise you to find out that I didn't bother to ask her why she was asking me that question. I merely said, "Heck yes I'm sure. In fact, bring me double!!" [OK, that's a joke.]

When it arrived, it was two slabs of lightly fried pigs fat in a pink sauce. Interesting. I didn't eat much of it. She kindly asked if I might like something else.

The moral of the story is: If your server asks if you've ever had something before, make sure (unless you actually HAVE had that something before) that you get a little background about why the question is being asked.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Beeeyooooootiful pictures, Yello!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The time I was at Zaytinya they were pushing an appetizer that sounded awful but they promised to take it back if I didn't like it. We didn't have to.

Another time at The Firebird in New York (a Russian restaurant) the bartender offered us a money back guarantee on the honey vodka. It was awful. I later found out that it goes for about 25 bucks a glass. I'm glad I didn't like it.

I had Ethiopian food for the first time today and it was delicious. There were nice enough to let my wife have a sip of the honey wine before ordering an entire glass. While by itself it was a little sweet, it actually complemented the spicy food very well.

In high school I would go over to my future wife's house for dinner. I'd ask what was in what her mother was cooking. She would just tell me "you don't need to know." I think mostly because she wasn't quite sure herself.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, TBG.

The latest word on the long-term damage to biodiversity at Chernobyl:

Still a great cautionary tale. It has always struck me as odd that the command economies are far less environmentally sensitive than traditionally strong democracies.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely love Ethiopian food, yello. And the honey wine wine goes perfectly with it.

Just like the Retsina goes perfectly with Greek food... if you've grown up with it.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

A buddy of mine assures me that the best accompaniment to Greek food is a lusty Greek spouse. Since he's been living in Athens with his Greek wife for about twenty years now, I'll defer to his judgment on this subject.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Whew! Busy weekend with the granddaughters. Last night we took them to see Twelfth Night with six young men playing all the parts. I had given them a quick overview of the plot and explained that the language would be a bit different at times. They enjoyed it! Thank goodness. I dropped them at #2's this morning and they walked the dogs and washed the horse. I assume they are tired tonight.

We are heading out to see Aretha. As the performance is in a theater in the round tent, I am happy that the weather is clear and cool.

I enjoyed the pics from the BPH, makes me want to go back to DC. Maybe next year?

Posted by: badsneakers | August 1, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Does the Arboretum label their flowers? The first one is a lily, maybe Casa Blanca. Nice pics, as always. As were the BPH pics - so nice to see folks.

sneaks, have a good time. I'd love to see Aretha sometime.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 1, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Sounds great, sneaks. Have fun tonight!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Great pics of plants yello, and a really beautiful picture of your wife.

Posted by: nellie4 | August 1, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

sneaks - Well, there aren't quite as many 'boodlers as there are Chosen tribespersons, but the analogy isn't useless. We have a spiritual home ("Next year in D.C.!") but are widely dispersed around the world. For various reasons, strangers disparage us (see commentary after almost any front page link). And if we can't make the pilgrimage back to the homeland, we'll hold meetings wherever we find each other.

If you don't get here, eventually some of us will come to you.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The owner of a tall mango tree with a more than 2' diameter trunk seems uninterested in fallen fruit, so a few days ago, I absconded with one. Ripened to a brilliant yellow, it was yummy today.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Yello, love the pictures, the one of your wife is especially good, such expression in her face. The koi pond pictures I really enjoyed - reminds me of my dad, who built his own koi pond.

Somewhere I have photos of his water lilies, but not the quality of your photos.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 1, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Forgot I loved the BPH photos, my kingdom for a memory.

I put ornamental peppers in many of my planters.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 1, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, all. The arboretum does label most of its plants, a herculean task given the size of the place, but I am a very lackadaisical notetaker. In museums and such I will often take pictures of the adjacent plaques as an identification aid later. Here I only took one and it was for a bonsai plant I didn't post because I had too many better shots.

The pepper section of the herb garden was truly (but not literally) breathtaking. I had never imagined so many varieties and colors, but the all had latin names that started with 'capsicum' and were labeled as part of the nightshade family.

Instead of copious notes or anything semi-professional, I often rely on either guide books and online sources or I merely crowd source the identification, as I seem to be doing here. Most memorably to ne, I was at Otakon about five years ago and took dozens of pictures of people dressed as anime characters. I recognized almost none of them, so I posted links on some anime and cosplay message boards and got character names and often backstory on tons of them.

I miss mango season since mangoes are to south Florida what cucumbers and tomatoes are around here, a wonderful item to grow but nearly impossible to give away in sizable enough quantities at the end of the season.

Those water lily pictures had to be greatly adjusted for brightness, contrast, and saturation, so the water lilies of your memory were probably far more beautiful.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 1, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I looked retsina wine up. Pine resin-- interesting.

It's like Earl Grey, which is black tea flavored with bergamot-- which has a citrus-pine taste. I've had some Earl Grey teas that tasted so strongly of pine (early on) that it felt like I was drinking Pine-Sol mixed with Pledge. I spat those out and found milder brands I liked better.

So yes, I can see why retsina wouldn't be a good choice for inexperienced Western palates, but it would be a pretty darn good accompaniment to lemon egg soup and other citrus-tinged dishes.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, back from the country. Great time, wonderful sleeping weather. When I tried to towel off muddy paws before they entered the kitchen, both dogz headed back into the rain because nothing says "bath" like a towel.

Best cookie? Springerle. Then extra-short shortbread. Rugele. Do pizzelle and chrischiki count? Rosettes?

gwe, good luck. Talk to a tech person where you work, one who looks as if s/he could use unappropriated cash. Feel free to come ask me when you lose your vldb, though.

CqP, they're still green but I talked to them about that today.

Does everyone feed their garden, or just water? Differences in tomato yield per plant?

Posted by: -dbG- | August 1, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Some Sunday evening fun... Chelsea's dress and other famous wedding dresses...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 1, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

And definitely with surplus mangoes...

Thank you for those luscious and simply labelled pictures, Yellojkt. I saw white waterlilies last week but... Pink waterlilies? So close up, gorgeous.

I miss the National Arboretum, I haven't been there since the Clinton years-- nasty traffic and it's not in the most comfortable neighborhood to have any transport concerns with.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I love the top of Chelsea's dress, not so crazy about the bottom but she looked lovely.

Caroline Bisset's (sp?) dress is still one of my all time favorites, not that I could ever have worn something like that - but I find it to be striking, simple and elegant.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 1, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness the US Botanic Garden conservatory is on the Mall and has flowers even in dullest winter.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Think of Retsina as delicious turpentine. Really delicious.

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I was away and am backboodling. Bob -S-, your 3:37 PM yesterday I agree with totally.

I also do not understand why so much teeth gnashing is being done over the Arizona law. If it is as bad as it looks like it could be, it will be quickly abandoned and/or changed. I bet it would not be that bad. What it would definitely do is step on toes, and run into immediate opposition wherever it did.

I suspect that it would be watered down quickly after so much money was spent to achieve so little. In addition, the businesses that are most affected/crippled would be affected/crippled to the point that the local authorities would take their foot off the pedal very quickly, to prevent running jobs out of town and out of state.

I prefer to see laws like this enacted, so that the framers see the result of their handiwork, and have the ability to withdraw or modify it.

Posted by: baldinho | August 1, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Turpentine flavor in mangoes is greatly detested.
Here's tomorrow's local mango:

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 1, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of Retsina, the conversation on Friday went like this.

TBG: I suppose you two don't like Retsina.
Yoki: I love it, and Himself doesn't.
TBG to Waiter: We'll have a bottle of Retsina and my friend will have a beer.


Waiter to TBG: Have you had this before?
TBG to Waiter: I love it, I grew up with it.
Waiter to Yoki: And you?
Yoki to Waiter: I love it.
Waiter to Himself: And you sir?
TBG to Waiter: He has had it before, and that is why he is ordering beer.


Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I may have had retsina long, long ago...but thanks for the warning. I'm probably thinking of ouzo, actually.

I could not disagree more with BobS's 3:37 and baldinho. Terrible, terrible law that would disrupt people's lives - well, certain people's, those who look Mexican. As for bad laws being repealed - easier said than done. Look how long it took for Jim Crow to go away.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 1, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Er, is this French grammar correct? I have so much trouble juggling the negatives and noun phrases.

Je n’aime pas trop de sucre
et je n’aime pas des bisous ou cuisses de grenoille—
non, pas du tout!)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

For some reason white princess dresses make me think of kissing frogs... okay, kill the "ou cuisses", how can I parallel those dislikes without repeating Je n'aime?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, would this work?

Je n’aime pas trop de sucre—
Et des bisous de grenoille
Je n’aime pas du tout!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea wore TWO gowns? Uh-mazing.

I'm not a fan of strapless, myself.

Princess Di's gown was in the exhibit I saw in Atlanta. That one is really over the top in its elaborateness. I'm with you, dmd, Caroline Bessette's was lovely. Not that *I* could ever have worn such a gown.

When Mr. T and I married, I wore a pink gown. That was proper for a second wedding. The bridesmaids (Elderdottir, Geekdottir, and Mr. T's niece) had cream-colored sundresses. Wish I could get into that dress again, but no way.

Posted by: slyness | August 1, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Himself and I are (am?) watching the newer non-animated "Charlotte's Web." And I now remember that it and "Stuart Little," were my favourite 8-year-old chapter books.

I was 9 before I read "A Cricket in Times Square" which was marvelous, and included a sentence that went, paraphrased, something like this, "The managing editor of the New York Times was a fair man who deeply believed in the freedom of speech and press, and so published the letter."

It's our Joel!

And speaking of favourite sentences from literature, two from Michael Innes (J.I.M. Stewart -- Oxford professor of English and author of superlatively funny police procedurals).

"It was the brains on the boots, Sir. I hear they spatter something chronic." (From London Far)

"She seemed such a nice woman! So rich and friendly." (Can't remember, but it is on my bookshelf.)

And what was the most famous typo ever? "Shut up!," she explained."

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Snort, indeed Yoki. Hope the retsina was superb.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

seasea - I certainly agree that the legislation was ill-considered and mean-spirited. But it's an attempt to deal with (what is perceived to be) a real problem, and I think I'd rather see the individual pieces of enforcement modified and/or tossed as they're found to be unworkable or illegal. An administrative move to block the legislation wholesale is only going to (and already has) feed a sentiment that the feds just don't give a crap about this issue.

I suspect that the comparison to Jim Crow is slightly overstating the case because I don't foresee the enforcement being affordable and/or capable of withstanding future court challenges, but I surely do understand your concerns.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 1, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I've never heard of Michael Innes and I clearly have been the poorer for it.
I'm fond of Pratchett, mysteries, and British wit in general.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Je n’aime pas les trucs trop sucrés
et je n’aime pas les bisous ou les cuisses de grenouille
non, pas du tout!

(many other possible meanings though...)

Beautiful day in Charlevoix. My parents have become cheap dates, they eat like little birds.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 1, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

No Wilbrod. Remember this one simple rule, which is the exception to the real rule:

n'{whatever verb -- aime, pense...) De. My French prof at McGill drilled this in. Even if your subject is plural, it is n' pas de, not des.

I still don't understand it. But it all works out. Why? I don't know, its a mystery!

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

We attended a Vietnamese wedding reception, and the bride changed dresses several times.

I would also note that My Big Fat Greek Wedding is on TNT or one of those Turner channels now.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 1, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

pas de! pas de!

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 1, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Merci beaucoup for that major tip, Yoki. Glad I asked.

Negatives breed quirks of grammar in every language.

Shrieking, I looked up trucs... yeah, I'm fine with a certain air of ambiguity-- this time. Merci beaucoup. I must repeat the Je n'aime construction twice, correct?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Je n’aime pas les trucs trop sucrés, les bisous ou les cuisses de grenouilleé.
That works too.
Les bisous OU/OR les cuisses de grenouilles suggess it's a choice between the two and it is absurd and funny. Strictly speaking it should be ET\AND.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 1, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, if it's a choice, I'll take the legs over the lips every time.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 1, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

SCC the whole thing. I can't type in the dark. Goodnight.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 1, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, "Shut up," he explained -- is from a Ring Lardner short story, where it is not a typo. Don't remember the title. Remember Ring Lardner. When my husband and I were first married, we used to read Lardner to each other. Quite romantic, we were.

Posted by: nellie4 | August 1, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

nellie, Ring Lardner, right! And many thanks. True comedy.

Posted by: Yoki | August 1, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The boss is on the Macondo beat again.
"If all goes perfectly, the one-two mud punch will literally be overkill. The static kill will terminate Macondo, and the bottom kill will be more like a confirmation test, akin to poking the body to make sure it's dead."

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 1, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Just back from the Aretha Franklin concert. She still has an amazing set of pipes but I'm worried about the rest of her. She doesn't maneuver well around the stage, holding onto the piano, then taking two steps to the organ and holding on again. She did something I've never seen before, she took a break in the middle of her set right on the stage. She went over to the edge and sat in a chair where she was served tea (?) and had a towel wrapped around her shoulders for about ten minutes. Is she diabetic? Her weight obviously is a factor in her lack of ambulation - I wonder if she has knee or hip issues. But the show was still wonderful, a very appreciative audience gave her much love.

I wasn't crazy about Chelsea's dress, the skirt was very 'busy'. But she looked lovely and it was her choice of dress not mine, so as long as she was happy... I agree about Carolyn Bisset's dress. It was more my style. I actually made my ex SIL's wedding dress and it was very similar to that one.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 1, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm sensing a little bit of hubris and some premature celebration on the part of the well-killers. I haven't heard any fat lady sing yet.

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

You didn't go to the concert with badsneakers, yello. ;)

I agree with you, but that sure was a great report from Joel.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 1, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

And what exactly is wrong with the fat?

Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | August 2, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -jack- | August 2, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

FYI, Joel is front page above the fold.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 2, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Ruh-roh. Cooling problems on the space shuttle. I'll get right on it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 2, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, it was a joke. I'm a big lady myself. Gracious, even sneaks spoke about Aretha's weight problem in her post, but I certainly didn't mean to offend.

Morning, y'all. Up to meet the never ending crew that seems to have taken over my home. A swarm of messy but productive bees.

TBG, got your message and will reply today asap.


Posted by: talitha1 | August 2, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Doncha jes' luv it when you've been helping someone obtain information, but that someone doesn't bother to mention he's also reached out to other people in your office? *mumblegrumble*

JA's top of the home page, too. Should I read the comments, ya think?

Me neither. :-)

*just-another-manic-Monday-but-thankfully-cooler-than-the-last-several-iterations Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 2, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. 'Twas completely dark when Mr. T and I started on our walk at 0-dark 6 ayem, and the motion detector lights in the carport came on when we returned 50 minutes later. Autumn will be here before we know it!

Lovely cool, not too humid morning also. This will change quickly. Cassandra, I hope you're enjoying the weather while it lasts!

Monday! Another week begins, I suppose I'd better get on with it. Whatever it turns out to be...

Posted by: slyness | August 2, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm.... we're approaching nine months since our first big snowstorm last year...

I wonder what it will look like in November, nine months after Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 2, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

TBG, just to let you know, my Sunday Farmer's Mkt Pickle business is booming.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 2, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Because shoveling snow is such an aphrodisiac? Because nobody could get to the drugstore for more condoms? I don't buy it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I'll make more comments to JA's piece and the kill shots when he posts them as a Kit (soon, presumably).

Wilbrod, you ask why am I wearing the blue plaid shirt? Simple -- goes with my wolfeyes.

Speaking of Paul Rogers (Scottynuke), he was in Frederick, MD, last night with Bad Co. His hair's back to about that Bob S. length these days, but most importantly - and suprisingly to me - his voice and range is as strong as ever, even after putting it through the wringer touring with Queen.


Posted by: -bc- | August 2, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Overpaid CA city gvmt now accused of election fraud

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 2, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

That was my casual shirt. I changed out of my work shirt in a Sheetz on the way to the BPH. TMI, I know.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 2, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Because shoveling snow is such an aphrodisiac? Because nobody could get to the drugstore for more condoms? I don't buy it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 2, 2010 9:08 AM

No, but not being able to open the front door may be.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 2, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

If anyone subscribes to the Chronicle of Higher Education, they have what seems an important story on waylaid scientists in the Gulf. And it doesn't look like more criticism of the much-maligned governor of Louisiana.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 2, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

...thinking of emergency response, disasters are too important to be allowed to go to waste. South Florida's three category-5 hurricanes of the 20th century had huge effects on the Everglades region. The 1935 storm was poorly documented. 1960 got a good deal of documentation of, among other things, flattening of ancient mangrove forests. 1992 was vastly better documented than it predecessors.

The first research symposia on the eruption of Mt. St. Helens were held only 2 months after the event, thanks to a pair of big conferences having been already been scheduled in Vancouver, B.C. The programs were quickly revised.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 2, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Good heavens, where is everybody?

Chef salad for lunch at chez Yness, please let me know if you're interested. There's plenty! And with homegrown Roma tomatoes...

Posted by: slyness | August 2, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I guess I am filling the ecological Boodle-niche left vacant by 'mudge's departure.

This lede that is the first story on the front page has me both laughing and fuming.

Surprises in some Kellog's Cereal Boxes: Cereal recall hints at a larger issue: huge gaps in the government's lack of knowledge about chemicals in many everyday consumer products.

Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. It is a balmy 89 degrees F here, well on our way to a high of 105. Our weather's supposed to break on Thursday, with a high in the very high double digits. Why, oh why, am I not on vacation this week rather than next?

I love retsina, but it is nothing like Earl Gray tea (which I also love). The Greek restaurants here, alas, tend not to have retsina; I suppose they think of it as too acquired a taste.

badsneakers, congratulations on taking the girls to a Shakespeare play. Done with actors who understand what they're saying, we've found the language is seldom an impediment to audience understanding. Reading the plays silently, as so often occurs in school, is the absolute worst way to encounter Shakespeare. Save your teenagers from the tedium of high school English: take 'em to a Shakespeare play!

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 2, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Yoki, I think it might mean more that the FDA under Republican administrations had neither the funding nor the independence to act responsibly in terms of food safety. The politics of it has been at the very least unseemly, as those at the political top have been in bed with the industries they are charged with regulating.

If gummint is "bad" then to prove the point, you go in and ruin it, sending all the good people out -- directly or indirectly -- leaving a shell of people who are bad and do bad things, but are paid well by the industries to ruin the regulations.

My Monday-moment rant.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I get that. It was the 'gaps in lack of knowledge' upon which I was remarking. That would mean the gov't has a lot of knowledge, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Jealous of your tomatoes Slyness. We are still fighting the chipmunks but have two have-a-heart traps out there which we hope will help.

Beautiful day, off to do errands.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 2, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The perfect is the enemy of the very good, eh Yoki? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 2, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I so agree with you Ivansmom. Shakespeare must be seen to be appreciated and early exposure is best. Kenneth Brannagh's Hamlet is a wonderful place to start if you are far from the playhouses.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 2, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: seasea1 | August 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

We certainly don't want any gaps in our lack of knowledge. That would disturb our blissful ignorance.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 2, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

seasea, that link url was longer than the article or the time it took me to click on and click off! Bwahahaha, indeed.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 2, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

seasea, I was just about to go to lunch. Not sure I want to eat now. :o)

Posted by: Moose13 | August 2, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they've all gone to look for America". Just read an article about a pro photog who arranged with Kodak to get the very last roll of Kodachrome and shoot it around the world. Had to be processed in a custom lab in Kansas, the last place that processes the film. I don't want to think about counting the rolls I've shot over the years. Some of the books I've written included color images taken back in the 1940's that are a clear and crisp as they day they were shot. One wonders whether pics stored in hard drives and CD's will still be the same (or if we can even read them!) 60 years hence?

Posted by: ebtnut | August 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, they've all gone to look for America". Just read an article about a pro photog who arranged with Kodak to get the very last roll of Kodachrome and shoot it around the world. Had to be processed in a custom lab in Kansas, the last place that processes the film. I don't want to think about counting the rolls I've shot over the years. Some of the books I've written included color images taken back in the 1940's that are as clear and crisp as they day they were shot. One wonders whether pics stored in hard drives and CD's will still be the same (or if we can even read them!) 60 years hence?

Posted by: ebtnut | August 2, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Sorry for the double post. It did give me a chance to correct a typo, though.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 2, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The stability of Kodachrome was amazing. It has to have been one of the all-time great inventions. Agfachrome, Ektachrome, Fujichrome might all fade away.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 2, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

No idea, ebtnut. We have family daguerrotypes over 100 years old that are still clear and good.

Printed pictures will always take their luck with entropy, but some will survive.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 2, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Talk about losing your appetite after reading...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 2, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

RIP Mitch Miller. Sing along now . . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | August 2, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

During a summer park job, my husband and I found several boxes of photos from the early 20th century in our office building. Most were of champion trees and nature scenes, and we were amazed at how crisp and clear they were. I swear if you got a magnifying glass you could've seen each and every leaf in perfect clarity.

We found a 1909 picture of the house we are in the process of buying at the historical society. It was taken from across the street and showed the whole house with yard, with the women and children of the family on the porch. Once it was scanned at a high resolution, we could zoom in and make out the exact type of hardware used on the shutters and see the details in the lace on the women's clothing. Simply amazing. My point and shoot cannot compare.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 2, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Hubby said it was like HD-photography, and then we both laughed when we realized that we were talking about 100+ year old technology. It's "progressed" since then.

Oh, and on-kit, I think the widespread use of pesticides, such as DDT, could also be a candidate for greatest environmental disaster. It was caught in time and most of the species recovered (and are recovering) with a lot of work, but we were well on the way towards wiping out a whole section of the upper food chain with that one. All because we couldn't abide the creepy crawlies.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 2, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, Malaria is a major predator of humanity. The use of pesticides is why we no longer fear yellow fever or malaria in America.

The real problem is we overused, insects adapted but we didn't, and we continue to overuse to increasingly toxic effect and actually worsening the problem we tried to solve.

Many common things (even foods we routinely eat) have pesticide powers, it's a matter of dosage and lack of adaption.

Malaria used to be treated with quinine from quince tree bark, now most malaria is resistant to that, and so on.

We need to understand the concept of adaption and resistance to excess, whether by a solid understanding of evolution or a more vague taoistic approach. Only then will we be mentally free to understand that "what worked before may not work today" and stay alert.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 2, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, hope you folks in VA can produce your citizenship papers on demand. I read an article yesterday saying that most states were going to wait and see what happens to the Arizona law before going ahead with their own, but I guess they don't call him Kook-inelli for nothing.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 2, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope that's not possible, seasea. My husband's last name is Hispanic. Cuccinelli got a major profile piece in the Wapo Sunday magazine. I've hesitated to read it but probably should. All that stuff about the enemies you know . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | August 2, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

scc: name is "of Hispanic origin", to be more precise.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 2, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

talitha, the piece on Cuccinelli is nice to him, but does quote his statement about preferring his parents' financial hardship in the absence of health insurance to losing his freedom.

I guess he'll attack mandatory seatbelt use, the FDA, whatever.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 2, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Actually, when the entire Atlantic Coast aquifer is destroyed by mountain top removal mining, that will be the worst disaster, with no question.

Posted by: aprilglaspie | August 2, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll bite: Leaving aside the fact there there's no single Atlantic Coast aquifer, how likely is it that any aquifer would be particular damaged by mountaintop-removal mining techniques? Or are we talking about depletion here?

Posted by: bobsewell | August 2, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Further research seems to indicate that mountaintop-removal techniques have (not surprisingly) drastically disruptive consequences for nearby surface and near-surface water systems, but little impact on deeper aquifers, except insofar as changing stream patterns affects aquifer recharging.

Not that this is particularly comforting if it's your water supply that dries up or is poisoned by leeching from mine leavings.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 2, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Not knowing groundwater issues in the Allegheny Plateau, I can't comment much, except that historic mining activity in the region caused massive "acid mine drainage". The West Branch of the Susquehanna River was rather sterile, not to mention your old sneakers would end up rust-colored.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 2, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

At least in Canada, the industry has gotten very much better at managing tailings to reduce collateral pollution over the last couple of decades.

Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

The National Atlas MapMaker is always fun to play with for things like locating aquifers:

How did I miss the news that a film is being made based upon the board game "Battleship"? That sounds... odd.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Two separate small plane crashes in the water off the Cape today. First one just 25 yards off the beach in Mashpee (engine failure), the second just an hour ago at the west end of the canal. No fatalities in either crash thank goodness but weird to have that two crashes in perfect weather.

Of course they've closed a beach in Chatham because of great white sharks, so it's been an interesting summer on the cape for sure.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 2, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"can't post pictures out the bus window as we roll up the New Jersey Turnpike."

Even with a camera, I have never made good pictures on the turnpike. Not much to see until you see Manhattan.

Posted by: gary4books | August 2, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Hope Joel comes back and kits soon. This boodle is about to herniate from its sheer size.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 2, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

*shoring up the outer Boodle extensions* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 2, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

North Carolina surface waters inland have been pretty messed up by coal burning, and the ash and tailings's contribution to the same problem are an ongoing story. Mercury, mostly.

Here Rob Cockerham writes a story using "all" the two-letter words:

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 2, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Stuck with another evening meeting, awaiting my turn. Re: Major envrionmental disasters, Joel's implication was man-made disasters, I think. How would the explosion of Mt. St. Helens rank, for instance? Or Hurricane Andrew? On the man-made side, how about the death of biomass in Lake Erie? I think that came at about the same time the Cuyahoga River was catching fire.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 2, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Mitch Miller died! Alas. I have a CD of him conducting Paganini and Vieniawski violin concertos, and the local classical station sometimes offers a CD of him playing oboe concertos as a subscription drive premium. And then he went on to that other career.

On another topic, I was reading Joel's article today about top-bottom kill that Shriek and others have mentioned.

Apparenty the BOP is sufficient to stop the flow, which I take to mean that ~75 tons or 150K lbs can overpower a flow of ~7,000 lb/sq in, a number I recall from a couple of weeks ago. From that I compute the pipe must be 21.4 sq in or less (150K/7K), or ~5.2" in diameter or less. That seems too small. What am I missing?


Posted by: Jim19 | August 2, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

That 5" sounds about right to me, at least for surface wells in the WCSB. I confess I know less about off-shore production (but not much less). Jumper1?

Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Joel has another story he can use for a kit, top of the home page yet again:

This is a new one, isn't it? I'm hard pressed to keep up.

Posted by: slyness | August 2, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

The well bore at the base is something like nine inches, but bear in mind that the full pressure is only present when the thing is sealed. As soon as there's flow, the pressure drops. That made it fairly easy to position and attache the BOP. Subsequently, the BOP isn't staying in place just because it's massive. It's bolted into place, right?

Posted by: Bob-S | August 2, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

bobsewell, I am holding out until "Solitaire the Movie, part 2".

Posted by: baldinho | August 2, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Trying out potential male baby names. I just read Zakaria's piece and got an idea.

Hugh Bris Boyington

Posted by: baldinho | August 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Much to my chagrin, the first time I attempted cookies I was into my 30's and still managed to confuse 1/2 cup of butter with 1/2 pound. It was a simple peanut-butter recipe that morphed into "peanut-butter shortbread" in the finest "Bob Ross" style i.e. no mistakes, only happy accidents.

As to the greatest ecological disaster; in terms of overall and ongoing impact, I must refer to that prohibition of an obscure Mexican slang word, which was used as the thin edge of the wedge to outlaw Hemp.

Posted by: shygaard | August 2, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Peanut butter shortbread sounds good.

In my house, like accidents turned shortbread into extra-short shortbread (wonderful, crisp) and chocolate chip extra-short shortbread into marble extra-short shortbread.

Just have to stay open to the wonder.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 2, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I wonder how much play this story gets on Fox:

"In the first nine months of fiscal year 2010, 137,000 illegal immigrants designated as criminal aliens were deported, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, 60% more than in a comparable period of the Bush administration's last year and about one-third more than in a comparable period in the Obama administration's first year."

Of course, you have to look at the lamestream media liberal elite source: The Wall Street Journal.

Posted by: baldinho | August 2, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I think they finally bolted the thing on, rendering mass/area calculations inapplicable.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 2, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

*Snort* Hugh Bris should be a real baby-name.

Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Tom Shales made Olbermann's Worst Person list for this:
Shales really hates Christiane Amanpour. I've always liked her, but I don't watch any of those Sunday shows.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 2, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

As bc stated earlier Paul Rogers can still belt out the tunes.Me on the other hand I can't tunafish.I tried singing and screaming yesterday but it just gave me a buzz.But it was nice to act like a kid again and run around having fun at an allday rock show. But I am paying the price today/tonight......

Zuchinni bread/muffins sounds great too.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 2, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Just finished reading Carl Hiaasen's Star Island. It was excellent, I wasn't crazy about his last book, but he's back on form in this one.

seasea, I had read something about the Shales review and saw the Olbermann thing. I don't watch those shows much either and don't read Shales often, but he doesn't impress me much. He seems to have real biases and lets them color his reviews.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 2, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

No matter what else he writes, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Shales because of his delightful eviscerations of Kathie Lee's Christmas specials.

An example:

Posted by: Bob-S | August 2, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Your 12:32 brought back another bad vacation flashback. Picture an English teacher and her former student, now a film studies major, arguing over who was the greatest Hamlet. Candidates included Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh, and Ethan Hawke. They debated endlessly, or at least as long as their beers lasted.

Amazingly, neither of them had ever heard of, let alone seen, perhaps the greatest filmed production of Hamlet ever, and a musical version no less.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 2, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | August 2, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Always good advice.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 3, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

badsneaks - I'd be interested to know what pernicious biases you've noted in Shales' work.

I don't always agree with the man, and (like almost every writer who takes a swing at outrageous humor) he's capable of laying a dud. But I've really appreciated that over the years he's been a critic who was willing to call a trite piece of crap a trite piece of crap, no matter who or what was the subject.

Part of the reason that the Kathie Lee pieces were so much fun was because she's so freakishly earnest (in her own energetic-but-not-particularly-talented way) that picking on her was kind of like clubbing the young children of fur-seal hunters. You felt bad to see it done because it was cruelty visited upon a defenseless creature, and yet it sometimes seemed as if it was the only way to get the point across.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 3, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I generally like Shales too - I love his Kathy Lee pieces - but sometimes he's just wrong. He can't stand Jon Stewart, but he loves SNL even when it's lame. Some of that is taste, I suppose, but when you're a critic, it seems like you should have some sort of reasons to back up what you're saying. He was against Amanpour from the minute she was picked - for no objective reason other than she's been a foreign correspondent most of her career.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 3, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Well, I think Shales' fondness for SNL is based mostly upon his appreciation of the fact that they're still willing to attempt live entertainment when almost nobody else is willing to do so. But I agree that he has a blind spot there.

As for Amanpour, I don't think he dislikes her. I think he's of the opinion that she's a bad match for that particular program, and thus far I agree with him. But I'm definitely willing to give it some wait-and-see. Maybe she'll change, maybe the show will change, maybe it will all work out.

But I wouldn't be too quick to discount Shales' opinion about everything as just the discontented mutterings of an old curmudgeon. It seems to me that at the root of most of his criticism is an appreciation for striving toward excellence, or an impatient disparagement of the lack thereof.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 3, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

re: Amanpour

It may seem an odd analogy, but when Ellen DeGeneres incorporated her coming-out into her comedy series, it wasn't the same show. Not worse, certainly a richer experience, but definitely not the same relatively light-hearted comedy. Those who expected & wanted that comedy need no longer apply.

"This Week" won't be the same show if it plays to Amanpour's previously-demonstrated strengths. Doesn't mean it can't be even better, and that doesn't mean that Amanpour doesn't have other cards she hasn't shown. But it's not particularly unreasonable for a critic to point out that the show's nature will change because of this new host, and those who want & expect the old pattern need no longer apply.

Posted by: Bob-S | August 3, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

I heart Shales (and was hurt when he unfriended me on Facebook) but he is really stuck in the olden-times, tv-wise.

Of course I don't watch television, much, so am lost in his reviews. But he is a beautiful writer.

Posted by: Yoki | August 3, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | August 3, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Miss Australia's national costume is a 'travesty'….

To me, it's certainly no worse than some of those we’ve seen on catwalks.

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

Good morning, folks. Last night just before I went to bed I went downstairs to throw some laundry in the washer. Uh oh. Water, water everywhere.

Seems a pipe has broken in the [finished] ceiling down there. The carpet is soaked and anything on the carpet is soaked. The plumber is on his way and Service Master™ will soon follow.

We shut off the water first thing, before the phone calls. After we set up the appointments and picked up what we could, we went to bed. Funny how many times you turn on the water, forgetting nothing will come out. We're pretty spoiled that way, aren't we? Lucky, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

At least she isn't icedancing in it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 3, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

The [incredibly nice] plumber is downstairs repairing the pipe. Sounds funny to hear "fwap fwap fwap" as he walks around down there.

Can't wait to tear up that nasty carpet. I've been wanting to for years. Nice to have an excuse (and possibly reimbursement) for it.

Talitha... I feel like we're Sisters in House Repair. (Although I'm much luckier it's not my kitchen).

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

TBG, That does sound like a disaster. I hope everything dries out, but quick get any furniture you want replaced by the insurance company down to the basement pronto.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 3, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Hope you don't lose anything irreplaceable TBG (old photos, mementos etc). Good luck.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 3, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Because it's prone to dampness, we dont' keep much in the basement that we want to, well... keep. So we should be OK on the losses.

Thank goodness my lamp and lampshade collections are off the floor. (You think I'm kidding, but anyone who's been here knows I'm not).

Posted by: -TBG- | August 3, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

What excellent service to have the plumber there so early, TBG! Sorry you have to go through that, of course.

And you really would hope the FBI has a better grasp on the First Amendment than this:


*amazed-at-how-a-few-clouds-can-affect-one's-mood-but-putting-on-a-happy-face-anyway Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 3, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! Hi Cassandra! It's supposed to be a hot one here today, so I'm trying to stay in and cool for a while.

TBG, hope the disaster works out for the best. Good thing you could get the plumber there so quickly! And new carpet! That's always fun to pick out, but then you have to deal with the installers...

Elderdottir called to say she's off today and was I interested in lunch, Trader Joe's, and the farmers' market. Of course! We can do all that in one trip, it will be fun.

In the meantime, gonna get on with the day. Have a pleasant one, everybody!

Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

My sister recently suffered a washing machine flood. Lots of new carpeting, some repainting, and so on.

4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, plus or minus 10 percent. Wow. I'm sure Limbaugh will cite insider info that it was only 2.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Reaching out in sisterhood to TBG this morning. Well, bless your heart! (That's what my mother says when she hears of these things happening, in a thick Georgia accent.) Am so glad you were able to get quick plumber service - we both must have good repairman karma.

And no, I think you got the short end of the stick. Kitchen or no kitchen, plaster damage is nothing compared to water damage. Good to hear your losses are bearable.

[ps - not looking good for HdG - will get definitive email to you by tomorrow.]

Good Tuesday to everyone else. I'm hoping for a new kit and good news from the static cram shot or whatever they're calling it this time.

Later . . . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: slyness | August 3, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Bob S, I think seasea pretty much covered my feelings about Shales.

TBG, glad you didn't lose anything priceless in the flood but it's still a mess to deal with I'm sure.

I think I've finally recovered from the weekend, gee was I tired from having fun. Looks like we're going back into the humidity today after a very welcome break. That's summer around here and I'm not complaining.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 3, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I did mean to tell Rainforest that Miss Australia's "get up" (for lack of a better word) is hideously rivaled only by the Olympic Russian icedancers who garbed themselves in pseudo-Aborigine costumes last winter in Vancouver. She has no excuse llHO since she's representing her native land. Gad!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 3, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Fresh tomato kit. Where's everybody?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 3, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

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