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Air Schlep

To save the company a couple hundred bucks I eschewed the slightly expensive Southwest flight to Houston and instead bought a ticket on a cheapo airline called Air Schlep or something to that effect. I believe the airline's motto is Feel The Discount.

They want you to have a visceral awareness of how much money you're saving. They're thinking about a new ad campaign:

Air Schlep: So Unpleasant that Crashing Doesn't Seem So Bad, Relatively Speaking

Actually, I don't mind a budget airline when it's my own dime and I'm doing a quick getaway, like a last-minute flight to Florida in the dead of winter. You feel so clever finding sunshine so cheaply and quickly. But to get to Houston for the cheapest possible fare, I needed to change in Atlanta, and, worse, leave from BWI, which is technically a Washington airport in the same way that Guam is technically the United States. It's just so far and necessitates a 4:15 alarm and then a Beltway and I-95 white-knuckle motoring adventure in the pre-dawn dark. Park in the Pentagon-sized Daily Garage (the cheap lot), take a slow, crowded shuttle to the concourse, soon you're on an airplane that's roughly the size of the VW hippie bus my Dad owned in the 1960s.

I managed to talk my way out of a middle seat, but I was all the way in the back, in the section where people sit when they ask for an automatic downgrade. Simply deplaning in Atlanta took much of the morning, because the $15 luggage fee means everyone hauls giant suitcases aboard and stuffs them in the overhead bins. The change of planes meant a trek from Concourse C to Concourse D via some underground tram. Then came another back-of-the-plane cattle-car flight to Houston, another hour-long deplaning, and when I checked in at Avis the clerk declared that I could either have a PT Cruiser or some other vehicle I'd never heard of with a name like the Chevy Gnat. It was like a memo had gone out to Put Him In Something Smaller. [The boodlers point out that the Pt Cruiser isn't a small car. But in my travel-addled state I somehow mistakenly had a mental picture of a Mini-Cooper or some such clown car.]

Fact: I upgraded to the Hyundai. I've finally checked into my room at the La Quinta, which feels like the Four Seasons by comparison with everything else today. I'm about to head out to the only food in sight, which is a Jack-in-the-Box.

I'm gonna splurge. I'm going to order the works, super-sized, with extra cheese. The best that Jack-in-the-box has to offer. I earned it.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 23, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
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Next: Oil spill: Blame game


Yep, the joys of travelling. For me, of course, the worst thing is the constant fear of something going wrong. You know, getting on the wrong plane, at the wrong airport, with the wrong luggage. Or, you know, forgetting to remove the Glock semi-automatic that you use as a keychain. Stuff like that.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 23, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course, what I really hate are those itty bitty commuter prop-jobs that they sometimes use between NYC and DC. You know, the ones were they carefully distribute the chunky people so as to keep the aircraft in trim. And then we all have to pedal.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 23, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Joel. This column contains two googlenopes: "slightly expensive Southwest flight" and "upgraded to the Hyundai".

And my umbrage towards your dissing of the rather convenient (to me at least) BWI will have to wait for my blood pressure to recover.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse


The PT Cruiser is actually fairly large.

Almost an SUV, as it were.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, good! A travel kit. The last time I did any long-distance travel was in a VW hippie bus. 8-D

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

This may not make it through yello's FRC block. Dirty word warning for the language fastidious.

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

the PT cruiser is certainly larger than anything called the Chevy Gnat, anyway. ;)

Probably a Cobalt. The rental companies just love those things.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 23, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr. A, try doing all that in a wheelchair if you really want to experience the true thrill of modern business travel (including the patdown at airport security).

Posted by: MsJS | August 23, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of travel oddities, how about a hotel where the curtains fail to completely cover the full-length sliding door (to nowhere, BTW)? Good thing there wasn't a streetlight outside my window, else it might have been tough to sleep.

It was also interesting having to ensure the lights were off before heading to bed... *eye roll*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I've flown that airline. They had wooden folding chairs, like my 2nd grade Sunday school class. The flight attendent served fruitjuice in those little sippy-cups. I had to pay ten cents for the straw.

Little known factoid: the meme was invented by Richard Dawkins, not Marcel Marceau. The world's very first meme was a man with a white face and a beret and a horizontally striped shirt twisting every last one of my nerve endings until I could scream.

You probably might have guessed that.

Sorry. I wasn't quit done with the last boodle.

You may procede.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 23, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

PT Cruisers always looking like miniature hearses to me. I think they're ugly.

But, well, that's just one opinion.

I don't like those puddle jumpers either, RDP. I got used to them in Africa, but I still don't like 'em much.

*I think I'm getting a wee bit cranky, but not at the boodlers (well, at least not **all** of them, so I'm gonna go off and do other things now*

Posted by: ftb3 | August 23, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, Atlanta! That's where you change for Hell.

At least, that was the joke around here, before the local airport became a hub. Dunno if having a hub is a good idea, it leads to higher prices. That's what the statisticians tell us.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Back in the day, when you got on an airplane, it generally took you from where you got on to where you wanted to go. Pretty much in a straight line, too, more or less.

Nowadays, you save fuel by flying 60 percent out of your way.

Yeah, yeah, I know, yet another nostalgia-laden story about how we walked to school 12 miles in the snow.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 23, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I'm about as thrilled at flying out of BWI as you would be flying out of Dulles. Drive to the ends of the earth. Then drive some more.

'Mudge, you forgot the part about the flight costing as much as some countries' GNP.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

All that to get to Houston, in August.

Posted by: edbyronadams | August 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

slyness, a ittle-known aviation factoid: the reason it took Linbergh 33 hours to fly to Paris is he had to fly from Long Island to O'Hare to Paris in order to save fuel.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

...and only had eight crayon colors with one of them called 'flesh'.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Lindbergh.

When he got to Paris he was greeted by a meme pretending to walk into a strong wind.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Way off topic, but the Minneapolis bridge collapse made some news today.

I made the mistake of reading some comments. Why did I do that?

Posted by: baldinho | August 23, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Did the bridge collapse because of Obama? I bet that's it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 23, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, for the occasional motel curtain dilemma I've found it expedient to pack a couple of clothespins (for two gaping curtains) and a travel-sized roll of duct tape (for curtain-to-wall adhesion). The duct tape and the clothespins will always come in handy for other purposes anyhoo.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I recall a very, very long flight. Lady in the aisle seat opposite me was ill. The very compact lady in the middle seat wanted to get up and, being agile, simply walked across using the aisle seat's arms. Quite a performance.

My last flight on an ultra-budget airline was over a decade ago, a red-eye from left to right coast. I volunteered to be bumped in Denver in exchange for a free flight. They closed down before I could use it. Later on, I had to reschedule an ATA flight, which evidently caused it to shut down, too. So which airline should I put out of business this time?

Orlando now has an astonishing number of direct flights to various cold northern places, places like Edmonton, Binghamton , Halifax, even Glasgow. And sometimes cheap flights to Aguadilla and Panamá. The alternative Orlando-Sanford Airport has flights by Allegiant and Direct to places like Fargo and Kalamazoo. Icelandic to Iceland.

I guess this is all due to Orlando being a Big Vacation Destination, despite its steambath summers and erratic winters.

On the side, New Scientist has made a game effort to sort out the info on oil remaining in the Gulf:

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 23, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Really, slyness, a hub is more expensive? I believe you; just didn't know that. What makes my flights more expensive is having only a single airline serving our little local airport, flying to two (count'em!) destinations 2-3 times a day. They charge what they want, and we pay (or drive 2+ hours to the next closest airport). But we're moving in the right direction. When we moved here a couple of years ago, they only flew to one destination. Yep, that would be Atlanta.

Posted by: -bia- | August 23, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

ok so I know this is the wrong area.... I read all the babble about the whole rush thing...OMG Rush could have told me I married an idiot 17 years ago. I knew he was a democrat but did not know that he has no core values and hates Christians.... I guess I better warn the church...He is after all a Southern Baptist deacon and a sunday school teacher... Maybe he is undercover...what do I do now ..He is not the man I married!!!!!I thought he had wonderful core values and would be a great dad... What will my kids do now? Thanks Rush...a little too late! Mrs. Jack

Posted by: -jack- | August 23, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

You got to walk to school 12 miles in the snow? We had to crawl and that was on the good days. On the bad days we had to take turns dragging each other.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 23, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

There are times when I've been tempted to remove an apostrophe or two.

This blog alone will keep them in business:

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 23, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I swear I thought they were offering one of those Clown Car like vehicles...Is there something that sounds like PT Cruiser that's about half the size of a real car? What are those things called. I see them in DC. Clown cars. I am sure that's what they were offering.

Posted by: joelache | August 23, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh:

"And Mr. Achenbach is very disturbed at the stupidity of you people, nearly 20% of you, 25, depending on the poll, believe that airplanes fly under their own power. "Why not just believe it's from aliens from outer space? Or from Pixie Dust? Crazy times. It's also dismaying that so many Americans are opposed to concept of gravity. In America you can believe whatever you want, regardless of educational level. We protect imbeciles here. This isn't merely the law: It's a core value." Like this guy would know what an imbecilte is. These are the people that smirk at imbeciles. These are the people that tell us to shut up about the flat earth."

Warmest Regards,


Posted by: jp1954 | August 23, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Did the Clown Car have big brake shoes, Joel? And a hood ornament that looked like a big round red nose?

Posted by: ftb3 | August 23, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

May be room for my concept: LazyBoy Airlines. Every passenger gets a LazyBoy recliner and enough room to not impinge on the passenger behind them. Sure, it'll be a facsimile of a real recliner normally sold. It will be made of carbon fiber struts and kevlar and stuffed with hemp fibers or something, instead of horsehair or foam, but it'll be just as comfortable. And just as big. Or bigger!

That's all I need. Hand me a tall glass of free icewater and I'm good for a 6 hour flight.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Is it a Smart FourTwo, Joel? That's about half the size of the normal American subcompact.

Yep, bia, there have been studies to prove that we pay more for flying because we begin/end our journeys at a hub...

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I think that "Smart" cars and Fiats look like roller skates. Wouldn't wanna be in them at crash time. Nope. Not at all.

Hey CowTown!

Posted by: ftb3 | August 23, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the PT Cruiser a Plymouth Neon? It isn't that big. Fun to drive for a couple of days but not for the long haul. A friend bought one and she was quite happy to get rid of it.

Yay, CowTown! Limbaugh is self-satirizing. How can someone even as good as you top that?

Posted by: -pj- | August 23, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

yello, you weren't supposed to *look* at tao's links. TMI indeed!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

If you've got the Hyundai, there should be hundreds of better food options than Jack-in-the-Box. As you might imagine, Houston has great Mexican. As you might not imagine, it also has great Vietnamese. There is an oft-repeated fact (probably apocryphal) floating around in Houston that there are more people of Vietnamese origin there than an any city in the world save Ho Chi Minh. Lots of other good options for 'Mercan food too.

Posted by: Awal | August 23, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

How lubriciously they try to slide "dispersed" into the script. How "move along nothing to see."
It's precisely the biochemical result of the dispersed oil that is the issue. Either it's diluted to the point of irrelevance, or it's not. But it didn't magically disappear. Those who try to slide that past me appear to be untrustworthy by definition.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC: oleaginously, or unctuously, not lubriciously.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Lubricious is, nonetheless, a great word.

Posted by: Yoki | August 23, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, it seems that about 50% of the comments on the Minneapolis bridge were certain that it collapsed because of the Democrats or unions. Those unions! Just think how much damage they would be doing right now if there were any of them left!

Posted by: baldinho | August 23, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Joel, Joel. My sympathies. Edbyronadams said it best: all that to arrive in Houston in August. I'll be there over Labor Day and the climate will still be reminiscent of the underworld - before freezing over.

If Joel flew a Low Rent Airline they probably landed at the Bush airport way north of town, and his available food options may indeed be limited. Had he flown Southwest he'd arrive at Hobby, nearer Town and thus a plethora of tasty food. [You don't want to know what we called Jack-in-the-Box back in the day.] However, even if it is only a few blocks away I don't know that I'd drive a clown car (yep, I believe you) very far in Houston. Those folks are serious about freeways.

As long as I can remember you could only fly from OKC to where you wanted to go if you wanted to go to Dallas or a handful of other cities. Now, everything else requires a transfer unless, of course, your destination is a hub city served direct from OKC (one or two. . .). My ambition, briefly fulfilled, was always to live in a city where I could in fact fly from one destination to another - places I wanted to be - directly.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

These days I pretty much only fly in the service of fencing tournaments. This requires us to check our luggage (sporting equipment, please, never "swords" or "weapons"). In a way this is very liberating. We wander the terminal and plane with our under-the-seat book bags, unencumbered by luggage, and drift off the flight without bringing large heavy bags on our heads. I do try to book direct flights and never a change of airline, to minimize the risk of lost luggage. The only time mine was actually lost I was by myself, on vacation, and could wait the day for it to be retrieved and returned.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

tao has an hyperactive google

Posted by: bh72 | August 23, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

tao has an hyperactive google

Posted by: bh72 | August 23, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Rarely google. Yahoo with an occasional bing.

Not too much, bing linking can be addictive.

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Talitha, even if I'd had clothespins to "take up" the gap in the curtain, there still would have been half-moon openings on the top and bottom -- THAT's how big the gap was! :-O

It's rare that my trips are long enough to require a checked bag, but I really do comply with the spirit of the "one carry-on [that actually FITS in the overhead], one personal item" rule. I appear to be the exception most times, though. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Bing linking sounds like fun. I hear if you do it too much you can go blind.

Posted by: baldinho | August 23, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I've heard there is a 12-step program for bing linkers who can't get their linking under control.

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I hear Monty Python had chronic linking problems...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people have linking problems, but they google to cover it up.

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I wonder if your bosses appreciate what you went through to get to Houston? Was it worth the money, really? Sounds like the trip from h3ll. I'd go find the best steak house in the city and have a wonderful, expense report meal!

When we went to Costa Rica last winter I measured my carry on bag and discovered it was larger than what was allowed on the airline. I went out and bought a smaller one. Watching other passengers with bags even bigger than my original one, I realized that I was an idiot who was out $100 for nothing! But at least I didn't have to fight with it to get it into the overhead.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 23, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, innit amazing how some people expect the "fits in all overhead compartments" marketing claim to hold true even when they had to sit on the darned thing to close it up at all? *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 23, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

In an all day meeting and missed the wonderful back to school discussion, with young ones still in the house, crayons, markers, sharpies, pencil crayons abound around here. But my all time favorite it playdoh, we just purchased the halloween package, 80 small containers in a variety of colours - hours of entertainment, love the scent and feel of new playdoh.

Did anyone else use leftover wallpaper for their book covers, that is what we used for years after my parents did a rather major reno to the house.

I have only backboodled quickly and haven't made it through all the links but saw this story and smiled,

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

On my the return from first trip to Suzhou, China, I packed my snazzy new lap top in my checked baggage for the flight out of Shanghai to San francisco. Alas when I got to SF, no bag. After waiting around a while the baggage clerk said 'sorry charlie, chalk it up to experience and never check valuables in Shanghai.' But low and behold about 2:00 AM I got a call from a courier with by bag trying to find my house outside Petaluma.

Posted by: bh72 | August 23, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

You mean they won't let you carry swords aboard, Ivansmom? What is this world coming to? Air travel must be psychically very difficult for ninjas and the occasional traveling samurai.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 23, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

dmd - OOOOOOHHHH - Mother always gave us leftover wallpaper for bookcovers. I hesitated to mention it earlier. Brown grocery bags that we decorated ourselves or old wallpaper - very durable. Of course, everyone may have thought we were art snob-geeks but what did we know?

I'm wishing a peaceful, dreamless (at least no Jack-in-the-Box nightmare) sleep to Mr.A. And bless all travelers who ride the tops of trains or slog in floodwaters tonight, too.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

tao gives TMI without TMI.

Here a non bing link
hang on Sloopy

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 23, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

As one who hopped the pond for TEN days with sufficient clothes in a ROLLABOARD (regulation size), don't talk to me about the wait for checked luggage! It was wonderful not to have the huge suitcase to schlep around. I do need a slightly larger knapsack, to carry the netbook AND a book.

It was aggravating to have to wait (and wait and wait) for Mr. T's checked bag while I had all mine right there. My only problem is that I'm not tall enough to put the rollaboard in the overhead bin by myself. For that, I need Mr. T...

The other good reason for the rollaboard was that I didn't have space to bring home stuff, so I didn't buy much. Saving of space AND money, what's not to love?

Yanno, I can't ever recall putting covers on any of my textbooks. I seem to recall other kids doing it, but it wasn't a requirement. Especially when the textbook was 6 years old. We seldom got new ones.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

My wife used wallpaper for a couple of our daughters' books. The boys would sooner eat glass than allow it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 23, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I read an NYT article about packing last spring which advocated rolling clothes up rather than folding them, shoes on the side etc. Following these suggestions allowed me to pack a single large bag for myself and the Boy for two separate one-week trips, one with lots of clothes. Fewer wrinkles at the destination too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 23, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

That makes my gullit hurt, 'mudge!

Off kit -----
Any of you familiar with The Chalk Guy?

His newest stuff is featured under an endless link, so just google "Images for The Chalk Guy" if it interests you.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I-mom, somewhere years ago I read about rolling clothes for packing, especially in a duffel or backpack. It's much easier to locate the item you want that it is from a stack and, yes, fewer wrinkles!

Another good tip is to pack small, like items (underwear, socks) in a gallon plastic bag, compress and burp out the air. Instantly locate what you need and it packs really well.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha. I can so relate to this kit. The only advantage I now have is getting better seats cause I fly so much. Even so, unless you're in first class (which is like going to heaven) elbow wars are the norm as the airlines pack every square inch with humans and their gear.

Posted by: Windy3 | August 23, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I've been rolling my clothes for years and was sort of shocked to learn that many people didn't know about this neat way to pack. You are correct Ivansmom about the lack of wrinkles too. If only it worked for people, I could roll myself up at night and voila, in the morning I'd look years younger.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 23, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I believe that I have stayed in a La Quinta before. This was in New Mexico. As I recall I rather liked it. They had one of those automatic waffle makers.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 23, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Those waffle makers are gooood.

Posted by: Windy3 | August 23, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

That's the secret! Amazing how much better it is to roll the clothes you're packing. I also took a very small bottle of detergent and washed what I needed to.

I do need to have a couple of extra quart plastic bags on hand. I managed to tear the one with my liquids and had to take it through security a couple of times. A spare is a good idea. That, and a roll of duct tape.

Posted by: slyness | August 23, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but I learned about rolling clothes when packing when I was in the Boy Scouts, er, well, half a century ago.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | August 23, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, 'mudge, they wouldn't let me into the Boy Scouts. They wouldn't let me take shop class either so I was consigned to home economics classes with girls who couldn't thread a needle or boil water at the age of 16. Choices were limited in olden times.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I usually don't have the energy to roll my clothes. But I also check my bag cause I don't have to pay and I don't want to get hurt lifting it above my head. It's enough just shielding one's self from all the other over sized bags people stuff into the bins. It's like a rock slide. You almost need a helmet and heavy gloves to survive unscathed week after week. Or....first class...ahhhhhh.

Posted by: Windy3 | August 23, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I am off on a road trip this weekend and will try rolling my clothes.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of choice, anyone from Olde Virginie will be thrilled with the Grand Poobah of Law, Cuccinelli's latest escapade.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

mr. joel: the last time i flew for the benefit of the employer, i had to be on the road for a whole week, so a big back was required. at the lovely airlines, i checked it and paid the lady. i had a non-stop flight to hotlanta. when i got off the plane my bag did not make it to the pick up carousel. i checked with the lady there. she gleefully told me that somehow it had not made it onto my flight, and no--she could not give me my money back. (i was only 90 minutes early.) my choices were to wait for the next flight in from my hometown, as surely my bag would be on that one, or proceed to the hotel and let the same airlines that had screwed up this operation try to find me in a town with 25,000 hotels. i opted to wait for the next flight. guess what. no bag. another flight, still no bag. i now understand the baggage people do this for fun. (make the dummy wait all night, i think the game is called.) another flight, your guessed it. so after waiting three hours for the bag i go to the hotel with no clothes, no toothpaste, etc. in the morning i wake up at 5 am and go down to the lobby of the grand hoohaw, where not a creature is stirring, and dig up a half-dead janitor who finds someone with a key to the bag storage room, where about 500 bags are being held for ransom. with no id of any kind i am allowed to pick my bag out of a pile of luggage and start my wonderful week. from now on my bag goes in overhead storage in the cabin, forever. sorry.

Posted by: butlerguy | August 23, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Virginia is leading the way back to back-alley abortions. The good old days?

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 6:11 PM |

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

tao, I think pills may frustrate the Virginia attorney general, unless his staff come up with pill prohibitions.

The NY Times has a report on New Orleans' improved flood protection system, due for completion a year from now. It seems a bit muddled, speaking of 100-year and 500-year protection. To the best of my knowledge, low areas of Tokyo, Amsterdam, Shanghai have 1,000-year protection. Hundred-year protection seems unsuited for areas inhabited by humans. Maybe not even adequate for cattle.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 23, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

DotC: The abortion pill myth.

The pill may get better, but probably not before New Orleans in under water again.

I've moved from one doomed coastal location in Florida to another, but have actually raised my BFE by moving south.

The Ocala ridge may be best for those expecting to live into the next century. (NB: The name Ocala supposedly derives from a Timucuan word for island.)

Posted by: -tao- | August 23, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

I really hope that boodlers watched (or will) Jon Stewart and Co. nail Fox to the wall tonight connecting the dots between R. Murdoch, the Saudi fellow (that owns part of Fox) that the Fox morning guys are accusing of funding the Muslim center, et cetera. That was fun, fun, fun! *ROTHFLMAO*

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I was sure when you christened this post "Air Schlep" that it was going to be a continuation of the Rush Limbaugh story.

Posted by: asparaguspee | August 23, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Watched it Talitha,loved Team Stupid and Team Evil.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 23, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

dmd, they are the wonderful 'and Co.', eh?

Now Jon is skewering Blaggo - Mercy! Actually, Blaggo skewers himself.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 23, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of misspelled signs and protesters of the Burlington Coat Factory Mosque, this one was used in a cheesy music video my dad e-mailed me.

You are on your own to find the video.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 23, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

doesn't everybody know . . . ?

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

tao, I was thinking of a Kristof column, not that he's the best source of info on pills.

Sea level rise during the 20th century has already had great effects on the southern end of the Everglades and the Florida Keys. In Miami, high water, even routine high water from spring tides, keeps getting higher. Harold Wanless of the University of Miami has spent a career watching sea level creeping up. He thinks his city is doomed.

Here's a photo of a for-real flood barrier on Sumida River in Tokyo. My impression is that the neighborhood behind it was always right at sea level, and has probably subsided significantly over the past century:

Wanless thinks it's impossible to protect Miami this way because the limestone rock is extremely porous (the Corps has proposed some such barrier on the west side anyway. Lots of pilings to be sunk).

If such a levee were feasible, who would want it? It would be like the Israeli movie "Lemon Tree" where a prominent political type builds a house with a view of the West Bank and ends up with a view of a blast wall.

My nominee to be Florida's New Orleans is the affluent Broward County community of Weston, created out of the Everglades and utterly dependent on levees.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Something to get you moving in the morning.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 5:40 AM | Report abuse

80's music.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Another one from the 80's. Very nice beat.

Of note during these 80's according to wiki history:

"Jean Baptiste Lully, the renowned French composer and director of the Parisian Opera, dies of blood poisoning after stabbing himself in the foot with his conducting baton."

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Today's online Washington Post front page is almost like reading the Onion. Gas prices at a seven month low; Bristol Palin getting over 10K for a speech; Tom Delay's trial moving forward; AIG paying back the US government $4B....

I think Barrack is missing a huge opportunity and should have AIG come to the White House with one of those big cardboard checks written out for 4 Billion and made out to the US Treasury.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Given the number of 90-degree days we've had this summer, I really don't have a problem with a cloudy Dawn Patrol with a refreshing breeze and forecast highs in the 70s.

*rehearsing-my-"Singing-In-the-Rain"-performance-for-this-afternoon Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel is in Houston covering more Deepwater Horizon hearings.

It doesn't sound very exciting.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

*hanging my head at a so-called "health" writer's apparent fetish for twisting research results to fit her agenda*


A much better examination of the research:

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. 69 degrees and lower humidity, life is good. A little rain would be nice, of course, but I'm not to the complaining stage yet.

Hi Cassandra! I hope you are well and cool today. Is everybody ready for the start of school tomorrow?

Have a great day, everyone!

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Around here some schools started yesterday and others don't start until next Monday. The calendar for this year seems particularly whacky. Today was my wife's first day of pre-school year meetings. She wasn't happy about it.

My wife uses an acupuncturist for foot pain after going through several different conventional treatments. If it a placebo, it works, so what is the difference?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

If she benefits from a placebo, great, but that's the point exactly, yello. Study after study shows it's an elaborate placebo treatment, regardless of how the variables are manipulated, yet the writer wants to hand-wave away the science and suggest "we don't know how it works." *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I'm so busy these days I pretty much run through the shower and can't remember the last time I ate food at a table over a plate, rather than over a desk or a sink.

But I thought I'd take a moment to wish Mudge a Happy ninehundredandsixtysomethingth Birthday.

You are the wind (broken) beneath my glutes, sir. HFB.

[Hope that at least got a cackle out of ya, big guy. Have a good day.]


Posted by: -bc- | August 24, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Gene Weingarten's new comic strip has become a punchline.


Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Mudge! I hope you have a delightful day.

Yello, NC law says public schools can't start before August 25. Exemptions are granted for the mountain counties, which are likely to lose days in the winter. The General Assembly passed the law in response to lobbying by businesses that employ youths and/or cater to families, so as not to take away their labor forces before the end of summer. No comment on the wisdom of said law.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I don't do the No Duh News blog anymore, but this would surely qualify.

Digital diversions leave teens, parents sleep-deprived

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

A very happy birthday to Mudge. Hope you have something fun planned with the family.

Still rainy and cool here. Not complaining as I have plenty of sweatshirts.

Jon Stewart was terrific last night about the connection between Faux news and the Saudi guy (investor).

Posted by: badsneakers | August 24, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Oboy... slyness, please call your FD buddies, they're about to light 'Mudge's cake.

Happy Birthday, 'Mudge!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 24, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, mudge. Here's hoping for another thousand or so.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Bonjour les Boodleurs!

Happy birthday, Mudge! At this rate you are quickly getting older than me. :)

Last time I flew, I used Copa. The cheese omelette was recognizable as such. The one hour change of airplane in Panama took one hour. The ticket cost at least half of what others charged.


Posted by: Braguine | August 24, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

A recent Florida law prohibits opening schools before the last week of August. School opening dates had been creeping into early August. Parents were outraged.

Lully's unusual death is quite famous. A few of his pieces are still played, when the magnificence of Versailles needs to be invoked. Perfect mood music.

Good work, Scottynuke.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Mudge!

Posted by: Moose13 | August 24, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Ah, indeed the PT Cruiser is an adapted Chrysler PL platform, which also was used for the the 2nd Gen Neon. Designed to look like a 1930s/40s sedan (retro, but done before the new BMW MINI), it is actually rather small compared to a real SUV, but with more interior space than a Neon, and certainly far more than a MINI (though the Clubman's closer).

The PT's a serviceable vehicle and right snappy when equipped with the GT package, 2.4 L High Output turbo and manual trans.

Saw mention of the Chevy Gnat, and thought of the Aveo. Small, yet, well, small.

I have some backboodling to do here...


Posted by: -bc- | August 24, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

*cackle, cackle,cackle*

Yup, thank you, bc. Yes, this is what ftb has taken to calling our "Beatle" birthday: Will you still need me when I'm 64. Or in my case (not hers) 964.

slyness, are there any of your world-renowned ham biscuits in the Ready Room?

Yes, I was born the same day as Matilda of Tuscany (I'm sure you all remember her) and the same day Pope Clement II crowned Henry the Black (Henry III, if you're good with numbers) Holy Roman Emporer. Black Hank, as we called him, was, as you know, king of Germany, having been duke of Bavaria and succeeded Herman IV as duke of Swabia. Hank was also king of Burgundy. Of course, I had nothing to do with any of them, being a good little Norman child swaddled in cast-off rags of the household of Guillaume II de Normandie, the duke, also known as Guillaume le Bâtard, and yes, bâtard means what you think it does, since he was born illegitimate, as was I. So later on, when he became William the Conqueror and I was helmsman on his flagship, we would greet each other as "Billy, you old bâtard," and he would call me, "Cap'n Mudge, you little bâtard!"

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

And yes, Jon Stewart was really outstanding last night.

Have nothing fun planned this evening, badsneaks, except my wife and I have to go over our third, revised, adjusted insurance estimate on the hail damage from May. We're slowly creeping up on roughly $40k, which is what it's gonna cost to re-do both the house and the garage. Fun fun fun.

And my birthday present is an exercise in delayed gratification: in October we're taking a week-long cruise to Bermuda for our wedding anniversary, so my birthday present, Christmas present, and anniversary present this year are all combined in my share of the cruise. We're going steerage, but I'm hoping for an upgrade to bunkerage.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all and many happy returns to Mudge!

We are all happy here because it is raining. I'm afraid we won't get nearly as much rain as we need but every drop helps. It is so dry, when you walk the grass crunches and bits break off the bushes. Rain also means the temperature has dropped by 20 degrees; it is only in the '80s.

We regularly stay at a La Quinta in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. It is clean, modern, roomy, has free wi-fi and a nice pool, and a tasty breakfast. The manager is also a great guy.

Our favorite hotel/motel breakfast is provided by the Lamplighter Inn in Santa Fe. It has the usual bagels, muffins, cereal etc., but also lots of fruit, yogurt, kashi, and other tasty treats, along with very good coffee and teas. Their pool is very nice as well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Paul McCartney called Bill Clinton and sang it to him last week. Best I can do is YouTube, Mudge. Have a happy one!

Posted by: -pj- | August 24, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Just for you, Mudge! Country ham biscuits, fresh and hot on the ready room table. With fresh squeezed orange juice, Kona coffee, and assorted Tazo teas...

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning,friends. I can only imagine the horrors of flying. I don't really want to know first-hand! I love trains!

Happy, Happy, Birthday, Mudge. Oh, may you have so many more!

Slyness, the kids are crying foul because the summer break is over. It seems it went by so fast but I think that's because we had to stay inside for most of it. The heat was so oppressive, the kids didn't really get out to play much. Pray for the director of the after-school program, I'm really worried for her. She's having test done for a mass in her throat. I don't know how this is going to impact the after school program, and even worse, what's going to happen with her. She hasn't had the surgery yet, and already I want to cry. She smokes too. She really needs your prayers guys. Thanks a bunch.

The g-girl is still here. I took her home yesterday, but she refused to stay. "I want to go with you" was the cry that could be heard out loud! Ah, grandkids, you got to love them even when your body screams, no more.

Have a wonderful day, folks, and know that you are loved so much by this crazy woman in rural North Carolina!

I can't explain it, but I know all of you have a special place in my heart, although so much of the time, I feel like the odd man out. It is surprising to me, but I don't fight it, just go with it because it's lovely. And there just aren't enough lovely things in this world.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 24, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

If ya wanna lose weight, here's the Chilean Trapped Miners' diet:

Every other day eat half a cracker, a spoonfull of canned fish and drink half a glass of milk.

You should lose twenty pounds in seventeen days.


Posted by: Braguine | August 24, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

You certainly have a special place in my heart, Cassandra.

School here started last week. Along with many parents I would welcome a later start. It is so hot, and in the older buildings air conditioning is so variable, that the schools are losing money they don't have just keeping the buildings open and full. It is hard for hot, cranky kids to learn. The early August starts also really hit seasonal and tourist businesses hard.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 24, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Mudge!

Posted by: -jack- | August 24, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

BBC reports today's the 1600th anniversary of the first Sack of Rome.

Funny how the sack of May 1527 gets more attention these days.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I remember reading a description of the 1527 sack of Rome that made me sick on my stomach for days, Dave. It was in a biography of Isabella d'Este, Marchesa of Mantua, one of the leading lights of the Italian Renaissance. Interesting life she had...

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Mudge!

Mudge's greeen beans with capers (boodle of 28 Jul 08) were a big success at the combined birthday bash last weekend. So were the rolled pork filets, Apulian-style potatoes with and onions and the multi-coloured glazed carrots I must say.

The Chevrozuki Swifteo+ is a nice little econo-box but I'm surprised a company would offer it as a rental in the US, it's too darn small for most people. Reminds me of a time, more than ten years ago, when I got a rental from a manufacturer I didn't know even existed, the Korean Kia. They weren't sold in Canada yet. The Sephia was well appointed but the engine was not powerful enough for all the equipment fitted on the relatively heavy car. When the AC was getting on the car was slowing down and the auto trans downshifted. Really annoying on the ring road of San-Antonio in +90F weather.

Why is this people are let to carry 2-3 suitcase/backpacks/sports bags as carry-ons while the very same airline has posted regulations that says that only ONE carry-on is permitted. One of each style is OK?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Sir Curmudgeon!!!

When I turned two I was really anxious, because I’d doubled my age in a year. I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I’m five I’ll be 64. ----- Stephen Wright

Another tune from the boys.

My dearest friend on earth was born the same day/year as you which makes me a very happy birthday wisher indeed. Have a wonderful day and don't save all the celebrating for that cruise!

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Hippo BIrdies to Mudgies.

bc, thanks for that as I think I like the PT cruiser AND that space in a smallish car. When my 1997 Sable dies, then I might hope to drive that, when I am not biking.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | August 24, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The Biebermobile was parked just down the street when I came in this morning. Nice set of wheels, Canadian-made too. It's a full-size 102" wide Prévost Car bus in bronze and chrome with custom rims. It beats the PT-Cruiser in style and comfort.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

There are quite a few odd men out here, Cassandra. Ahem. But not you. Say, what happened to that Socky Knickertwister chap? I liked him.

I like the accupressure massage, myself. Because along with your placebo, you get the massage.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 24, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse


(You rate all caps today)

Warmest Regards,


Posted by: jp1954 | August 24, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I generally do not check luggage, since I am a tiny human and can pack for a week in a backpack. The one time I did was because I had a job interview and was therefore carrying-on a suit bag and stupidly adhering to the "one carry-on only" rule. When we arrived at KCI, I was able to watch the bags travel from the plane up the conveyor to the carousel next to the gate. My bag never came. Luckily, I had planned ahead and had all essentials for the interview in the suit bag.

However, Midwest Airlines was true to its word and my bag was on the next flight out from their hub in Minneapolis. It was dropped off to my hotel by that evening, and they called to confirm that I had received it.

As a side note, I'd recommend Midwest any day. They may be a bit more pricey, but the whole plane is one rate with large, comfortable leather seats and warm chocolate chip cookies as in-flight snack. Pleasant service, too.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | August 24, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I know how much the Boodle hates food talk and recipes, but here goes, anyway. Over the weekend we had house guests, and my wife made a recipe I'd found 2 weeks ago when the WaPo posted it's annual tomato recipe section (8/11). It was Margo McKay's Tomato Lemon Mint Salad, and it was insanely, insanely good. Margo's version called for Stilton cheese with lemon rind, which we couldn't find, plus lemon marmalade, which we not only couldn't find but never even heard of, and rice vinegar, which we were out of. But we creatively substituted, which worked just fine. In place of the Stilton with lemon rind we just use ordinary crumbled blue cheese; for the lemon marmalade we used lemon curd, which Safeway carries, and for the rice vinegar ordinary apple cider vinegar. So here's what we wound up using/doing:

1 very, very large or 2 medium ripe red tomatoes
1 very, very large (or 2 small, etc.) ripe yellow tomato
3/4 teaspoon (or to taste) finely ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon curd
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
4 sprigs mint (finely chop the leaves from 2 sprigs; use 2 sprigs for garnish)


Wash and dry tomatoes (de-seed them if you wish). Cut into slices and alternate red and yellow slices on a (preferably white) plate, overlapping slightly, until the plate is covered. Sprinkle the tomatoes evenly with the salt and pepper.

Whisk together the lemon curd, vinegar, lemon zest and oil in a small bowl until it has emulsified. Use a spoon to drizzle the dressing evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and then the chopped mint. Garnish with the remaining mint sprigs. Serve at room temperature.

At first, one might think that lemon doesn't go with tomatoes. Boy, would that be a wrong assumption, because people often put a slice of lemon in tomato juice or V-8 (I do, anyway).

Mind-blowingly good, though I suppose one must like blue cheese. Never had a lemony dressing on any kind of salad before. Opens up whole new avenues of ideas, though.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Dave intheC...

Yeah, batons must be watched.

As far as the '80's go, the 1780's were really great.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The airline carry-on rules are "one carry-on item and one personal item." The carry-on item goes in the overhead compartment and must conform to those universally ignored baskets by the check-ins. The 'personal item' can be a purse, bag, briefcase, or backpack provided it fits underneath the seat in front of you. If you are in a bulkhead seat, this item must go in the overhead.

Note that a bag and a purse count as two items. My wife always carries a bag big enough to stash her purse in while boarding.

When flying puddle-jumpers, they will take your overhead bag at the gate to put in the cargo area, give you a receipt and you get that bag back at the gate when the plane lands.

Southwest, which has open boarding and free checked bags, invariably fills up all the overhead bins. Which is why that coveted A boarding number is so valuable.

That is your know-it-ally info dump on the topic.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday Mudge!

It is relatively cool in Tampa this morning, but mainly because of the intermittent thunder showers. Good weather for planting the jatropha I bought yesterday to replace the hibiscus. A little research shows the quite pretty plant (and cold hardy to below freezing) has potential as a bio diesel crop.
(click on the pic for a larger image)

I fly far more often than I care to but take some pleasure in deliberately booking the Tampa to Mpls flight that has the best chance of being overbooked. I find that it is easy to jump ahead of other bump volunteers, and get a voucher worth about 2 round trip flights, by very pleasantly telling the gate agent that there is no hurry to rebook me "I can leave tomorrow if that's better for you."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 24, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

the Republican leadership wants to make the Arbusto tax cuts permanent. Not surprising:

The interesting thing is where the money goes:

Posted by: -jack- | August 24, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge! Thanks for sharing the recipe and happy birthday!!!

As I read your last post, I happen to have been enjoying a bowl of gazpacho from the farmer's market which had a nice tangy flavor provided by lemon. I added a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt.

Nice fresh "real" tomatoes can carry a vibrant dressing.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, YOU might have thought the 1780's were great, weed, but Al Hamilton and I were busy getting our a----s shot at down at Redoubt #10 a couple hundred yards outside of Yorktown, and that was just the start of the decade. The Brits gave up, but it took two more years getting a peace treaty out of 'em. Then there was all that time I spent sweating my brains out up in Philly, taking notes and being scribe to the convention. You've heard of the Miracle at Philadelphia? Well, the miracle was I didn't die of writer's cramp and heat stroke.

I don't even wanna talk about mess in France, or the Cowberry War in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. And Bill Bligh got his ship mutinied out from under him too, though I can't say I was too surprised about that. Great navigator, no people skills.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Hey jack,

Along those same lines and to put this into perspective, Last night on MSNBC, David Cay Johnston mentioned that all Federal Income Tax revenues from Jan and Fed, 2010 were needed to cover just the interest on the Bush Tax cut caused deficits.

I think that I have to agree with Krugman's characterization of the act (through Republican budget reconciliation, we should point out) with the term "hoodwinked" as appropriate.

Pair that with that oh, so rich battle against the "Death Tax" and it is just astounding what we may give up to our most wealthy few. Whenever I discuss this tax with someone and they mention (1) double taxation and (2) family farmers, I know that the discussion is not going anywhere. I had to laugh when David Cay Johnston said pretty much the same thing last night, as those are the "seemingly water tight arguments" against taxing the rich.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

yeah, rt. it sould seem like the magic words tax cut is enough co compel most folks to be blind to any other language that both precedes and proceeds from that text.

totally unrelated: Damon back to Beantown?

Posted by: -jack- | August 24, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Curmudgeon!

Weingarten chats today.

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I got into a Facebook fight this morning because a high school chum was deriding Obama as ALWAYS being on vacation. I sent an article showing that the date-to-date record is Obama 45, Dubya 115. How do these things even become talking points?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Has the smoke cleared in Cowtown Yoki?
BIl was close by recently and found it really unpleasant...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

It is pretty clear today, shriek; from Thursday until early yesterday my eyes were red and stinging (which did not help my good looks any), and there were four asthma deaths in town on the weekend. It was bad.

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, please forgive! I forgot about our more seasoned fighting types.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Yuck! It should start to snow soon, that will finish to clear things up.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

To our dear Mudgekins on the day of his birth:

Turn 'em up high and sing along. Feel free to do the same for me on Sunday.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 24, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Weingarten has a mention in the intro to his chat today that raw bread dough is potentially fatal if consumed by a dog.

Now where have we heard this before?

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse


Chicken Kabobs about to be prep'ed for later. Just finished them mid-post. Oil, vinegar, yogurt, thyme, oregano, parsley, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne, Lemon juice and Key Lime juice. Added a bit of old Pinot Gris along with some sea salt.

Yikes!!! good thing I wrote, this! I forgot the crushed garlic.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Weed! That sounds fabulous. Gives me some ideas for a grilled supper tonight :-)

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like those kebabs could use a touch of brown sugar or honey, weed; a fleeting touch.

'mudge, hope everything works out just right for you today etc.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Traveling with a child is always an adventure. First, they want you to board first, when I want to board last. Asking a child to sit around with nothing to do, not even a safety film to watch, while others get their act together (what? you didn't know you'd want that book out of your bag before you stuffed it in the overhead?) is no fun. And nope, can't take out that tea set to play with until we've reached cruising altitude. Let me board last. Everyone (especially those lucky enough to be seated near us) will be happier. (You can only sing so many verses of wheels on the airplane, though I've had others add their own verses for the fun of commenting on nearby passengers.)

Another good one...they won't let me pack one big bag for two people and check it, but have me yank two smaller bags into the airport while trying to hold tickets, purse, backpack, DC's hand and the muffin she's going to eat at the gate. Once, they insisted I pay an additional $75 because my one and only checked bag was 61 pounds, until I offered to let them put DC in the belly of the plane, I'd take the suitcase in the seat since she weighed a whopping 42 pounds.

And you know she has her own carry-on. Pink, with wheels.

yj, having spent a couple of decades with a titan of industry type, I can tell you that going somewhere else with a blackberry, two cell phones, a laptop, an air card, a security briefcase and a leather one, sometimes staff, the one thing it ain't is a vacation. Yeah, he'd meet up for a look at Shamu with the kids, but with an earpiece in his head (and yet still expecting brownie points for showing up), but still, not a vacation.

Off to school shop. (Mudge, the days of school shopping you described are alive and well. I couldn't get DC into a pair of jeans if I promised her a puppy, and even the suggestion of a t-shirt with a skirt will get me an eye-roll and a 'muh-ther, puh-leeze!' As for shoes, well, I can't complain, as that apple didn't fall far from the tree.)

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 24, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

If you don't like air travel now, just imagine if the domestic airline industry goes the way of the rail travel industry.

e.g. - Good news: more room for cargo, carry on baggage, and passengers on said aircraft.

Bad news: There's more room because they've done away with galleys and washrooms. You arrive 2 hrs before the flight to get your Depends when you check your ticket in at the counter and have time to don them in a restroom before you leave. Arrive at the gate from the airport bar at the last second, and you'll be in a *real* holding pattern.


Posted by: -bc- | August 24, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to save my employer money on my work travel, but they sure do make it hard. All flight reservations must be made through the designated travel agent, because we can't be trusted to choose a reasonable fare ourselves. Better to pay the agent's fee every time. So I go online, pick out my flights, then call the agent and tell him exactly what I want. If I want to book a cheaper hotel than the designated conference hotel or share a room with an old grad school friend, that's an enormous hassle and extra paperwork. I'm doing it anyway -- if the university can't afford for me to have a phone on my desk or photocopy handouts for my class, it can use my penny pinching. I just wish I didn't have to pay for it in aggravation. (I've come to realize that the regulations are made by the state government; nothing the university can do about them. So I'm working on making my peace with it. It doesn't look like I'm there yet.)

Posted by: -bia- | August 24, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Brought a smile to my face, LIT :)

mudge. I can't believe you have only 1 birthday. I guess I saw you as one of the Immortals. Anyway, hope it's wonderful.

Long, hard week at work. I gave a presentation this morning and came down with a sore throat afterwards. Now a headache. My cousin, a good friend until we both left Boston for opposite coasts, is in town this week. We hope to do longwood gardens on Thursday. Hoping a good sleep fixes my head and throat!

Posted by: -dbG- | August 24, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, if I could do what I would really prefer today, rather than what is in the budget, it would be some tiger shrimp and veggies over rice with a spicy lemon sauce.

I know, pedestrian.

Tomorrow, I will be doing farmer's market sourced green beans with red peppers in a hot pepper and bean curd and soy sauce in the wok. That will be about a 10 cents out of pocket dish. Pantry to work!!!

Yoki, I am just on a country style pork shoulder ribs mode. The leftovers can go into almost everything. Right now, I would do them in a mustard vinegar sauce really slow for about 4 or 5 hours outside on a grill. If you can get the internal temp up to about 185 or 190 without rushing them and have a water pan in the grill/smoker, you should have serious succulent.

Oh, yeah, right now, I would love to find a good buy on some tuna that I could sear up and drop into a Salade Nicoise. Come to think of it, also a great use for green beans and I do have an extra potato ...

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I get raves on my kabobs since I began to cut the onions into kabob-sized pieces and pre-caramelize them beforehand. Then I assemble the kabobs. Even pre-cooked the onion will burn less: the H2O in them becomes mobile. One combo is chicken, the onion, pieces of pineapple, and a single piece of peach flesh in the center.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 24, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

rt and Jumper-you really must join us in the $15 challenge. You both should probably have some kind of handicap though since I don't think either the dollar limit, or the requirement that you eat well, will be a challenge.

Off to the gym, will have to buy some peaches on the way home.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

That sounds divine, Jumper. Grilled peach, what's not to love?

You folks are making me hungry. Maybe I'll do mustard sauce on the boneless ribs that are defrosting...

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Jumper! Last week, I sort of did the same thing with my red peppers and onions. I cut them and tossed them on the grill pan first since the onions don't get done by just searing the edges in a kabob. I also just like grilled red bell peppers. I am marinating my chicken right now, but didn't marinate the onions, eggplant and bell peppers that I plan on grilling later. I didn't want them to get soggy. THanks to your idea, I think that I will brush them with a marinade and with herds and grill them individually, first.

I usually prefer to assemble the kabob just before cooking.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

After these oil eating microbes become glutted from their Macondo feeding frenzy, will they become ravenous gangs of predators that begin to attack oil tankers?

We need a new scary story for after the Islamaphobia frenzy has run its course.

Posted by: -tao- | August 24, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Then we all agree that it is best to pre-cook the vegetables and fruit for a kebob. Can we also stipulate that the meat pieces should be grilled on very high heat so they get that little cripsy char on the corners and edges before they get horribly overcooked in the middle?

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 24, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Florida's establishment candidates for senator and governor may prevail in today's primary. There's certainly been heavy Democratic Party investment in Kendrick Meek's run for Senate, no matter that he's likely to come in third in the fall, after Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio.

A bright Oregonian idea: lure some freshwater kayakers to the ocean to learn about waves, wind, rock gardens, whatever.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I definitely have no desire to heat this particular debate back up again, but I was quite amused by this (arrogant, condescending, elitist metrosexual) bit from Jack Schafer's Slate piece last week:

"Unfortunately, the percentage of poll respondents who said Obama is a Muslim and could also successfully define Islam was not on the list of questions. Nor was the question, "If a Muslim bit you on the ass, would you be able to identify his religion?" I'm guessing that the percentage of respondents who would answer yes to either of those questions would be low, as would the percentage who could accurately describe the tenets of faith observed by Muslims."

Posted by: bobsewell | August 24, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

As the video I posted yesterday proved, these protesters can't even tell a Muslim from a carpenter with an Under Armour skull cap on his head.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 24, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Lumpy Waters. I think I dated him during my junior year in high school. 8^) That looks like a great group of folks but wearing that much gear in the ocean is foreign to my eyes. I'll take a body board and some waves off Kauai's south coast any day.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I use another technique. I spear the meat on one skewer and the veggies on separate one. Long medium heat cooking for the rabbit food and short high heat cooking for the Beast Chunks. Onions, bell peppers, zucchinis and saladette tomatoes responds well to this treatment. I'll have to try peach flesh.

Tao, the oil eating bacteria would have to get in cahoot with Thiobacillus ferrooxidans to attack the tankers.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 24, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Joel has an article about the hearing he attended today in Houston:

Posted by: -pj- | August 24, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

While I realize y'all are trading grilling recipes today, russianthistle's mention of country style pork ribs called to mind a simple recipe that is great for the ribs or for chicken parts. As the weather cools try this - it's like bar-b-que indoors. (I love it because everything but the meat is usually in the pantry so shopping is mindless.)

2-3 pounds country pork ribs or 1 cut up fryer chicken (or mix of parts)
For sauce whisk together ---
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. soy sauce
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I use spicy brown)
3/4 ketchup (substitute tomato paste, whatever)
1/3 c. honey (or 1/2 c. brown sugar)
salt and pepper
Place meat in a 2-quart casserole and cover with sauce.
Cover tightly and bake at 325degrees for 2 hours.

If the baking dish is sufficiently deep (like a souffle dish) and the sauce covers it well there's no need to turn the meat. It always comes out meltingly tender. A no brainer - just add sides, bread and a salad. It multiplies well for a crowd, too.

The original is from the Whole Earth Restaurant in Santa Cruz CA circa 1972, with my adaptations.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

scc: 3/4 -cup- ketchup . . .

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

OK talitha, I'm de-lurking in order to say that said recipe will be attempted in the near term. That sounds both easy and excellent. Thanks!

Posted by: cowhand214 | August 24, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Good story from da boss. God bless him for going and being in Houston, in August.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Good story from da boss. God bless him for going and being in Houston, in August.

Posted by: slyness | August 24, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome, cowhand - happy to oblige.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

slyness, now, if Joel could find some untainted eggs, he could test out the sidewalk as a griddle.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Talitha, yes, that looks good and exactly what you described. Based on a basic pantry, all you really need to return with from your shopping is the pork.

In fact, Mudge and I joked a couple years ago that what you have there is the fridge door marinade. I like what you have there and one must remember that you will be torturing anyone in the house for several hours. That aroma ...

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"It's so hot, the hens are laying poached eggs."

Posted by: -pj- | August 24, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I see John Boehner is in the news today. Something about the end of October/early November. I didn't read the article. Is it because once again this year Linus thinks John Boehner is going to rise out of the pumpkin patch and reward the good Republican girls and boys with presents?

Posted by: baldinho | August 24, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

The original dish at the restaurant was chicken thighs but the chef told me he used it for country pork ribs at home. I've experimented with beef cuts but the pork or chicken is much preferred.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

talitha, this sort of recipe was recommended by a couple of chefs as the only reasonable approach to preparing a beef blade steak. You could get a butcher to cut them for you in a similar fashion. I would just cut it off the bone if you have bone-in. I would cook it slower and lower, however. Also, you could do brisket or even flank or skirt.

Your chicken thigh option is a lot like your basic shoyu chicken. You have many of the same ingredients and the same methods on the heat.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't precook any fruit used for kabobs; it would get too mushy. Yoki is right, the meat must be allowed to get that char flavor only grilling can provide.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 24, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking how good a kabob of peach, onion, red Bell pepper and charred jalapeno would be, then sprinkled with cilantro and lime juice, served with grilled white fish. A salsa kabob!

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Weed, I have used the sauce with a brisket in the slow cooker - 8 hours on low - a couple of times and then shredded as one would for pulled pork BBQ and it was heavenly.

Posted by: talitha1 | August 24, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about changing topics from kabobs to the economy and the elections. I have been talking with so many people about what might happen come the November elections and I am thinking that the common wisdom may fail again.

The common wisdom to which I refer is that the Republicans will take over at least one of the houses of Congress. My observation that I see right now as a parallel to the last few months of 08 was that the Bush White House and the Fed were doing whatever that they possibly could to keep the economy from seizing up before they could ride off into the sunset. As we remember, they didn't make it.

I remember Prof. Ravi Batra speaking of this in late 07 and early 08 saying that they won't make it. The FED was dumping huge amounts of currency into the market at the time. Krugman was saying the same thing. By mid-08, large segments of the economy had started to shutdown. Sure, "most folks" still had their jobs, but things were already so tough for 20 to 30 million Americans. The youth, for instance, were not finding their way into the workforce. Managers were not hiring.

Well, my point is that I think we are right about their again. Business segment after business segment is just shutting down on new business development. A while back, when we thought that the unemployment rate was heading down, I made a comment that you guys might have believed was a bit insensitive to the unemployed. That would be a bit hard since, I am in that group based on a generally agreed upon definition. I just was pretty sure that the numbers would start climbing. That's indeed what has been happening.

Well, I think, with this in mind, the Republicans may be counting chickens before they hatch. Not that I believe that they are totally responsible, but they have been basically hoodwinking the public again on the tax cuts for the ultra wealthy and, right now, foreclosures are shooting up.

In some sort of strange way, yellojkt's YouTube link of the black union carpenter being yelled at and threatened seems to crystallize the problem for the Republicans.

They are counting on the very rich and the very angry.

They have few solutions that really help the average American. At this point, they are just not the Democrats which may have some merit. It seems that most Americans are going to be facing a choice where they know that only the Government of America can solve the economic crisis that we face and, with that in mind, you happen to have to send the folks to Washington who have an inkling of a clue how that's done.

You don't send Dr. Arthur Laffer who is in the wings just waiting to pull a Herbert Hoover "rabbit" out of a hat. This next month or two look like they will be very sobering for the American electorate. Corporate America is poised to spend billions of dollars to elect Republicans.

I just see that rattling peoples' cages.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I have said it before, and I'll repeat. The US election system has devolved into both parties trying to convince everyone that if they vote for them they won't have to fix any of the problems.

The GOP says to businessmen and the wealthy "vote for us and we will cut your taxes...YOU won't have to reduce the deficit."

The Dems say to their patrons... vote for us and we will keep your benefits and cut your taxes and maybe raise taxes on the other guys.... YOU won't have to reduce the deficit."

No matter who wins the problems continue. It is bassackward in my book.

Anyone who says anything about actually "solving" anything gets shouted down.... by both sides.


Posted by: baldinho | August 24, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Reporting back to the kabob team:

The chicken was in just smaller than one inch cubes. I tried to keep everything roughly the same size. I had cut each of the medium boneless chicken breasts into 7 pieces. I used about 1/3 of a pint of yogurt for 28 cubes along with the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, white wine, parsley, thyme, oregano, garlic, sea salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and a decent amount of black pepper.

I made 1/2 of my chicken after marinating for 8 hours. I followed the game plan of several of our chefs and cut up a Lombardo pepper (mild), a red bell pepper, a green pepper, 1/4 of an onion, and a small Asian eggplant. Those were all tossed in a bit of oil and a splash of red wine vinegar and spread out on a hot grill pan. I am guessing that they were on for about 6 to 10 minutes.

The grilled veggies were returned to the bowl and tossed with the marinade along with more herbs. I proceeded to build a couple of kabobs with my bowl of chicken and my bowl of grill veggies. 20/20 hindsight, I may have gone too long with the veggies.

Then, as I am want to do and under supervisory watch of Yoki, I cranked up the heat on the grill and put the two skewers on the fire. My first turn was 3 minutes, then about 2 to 2.5 after that.

With the oil and yogurt working with the heat, we gut the prescribed grill char.

Final impression? With white rice, the outcome was well worth the 7 or 8 dollars that I spent for 4 or 5 servings (plus a few pantry items). Only wish that I had some yogurt to whip up some fresh tzatziki to accompany the dish.

Since I will most likely cook the rest for lunch tomorrow, I'm in good shape to see how the chicken handles the yogurt based marinade for a full 24 hours. I've been told that 24 hours is optimum. I hope to find out and find out to the affirmative.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 24, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

As expected, Florida Democratic Senate candidate Meek beat the rich guy who dropped in after Meek had spent a year or so of diligent organizing, to little effect. Having been on the receiving end of (probably) hundreds of emails from Meek, his family, his party, his national endorsers AND having been invited to plop down $10K to have my photo taken with the President...I'm starting to think that persistence can pay. Not that I expect him to come in first in the general election (my guess is Crist, Rubio, Meek).

Surprised to see health care pirate Rick Scott ahead of McCollum for the Republican governor nomination. Even if McCollum comes across as someone who's long since exceeded his shelf life.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 24, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Late to report in again, another day of company meetings and then company dinner.

I am late but Happy Birthday Mudge hope you had a terrific day

Ribs! 8 days and counting until ribfest here in town on Labour Day weekend, the countries largest rib festival, four days of ribs - yum. A fun way to end the summer, school starts after Labour Day here so it is perfect.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 24, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse


We have BBQ on the Bow, the local NABF competition, on Sept. 4 and 5. Good eating! And the 5th is also Pride Parade and Street Festival. Excellent!

Posted by: Yoki | August 24, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: baldinho | August 24, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

More bear! (Video)

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

All of this continual bear talk is becoming unBearable.
An emBearassment.

More than I can Bear, ya might say.

Or you might not...


Posted by: -bc- | August 24, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I love Helen:

Happy Birthday, Mudge! Thus begins Boodle birthday season - there are a passel of them about now, I believe.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 24, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Tuesday, Science published a short but important report by Terry Hazen et al. "Deep-Sea Oil Plume Enriches Indigenous Oil-Degrading Bacteria". It tentatively offers a hopeful scenario for the Gulf's famous oil-eating bacteria to clean things up without seriously depleting oxygen. It looks as though dispersants may have been helpful.

For context, New Scientist gamely summarized work on Gulf oil plumes. Hazen's group is quite important and respected. Hazen is at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 25, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Hello, all! So glad to see some folks I hadn't seen in a while. Hope you feel better, dbG!

Lots of busyness and bittersweet things going on in my life these days. When things settle down I'll start keeping up with the Boodle more.

Happy birthday, Mudge!

Posted by: Wheezy11 | August 25, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Every year, the number of accidents for the month of Ramadhan and 1 month into Idilfitri is always the highest for the year. I’m terrified to be on the road during these 2 months. Most drivers’ minds are not on the road. They are planning what kind of gatherings they are going to have, who to invite, what food to serve, where the sales are (it doesn’t matter all the supermarkets in the country have sales on), etc.

I nearly got into an accident a couple of hours ago. A driver was on the must-exit lane in a round-about, but he didn’t exit. Instead he got into my lane when I was trying to exit. I’m still rattled by the near missed.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 25, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

The mad crush of people trying to get to food and friends in the evening in muslim communities in Bombay is quite something. Those areas (yes there are specific areas/enclaves) are impenetrable for a few hours.

I'm glad you're ok rainforest. I'm faxing you a relaxing drink.

The crush of Ramzan is nothing compared to the Ganpati/Ganesh Chaturthi festival that will begin after Id in a couple of weeks or so. We're talking about ~10 days during which many roads leading to the sea are impenetrable in the evening all over Bombay.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 25, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

thanks, DNA_Girl.

Posted by: Yoki | August 25, 2010 3:19 AM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki. I'm off to eat mom's bhindi aloo masala (okra/potato; my favorite!) and hot chapatis for lunch.
Here is a reasonable approximation:
except we prepare the okra first by partially slicing (lengthwise) and salting it.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 25, 2010 3:42 AM | Report abuse

Glad you're okay, rainforest!

Emma woke me up with a desperate request for the backyard. She decided to mix business with pleasure. My guess is she won't chase a skunk again but whether the experience of being sprayed or the bath with vinegar and Dawn was worse may be a tossup.

But I'm sure she learned something. I learned to shut my bedroom door when I get up at night to let them out. Because, you know, nothing says safety to a sprayed dog like underneath the bedroom's corner desk.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 25, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

If the skunk learned something too, this could turn out to be a win-win.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 25, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Bears and skunks! This blog is getting better all the time.

dbG-sorry to read of Emma's encounter, but I have to admit a fondness for skunks.

whew rainforest, glad to see you're ok

so many recipes, so little time. Round 2 of the great gingersnap quest begins today. Thinking that "refrigerator door marinade" holds promise for tonight's dinner-with chicken.

later gators!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 25, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. The g-girl is still here, but this is the first day of school, so time to get cracking. The bathtub calls, yet I still want to stay in bed!

Hope your day is just fantastic, folks, and for those of you starting school today, may God bless and keep you, and your family, as well as all of us. Love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 25, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra! *HUGSSS*

Even though it's Hump Day, there's something rather sad about traveling past the remnants of a county fair, and seeing a seemingly abandonded trailer with a packed-for-transport kiddie ride. *SIGH*

OK, time for more bears! How about Sayers? :-)

*waiting-for-the-clouds-to-clear-and-looking-forward-to-a-not-too-hot-kinda-day Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 25, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

DNA_girl, I worked for four years in an office building in Stamford, CT. The first floor was a parking garage next to a middle-Asian restaurant rund by Bangladeshis. To the right of the building was a restaurant run by Pakistanis. To the left, a restaurant run by a Hindus from India.

Anyone who thinks those immigrants were damaging our culture just doesn't like to eat.


Posted by: baldinho | August 25, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"Trouble shared is trouble halved."
-- Dorothy L. Sayers

Posted by: russianthistle | August 25, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, in the abstract, I agree. I read this morning that if you find the bottom part of your cornstalks nibbled, it's probably a skunk. I'd thought the aquirrels were eating more of the tomatoes they'd selected, bigger bites, so maybe it was a skunk.

Emma has no residual smell so either she wasn't sprayed or the vinegar/dawn is amazing. The living room and bedroom still smell, same side of the house. Wherever it sprayed, I think Emma was the precipitating factor. She bolted in here, frightened, and went to her safe place, tail tucked.

Off to work and to pick up more vinegar. Good day, all!

Posted by: -dbG- | August 25, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

The OTHER Sayers, Weed... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 25, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Oh, the one who could take a hit and gain several more yards.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 25, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 25, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

'Morning everybody. It's been pouring down rain for about an hour. I know we needed it but this is the fourth day and the first time it's rained this hard - almost like it finally remembered how to really rain after playing around for three days.

Still sweatshirt weather but they are forecasting the 90's again for the weekend. Personally, I'll be happy to have that heat again! Have a good day everyone.

dbG, glad the dogs didn't get hit any worse, skunk smell is just awful.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 25, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Ya know, this morning I don't feel a day over 64. Very strange.

E'en tho' mine fingers tremble as I type this, Gerson has a remarkably good column this morning (except for two or three sentences about Democrats).

Further, FSM help me, even Parker has a good column (I can't believe I'm saying these things. Have aliens taken over my body? What's happening? Is this the consequence of getting old? HELP ME!! Somebody!!)

And the Congressional Budget Office says the stimulus package added about 3.3 million jobs. But I'm sure one way or another, some glasshat will find a way to "blame" Obama for not adding 6 million, or else saying the 3.3 million doesn't exist, or something. Anything to refute good news. Let the inane, insane savagery begin.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 25, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, ye Boodlers!

Reporting signs of spring here. Streets in my neighborhood festooned with pink and white cherry blossoms

Last night, police used water cannons to disperse protesters raising hell over a proposed power plant. The plant, they claim, will raise water temperature by ten degrees Celsius in La Higuera coastal wildlife sanctuary. Five hundred species of fish, mammals and birds will be affected.

Water cannon in this cold--Brrr.


Posted by: Braguine | August 25, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Faxing Mudge a esrever gniga FAX :)


Posted by: Braguine | August 25, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey everybody. I'm finally home from my 0730 hours meeting. Gotta love the women of the church, especially the one who thinks we need to evaluate all our programs in depth. Uh, no. But it was an hour and a half of my morning to talk about it...

Seasea, loved the Helen blog. She makes much sense.

'Twas cool when Mr. T and I went walking this morning, down into the 60's. I could get used to this...

Onward into the busy day...

Posted by: slyness | August 25, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Mudge, my dear friend, I was puzzling over that same jobs/stimulus number and why so many are basically saying untruths about the stim. I think it is because it is so easy to convince Americans that, if we haven't added additional jobs to the economy then the stimulus couldn't have been effective or at least not nearly as effective as adding 3.3M jobs.

Would it be a better way of expressing this by saying that it saved 3.3M jobs? Or, without the stimulus, we would have lost an additional 3.3M jobs?

I hate to say it, but it comes down to semantics or, maybe, in this case, better word-smithing.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 25, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

No, weed, it comes down to the GOP not telling freaking lies. And the media having the cojones to call them on it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 25, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Those who prefer their English sloppy have only themselves to thank if the advertisement writer uses his mastery of the vocabulary and syntax to mislead their weak minds."

-- Dorothy L. "The Kansas Comet" Sayers

Posted by: russianthistle | August 25, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The problem the Dems have is that it is very hard to prove a negative. Most economists agree that without the stimulus package, we would have gone over the cliff, with business essentially frozen and unemployment approaching 20%. Biden did try and remind folks that when the Bush administration began, we had a surplus in the budget. Then we had two wars that weren't paid for because the Repubs don't believe in raising taxes even to pay for things that they support. When Obama took the reins, the surplus had turned into a trillion dollar deficit. And all Boehner has to say is fire the economics team and keep the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of the population, never mind that those tax cuts add to the deficit growth that they claim to hate. Oh, and what would they do? See us maybe next month and we might have some plan. Or maybe not until after November.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 25, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, of course I am with you 110%, but I'm not the problem. The problem is finding a way to Job Blow in Cleveland, Ohio. The other problem is that, under the questioning of the press, I have seen the same politicians to whom you may be referring get called on this and they mealy-mouth it, but then go right back with the crap at the very next opportunity. I hate to say it, but with FOX news and CNN, these politicians seem to have a free reign on creating their own facts.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 25, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Never ever meant to imply you were the (a) problem, weed.

Had no particular pol in mind.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 25, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The numbers are very squishy, and for all intents and purposes, are really just a viewpoint. There's nowhere to point and say see, it's there. That either side is playing with a squishy number isn't a surprise. (What are the chances the Dems are tweaking that number up as much as the Reps are tweaking it down?) It's how the game is played *in public*. (How the game is played behind the scenes is much different, e.g., Bob Dole and Bill Clinton worked extremely well together and have gotten along famously for years. Wouldn't know that from the national coverage of WJC's first term or the 96 campaigns.)

Also, weed, something you said last night about the Reps taking a chamber. Maybe. But it seems to me as far as campaign contributions go, corporate America hedges their bets and unions and interest groups round out the balance sheet. But it seems to me voters make their decisions not on what they hear on the national news, but on something that's near and dear to their hearts and that changes from voter to voter, even within a household. And Tip O'Neill was right, all politics is local. By and large, campaigns and elections are about two candidates, not two parties. This is especially true for midterm elections.

Off to find out why DC is so quiet. Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 25, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Very wise words LiT. I think every person I know uses different criteria for picking a candidate.

Also, in my experience, a quiet child is sometimes a child up to no good...

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 25, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Politicians being inconsistent? No! I love the "conservatives" who are deficit hawks who dominate the postings on the Union Leader. We have to cut all this wasteful government spending and blah blah blah. The other day we find out that the second source engine contract for the future military aircraft may be cut (or has been but some want it to be reinstated... can't remember which). That could cut 200 or so jobs in a plant in NH. They all jumped about how could we cut those jobs! Obama hates this country, he is cutting those jobs!

One man's wasteful government spending in another man's critical job. The best politicians use both statements in the same sentence.

It's not about cutting wasteful spending. It's about cutting the other guy's wasteful spending, and keeping mine. Ditto taxes and benefits.

Posted by: baldinho | August 25, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Lost, I really agree with Mudge that the numbers are pretty solid. I don't think, and I think that Mudge has said something like this in the past, that these are not just two different sides of an argument. As they say, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. The stimulus spending brought us jobs. It may have even saved the Detroit Auto industry as we know it and efforts have been made to super-charge our efforts in battery design and solar.

What's more, the Obama administration is getting badgered for supporting the states. We are quite literally going backwards towards a third world status at home. Locales are turning paved roads into gravel roads. We are letting teachers go and we are turning off street lights. All this to balance local budgets.

The hardest thing for me to understand is that those folks who will eventually benefit the most from Obama are the very same voters who think that he is hurting their country. Go figure.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 25, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse


That pork/chicken sauce you posted yesterday looks very tempting. I might make that this weekend. In the Food section today, they have a bunch of other barbecue sauces you may want to look at.

rainforest and DNA Girl,

Yikes! Be careful out there! Glad you are okay.

Posted by: -pj- | August 25, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Howdy. Even national politics is local. Hereabouts the Congressional 5th District is a safe Republican seat. It was effectively decided in yesterday's primary run-off. The seat will be open because its current occupant, Mary Fallin, is running for Governor. There were 5 or 6 Republican candidates alone, 2 Dems, and a couple of Independents (no party, here) before the primaries. Of the two Republican run-off candidates, one was a young man who spent twelve years running a huge Southern Baptist church camp (Falls Creek, anyone?) and has never held political office. The other was a slightly less young man who was in the state House for a while, enlisted as a lawyer in the National Guard and went to Iraq as a prosecutor, and has run unsuccessfully for higher office since. The Baptist had some broad support. The State Rep has always been backed by Club for Growth. OKC recently enacted yet a third tax on itself to pay for city infrastructure - the first two were wildly successful and wholly changed the character of the city - and State Rep came out publicly against it. It lost him the entire business community and the endorsement of the only statewide paper covering that district. Guess who won? Yet another Baptist in Congress.

As a side note, our Governor race is very exciting for some of us because no matter who wins, we'll have a woman Governor. Congressman Fallin is running against Lt. Gov. Jari Askins. Both women have long public service careers. Good for us.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 25, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all
When I was in the Lynchburg VA area a couple of weeks ago,there was a lot of political signs in everyone's yard.The one that atrracted me the most was "Hurt US Congress" and I think it was spelled that way to attract attention.It didn't say Hurt "for" US Congress.I so much wanted to stop along the highway and take a picture.

On another political note,my friend recieved and Erlich for MD governor bumper sticker in the mail.He is a dem like me and knows how bad Erlich was for the state of Maryland that last time around.So he put it in the most appropiate place he could fin,the urinal in his garage.Now he gets to pee on Bob anytime he wishes.

Happy Birthday LA Lurker,drop by and say hello.Also it is my birthday today and a whole lot more boodlers in the next couple days.I got a nice new pair of sneakers,that fit great,although I almost fell down the steps.

Out to visit my sister today and then to work.You really shouldn't have to work on your birthday yaknow. But Mr, Marriott is coming to visit our Green hotel.

Have a Great Day everyone!!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 25, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The goldfish shouldn't be hungry for a good week, and I hope they are happy with the re-arranging of the treasure chest/fake flora/Spongebob pineapple. And what is it about small children liking to run around the house completely naked when no one's here but Mommy?

A lot of the numbers that went into the equation to come up with the big number are based on things that didn't happen, trends that didn't continue. Yes, you can make some pretty good educated guesses that way, but that alone makes the numbers less than solid and subject to interpretation. That someone says the rooster crowed so the sun came up doesn't make it right, but after a week or so, it is a reasonable guess.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 25, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Over a hundred yesterday and forecast again today on the left coast. There was a fire weather warning yesterday morning. And at 5:00 PM a fire started along I-5 in Ashland. Within minutes it was on both sides of I-5 and destroyed eleven homes in less than three hours.

Posted by: bh72 | August 25, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Weed, I am always vastly amused by the Conservs who claim Obama is a "socialist" (or worse) -- and then criticize him for bailing out banks, insurance companies and Detroit. Like a socialist would do that. And I'm amused he gets criticized from the left -- for not doing enough stuff that has pinkish tints to it. Like socializing things. (And as though he had it within his power to do anything remotely leftish, anyway, with a flip of his magic wand.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 25, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, gwe and LALurker! I would be great for her to drop by again.

(This is a busy time for birthdays here, isn't it?)

Posted by: -pj- | August 25, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Rick Scott former HCA CEO was Florida's upset GOP candidate for Governor. A cursory analysis of the vote in Florida's 67 counties shows that he did best in the low to medium population counties where HCA has a hospital(40) or other affiliate, but stayed about even in the major population centers - with notable exceptions, such as him home county (Collier), where he won handily. Health care jobs are fairly secure and growing and that may have been a factor in his success (In addition to self-financing and not having the bother of fund-raising.) Early voting may also have worked in his favor.

Posted by: -tao- | August 25, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mudge-thanks for the tip on Gerson's column, wouldn't have bothered otherwise. One of many money lines "...But it is toxic for the GOP to be associated with the armed and juvenile."

Far be it for me to draw broad conclusions from anecdotal evidence in one small, tiny even, town-but the stimulus didn't just save jobs in Our Fair City, it created some. Between it and the census we found ourselves with the highest employment rate we've had in years. Even with the census jobs over we're sitting in better shape than any time except when a big project like pipeline construction or coal fired electric plant addition/renovation bumped us up (but mostly with non-locals).

I thought being in Florida would make the primary easier to figure out, it did not.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 25, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

scc: his home county

Posted by: -tao- | August 25, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

HBTY all with b'days today. A friend of mine is celebrating hers today, as well. She and I always have a birthday dinner for the two of us, which will now take place on September 3d at a nearby (relatively) Indian restaurant. I'm salivating in anticipation of vindaloo curry as we speak and I have 10 days to go. . . . .

A friend is treating me to brunch on my actual bd (Sunday). I do share my birthday with the late Ingrid Bergman (who also died on that day, interestingly (or not) enough). If I had been born when I was supposed to be, I'd have to wait until the end of October to celebrate, and maybe my knees wouldn't be so crappy. Ah, well.

Cya later.

Posted by: ftb3 | August 25, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

LiT, I guess the kidlets are quick to figure out, "I showed up this way, so it can't be that bad." :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 25, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

JA has absolutely shocking news:

BP is blaming Halliburton

Shocking, I tell you. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 25, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Who would have guessed.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 25, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: ftb3 | August 25, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Greenie.


Posted by: -bc- | August 25, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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