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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 12/16/2010

Obama's oil commission skewers Jindal, Nungesser -- and Obama

By Joel Achenbach

One of the most interesting discoveries of the presidential Oil Spill Commission, published today in a highly readable report, is that the president himself "hamstrung" the National Incident Commander, Adm. Thad Allen, at a crucial moment in the crisis.

This report should be read by students trying to figure out how the government makes decisions in a crisis -- for better and, in this case, for worse.

At issue was the "sand berm" plan advanced by Louisiana officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), Sen. David Vitter (R) and -- most vocally and flamboyantly -- Placquemines Parish president and ubiquitous CNN interviewee Billy Nungesser. They wanted to fight the oil spill by dredging sand from the gulf and creating a chain of berms, sometimes referred to as barrier islands, that could catch the oil as it approached the coast from the Deepwater Horizon disaster site.

The presidential commission report makes clear that the plan was cockamamie from the start and overwhelmingly opposed by every sensible person who examined it. To his credit, Allen resisted the immense political pressure from the Louisiana officials and approved only a tiny demonstration "prototype" of such a berm, hoping, apparently, that it would make the issue go away. But the very next day, in Grand Isle, La., Obama met with Jindal, Nungesser, Allen and other officials and -- after getting an earful from the Louisiana politicians -- put Allen on the spot, asking him if he would conduct a review of the proposal within the next week.

"The request from the President 'hamstrung' the Admiral, forcing him to re-open the berms debate," the report states. And "hamstrung," fyi, is Allen's word.

So the next week Allen gathered a bunch of experts, who apparently were cowed and tongue-tied with the Louisiana political establishment staring at them from a few feet away, and no one said outright and definitively that the berms were ludicrous. Allen then approved the project.

Lots of money spilled on the berms, little oil captured, the report states:

"From the perspective of the Commission staff ... $220 million for a spill response measure that trapped not much more than 1,000 barrels of oil is not a compelling cost-benefit tradeoff."

The only thing missing from the report, and I think it's a fairly substantial omission, is the detailed context of what happened in the deep sea between the May 27 decision by Allen to nix most of the berm project and the June 2 decision to approve all six segments desired by Jindal et al: The "top kill" on the well failed.

When Obama visited Grand Isle, the top kill attempt on the well (a mud shot from above) was still underway, though not looking terribly promising. Obama was being hammered already for the failure to do enough to stop the spill. When the top kill failed, it was a game-changer for everyone. So, yeah, it was just six days between one decision and the next, but it was six very consequential days.

The report acknowledges that there's a Captain Hindsight element to these post-mortems:

"The Commission staff can comfortably conclude that the decision to green-light the underwhelmingly effective, overwhelmingly expensive Louisiana berms project was flawed. But whether it was flawed at the time, or only flawed in retrospect, with the benefit of hindsight, is not a question this paper seeks to answer."

By Joel Achenbach  | December 16, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
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I think this is clearly a case where the politics got before the science. In an effort to placate the local politicians and demonstrate that the government was doing "something" a premature decision was made based on hope instead of science.

And, yes, it is natural. The Gene Kranz philosophy of "don't make the problem worse by guessing" is hard to pull off when you are surrounded by hyperbolic critics ready to chastise you for fiddling while Rome burns. But, maybe, this can be a learning moment for everyone.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 16, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Politicans trying to be engineers...we had an engineer trying to be a politican once, (Hoover), and that didn't work out so well.

And I can only believe that the reverse could be far more catastrophic.

At least the outcome of this was mostly that money was wasted, rather than lives were lost.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Why is a request for a review of a proposal that ends up being a run-away train BO's fault? Wouldn't it have been better for Allen to have said 'we've reviewed it, it won't work but we're looking at a prototype anyway and should have a decision whenever,' push off until they could speak privately, rather than 'okay?' Who was it who caved to the political pressure?

Posted by: LostInThought | December 16, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

$220M spent to make Bobby Jindal shut up, to spend on local wages in a hard-hit area, and to get the Republicans to openly buy into the notion that the Mississippi Delta is an environment that is worthy and capable of being saved from what we (all of us) have done to it -- this strikes me as a bribe well spent, in the long run.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Repost because it is now on-topic:

In Disastrahootchie news, the Justice Department has gotten around to suing the parent company of the Interior Department.

-----end repost------

From the article:

"It seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and a second federal statute for cleanup costs and widespread damage to the environment."

As for what the grounds are for criminal charges, there's this:

"The Justice Department civil probe is on a parallel track with a criminal investigation that Holder said is "very serious." Law enforcement officials and other sources have said the criminal investigation is focusing on BP, Transocean and engineering giant Halliburton, which was in charge of cementing the well.

"Sources said the FBI and other investigators are examining whether, in addition to violating environmental laws, company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig's failed blowout preventer. Another line of inquiry, sources said, is whether the companies' cozy relationship with federal regulators contributed to the disaster."

Cozy relationship? If it were any cozier, it would have to be rated NC-17.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

OK, my question is, who's idea was the berms in the first place? I guessing not Jindal, Nungesser, et al by themselves. Some purported "expert" had to get a bug in some politician's ear about this.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 16, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

BP had the money to berm, I guess.

Modify the song lyric:

"The well, the well, the well is on fire. We don't need no cleanup, let the mother****ers berm. Berm, mother****ers, berm."

Posted by: baldinho | December 16, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I have the feeling that the deadline for the gusher book will have to be postponed if new information turns up every few weeks or so. Poor JA.

Posted by: gmbka | December 16, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Whose $220 milliion is a good point baldinho.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 16, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

RD referred to Krantz. I was not familiar with the name.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse


Screw the NC-17 rating, it's straight-up XXX. Weren't those regulators found to have been hosting cocaine-fueled sex parties for the oily folks? Or am I mistaken?

Posted by: GomerGross | December 16, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Oops, my bad, it was the oily folks hosting the parties for the regulators.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 16, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Blake Edwards, 88, writer/director of 10, the Pink Panthers, Richard Diamond and Peter Gunn, collaborator with Henry Mancini (who won all 4 Oscars on Edwards movies), and husband of Julie Andrews. I particularly like his two wartime comedies, Operation Mad Ball, with Ernie Kivacs, and Operation Petticoat, as well as the terrific Days of Wine and Roses.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

It's been very busy around here today.
*pause to catch breath*

My new laptop and printer are scheduled to be set up tomorrow afternoon, after which I shall consign this ancient sack o' circuitry to laptop heaven.

bc, the comment on the last kit beared repeating. It was great fun to scroll through it all.

Mudge, how delightful that you have an admirer of sorts.

Hey, if the gummint wants to throw around $220 mil, how about we set up a Boodle Research Foundation and write a grant proposal? Anyone got some ideas as to what we should 'research'?
--How blogs impact Canadian-US relations
--Cultural diversity in North America as shown in dietary and culinary preferences
--The DH Rule: The Work of the Devil or of Idiots?
--Anything about bears

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Ooh! I've got experience in writing grants, MsJS! Frosti and I could go for the funding, and we could study all those topics! It would be great!

Posted by: slyness | December 16, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes slyness! Normally, with a range of topics that diverse I'd worry about taking the grantee organization too far afield from its core mission. Not so with the boodle, it's almost too narrow-we need to add alternatives to Chinese farm-raised shrimp, and responsible worm disposal.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 16, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It'll take a while. The report may be irrelevant, in that current Republican doctrine is to place decision-making in the hands of elected officials (such as Parish President Nungesser, Gov. Jindal and perhaps President Obama) rather than the civil service or hired-for-the-occasion experts (i.e. bureaucrats).

The Louisiana political establishment and perhaps the Corps of Engineers seem to have done a bit of housecleaning at Louisiana State University after hurricane Katrina, removing Ivor van Heerden. I suspect that Louisiana coastal scientists behaved accordingly this time, but don't have access to information to make that any more than a suspicion.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I need to add that it's not surprising for a president to humor a badly bent-out-of-shape governor.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The report is full of sour grapes: Jindal put one over on Obama by providing leadership that could have been crucial in the crisis when none came from Obama and got coastal portection in the bargain, at no expense to the taxpayer; see

Posted by: jeffsadow | December 16, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse


Goodbye Aunt Cal, you darling, wonderful, damn-near saintly woman. You put up with me and my brothers at our tween and teen ski bum worst with a smile and hardly a cross word. You laughed heartily and totally without rancor when I, in my extreme pre-tween naivete, interrupted your eldest's wedding by announcing some mean people had written on windows of the new couple's car. You and Uncle B (although I sincerely believe it was really your decision) graciously gave my first wife and I full run of your cottage on the lake, and didn't even bat an eye when I almost sunk your powerboat by forgetting to install the drain plug before hitting the water. You also warmly welcomed my non-English-speaking first MIL into your house and afforded her more attention than she'd had in years.

I deeply regret not getting there in time to say goodbye in person, but I'm on my way to help the family celebrate your life.

You will be very deeply missed, dear dear Cal.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

My condolences on your loss, Scotty.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Cal was a great person, Scotty. My condolences to you and the family.

Give her a great sendoff.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

It must have been such a joy to have someone like that in your life Scotty.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 16, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Like a lot of things in life, I think the narrative of the response to the blowout is interesting and instructive. But I'm not overly shocked to find that folks with imperfect knowledge and little relevant experience made decisions that weren't especially helpful.

You know what decision string I find amazing? That which has (thus far) led to the world not having had to endure a big bad-ass nuclear exchange. Past experience and reliable testimony lead me to believe that it's a freaking miracle. Those people darned sure had no idea what they were doing. Assuming we go another week or so without one, I'll consider that a fine holiday gift.

To quote the great philosophers Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper (as sermonized by Otis Redding, David Bowie, and Amii Stewart, among others): "I better knock on wood!"

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh Scotty, my condolences on the loss of your aunt. She sounds like a wonderful woman. You were lucky to have her and I'm sure she felt the same about you.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 16, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Scotty... when you see your relatives, will you please let them know that a woman in Virginia is crying a bit tonight for Aunt Cal.

She sounds like a great person and I'm happy you had her in your life. So sorry she's gone.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 16, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke-add Minnesota to the locations where a stranger is having a good cry over the loss of Aunt Cal. Kitty lovin's headed your way.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 16, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Now I'm keenly feeling the loss of Aunt Cal!

My heartfelt condolences to Scotty & family.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It is the "retrospect" that I am most interested in. We had a wave of speculation when the spill was underway as to what the environmental consequences might be but a dearth of real information. It is obvious from the failure that the petroleum that blew out was gas heavy. How much of the 5 billion barrels that spilled butane to methane that posed zero threat to the the coast even if it reached the surface? Basic facts like these seem to have escaped reporters attention.

Much attention is paid to the dredged barriers but little attention is paid to the basics of the composition of the blowout materials and the unexpected biological degradation of them. Politics is the most important to most, I suppose.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 16, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I understand that one berm couldn't possibly work, but if an entire wall of berms was built could that have worked?

Posted by: Jsuf | December 16, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

No, Jsuf. The berms were never going to stop the oil. That was just a silly argument the local folks used to get them built. As I remember it, the locals wanted them to be built in part to stop erosion and in part to make it easier to maintain all the existing gas and oil pipelines.

They seized the opportunity to get their boondoggle built. The boondoggle may do some good, but it likely will be at best net neutral.

Posted by: baldinho | December 16, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

For S'nuke:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 16, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

@baldinho: Building a wall of berms can't work ?

Posted by: Jsuf | December 16, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

edbyronadams - I think you're putting the cart before the horse there. It isn't "Politics is the most important to most", it's "Politics is whatever's important to the most."

Politicians (& those reporters whom you hold in such low regard) don't (except in rare instances) get to set agendas. Agendas tend to be thrust upon them, and woe to the politician or reporter who fights the tide.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Sure, building an entire second Gulf Coast a few mile offshore would have worked. Of course, it would have gotten covered with oil and held a vast dead zone of polluted (by run-off) tide pool behind it. But by golly, it would have stopped the Macondo slick from reaching the original shoreline!

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Jsuf - Your question is fair and reasonable, and the answer is, "No."

Any system of berms that blocked most of the water exchange with the Gulf would have been a worse disaster than the oil, and no system of berms that *didn't* block most of that water exchange was going to do much to block the oil. 'Cuz while oil & water don't mix much, they do travel together whenever possible.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Dearest Snuke -- I am so sorry for your loss of Aunt Callie. But what she clearly gave you will join your dear memories of her in your heart and will stay there, nice and warm, mixing laughter and sorrow, forever. I am faxing you abundant hugs -- I have a never-ending supply.

And here in the condo (which a couple of us not-so-kindly call "the projects") the power came back on after 3 hours without (faxing well-earned *expletives* to Pepco). It was another partial outage and luckily the fridge kept working, as well as the microwave and one of my bathrooms. It's still freezing in here (which I am going to bottle and save for summer, when I know I'll need it).

Okay, then. Back to the crossword puzzle, which is really hard to do by candlelight (this weekend I'm *definitely* going to upgrade my flashlights, by number and power).

Posted by: ftb3 | December 16, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

ftb- When it comes to flashlights, just say, "LED"

I've still got an old-school Maglite as long and thick as my... well, you probably get the idea. Four D-cell batteries, and it'll blind the unwary. But while it's a fine close-combat weapon and projects light out to the other side of our cul-de-sac, its time has passed.

Buy a half-dozen one-or-two-battery LED flashlights & spread 'em around the house. If power outages are semi-common in your area, splurge on an LED lantern. The batteries last forever in those things.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I think I might have a new hero, be sure to check out the selected quote selection. I do hope the children somehow manage to mature to adulthood despite what they have been through.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 16, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Yea, let’s place the blame exactly where it doesn’t belong, on Obama. BP assured us that they could contain any spill that occurred. They gave us this assurance prior to being given permission to drill for oil in our waters. BP report after BP report detailed how BP would spring into action if a spill occurred. Yes, we could just sit back and watch as BP took care of any spill that occurred. The plain and simple fact is that BP blew it. Their containment efforts blew. Their preparations for a spill blew. Time and time again, corporations prove that they can’t be trusted with our stuff. Trusting a corporation to drill with minimal regulations is like trusting your child with a pit bull. What would have prevented this spill? The answer is simple, more regulations such as a requirement for drilling a relief well. The Canadian Government requires a relief well when a company drills in their arctic region. How about a requirement like a back-up acoustic blow out preventer? The Norwegian Government requires a back-up acoustic blow out preventer when a company wants to drill in the North Sea. Let’s place the blame where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of BP. There is plenty of blame left over that can be heaped on the Bush administration and the Republican’s for their trust corporation cut regulations way of governing.

Posted by: eelman26726 | December 16, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

eelman - It's the 2010's, dude. Get with the program! Place blame where you can effect change. Since you and I can't easily start up an new and more responsible oil company, but can quite easily whine about (& vote against) Obama, then we need to take the path of least resistance.

Sheesh, pal. Haven't you been paying attention?

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

My condolences, Scotty. She sounds like a remarkable person.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 16, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

"The answer is simple, more regulations such as a requirement for drilling a relief well."

Well, technically the answer is more actual preparedness for dealing with actual problems. For instance, actual relief wells as opposed to regulations requiring them. But I'm sure you mean well.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 16, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

This is pretty cool... studying the "cultural genome"

Posted by: -TBG- | December 16, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that is one of the saddest stories I've read in a long time. And I agree with you about the judge being the hero in the situation. Too bad he can't take custody of the children as neither parent appears to have even minimal ability to function as a true parent should.

ftb, your power company is the pits. I like Bob's idea about multiple LED flash lights.

Just finished another marathon evening of baking. Almost done, just fudge, spritz cookies and another batch of Swedish bread to go. I really enjoy baking - much more than cooking.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 16, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

TBG, do you know what library that was, so incredible.

Yes, sad badsneaks, very selfish adults.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 16, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's see the hands of all those who think Blanco would have done a better job with the oil spill than Jindal.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 16, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

oh big deal, its only taxpayer money + we will raise taxes in the future. Its not like thee gov lost money, there's more where that came from. If we ever thought to lower taxes or cut spending, who would pay for things like these sand berms ? In the private sector, people get fired , in the gov, they just forget about it....on to the next bone headed project

Posted by: snapplecat07 | December 16, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I do, AB.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I think the percentage of light fractions of petroleum were decently estimated at the time. Forty to fifty percent, or close to it.

The Interior Department has a reputation for being an Augean stable. I would cut any new President slack on it, for a while, anyway. But patience wears out faster when events overtake the inertia of government.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Habs won, Flames doing fine late in the third (though they are playing the Leafs, so no comment on the team's skill-level). All's right with the world.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

On the Value of the Dollar Today

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

That is the saddest part of The Dismal Science.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone, having the Boodle to lean on is a cherished gift. I've finished three-quarters of the trip and am imposing on NukeMater for lodging tonight. We'll head the rest of the way tomorrow once we know the details of the service.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I have come to the conclusion that it has been cold and dark much of the day and most people are just basically in lousy moods. I truly feel sorry for anyone working within the govt right now, as well.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 16, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, so sorry about your Aunt Cal. I loved your reminiscences. Isn't that what Aunts are *for?* To be be more understanding and easy-going and fun (and, frankly, cooler) than our parents, but familiar as to ways and means in the household.

I'm that Aunt (and awfully proud of it, smug even) for my nieces and nephews (and one great-niece -- I'm older than God) and my brothers are that Uncle for my girls.

Aunt Aud is that person for me. She had a '62 green convertible Mustang when my parents were driving a Pontiac wagon; danced, wore beautiful clothes beautifully (still does), and makes 'a party' for little kids by putting a tiny dish of potato chips out for them while the adults are talking. She's awesome! Your Cal was, too, clearly. I'm honouring her tonight.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Barry is one of those urbanite booger eaters who thinks oil comes from the Chevron and food from Safeway.
too bad those people on the gulf can vote in2012.

Posted by: carlbatey | December 16, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm convinced. What this country needs is more stupid people running it.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

First, Joel, you have misspelled Plaquemines Parish. It has no c.

Second, the point of erecting the berm(s) was not primarily as a collection point for the oil--as the citations below show, but for the berms to act as a barrier device(s) to protect sensitive wetlands, where the oil could do great damage. So the commission's mention of a barrel-count of oil seems strange. *Sometimes* referred to as barrier islands? Really? And the bunch of cowed experts are who exactly?

For nearly two weeks Governor Jindal has asked the Corps to approve a plan to dredge sand berms off the coast in an attempt to keep oil from reaching inland marshes.

“This is our worst nightmare,” said Mr. Nungesser. “The oil is getting into our inner wetlands, killing wildlife and decimating breeding grounds. There’s no sense of urgency, and we’re just reacting."

Anderson Cooper's 360 Degrees, May 26, Excerpt from transcript:

COOPER (voice-over): Billy Nungesser wants to dredge a berm, a sand barrier offshore to prevent any more oil from entering the marshes. But his plan hasn't received approval and an emergency a permit from the federal government. He and the governor are fed up.

(on camera): Do you agree that the federal government hasn't lived up to its responsibilities here so far?

JINDAL: Oh, look, we have absolutely there needs to be a greater sense of urgency, whether it's getting more hard booms, skimmers, jack-up barges and resources down here, whether it's shortening the turnaround time on making decisions, whether it's putting more people on the ground with local leaders that can make those decisions, tell BP what to do.

New Orleans The Times-Picayune, May 22:


And [Rear Admiral Mary] Landry, in a telephone interview this morning, insisted that the discussions with Nungesser were aimed at making sure the parish went through the proper procedures to obtain permission for small, interim measures to close channels between barrier islands or along waterways in advance of the approval of the larger state plan by the corps.

[State Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret] Graves said several of the comments seemed aimed at weighing the costs of the berm proposal -- some estimates have said it could cost $350 million to build sand barriers along the Chandeleur Islands chain, along federal and state wildlife refuges at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and to block oil from entering back bays and wetlands to the west of the river, all the way to the Isles Dernieres near the center of the state.

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

NYT makes FIA request to obtain more than 5,400 pages of documents from Dept. Interior. Interesting reporting, a good read, esp. the relationship of some members of Congress to MMS, pre- and post-spill.

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

just wondering, who got the $$ for building the berms. I'm guessing they were people with political ties to Jindal.

Just goes to show, outrage and anger don't really help make good decisions

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

BP gets sued by the Justice Department, while Wall Street receives get-out-of-jail-free cards?

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

well, carp!

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

For want of a "c"

Maestro, Give me a Bouncy C!

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Hey Achenbach, how many gallons of oil did Obama trap during all those weeks in which he did absolutely nothing except condemn "British Petroleum," not even knowing the name of the company or all those mornings when his daughter asked him if he would stop the oil spill? NONE!

Now, tell us, Achenbach, which was more cost effective? Obama who trapped no oil or Jindal who trapped 1,000 gallons with berms that BP paid for?

And who appointed this Captain Hindsight of a presidential commission? I wonder? It's easy to cast blame on folks in Louisiana for managing the crisis while it's happening. And blame coming from an administration that sat on its hands for weeks, for crying out loud. You don't get it, do you, Achenbach?

Must be nice to write a column from the commission press release, Joel. What a poodle!

Posted by: jpfann | December 17, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse


I like you. Ignorance IS bliss, isn't it.
Go watch a movie or something.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

My condolences from way out here Snuke. Thank you for sharing your memories of Aunt Cal with all of us.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 17, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey MidotPac!

What's new? Can you email some 70s or 80s temps?

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Wilbrod_Gnome, we've had two engineer-presidents. Herbert Hoover was one. Jimmy Carter was the other. Your point, however, still stands.

Posted by: wmadden1 | December 17, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. I see the unhappy ones have been out in force today.

Snuke, safe travels. I hope Aunt Cal has a wonderful service and you enjoy your time with the family.

We lost a dear one from my group of ladies at church to cancer yesterday. She fought the good fight, was even at service Sunday before last, wearing a stylish red hat to cover the loss of hair. I was privileged to stay with her a little while Monday afternoon. She knew me, I'm glad to say, although she was mostly asleep. Morphine will do that, thank heavens.

Thank God for hospice. The comfort of being at home, surrounded by one's family and friends, and supported by rational pallative care - it's a priceless gift. Not to mention a heck of a lot cheaper than dying in a hospital.

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

What a cheap shot! Organizations take risks in crisis situations all the time. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. I recall the media giving Jindal a bloody pulpit every day to bash the feds for not moving out on the berms. There was no scientific evidence one way or the other as to whether the berms would help. No, after the fact, a federal group said the berms were not effective. Okay, given the situation at the time would Jindal still insist on the berms. Well yes, read his reaction to the report that said the berms are ineffective. Politicians will almost always make political decisions rather than scientific decisions. People who don't have to run for office are bolder about going against public sentiment. May be a good argument for decreasing the number of political positions in government at all levels.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 17, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

There's a false distinction between "collection point" and barrier island, or berm, both of which were used freely in discussions. In order to protect wetlands the berms had to, by definition, prevent oil from reaching them which meant that the oil had to be *trapped* within the sand of the structure. Otherwise all that would happen would be to divert the oil to the gaps where it would surge around the berms.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

More hugs from me to send you on your way, Snuke.

It seems that a boiler blew last night, leaving us without heat or hot water. I "slept" in my clothes and under several blankets and still froze.

It's fixed now, so they say. Gotta change clothes and get downtown for a meeting at 10:00. Trying to give myself plenty of time. We'll see.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 17, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I mean, jeepers, even the NYT understands the bit about trapping:

"A chain of sand berms built by the State of Louisiana to block and capture oil from BP’s runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico stopped a “minuscule” amount of oil and was largely a waste of money, the staff of the presidential commission investigating the spill said in a report issued on Thursday."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

curmudgeon, you're entitled to your opinion and I respect you for being willing to share it. Unfortunately, I think that you're being naive or biased. Blanco was an unmitigated disaster as a Governor, and Katrina was only the the low point.

I'll be politically incorrect, but based on the many years I lived in Louisiana I will state that I think the only reason Blanco defeated Jindal in 2003 was that she's a Cajun and he's Indian.

Kathleen "Lock and Load-Trained Killers" Blanco never got along with Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin (he endorsed Jindal), and it showed throughout her term, when the two mostly screamed at each other while doing nothing except trying to pass the blame.

The Road Home program was yet another Blanco disaster - I'll put you in touch with my relatives who got repeatedly screwed over under that one. She was nearly attacked by unhappy citizens several times.

And FWIW, her position on the issue of choice is almost identical to Jindal's - check the abortion bill she signed.

The bottom line is that Blanco was a total disaster as Governor. No, it wasn't her fault that Katrina struck during her term in office, but the rest of the excrement WAS her fault.

So, no, I don't think that there's any basis for believing she would have handled the oil spill any better than Jindal, no matter what one thinks of Jindal. She's just not competent enough.

But again, curmudgeon, it's a free country and you're certainly welcome to disagree with me. But based on the pain that that ex-Governor caused my state and my family members, you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever convince me otherwise. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for your loss, Scottynuke.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 17, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Bobby Jindal? please

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"But whether it was flawed at the time, or only flawed in retrospect, with the benefit of hindsight, is not a question this paper seeks to answer."

Unfortunately this is the issue that really needs to be answered, yet they didn't bother. Why?

Frankly, no one really knew what would happen to the leaked oil, and building berms certainly was an action that could be expected to help prevent the oil from reaching the beachfront.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 17, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

russianthistle - I eagerly await your explanation as to why Blanco was a better Governor. Go ahead; I'll wait. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The sand berms are a completely bogus issue. Obama completely sold out to BP, allowed them to drill without safeguards and permitted them to use the dangerous Corexit 9500 dipersant originally developed by Exxon. Corexit is is four times more toxic than oil (oil is toxic at 11 ppm (parts per million), Corexit 9500 at only 2.61ppm).

In a report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. titled "Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview" Corexit was found to be one of the most toxic dispersal agents ever developed. According to the Clark and George-Ares report, Corexit mixed with the higher gulf coast water temperatures becomes even more toxic.

Posted by: alance | December 17, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

It is possible to say Jindal's a tool without proposing that Blanco was better. LA could do with someone more effective than both of them. Sad to say, from this end of the Mississippi Lousiana seems as corrupt and difficult to govern as Afghanistan, minus the IEDs. Personally, I'd give the nod to Jindal over Blanco, but "I'm no worse than she was" is probably a bad choice for the title of the book he's surely doing (don't all presumptive presidential candidates write one?).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 17, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The current ban on offshore oil drilling is doing more economic damage than the spill did.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 17, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

So if, as baldinho says, a real reason for wanting the berms was to prevent erosion, are they potentially effective for that purpose? If so, I wouldn't call them a "waste" -- because preventing erosion helps maintain buffers against flooding, right? -- even if the oily impetus for building them was misguided.

Posted by: -bia- | December 17, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

There was a counter argument at the time against the berms that they would be actually counterproductive in that they would disrupt the natural flow of water through the marshes and cause even worse environmental damage.

This was someone's pet project and, like the invasion of Iraq, it was trotted out as a 'solution' to a problem it wasn't meant to fix but the political climate was such that it could be pushed through without the normal level of scrutiny.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"Sad to say, from this end of the Mississippi Lousiana seems as corrupt and difficult to govern as Afghanistan, minus the IEDs."

Sad to say, from the south end of the Mississippi, Minnesota appears to be a frozen wasteland that can't maintain a domed stadium, can't maintain its interstate bridges and has questionable vote-counting skills. :-)

Now, do we all feel better? :-)

What SHOULD happen here is that everyone should learn from what happened and try to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Blame should be placed where appropriate, but rather than use blame to punish an opponent, it would be far better to use it to improve the situation.

Asserting that Obama has absolutely no blame (eelman26726) or Jindal is a "tool" or that the berms were a waste of tax dollars (they were paid for by BP) or that they trapped 1,000 "gallons" of oil or whatever, frankly isn't helpful. It's using this situation for political gain. Frankly, I should expect that, but it still disappoints me.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all

Warm banananana bread, coffee and RRGJ on the table.

Mudge and AB, how sad for Louisiana that the topic of 'who is the poorer governor' even comes up. We in Ill-In-Oy see that in comparing George Ryan to Rod Blagojevich and it just sucks the energy right outta ya.

ftb, hope the boiler issue gets resolved asap.

sneaks, any of that fudge for the boodle?

I'm going with Hawaiian themed $$$ origami for the family gifts this year. Pineapples, tropical fish, island flowers, geckos, ukeleles, seashells, and so forth. Will post photos sometime next week once the folding's finished.

Stay warm!

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

AB, I am blushingly daintily at being thought naive. Alas, you gave a whole host of totally irrelevant reasons why Blanco might have been worse, such as the fact that her stance on abortion is nearly the same as Jindal's Now, really, AB, pull your head out of your butt for a moment and explain to poor, naive little me how their relative abortion positions is remotely relevant to ANYTHING within 600 miles of the oil spill.

Basically I endorse what frosti said: "It is possible to say Jindal's a tool without proposing that Blanco was better. LA could do with someone more effective than both of them. Sad to say, from this end of the Mississippi Lousiana seems as corrupt and difficult to govern as Afghanistan, minus the IEDs."

How is the fact that Blanco beat Jindal because she;'s Cajun relevant? It may very well be true, and I don't doubt your analysis may well be correct there. But clearly it has so blinded you to other aspects of the point at hand that you're just shotgunning stuff. Who gives a rat's patoot that she didn't get along with Ray Nagin? I don't even know what the Road Home program is, but I doubt very much it has anything to do with anything.

I don't have any great love, respect or admiration for Blanco -- but you're question was pretty dead simple: who thinks she'd have done as well or better than Jindal? Yeah, so she was a lousy governor. And so, maybe she'd have done a lousy job here, too. But so did Jindal,

But here's my main reason why I think Blanco would have done better than Jindal: because she's a Dem, she was more likely to be friendly to the Obama admin. rather than antagonistic, and also because she wasn't thinking about running for president one day, whereas Jindal has his head so far up his own presidential ambitions it colors everything he does. So really it wasn't a question of how bad Blanco might have been, it was a question of why Jindal would have been equally ineffective. So maybe Blanco only gets a D+ while Jindal gets a D-.

That's how I can answer, "I do." I don't know where the abortion issue comes from and why you even raised it, but it clearly colors your views that you introduce it into a diatriber about Blanco. So yeah, maybe she's awful. So's Jindal.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I object! Counting votes is something we do very well in MN, we get so much practice.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 17, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

LOL! Well played, Brat!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 17, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Best laugh of the day.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

AB, that LA has a reputation of corruption isn't new. It isn't even a little old. It's high school with Methuselah old. Tops the list over TX/gun-toting nutcases, CA/weed, WV/hillbillies and good roads (funny since they also have a rep as having houses on wheels, cars on cinderblocks) or FL/old people and party schools (what a combo!). But more importantly, the convo *is* about LA and whether money was misspent, and not MN. You kinda hafta expect the corruption thing to come up.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 17, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Hindsight always seems to bring out unfocused rage. Few can discuss it with wisdom or nuance. Too many assumptions get made.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I believe it was the Shaw Group that made out on the deal.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, I'm currently doing something shocking - I'm actually READING the commission's paper on the berms. (I know that commenters should never actually read that on which they comment, but heck...) I'll have a few comments on it later on, but for right now I find it very interesting that Joel never mentions the roles of LA Senator Mary Landrieu and her brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Gee, why would Joel not even mention their names?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Because they are in league with dark forces, and their names should never be uttered by those who claim alliance with the forces of good?

Posted by: bobsewell | December 17, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Or perhaps the Landrieus have funneled a nice chunk of BP-provided relief money into a college fund? These big-shot lamestream media reporters don't withhold their venom for free.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 17, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

For those interested in actually READING the relevant paper, the paper on the berms is at It's 45 pages and fairly dense, but it's worthwhile reading.

To whomever commented above about berm contracts being given to the political allies of Jindal and Nungesser: the report indicates that the contracts were given to Shaw Group and CF Bean Dredging. Their political connections can be seen in the list of folks they contribute money to. For Bean, you can look at As with any smart company, they give a lot of money to both parties. The CF Bean CEO has given to, among others, Mary Landrieu, James Oberstar, Pete Visclosky, John McCain, and, yes, Bobby Jindal.

I'm not sure it's the same "Shaw Group", but the list of "Shaw Group" contributions is at Recipients of their money include Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer, Byron Dorgan, Elizabeth Dole, Mark Warner, and Joe Wilson. (Apologies if that's the wrong "Shaw Group" but there are enough Louisianans on their donor list that I think it's the right group.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Shaw Group. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to add them to my list of standard villains which includes Bechtel and Brown and Root.

My theory is gaining credence. Here is a paragraph from a article:

"Not only would the berms capture oil, they reasoned, their sediment might eventually be "pivoted into restoration efforts for the barrier islands." That was enticing for officials from the state and Plaquemines Parish, who had repeatedly failed to gain permission to rebuild barrier islands dramatically eroded by Hurricane Katrina."

"They" being Nungesser and the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. This was a coastal restoration project in disguise, made all the more obvious by the fact that berms are still being built.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I believe that the reason that Joel would not even mention their names is that he was not trying to present a comprehensive overview of the report but just a couple highlights. At least, that's what I believe. I could be wrong.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you're exactly right. That's a quote from the report. Basically, the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) snookered the Feds into making BP pay for a coastal restoration project.

from the paper (URL provided above), pp. 2-3:

"By May 8, at both the state and parish level, the idea had picked up steam. No end to the spill was in sight, and state and local officials increasingly viewed the federal response as ineffective. Reinforcing the barrier islands, moreover, had long been a component of Louisiana’s and Plaquemines Parish’s coastal restoration plans. In 2005, 2007, and 2008, the State of Louisiana submitted sixteen funding requests totaling $101 million to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for barrier island restoration projects (all of which were denied as ineligible). The spill presented an opportunity for state and parish officials to facilitate construction of a large-scale, temporary oil spill response measure whose purpose might, they believed, “pivot” to permanent restoration of Louisiana’s barrier islands — with BP footing the bill."

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Big Foot. Genesis. Petronius. Blind Faith. Tahiti. Jack & St. Malo.

Chevron's deep-water projects. In the Gulf of Mexico. Ripe to pursue their large-ticket projects. Reporting by Brett Clanton in the Houston Chron, as reprinted in our paper's business section today.

Husband has a fair amount of vacation time this month--relaxing staycation. For me, it's catch-as-catch-can.

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Another possible reason that Joel did not mention the Landrieus: he is not of the The Body. He is not here for the Festival -- he is an outsider. He must be absorbed and become one with The Body!

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

From Crooks and Liars former editor Nicole Belle

Looking at a study of viewers understanding of facts based on their news source and percentage reliance on that source for news.

Somehow, Fox is at the bottom of the heap.

Stunning stats included from the study at that link. The study comes, by the way, from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at The University of Maryland.

These folks at C+L toss around around the term stupid referring to those who lack basic knowledge. I wouldn't do so, other than last night in the boodle.

Let's just say that the study showed that the more you watch FOX, the less you were informed. Well, you get imformed at FOX, but it is in a manner that is Il.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much what the commission's report communicated, as passed along by Joel, and as reported by, in August:

And the name of the Dutch firm that first proposed the berms?

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The failure to distinguish between stupidity and ignorance is widespread and rampant. We are all to some greater or lesser degree ignorant. Those who refuse to acknowledge this or to combat it in themselves and others are stupid.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea the Landrieus were among The Old Ones. We shall say no more of this unspeakable horror.

Always a great stoking stuffer:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"And the name of the Dutch firm that first proposed the berms?"

laloomis - from the Report, p. 2:

"In early May 2010, Deltares, a Dutch independent research institute focused on water, soil, and subsurface issues, working with Van Oord, a Dutch dredging and marine contractor, sent a PowerPoint presentation to BP, the State of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), and officials from Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana."

The report later notes that Van Oord/Deltares were NOT given a piece of the contract; the reason given was that the Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act of 1920) requires all work done in US Waters to be done by US entities and there was no way to obtain a waiver in time.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me Joel got invited to this event.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Like dogs? You'll like this-

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the dogs' link kguy. That was a 10 min. well lost.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, even though I don’t know you, I respect you based on your postings here, which I enjoy reading tremendously. I emphasize that because I don’t want you to take what I write in this post personally, and I understand that might be difficult.
Here are your words:
“But here's my main reason why I think Blanco would have done better than Jindal: because she's a Dem, she was more likely to be friendly to the Obama admin. rather than antagonistic, and also because she wasn't thinking about running for president one day, whereas Jindal has his head so far up his own presidential ambitions it colors everything he does.”

In other words, you don’t know any of the facts, and you don’t care about them. Blanco’s better because she’s a Democrat, and she’d be a good little poodle who would step aside and let Obama handle things, and wouldn’t push him to build the berms. You say that despite the fact that Democratic US Senator Mary Landrieu wasn’t a good little poodle; she pushed for the berms. Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wasn’t a good little poodle; he pushed for the berms. Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon wasn’t a good little poodle; he pushed for the berms. Yet somehow you think Governor Blanco would not have pushed for the berms, so therefore she’s not as evil as Governor Jindal. I just don’t get it.
((FWIW, I said you were either being naïve or biased. You aren’t naïve. 
As far as my comment earlier about the disaster that was Blanco, it goes to context. One can believe that Jindal pushed for the berms as a backdoor coastal restoration plan because he’s evil; he’s a tool; he wants to enrich his friends; he wants to be President. Or you can believe that he pushed for them because he learned from Blanco’s mistakes (which is not necessarily different from wanting to be President).
The primary reason that Blanco is so reviled in Louisiana is that she was perceived as doing nothing during and after Katrina. She stood quietly by and left it to the Feds. You saw how that turned out.
So now, Jindal’s Governor, and here comes his crisis: an oil spill. The Feds were widely seen as not doing anything effective to stop the spill and the environmental catastrophe. That perception was held by Democrats, Republicans, independents, and probably a few Socialists. So – your predecessor did nothing; let the Feds handle it poorly; and had her political career end as a consequence. Now, once again, the Feds are perceived as handling things poorly. What would you do? Seriously – especially if you had designs on higher office, or even on being Governor again or even being elected dog catcher in your dotage, what would you do?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse


I suggest that almost all of us would have done something similar to what Jindal did. We’d have grabbed any idea that looked like it might not be terrible, and we’d push it. We’d make it clear to the President and the press that the Feds weren’t doing anything effective, and we’d push our ideas hard. If we chose to be that good little poodle and let the President do things his way while quietly standing aside, we’d have been impeached within weeks.
Jindal’s not an engineer. His degree from Brown is in Pre-Med and Biology. His degree from Oxford is in Political Science/Health Policy. It’s not clear what he understood about or thought about the berms. It’s not clear whether he thought they might work and were worth a shot, or whether he knew they were all about coastal restoration and cynically supported them anyway. Only he knows that. Whatever, he supported them, especially given that it was BP’s money, and nobody in Louisiana objected to making BP spend more of its own money trying things at that point in time.
So that’s the point I was trying (poorly) to get across. Joel posted about the berms. Many people immediately blasted Jindal. I’m not a Jindal fan, but I thought that some of the criticism was grossly unfair, particularly given Blanco’s experience, and so I pointed out that I don’t think Blanco would have done any better (and I honestly believe she would have been worse, because she was so incompetent). Given the Katrina history, whoever occupied the Governor’s mansion during the spill would have been forced to be loud and proactive.
I’ve also noted that, after actually reading the berm paper, I believe that the whole berm project was a case of Louisiana snookering the Feds to force BP to pay for coastal restoration, because the Feds wouldn’t pay for it and Louisiana didn’t want to. The paper suggests that Obama fell for it hook line and sinker, because he didn’t want to be perceived as ignoring Louisiana’s plight, or doing nothing. Obama also felt that there was no real harm in making BP spend $220 million of its own money to do something that “might not be a terrible thing to do” (to quote p. 44 of the paper).
You’re free to disagree.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 17, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Jindal's parents are still disappointed he didn't become a doctor.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Joel,

I recently asked my boss if he was the bhodi satva... that a song? He replied.
I said you're not a Christian, either, right?
...definitely not.
So, where do you get your inner peace?
...I don't know.

Do you know, Mr. Joel? Is it simply the bliss of ignorance, social unawareness, and cultural oblivity?


Posted by: teddymzuri | December 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, this ought to be entertaining-

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Man, I loves me some inscrutable wisdom. Thanks, teddy!

Posted by: bobsewell | December 17, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

McNabb hasn't had a stellar game in quite a while, no? I don't think he is the B&G main problem but he sure hasn't helped much with all the picks he threw.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Just to get back to the original point:

* the berms were not expected to have much value for the stated purpose of protecting the coastline from oil;

* the expectation was correct: the berms didn't really do anything significant towards protecting the coastline from oil;

* so let's not try that option again unless the circumstances are sufficiently different.

OK, fine. Stipulated. I don't really see how that makes any difference in the eventual outcome. The disaster-response was not constrained by the funds available to BP, which is (or at least was) wealthier than Canada (just to pick one country at random); I doubt that the manpower used for the purpose really had to be diverted from some other important activity; and I doubt that the heavy equipment used in the dredging operation would have had a more productive use in the response to the Spew. The only remaining sticky point is whether berms, in the absence of an active oil spill, are effective in promoting the health of the wetlands that they supposedly were going to protect. As I recall, the expert opinion in advance of their construction was that they would be actively counter-productive and therefore not merely a useless idea, but a bad idea.

So, we've learned something: berms are a waste of effort for purposes of deflecting an offshore oil spill. Despite the excellent value for political theatre, the berms were a pragmatic failure. Let's consider this lesson learned, and move on to the next project/problem, shall we?

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Any chance the Skins can get BP to pay McNabb's contract, too?

Posted by: baldinho | December 17, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Career stats:

McNabb 230TDs 115Ints 36,022 yds passing QB rating 85.6
Grossman 33TDs 36Ints 6,197 yds passing QB rating 69.5

Jason Campbell 65TDs 44Ints 12,623 yds passing QB rating 82.5

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I almost forgot.

Tony Romo 118TDs 62Ints 16,650 yds passing QB rating 95.5
John Kitna 159TDs 158Ints 28,369 yds passing QB rating 76.8

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Those dogs are all adorable. All except the bulldog. There are no cute bulldogs. Despite any evidence of me being licked by one to the contrary.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Berms are usuful political tools because they help pols promise that the beaches will stay where they are. People get POed when their beachside hotel become beachless hotels after a hurricane so you get someone to build a pre-beach in front of the real beach so the pre-beach gets swept away in the next hurricane and the real beach stays put. Or at least that's the theory. But sand bars and beaches semm to be awfully mobile in the Gulf.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"So, we've learned something: berms are a waste of effort for purposes of deflecting an offshore oil spill. Despite the excellent value for political theatre, the berms were a pragmatic failure."

I don't think we learned that at all. There was little oil to deflect, fortunately for all. How effective they might have been if greater quantities had made it to the surface is an open question. Comparing 1,000 barrels trapped to 5 million spilled is an incorrect assessment since little of that petroleum made it to the surface and there is no public accounting for how much of that petroleum was lighter fractions that never were a threat.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 17, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

If the goal is to minimize the deleterious effect of interceptions, benching McNabb does not seem to be the right decision based on either a TD to INT ratio or a yards of passing per interception metric.

If the goal is to improve their chances for a high draft pick, I say go for it.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

edbyronadams, I don't see any way in which you are contradicting what I said about the effectiveness of berms in this situation. The report says that the berms were of no value in what actually happened. The berms were expected to be of no value in what actually happened, because what actually happened was not whatever it would be that would have been helped by the berms that were built. You may note the loophole in what I said: " let's not try that option again unless the circumstances are sufficiently different."

We agree that the berms were unproductive in this situation, but you argue that the situation might have been different -- evidently, suggesting that berms are always a good "just-in-case" reaction. I accept that if the situation were different, berms might be useful. However, the berms were confidently *predicted* to be useless in this situation based on actual information about the situation, not merely as a rule of thumb or as a matter of common practice. I think the upshot is that these events confirm that the experts who were initially consulted about berms are not fools. Next time, we might actually try to weigh their expertise favorably against the need to stage a dog and pony show for political purposes.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

yello, there is also the aspect that poor performance by DM devalues the pick sent to Philly from a 3 to a 4. And since the games are meaningless and the tickets are already sold, it's only the beer and parking money that suffers if the team stinks.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

School's out for the Xmas holiday! Much love and holiday wishes to ye, boodle and kit-smith.

Posted by: GomerGross | December 17, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Next time, we might actually try to weigh their expertise favorably against the need to ***placate a politician by getting the oil company to privately fund an unrelated pork barrel project.***

Changed that for you SciTim.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse


We simply have not learned enough to make the blanket statement that berms "are a waste of effort to deflect an offshore spill". We learned that, in this case, they did little but that is merely one data point on which to base a general conclusion.

What we did learn, relatively little noted, is that deepwater blowouts in the Gulf are metabolized greatly before they reach the surface.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 17, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

But ed, did we learn that by process of elimination, or did we actually figure out what happened with the oil? Do we think anyone ran a full spectrum of tests, and would we call those tests complete before a year is up? Was Mother Earth really able to shake off that spill easier because of the depth? Seems if we're going to learn what you think we should have learned, we're going to need more time.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 17, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different...
video career advice.

Posted by: rickoshea11 | December 17, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

You have made a lot of factually suspect assertions that are suspect. A LOT of oil did make it to the surface. Hundreds of square miles of it. We DON'T know that oil is greatly metabolized in the Gulf or whether the highly toxic dispersants masked the true distribution. There is darn little we are going to know about the long term effects and the health of the Gulf for years and years.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

YeeGawds, WaPo has hired yet ANOTHER right wing blogger, Jordan Sekulow, to give us conservative talking points, this time from a Christian point of view like how the Bible says not to mandate health insurance coverage or use the government to help the poor. It's very cleverly named Religious Right Now.

And for a bonus, he's a Regent University Law School grad.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

But for the rest of us it's another Regent University Law School graduate.

(Music swells as torch and pitchfork bearing crowd exits noisily stage right.)

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

You have to get four paragraphs into the article to hit this sentence:

"That the Redskins have had just three winning seasons during Snyder's tenure in the owner's box matters less than how they've lost during that period, and how they continue to lose—that is, in an increasingly expensive, consistently sour fashion characterized by desperate reactivity from above and logy, enervated decay on the ground."

but that is just warming up.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be too hasty to try to analyze the entire history of the metabolic digestion of the spill by the bioactivity of the entire Gulf of Mexico until some researchers publish. It'll take years. Another dirty aspect of the spill. Lack of easy information, even if looked at honestly.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for taking time to read the report and provide the URL, and to answer my question about which Dutch firm(s) were involved in initially proposing the berm project.So glad that you, AB1, also nabbed that second graf that mentioned the Jones Act.

What was a known known in terms of effectiveness in the spill response was that skimming vessels would be effective for clean-up of oily surface waters that emanated from the Macondo well. The Jones act stood in the way of perhaps far-better equipped and project-ready foreign vessels being involved in a timely manner in siphoning up the oil, although U.S. Sen. (R) Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas tried to have the Jones Act repealed.

But with Obama yet to publicly address the practical and symbolic Jones Act issue, the confusion is part of what Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz calls an "improvised response" to the spill in part due to BP's lack of preparation for an unprecedented wellhead event as well as slowness by the administration to grasp the scope of the disaster.


First graf after the jump:

But the president's assurances come against a backdrop of reports of misused and ineffective boom, a scarcity of skimmers, and some of the workers, according to one labor supplier quoted by the New York Times, sitting under trees and collecting checks. Dissatisfied with the federal response, Louisiana is moving ahead with its own plans to protect its coast. And in one small Alabama town, a frustrated volunteer fire chief has risked jail for rallying a local response to oncoming oil.

Obama was pretty much out to lunch for a long time on any significant federal response. Some press ops, sure. Those getting the press were certainly Carville, Matalin, Nungesser, and to a lesser degree, Jindal.

Did really like your 1:38 and 1:41 posts as well, AB1.

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Come on yello, Harry's the cutest.
Maybe it's that brachycephalic dogs are an acquired taste.
Fletcher's picture taken pre-butchery is the reason the dogs should be kept "au naturel".

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

"Salazar's got my back, right? Ken. Ken? Where the hell is the guy? Oh, jeez. Now I'm in for it."

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, y'all.

Trying out the new laptop. So far, so good.

Only a few more things to do to prepare for Christmas. I haven't been this ahead of the eight ball in years.

We're ordering pizza tonight. Who wants what?

For the Bowl Season uninitiated, the 35-game orgy begins tomorrow and runs for three and a half weeks. Niece#2, a senior at Wisconsin, is looking for Rose Bowl tickets should anyone have connections to fab seating.

This week's MNF game (Bears and Vikes) will be played at U of Minn's home field. Since there are no heat coils under the turf, it's basically a block of ice. In this Black & Blue division matchup, there will be much bruising.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

MsJS: other interesting things about the U of Minn facility I heard discussed today. It has open seating (no assigned seats). It seats about 50,000. There are about 54,000 Viking season ticket holders. They, as a rule, DO NOT SERVE ALCOHOL at the facility.

Posted by: baldinho | December 17, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

And none will be served on Sunday, baldinho.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Make that Monday.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Here is a way Joel can put some money in the college fund:

It's a paid survey for journalists to express opinions about the gas and oil industry. Sounds like something perfect for The Boss.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

In true MN fashion the legislature told the U if you don't serve alcohol in the cheap seats you can't serve it in the sky boxes either. The U, in typical nose cutting spiter fashion, said ok-no alcohol at all. More time will be wasted on this feud in the next legislative session. Threats of funding cuts will be made, overblown statements of the U as innovation driver and economic engine will be countered. I do believe eventually some compromise will be found-after souls are sold and first born children exchanged.

The Vikes sold 64,000 tickets to this game. They are honoring tickets on a first come, first served basis. Anyone who doesn't get in, or doesn't bother to try, will get a full refund.

Speaking of football without alcohol, the Buc's pirate ship is an alcohol free zone. Makes the game seem longer, but otherwise it's no hardship.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 17, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

No-alcohol policies and dry campuses are common at Minnesota universities.

No real objections on my part, as I haven't had to deal with anybody puking in the halls or passing out on me.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if U of MN sells "russian tea" at football games-- that is, Tea with Tang and spices, previously discussed in rich detail during winters past.

It's fairly common to see at high school and college hockey games, but I'm so allergic to football I haven't even checked.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I haven't heard the term "Russian tea" in a long time! I remember having that in high school and college.

The weather for Minneapolis Monday has the high at 24 and the low at 17. Russian tea or something like that sounds better than alcohol in that weather.

Posted by: -pj- | December 17, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Captain Beefheart:

I knew someone who was a major fan, in the early 70s. Liked Tom Zito too.

Scotty, condolences on your loss.

We've had a day without rain! Sunny, gorgeous views of the mountains. The last couple of weeks made me want to break out the Ark. (Be careful what you wish for from Hawaii - the Pineapple Express was the cause of all our rain.)

Posted by: seasea1 | December 17, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

"A house divided cannot stand." Well, that may be true for me, as I'm about 1/4 of the way through moving from one to another -- and I can't stand it, either.

I'm pretty far behind on this Kit and Boodle, but maybe I'll catch up tomorrow night, or Sunday.

Tired, and going to bed. Veering dangerously Kitwards -- oily to bed, oily to rise, y'know?

G'night, all.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

sorry to hear of your loss, scotty. after my Mom passed, my aunt kind of kept us all glued together. she became the matriarch, and was perhaps the most altruistic person i've ever known. i'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

Posted by: -jack- | December 18, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

r.i.p., captain beefheart.

Posted by: -jack- | December 18, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about your aunt, Scotty. She sounds like a wonderful aunt to have.

I'm sad to hear about Captain Beefheart as well. It was great of them to reproduce the Tom Zito article. The Style section was a pretty wild place back then.

Posted by: -pj- | December 18, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey Russianthistle, I'd be happy to email you the temps, as long as you are willing to take the humidity with it. It's humid and sticky, not very Christmasy weather. :( I was hoping for a cooler holiday season but I guess it could be worse...right?

Mrs. O, the girls and Bo the First Dog are to arrive here sometime tomorrow. Things are getting exciting in Kailua!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 18, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke, you described so beautifully what Aunt Cal meant to you. I presume this was
the ill aunt whom you had mentioned?

I'm sorry. It's not fun to lose her in the holiday season. My condolences.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 18, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. We're getting really close to Christmas suddenly. Thankfully I'm almost done with the shopping; it was brutal in the mall last night. And so I'm off in the snow with my low-slung reindeer pulling me away.

Curious bear does not like to have its motives questioned. Action starts at 1:40.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 18, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

If that happened to me, I'd be the one doing what bears do in the woods.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 18, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

sd, that video was so great.

Anyone else in panic mode yet, I just realized the other day this was the last weekend before Christmas, I have much done but still lots to do last minutes shopping, all the wrapping, grocery shopping for the big meal Christmas and Boxing days, and then there is cleaning, a birthday party, yikes.

I work this week, kids are home from school so really any cleaning would be negated in seconds.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 18, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"this is recorded thru a fly's ear
and you have to have a fly's eye to see it"
My favorite Captain B. With lyrics!

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 18, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm pumpkin bread, coffee and RRGJ on the table.

Sunny, crisp and cold here in TWC. It'll be a quiet weekend at CasaJS.

Only 13 days to go, Mr. A. Tick tick tick...

Posted by: MsJS | December 18, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

MotP-Mele Kalikimaka! hope the air dries out a bit for you.

sd-thanks for the bear video. The boodle was suffering from a distinct lack of bears.

dmd-it snuck up on me too. Mr. F just reminded me that we need to add cell phone shopping into the mix this week. I can do without that kind of fun.

Snowing in Our Fair City, and not just the showers in the forecast. Headed for St. Paul this afternoon, yuck.

Later gators, stay warm and dry.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 18, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I wish MotP the very best of the season, but d*mn Frosti that song is looping through my head!

Posted by: dmd3 | December 18, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Good morning to the Boodle.

I've been enjoying the Boodle conversations for about a year now. (I'm the guy standing by the corner of the sofa, sort of half-hidden by the big schefflera.)

Thank you, one and all, for many chuckles and not a few "Hmm, I've got to think about that one!"

MrsNorthBank and I reside on the north bank of the Mississippi, just a stone's throw from the river's most northern point. Thus, the "NorthBank" moniker. Actually, "a stone's throw" was in my younger days. Now, it is more like a twenty minute canoe paddle.

It is snowing here, too, Frosti. At the risk of committing a Boodle faux pas, I'm wondering how near we are to being neighbors, you and I?

Season's greetings, everyone.

Posted by: northbank | December 18, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Well hi there, northbank! Glad you delurked. I'll set out more coffee and pumpkin bread in your honor.

The Missihoopi's northern point? You mean it just doesn't gush out of the North Pole all nice and navigable?

Posted by: MsJS | December 18, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Welcome northbank! Come in and make yourself comfy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 18, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Welcome, northbank!

Thanks again to everyone for the good wishes. My cousin and I are keeping busy doing what chores and errands we can as we wait for the rest of the family to gather.

It was particularly appropo, having come "North of the Notches" in December, to have glanced at the thermometer last night and see it had hit zero F. Feels like home for sure.

*very-glad-for-wood-stoves-and-lots-of-blankets Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 18, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Froomkin, formerly of the Washington Post and now with the Huffington Post, writing about Obama's late, vague, and skimpy scientific integrity memo.

Embedded within the Froomkin column is the link to this earlier article at the Huffington Post, about another oil commission finding and the Onbama administration's truthiness vis-a-vis the spill.

And in local news, Gov. Ricky Perry has cancelled any semblance of a schmanzy inauguration party, given the $20 billion state deficit. The city has thrown out its curbside dead-Christmas-tree pick-up this year, asking residents to rev up thousands of car engines instead so individual families can deliver their skeletal, no-longer-needed, needle-bare trees to about one of 20 temporary tree toss-away recycling stations.

Posted by: laloomis | December 18, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Northbank.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 18, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Arguably, the Upper Mississippi is misnamed. The Ohio contributes more water to the system. Same goes for the Upper Colorado/Green River.

For new Postie Jordan Sekulow, I wonder whether it would work to start a Conservative Office and Home Decor Service. These guys seem to need desk lamps with those metal shades (like the one in his video), formal draperies, Napoleonic wallpaper, Colonial Revival furniture, and presumably some discretely religious stuff to hang on the walls. The Decor Service could also advise about founding fathers whose books or portraits might cause embarrassment. Like Benjamin Franklin, whose wholesome public image was the result of full-time public relations.

The Decor Service could also help its clients by providing sources of hair grease. To judge from Sekulow, shiny is in. Maybe Vaseline?

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 18, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Off to brave the stores, will send up flares if I have problems.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 18, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

So, DoC, what name would you have for the misnamed upper Mississippi? Perhaps the "Beltrami River", after the guy who said he found the "true head" of it?

I must say, however, that living on the banks of the "Beltrami River" just doesn't have the same evocativeness as "Mississippi". Not as fun to type, either.

Posted by: northbank | December 18, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the Mississippi got named top-down by Marquette and Jolliet. Their version was "Mitchisipi".

If they had instead come down the Ohio...

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 18, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Joliet, there's a town in Ill-In-Oy by that name.

Right near Romeoville.

Posted by: MsJS | December 18, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Welcome to the boodle. We seem to have lots of boodlers from that end of the Big River. You probably know exactly where this picture was taken without reading the caption:

The visitor center there had relief map of the Mississippi Basin explaining that the mot important tributary was up for grabs depending on whether your criteria was length (Missouri), volume (Ohio) or area (upper Mississippi).

Posted by: yellojkt | December 18, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

*waving excitedly to northbank*

Just got back from Home Depot (which I've never liked, but it's just around the corner) and got a RayoVac lantern and a buncha D batteries. I promised myself to get it all ready today for the next (truly expected) power outage (and wishing Pepco would pay my mortgage and condo fee). This puppy is supposed to light up an entire room.

The people who work at HD generally -- while very nice -- don't know much. It was another customer who told me that most of the LED lanterns would not emit enough light to read by, so I got what I got. The lighting is fluorescent, which lasts quite long, really. I'm not unhappy with my purchase, must say.

My lower back is exploding, so this weekend is going to be enjoyed carefully and gingerly. All outside errands are done, and now to tuck into a nice lunch.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 18, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Our newest boodler inspired me to upload my photos from Minnesota, so here they are:

That leaves me with just North Dakota left and I will finally have my 2009 summer vacation adequately documented.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 18, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Happy midday, everyone. Hi Cassandra, hope you're back with us soon. I'm missing you but trust the little one is doing well. Is his big sister doing big sister things with him? (I remember the day 3 and a half year old Elderdottir managed to climb up and pick the infant Geekdottir out of the crib. I nearly had a heart attack!)

Welcome, Northbank! Good to have you with us. I'll have to do a better job of dusting the big plants so as to make you come out and join the conversation.

Much good work going on around me, it makes the season bright indeed. Thirddottir organized a fundraiser today to benefit a good friend whose husband died of a heart attack last week, at the age of 37. Tonight is the family Christmas party; cheese straws are made, brownie trifle is in the fridge, meatballs are stewing in chili sauce and grape jelly in the crockpot. It will be wonderful to see all the cousins! AND, Geekdottir is taking the boyfriend. I hope he won't be overwhelmed.

Scotty, you are yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: slyness | December 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Ah, ftb, ya shoulda told me that's what you needed. We have three of them thar lanterns and I coulda faxed you one, batteries and all.

Lunch is good. What are you having? We're having leftover pizza and a salad.

Posted by: MsJS | December 18, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Leftover Chinese, chicken and broccoli in ginger sauce for me, MsJS. Mr. T had country ham and cheese on sourdough bread. We're going light, because tonight's meal is one of the largest of the year.

Posted by: slyness | December 18, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Since I'm playing with picture, here are the critters I found in Yellowstone two summers ago, including the only bear in the wild I was able to catch on film:

There is one elk in there which I think I have more pictures of than my kid.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Welcome northbank, it's fun to delurk, isn't it? dmd, hope you get your errands done so you can enjoy the week ahead. Slyness, say hi to geekdottir for us and wish her a Merry Christmas. Scotty, you are in my thoughts, glad you are staying warm.

Baking is almost finished. Swedish bread dough rising. The guys are finishing our porch roof so it sounds like Santa's reindeer again. Going to make some hot chocolate for them and give them some cookies.

Last night we went to oldest granddaughter's chorus performance. The theme was 'dreams and wishes' and the 5th thru 8th grades choruses performed. It was very nice, but to be P.C. they sang no Christmas music except for Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer as a finale. I had to laugh when the last song the 8th graders did was 'Don't Stop Believing'. I didn't ask, but I bet my daughter felt old listening to a song that was popular when she was a teen!

This morning I learned that both of my granddaughters now have email accounts. OMG!

Posted by: badsneakers | December 18, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Northbank-welcome, and no faux pas at all to ask how near neighbors we are. We must have a far north BPH. You can find Our Fair City by traveling 27 miles north of Deer River.

Packing the 'puter up now for the trip south, but many stops to make in between-like Frost with a Toyota pickup, driving in a snow globe.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 18, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Northbank-welcome, and no faux pas at all to ask how near neighbors we are. We must have a far north BPH. You can find Our Fair City by traveling 27 miles north of Deer River.

Packing the 'puter up now for the trip south, but many stops to make in between-like Frost with a Toyota pickup, driving in a snow globe.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 18, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, North Bank. By location alone you qualify to join the elevated ranks of the Honourary Canadians; we've quite a handful now. We need them to execute our cunning plan.

Very cold and snowy here today, but as you all pointed out, Christmas looms and except for putting up a little tree and mailing #1's box of goodies, I've done nothing. Must. Shop.

I swore to not enter a mall this season; so far so good. We'll see if my resolve holds.

Posted by: Yoki | December 18, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, Northbank!

Senate is supposed to vote on DADT repeal at noon:

I'm thinking of making sugar cookies later...we'll see if I get beyond the thinking stage...

Posted by: seasea1 | December 18, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

It's also nice to know that the gummint is funded through next Tuesday. Sweet cheeses.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 18, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Yoki. I have one more gift to order online and some more money folding. Then I AM DONE! No malls. The only brick-and-mortar stores are the pharmacy and the bank.

Posted by: MsJS | December 18, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I sent out cards telling friends and family that I'm thinking of them fondly, and promising not to hit them up for bail money any time soon.

(It's not much, but I do what I can.)

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and, "Hi there, Northbank!"

It will probably be years before I feel like I know you well enough to hit you up for bail money, so you've got that to put a little extra spring in your holiday step.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Yay, the Senate passed the repeal of DADT. At least one thing to be happy about this holiday season. I guess there are a lot of t's to be crossed and i's dotted, but sanity has won out over bigotry and stupidity.

Baking done, time to clean up and get ready to go to a friend's house for dinner.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 18, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I'll probably be in the cell with you, Bob, so don't look to me for bail money... :-)

Friends continue to visit and keep my cousins, my uncle and I well-fortified. I'll need the extra calories, too -- gonna make a multi-hour trip (each way) tomorrow to pick yet another cousin up at the airport.

Yay indeed on the death of DADT!

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 18, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I've addressed this previously, but a fair number of homosexual men & women served with me over the years, and the only real big issue was that pesky concern about prosecution & punishment.

I can speak knowledgeably only of my time (1980-1992, US Air Force), but I'd have committed extravagant perjury (and not thought twice about it) before I'd ever have willingly cooperated with an investigation aimed at expelling them from service and believe that most of the people with whom I served would have done the same.

Other than the guys who were really pissed at the lesbians for excluding them from consideration, it was pretty much a non-issue. Unfortunately, it led to dishonesty (imaginary tales of out-of-town partners) and fraud (marriages of convenience to facilitate off-base housing arrangements). Not the kind of stuff that should be encouraged, which is essentially what the "No homo" policy has done.

Long past time for a change.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

During discussions of this issue, it's a good idea to bear in mind that the issue isn't "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (which was a semi-compassionate half-measure designed to curb the investigations & prosecutions of homosexual conduct), but the underlying U.S. law which states that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.

In this case, Congress is your daddy. Not Prez Obama & not the military hierarchy.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

And (because so many of you were clamoring for my pronouncement on this issue) I'll share my thoughts on activist "lame duck" Congressional sessions:

Go for it! If we didn't want lawmakers showing up for work after they've been voted out, we'd stop paying 'em. Laissez les bon temps roulez! If they manage to pull off chicanery too egregious, it can be fixed in January.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Bob-S, I am curious. During your training in the military, was there a lot of anti-gay stuff? People calling you a so and so if you weren't the toughest guy? To me, it seems that the branches of the military have varying levels of testoterone-based homophobic slurs and such. From what I read, the more "boo-yahh" wings of the military are the ones most against the concept of gays in service.

I am sure it comes down to allowing people in that you have effectively been training against all these years.

Posted by: baldinho | December 18, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Lou Gossett Jr needs to come up with a new set of slurs to yell at recruits.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 18, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

yello - as my father the First Sergeant used to say - it's not WHAT you say, it's HOW you say it. No slurs needed; just a tone of voice that can make a freight train take a dirt road.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 18, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Or body language tone:
"What do you think you're doing?"
is spooky enough. Brrr.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 18, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The DADT repeal pleases me because it's awfully nice for the grown-ups to win once and a while. But, good grief, will McCain ever recover from this humiliation? He doesn't seem to handle these things well.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 18, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Think that is the equivalent of gift with purchase RD, DADT repealed and McCain's humiliation!

Posted by: dmd3 | December 18, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The military vets I know seem to be very similar when discussing DADT. If you talk to them in person, they almost to a man have no issue with gays in the military at all. When they talk about it while in a group setting of military folks, they are much more hesitant to take that position.

That tells me a lot. The military old guard has really taken a hit today.

Posted by: baldinho | December 18, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

That's fascinating baldinho. I think it shows that the DADT issue has really been a collision of attitudes. It reminds me a bit of the way my maternal grandfather was about black people. On the one hand he was a bit of a racist in theory, and certainly when around his buds. But in private, and certainly when dealing with the black people he encountered in his life, his inherent decency came through. Oddly, sometimes the person we are when nobody is watching is actually better than the person we are when everyone is.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 18, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

When I went through USAF basic training (hardly the worst & most strenuous experience imaginable, although I managed to drag it out for myself) there was one, and only one, TI (Training Instructor, the equivalent of the Drill Sergeant) who would use various slurs to make his point.

He was the lowest-ranking, least-experienced of the TI's with whom I dealt (did I mention that I dealt with more than the average recruit?), and was the only one for whom I had no respect.

The whole "Put the kids into stressful situations, and guide them toward responses which we find useful" paradigm of military basic training is contrived & artificial but is known to be an efficient tool for breaking through inertia. Used artfully, it can accomplish much good.

Unfortunately, the method lends power to some a**wipe bullies who should never be entrusted with anything. Fortunately, they usually don't last long.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

An uncle of mine (RIP!) was known to say some unpleasantly intolerant things about black folks when speaking of a group (of black folk) or TO a group (of not-black folk).

So far as I know, he was unknown to act unpleasant or intolerant to any actual black people.

People are strange, when you're a stranger...

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to add that the majority of ex-military folks I know I have met through my work as an engineer in defense contracting companies or in private multi-discipline engineering firms. They might not be the average ex-military.

I have a cousin by marriage that came up through as an enlisted man, did his 20 and is now a state trooper. He is quite a bit to the right of even McCain on this issue. He is originally from Georgia, whereas 95% of the others are from the northeast.

I dunno if that makes a difference, but is worth noting at least.

Posted by: baldinho | December 18, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile the Dream Act languishes.

Some students locally are in their 39th day of a hunger strike. Let's hope that they soon break their self-imposed strike, so that they may nourish their dreams and live to fight another day.

Here, a poignant op-ed by a former San Antonio city councilwoman who decided to stand with the students and got arrested for the first time in her life on Nov. 29.

Posted by: laloomis | December 18, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Engineers, pretty much by definition, are not typical of anything else.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

When the lesbian engineers finally discover how much they have in common with the ex-military homophobe engineers, and the mixed-race bisexual engineers find out that they can join the caucus too, the rest of us better start trembling. They'll be proud & loud.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I know this - If tolerance is what you're looking for, the northeastern corner of the United States is not traditionally the first place you go.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Congress and the military leadership are just catching up with a done deal. Soldiers are generally young people, and young people just don't give a rat's patootie about sexual orientation. McCain is going to be the George Wallace of this issue-the name that stands for all those who held on to the so obviously wrong position on a human rights issue far too long.

St. Paul is something to see after last weekend's snow storm. The downtown sidewalks, normally cleared within hours of a significant snowfall, are pretty much tunnels. With snowbanks towering at every intersection waiting for green is a lot more prudent than right turns on red.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 18, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

It's dead Jim.

Toodles boodle, and sweet dreams.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 18, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

frosti - I'm sorry I can't see St. Paul in this more-wintry-than-usual state, but am glad I don't have to.

And that's a great observation about the youth (& attendant attitudes) of the vast majority of the military personnel -vs- senior leadership.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 18, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Finally decorated my house and tree last night. Baked two batches of cookies tonight (shortbread and chocolate chip) - can never attain the status of a Badsneaks, I fear. In this very strange year (for me) and odd and frightening times (for many) I want to wish all Boodledom a very, very merry xmas.

Here's to the 99'ers - the thousands who have, in the past couple of months, or the many hundreds of thousands in the next couple of months who will run out of unemployment benefits permanently. No one knows what will happen now for them, and us.

And so this is Christmas.

Good will towards all. Let's hope those of us with jobs keep 'em, and those looking, find 'em. And till then, have a cookie!

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 19, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I hold little truck with those narrow-minded individuals who consider DC-area professional football to be disappointing merely because the franchise doesn't play the game very well. It seems to me that the local ownership has (at mind-boggling expense) brought us a constant stream of drama.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Boodlers. When there is a different tone in private and public speech, it tells me only that the speaker is not courageous. Wouldn't want to be judged by her *peers,* as gays are, always. Just, we are us. They are us! I may be straight, but I've been judged for all kinds of things, and I don't accept it. I'm us. I just am. And so are the rest of us.

To excuse a contemporary for speaking one way in private and another in public is, simply, to let them off the hook. I can barely forgive our grandparents (And my Grandma knew what was what, and didn't care), but I certainly hold us to a better and higher standard of acceptance. Not tolerance. That is a bit condescending. Simply, we're all us.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

And a merry Merry to you, Wheezy! I wish I could do more to help more, but at least this year I'm stable enough to give more aid than I must seek, and have been working at doing so. It's a pleasant change from some (fairly recent) past experience.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm so happy to see your prospects looking up, Wheezy11! And take your kind wishes well.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

An easy smile.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 19, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Yoki.

LiT, that's great. I remember my own kid's first big belly laugh - when I pulled off his sock one day.

My supervisor became a dad for the first time on Thursday. He'd been acting very non-chalant about the whole thing, but he's in for some big changes and lots of joy. I'm making some baby socks just because they're fun.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 19, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

It's certainly true that lack of courage is identified in that way. But while I exult in the beauty of courage where I find it, I'm sufficiently jaded to sometimes accept the compromise of semi-sincere civility.

I'm quite willing to be very [VERY] offensive to settled sensibilities in the course of fighting my little battles. But neither my energy nor my resources are sufficient to educate all of the ignoramuses (ignorami?).

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, seasea-friend.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

I guess that should be: "is sufficient"

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. You've made me think, Bob. Maybe there are times when energy doesn't meet courage, perfectly. Then I'll accept any energy and courage, it need not be perfect. Like, when one's livelihood is threatened. Care must, then, be taken.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

But this is me.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

The levee may be rotten that separates the Ft Lauderdale area from the Everglades.,0,7086147,full.story

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 19, 2010 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Theron Fleury just accepted my fiend-request. I rawk at facebooknish.

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 3:12 AM | Report abuse

Love Hockey

Posted by: Yoki | December 19, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Scotty, write your memories of your aunt as soon as possible; even stored on your computer they are there for family and friends and family genealogists.

Welcome, Northbank.

The best gift we bought this year is a little bit of technology that is helpful to everyone. It is the termomter that registers by holding it to your forehead. It is called a Temporal Artery Thermometer and is made by Exergen. We first saw this used in outpatient surgery this fall at Fairfax Hospital. Later we saw it for sale at Costco, about $30.00. We bought three for family members who have little children and then, one for us as it is just plain convenient and sanitary. Fast, too.

Must dress for early church now, hope you all are warm and full of healthy breakfast. Blessings. Sure miss Casandra!

Posted by: VintageLady | December 19, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy!!!! Best of the season to you.

I have generally been a person that has a difficulty with people stating comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, in many cases I make my displeasure known verbally or through mannerism, (I have look that has been described as downright scary). My friends know should they make comments it will not be appreciated.

However, I do find myself in situations, particularly office situations where it can be harder to register my displeasure with the conversation,

I not sure my personal belief system affects a wider audience, but I do know that eldest recently had to answer a test question on asking if Hitlers policies of discrimination still exist today (or some such wording). I have talked to my daughter about this subject many times and several times pointed examples of similarities in the world from that era and today. It apparently stayed with her as she told me she went in full rant mode to answer the question, I was so proud!

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Very cute video LiT, middle child and I had a game we would play that would send her into full on belly laughs, the video reminded me of that.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Greek yogurt, pomegranate, honey and granola on the counter. Up early to help judge a robotics tournament today. I was off the hook for this year, until snow caused postponement of a bunch of tournaments last weekend, wreaking havoc in the volunteer force. Who isn't already over-scheduled this time of year?

When the public face is tolerant, and private not so, 'tis one evil thing-particularly when done deliberately. The reverse, is more nuanced. It may shock boodlers to know that many people just don't think that deeply. If they did, they'd often make different and more humane choices. Thinking more deeply is what I believe one-to-one human contact forces them into.

Or not. Someone asked Maslow "Do most people reach self-actualization?" He answered, "No, most people are jerks."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 19, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Ignorami brief:
semester's battle hard-fought,
but some still standing

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 19, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh, dearest DNA girl, ME TOO....grading continues until Monday Midnight when we have the pre-Solstice ceremonial uploading of grades into the ether, at which time, student complaints may begin pinging back through same ethers.....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 19, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Huge flurries are falling, of the kind we call rags or hare pelts in French. It's very picturesque.
As a member of an audible minority I had the occasion of hearing blatantly racist public comments by someone who thought he/she was within an homogeneous group of their own tribe. I always make the point that they were misguided, hilarity ensues. The old navy guys were bad for that, there were so little French Canadians in the navy in their days.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Bob-S, I think northeasterners are very accepting and tolerant... primarily of everyone who comes from the northeast. The rest on a secondary level.

I don't think people from the NE are different in that at all. I have gone a few places, and all of them have this notion that people from elsewhere are somehow just not right. Defense mechanism, I guess.

Posted by: baldinho | December 19, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

*waving to baldinho from North of the Notches*

Thanks, VL, consider it done.

*more-chores-ahead-some-pleasant-but-most-not-and-hoping-perhaps-a-little-football-will-provide-a-needed-distraction Grover motions*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 19, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm getting pretty good at the pumpkin pies.

Failing earthen levees just tick me off. They usually fail for a single reason: the earth is under-compacted. (Pile-reinforced systems are prey to cheats who drive shorter piles than spec.) Under-compacted soil is caused by two reasons: not enough compactive effort, or it's too wet - the water takes up space preventing the grains from packing together.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 19, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Mmmmm. I love pumpkin pies.

I was at a work project last night and didn't get home until 2 a.m. My son came in from the alma mater last night and went to bed at 11 because he didn't get much sleep Friday night after exams ended.

He's still asleep. I have to wake him up in about an hour so we can go see Tron. He's my excuse to see it even though he has already. He says the 3D isn't worth it, so I saved us five buck.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

And while I'm boodlehogging and listening to a Pink Martini Christmas, here are my pictures from Montana:

The backstory on these photos is that on the way out of Yellowstone, we took the Beartooth Highway to Montana. At the summit which is nearly 11,000 feet up I stopped to try to take some photos of a particularly elusive marmoset.

While I was doing that, a herd of wild mountain goats appeared across the ridge and wandered right past us. And some of the kids were quite, uh, well, playful. Which of course delighted my not-so-inner twelve-year-old.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Punkin Pie ... sounds yumsers (but, indeed, it always does (and is)).

Okay, here's my question out to the Boodle -- especially them what has a Mac. I'm trying to find software to make calendars from my own photos, and which I can print myself. I used to be able to do it pretty seamlessly when I was still attached to a PC way of doing things. Now that I have left the evil zone, I find that my Mac does not let me do what I used to be able to do (my only complaint, btw). That means I have to explore some third party software. I have Googled for it, but I still can't seem to differentiate between what is offered (well, mostly; I have it narrowed down to a couple).

Do any of you have experience with this? I'm kinda intrigued by Digilabs and will call them tomorrow after they wake up (they are, alas, on the left coast).

Just wondering. My friends are pacing, waiting somewhat (sorta) patiently for their holiday gift calendars, and I don't have much time left. Well, both they and I know that they will get their calendars when they get them, yanno. . . .

Go Lions (tilting at windmills, *EYE KNOW*), and while I'm at it, Go Redskins.


Posted by: ftb3 | December 19, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Look at either iPhoto or Word for Mac. Both have calendar wizards.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 19, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I'll wave back, Scotty. Having a family shindig up there.... at one of the grand hotels or similar?

You picked a good time, unless you need a lot of snow (I think there is some... though the powered-sledding trails might not be up to speed yet). The temps have allowed the ski resorts to open and I think the conditions have been good.

Posted by: baldinho | December 19, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The G&M is doing a series on faith in Canada (and the increasing lack thereof), the article today struck a chord (sorry couldn't resist). It deals with pipe organs, since I have always loved pipe organ music, when played well I liked this story but it left me a little sad, most times the music/organ/choir were the highlights of mass for me.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Okay, can someone (*anyone*) explain to me why the Redskins' complete disintegration is solely on the shoulders of Donovan McNabb???? It's all his fault because .... why?


So, instead of watching the game (or whatever it might be called), and occasionally checking the scores, I've spent this afternoon making a huge spreadsheet for my trademark portfolio. To say that it was a lot more fun tells ya a whole lot, eh?

Posted by: ftb3 | December 19, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I guess no one expected Sellers to get the ball.

Posted by: bh72 | December 19, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Lions Win! One road victory after 26 consecutive defeat dating back to October 2007. Wow.
The Christmas bird count was pretty poor. The weather was good but we drew a sucky sector. It's being ripped apart for new subdivisions *sign*.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know the simplest way to format a book for printing? I'm talking about making a book out of 8&1/2 x 11", folding it, and having the pages come out right. For example, a 100 page booklet divided into 25 sheets, ("signatures" as the trade calls them)(printed on both sides, 4 pages per sheet) with 5 packs of 5 sheets, so that the first sheet has pages 1 and 2 on one side, pages 3 and 20 on the second sheet, and so on.

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

Shriek -- I'm doin' my happy dance (all the while hanging onto my aching back)! Wowie-Zowie! Very, very nice for my kittycats.

BTW, I think I read that TB hadn't lost all season to one of the basement teams. Until, well, now.


Posted by: ftb3 | December 19, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - At work I use Adobe Acrobat which does it easily. I'm not sure which freeware does it, but I'd be surprised if OpenOffice or StarOffice can't do it.

In a pinch, you can always (laboriously) cut & paste the pages into the correct printing order in a new document. Do you have a saddle stitcher to staple the booklets when they're printed?

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If whatever word processor you're using can convert the document to a .pdf file, that's probably the way to go. The Acrobat Reader should then be able to print it in booklet format.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, the Jimmy Jones Egos have beaten the Snyder's Millionnaires. Another sad day for the Other Capital.
On the other hand we're having pork hocks and balls stew, an occasion to rejoice.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC meatballs, meatballs, gawd...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I've never had pork balls. I've gotta feelin' that ain't kosher.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

amourettes de porc Bob, they are called amourettes de porc and they have no place in my stew.
Geez, I provide plenty of set ups, do I?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 19, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

A local church with some wealthy members recently refurbished its sanctuary to accommodate a vast, brand-new organ. A decade ago, Jacksonville put a much-restored antique organ (originally from Montreal, I think) in its new orchestra hall. So there's a bit of interest in these great beasts.

But on a larger scale, I wonder whether many of the grand churches that house grand organs will be around in 20 years. Many of the elaborate, built-for-the-ages churches of circa 1910-1960 are abandoned or demolished and even Washington's National Cathedral is operating on a skeletal budget. The decreasing number of churchgoers seem to prefer new auditoriums to legacy churches. Ritual and tradition seem to be on the way out.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 19, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

My uncle's church in Baltimore has a dandy organ.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

'Afternoon, Boodle. Just arrived home after a nice weekend visiting friends in Williamsburg. Missed watcvhing the Skins game, but heard all of it on the radio on the drive home. Knew they were going to lose at 7:00 left, 30-30, because they are a 4th quarter choke team. *sigh*

I blame Obama, not McNabb. Although McNabb is clearly responsible for a lackluster defense and a pi$$poor offensive line.

Wish I'd seen the last quarter of the Iggles/Giants game. Iggles scored 28 points in 7 and a half minutes. Skins scored -3 in last 7 and a half minutes.

Congrats on the Lions' win, ftb. The Tiara pickers were unanimous in their picks on that one. Of course, they were unanimous on Miami, too. And unanimous on Pittsburgh -- who just got tied by the Jets.


The WaPo hired yet another rightwinger? What a shock. *shaking head* I told you guys a few weeks ago: the enemy is inside the castle keep, and all is lost. And there doesn't seem to be any way customers can forcefully present their dislike of such a move.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 19, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, one of the previous articles in the series was about the number of churches that are shutting down, a very significant number, and the potential loss of some beautiful old architectural buildings.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 19, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, baldinho, it's a family gathering, but one of the other-than-festive kind. *SIGHHHH* I'll be on the road shortly to pick up a cousin from the airport just to your west.

I catnapped for about an hour with the Eagles-Giants on in the background. The shouts of the announcers following the game-winning punt return woke me up. Amazing that I slept through the Iggles comeback -- hope 'Mudge kept his blood pressure under control. Considering my lack of tiara-worthy gamepicking, however, perhaps I should have kept sleeping... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 19, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

My church bought a LeTourneau organ several years ago, to replace the 1940's organ that was completely worn out. Great instrument in a beautiful room. We'll see if we survive another 20 years. Our numbers have fallen and the decline has impacted the budget, although not to the extent that it has other churches.

I think I've mentioned that I am chairing the pastoral search committee. It's a daunting responsibility, knowing that our very existence may depend on who we pick. The resumes we are receiving are very interesting, even the ones we won't talk to.

We live in interesting times. I completed a survey with our denominational folks, so they would send resumes. Question: what positions do you have women in? Pastor, Sunday School teacher, associate pastor, committee chairmen, etc. Yes to all. Do you ordain women as deacons. Yes, we have even had women as chairman of deacons. It blows me away that these are issues worthy of discussion.

Posted by: slyness | December 19, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Steelers go 82 yards in last 2 minutes...but they needed to go 92. They lose on last play. Quite an ending.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 19, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

for my fellow enthusiast SciTim:

Flying Saucers

Aeronautics: A new type of dirigible could make it easier to deliver people and provisions to inaccessible places. It looks pretty cool, too

Dec 9th 2010

But will this latest attempt to revive the airship get off the ground?

TRANSPORTING large, clunky bits of equipment is difficult. Roads, rivers and railways do not reach everywhere, and even if they did, many cumbersome and heavy objects would need to be hauled in pieces, only to be put together at the final destination. Aeroplanes impose even tighter restrictions on shape and size, not to mention the need for runways. Heavy-transport helicopters, such as the Mil Mi-26 or Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, address some of these difficulties, but their payloads are limited to 20 and nine tonnes respectively, and their huge rotors create a powerful downdraft that makes handling that payload rather tricky. So people have long been looking for other ways round the problem. Now an Australian aeronautical firm, Skylifter, thinks it has found the perfect solution.

The company is developing a piloted dirigible capable of carrying loads of up to 150 tonnes over distances as great as 2,000km (1,240 miles) at a speed of 45 knots (83kph). This would permit the craft to transport not just hefty equipment but entire buildings to remote areas. The company envisages modules ranging from rural hospitals and disaster-relief centres to luxury airborne cruise-ships.

Rather than use either a spherical or a cigar-shaped aerostat, as the gas-filled envelope of a lighter-than-air craft is known, Skylifter has developed a discus-shaped one. This means that like a traditional, round balloon—and unlike the elongated dirigibles that have hitherto been used as serious modes of commercial transport—the craft is “directionless”. In other words, it is oblivious to where the wind happens to be blowing from, which simplifies load-handling in places where the wind is fickle. At the same time, being flatter than a sphere, the aerostat acts less like a sail than a traditional balloon does, making it easier to steer. The flying-saucer shape also acts as a parachute, affording greater control during descent.

Skylifter’s other innovation is to use devices called Voith-Schneider propellers instead of airscrews. A Voith-Schneider propeller is similar to a paddle wheel, but has hydrofoil-shaped blades instead of flat ones. Speeding up its rotation increases its thrust, while shifting the blades’ angle changes the direction of the thrust, thus providing power and steering at the same time. Skylifter plans to use several such drives to control the craft’s horizontal motion and to aid a buoyancy-control system within the envelope in moving the vehicle up and down.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 19, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse


Finally, dangling the control pod well below the aerostat shifts the craft’s centre of gravity downward. This means it does not need additional stabilisers, which add weight.

The firm has already built a remote-controlled test version, called Betty , to demonstrate how the basic arrangement would work. Betty ’s helium-filled aerostat, three metres across, is capable of carrying loads of a little over half a kilo. The company has also scaled up the aerostat itself to the 18-metre-wide Vikki . This model, however, remains tethered to the ground at all times, as it has not been equipped with a propulsion system.

Skylifter’s engineers are now working on a 23-metre unmanned version dubbed Nikki . They plan to construct a full-sized 150-metre piloted prototype, Lucy , over the next three years. If that works, Skylifter craft may yet bring relief to stranded disaster victims—and also to jaded millionaires sick of ocean liners.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 19, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If memory serves correctly, my uncle's church salvaged some of the guts of the organ and several of the large stained glass windows from another church. The transfer & rehabilitation were horrendously expensive, but it's awfully popular for weddings now!

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, helicopters can be designed & built to carry arbitrarily large loads, and I'm sure I've seen a design for a modular helicopter platform that allows for adding lift as necessary.

But when the weather's right, big balloons can sure haul some stuff!

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I can be pretty slow on the uptake. Sorry to hear of your family's loss.

Do you get north of the notches much? I was just up in Lancaster before Thanksgiving looking at a bridge the NHDOT is planning to rehabilitate. I haven't been up in Coos county much since junior high. It seems to be just as pretty as ever, but it has a tough row to hoe. Population declines are hard to deal with.

Posted by: baldinho | December 19, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Rep, Peter King R-NY, I dub thee eastcoasttancredo! He has to figure that there is money to make grandstanding against Muslims. Newt has really shown the way again.

Posted by: baldinho | December 19, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Forgot the Peter King link.

Posted by: baldinho | December 19, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Aaahhh... There's some of that tolerance for which the northeast is so renowned!


Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Although I'll concede that the NYC environs only marginally qualify as "northeast".

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 12/16/2010
Obama's oil commission skewers Jindal, Nungesser -- and Obama
By Joel Achenbach

No Joel, what happened in the defiled Halls on the Hill above 1600 Tent City Ave. on the Ides of December and the following two days was a skewering.

We (80,000,000+ of US of America), no better off, worse, or in complete crisis, along with the 40,000,000 professional, poor soul\victims of illiberalism in inaction, who just got another hole punched in our tin cup, a 2% lump of coal dropped in OUR Chris'mas stocking, a Kiss then Tell Army, another Raid on the Social Security Insecure, Empty Lockbox, and a patchwork of ever more complicated tax breaks for some, and the promise of more uncertainty out into the next two years.

When we needed a glass at least half full, these turkeys in tuxedos, and unfortunately, transparent speedos, serve up a pile of paper with more holes in it than a Poacher Police Deer Decoy. If not then, why now? If 2% is good, and will improve the Job situation, why didn't he do that on day one? If 2% is good now, why not 100%? If not now, when? If the top 1%-2% of the earners in this country spend 30% of the money, why does he (The President, and you in the press) still insist that the Republicans are holding the Un-Employed hostage, thus preventing him from taking at least half of that 30% away? Do you have any idea how oxymoronic that situation is?

We say there is too much toleratin' goin' on up there, enough insensitivity, discrimination, and apathy to fill the whole East and West coast.

They are the Extortionists, we are the Hostages. We need somebody at the FED, besides a guy who says, "boy gee whiz, I didn't see that coming, but keep sending the money, and we'll try harder next time"(???), and some people in the Congress who understand that a dollar taken before it's spent, is a dollar taken from our recovery, not passed on to the businesses in our community, not paid to a neighbor who may be having difficulty paying bills and caring for the family, and Billions of dollars not risked by investing in new business ventures, activity, here and around the World.
<|: )

Posted by: RichNomore | December 19, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Wait, wait, I thought RichNomore had refound his fortune and was RichNomore no more. Did comrade Obamaski screw you once again? Were you on the wrong side of a wildcat bet? bummer, dude. Better luck next Congress!

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't get too crazy about barggin' 'bout a mere 60 mil 'merks. If 60 large kicked the bucket tomoroow therd be 250 million more right behindst, you know? A few tens of millions here or there is just background noise in the screamorium that is your fantasy.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 19, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Who's we, pal? "We (80,000,000+ of US of America), no better off, worse, or in complete crisis, along with the 40,000,000 professional, poor soul\victims of illiberalism in inaction."

I personally represent the Lollipop Guild, and we're laughing all the way to the poor house. Why, I had several dozen dollars unspent after I got paid last Friday. Are you sure that you've been putting your money on the right horses?

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Maybe you need to find yourself a better witchy woman to point yer peter to better holes to drill, son.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Good column here on the Daily Dish:
I've come to rely on Andrew Sullivan to keep me from despair. He seems to have the most clear-headed view of what Obama is doing. I hope he's right.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 20, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

seasea, are you sure about this? ItchNomore seems to keep a pretty close eye on Obama's balls, too.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I generally find Sullivan well worth reading. He's not above an occasional cheap shot (I think he took a couple in the piece you linked) but he's usually thoughtful.

I do have to say that the following sentence needed an editor. At the very least, one of the commas should have been a semicolon. And I'll assume that "is is" was meant to be "[it] is":
"But throughout he has tried, as his partisan critics have complained, not to be a partisan president, to recall, as he put it in that recent press conference, that this is a diverse country, that is is time we had a president who does not repel or disparage or ignore those who voted against him or those who have grown to despise him."

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

You in the DC area, lock your doors tomorrow night and keep the children under wraps, BC will probably be ravaging.

Posted by: bh72 | December 20, 2010 3:19 AM | Report abuse

I's sensing a little Ginsbergian Beat poetry in your rants. A few more paragraph breaks and we could publish it in Granta.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm so glad you folks read the trolls, so I don't have to. Did Richnomore say something?

Good morning, everybody, hi Cassandra! Happy Monday of Christmas week to all... Today is wrapping day. Once that's done, I'll be ready for the holiday.

Geekdottir, her boyfriend, and I decorated sugar cookies yesterday. We had a good time, even if the finished product wasn't particularly elegant. Gotta make more cheese straws sometime during the week...

Posted by: slyness | December 20, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, if you have anything left over, you know my fax number ....

Hey Mudgie!

Time to go fight with my bank. *sigh*

Posted by: ftb3 | December 20, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, ftb!! Congrats on yer Lions!!!

'Morning, Boodle. Yes, seasea, that was a pretty good Sullivan column. Also, I'm really beginning to get irritated with Russ Douhat: he's making me like him, against my every prejudice, and often agree with him. Something's very wrong with one of us. This is a pretty good column about Christmas and Christians, especially down at the bottom:

Two interesting grafs (he's essentially reviewing two books about the current role of Christian religion in America):

"Their argument is complemented by the University of Virginia sociologist James Davison Hunter’s “To Change the World,” an often withering account of recent Christian attempts to influence American politics and society. Having popularized the term “culture war” two decades ago, Hunter now argues that the “war” footing has led American Christians into a cul-de-sac. It has encouraged both conservative and liberal believers to frame their mission primarily in terms of conflict, and to express themselves almost exclusively in the “language of loss, disappointment, anger, antipathy, resentment and desire for conquest.”

Thanks in part to this bunker mentality, American Christianity has become what Hunter calls a “weak culture” — one that mobilizes but doesn’t convert, alienates rather than seduces, and looks backward toward a lost past instead of forward to a vibrant future. In spite of their numerical strength and reserves of social capital, he argues, the Christian churches are mainly influential only in the “peripheral areas” of our common life. In the commanding heights of culture, Christianity punches way below its weight. ...The question is whether they can become a creative and attractive minority in a different sort of culture, where they’re competing not only with rival faiths but with a host of pseudo-Christian spiritualities, and where the idea of a single religious truth seems increasingly passé.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Some random factoids from here and there:

"Interestingly, women initiate two-thirds of all divorces, and only half as many divorced women as men want to marry again. When women do decide to marry again, says Lawrence Ganong, a step-family expert at the University of Missouri, they usually seek more power in their new relationship than they had the first time around, and in successful remarriages husbands tend to be more willing to yield such power."

"In the United States, two recent studies, one by the Pew Research Center and another by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virgina, noted the rise in cohabitation, which has doubled from 1990 to more than six million households in 2008, as an alternative to marriage.

This rise is not simply a reflection of the decision by the young and never married to delay taking the big step. The number of couples living together who were previously married is also on the rise, both among those who are still raising children and among older partners.

"More second marriages fail than first marriages."

Good piece on the new phenom of "neurobabble": "For example, a recent article reports a researcher’s “looking at love, quite literally, with the aid of an MRI machine.” One wonders whether lovemaking is to occur between two brains, or between a brain and a human being."

No, don't go there. (What I wanna know is how they got those two folks inside that machine.) (Then there's the whole noise thing.)

And, in climetological news, we in the Wasrshington area may be getting our first White Christmas in nobody seems to know how long (a decade or more, anyway).

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Second marriages: The triumph of hope over experience.

The NYT ran a full feature this weekend over a lovey-dovey couple that met at their kids' preschool.

They were considerate enough to dump their respective spouses before doing the nasty. Total TMI.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Douthet found a good book.

I never got the notion of returning America to some lost golden age. There was too much bad stuff in the past. Indentured servitude and worse, for starters.

There's always been an urge to flee the corrupt world. Nick Bunker's "Making Haste from Babylon: the Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World, A New History" looks like an engaging view of a bunch of people who were doing well by the standards of their day, but nevertheless rejected their official church and eventually fled the country (albeit, it seems, in hopes of making money).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Dirigibles! Saucer-shaped dirigibles!

I predict that Skylifter will quietly disappear from the scene within a year or so, just as every other clever dirigible concept has done. Alas.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Good frosty morning to all!

In the "what's not to love?" category I offer this. (16 other striking photos in gallery at top right of site)

Posted by: talitha1 | December 20, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I was struck by that statstic that cohabitation had doubled since 1990. It made me think back to those dark, dark days early in the sexual revolution (Up the Rebels!!) when "living together" was "a sin," was frowned upon, and was this big, secret, semi-shameful (in theory) event, frequently derided as "shacking up."

Also did not know women initiated 2/3 of all divorces.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

If one is interested in the mechanics of sex research, I can recommend 'Bonk' by Mary Roach. She herself has made some sacrifices in the name of science.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, not sure what they mean by initiated, but back in the day (don't know how true it is these days) when a couple decided to divorce, it was considered to be 'the right thing to do' to allow the wife to file. It was common wisdom that if the man filed, not only did he look like a jerk for walking away from familial responsibilities, but the idea would somehow then be out there that the woman did something to bring the marriage to an end, which would impact her reputation and her ability to marry again (and thereby relieve the first husband of alimony payments). So a wife filing was a win-win for the husband.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 20, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Princess SparklePony to the Senate?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Franken and Bachmann. What a team that would make.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Freshly baked ginger cookies and spiced tea on the table.

Mudge, DC got a bazillion inches of snow about Dec. 19th last year. Did it all melt by Christmas?

Hope to finish the present wrapping and money folding by tomorrow.

Feeling very grateful for pretty much everything these days. That includes Mr. A and the Boodlers.

Posted by: MsJS | December 20, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it was all gone in a day or two. No White Christmas last year.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Last year's December 19 snowfall led to the closure of schools for the three days that they were going to be open at the beginning of that week. I have pictures showing us finally completing the shoveling of the driveway on the 21st. The snow definitely was still here at Christmas, but the roads were clear enough that my mother was able to drive down from Baltimore on the 24th. It was not actively precipitating on the 25th. Depending on your definition of "white Christmas", it could go either way as to what you think it was, last year. The current prediction is for actual snowfall on Christmas Day with ground cold enough for it to accumulate, which would fit anybody's definition.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

All gonge in a day or two? Last year? I don't remember it that way.

I should amend what I said about White Christmas -- actual adhering snowfall on December 25th would fit anybody's definition of a White Christmas, unless they are Eastern Orthodox or Coptic, or another sect that does not hold with this new-fangled Gregorian calendar nonsense. In that case, a White Christmas would have to be in January.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The tipping point for LTA aircraft over helicopters will come on the further downslope of peak oil.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 20, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

There was a white Christmas at our mountain place last year. In fact, there was an ice storm on Christmas morning that wreaked havoc on the trees in the whole area. That was after the 19 inches of snow that fell on December 19th. The kids in Watauga County went to school for three days in January and had to make up for it the rest of the year. Not a good winter, except for the ski slope operators.

Posted by: slyness | December 20, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Day late and a dollar short, as usual, but this might help with booklet printing if you have MS Office, Jumper:

(Hint: Book fold option is under Page Layout>Page Setup dialog>Pages>Multiple Pages. The Page Setup dialog is accessible from the Ribbon by clicking the little corner and arrow graphic to the right of the words "Page Setup")

Hi all! Just doing a drive-by. Been very busy at work and with new bathroom construction, but it's looking good and should be done tonight! *fingers crossed*

Hope everyone's having a good holiday season!

Posted by: MoftheMountain | December 20, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The Bachmann situation is interesting. Because the Republicans did not win the governorship but did take control of both houses of the legislature, 2011's redistricting should be contentious. Minnesota is probably going to lose a seat and Bachmann's district (Gerrymandered to take in the eastern burbs of the Twin Cities, 97% white) is the logical choice. Redistricting is done in the legislature but the governor can veto. If they deadlock then it's off to the courts. Once Bachmann's seat is gone she can either go after another encumbent or try for the Senate. Bachmann has shown a great ability to raise money, but her appeal doesn't seem to extend far outside the TP base. Generally well liked Senator Amy Klobuchar kills her in polls.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 20, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

You're north of town, Tim, I'm south. We had a few measely little patches left, nothing to speak of.

The big 3-footer snow with four gummint shutdown days was in January.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

You're north of town, Tim, I'm south. We had a few measely little patches left, nothing to speak of.

The big 3-footer snow with four gummint shutdown days was in January.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I remember only one brown Christmas in the Other Federal Capital but I may be wrong. We had a couple of close calls, with just a few centimeters om Dec 23 or 24, including a sleet/ice pellets/snow day on Dec 24th a couple of years ago.
That brown Christmas was a killer of plant and was a financial burden on our (then) small city. December and January were very cold and the ground froze deeply because of the lack of insulating snow. It killed plenty of non-rustic plants and water pipes kept busting deep into the spring in our area. We have large zones where the soil is mostly heat-conducting clay and lots of pipes buried at the usual 6 feet-deep busted from freezing.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

A usually reliable source, the Achenblog, places Snowpocalypse on Dec 19, 2009 and Snowmaggeddon on Feb 5, 2010.

Snowpocalypse distributed various amount of snow in a capricious fashion as I recall. Snowmaggeddon was more even-handed; everyone got buried.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Is Haley Barbour a white haired bullfrog, or does he just look like one?

Posted by: kguy1 | December 20, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

But what about "Snowmageddon 2: this time it's personal"? And "Snow no, not again!"? I recall endless months buried beneath mountains of snow, reduced to eating skeevy canned foods from the back of cabinets, entertaining ourselves with hand-punched DVDS made with aluminum foil (*used* aluminum foil!) that our sissy old DVD player refused to recognize. Lengthy finger-uppet shows with finger puppets made from the actual fingers of over-dedicated mailmen who were caught by the blizzard. Lengthy colloquies with my friend Wilson. And so on.

What about all that? Or have you forgotten?

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 20, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

During the Great Dusting last Wednesday, my neighbor and I were reminiscing that this was about the date of the first big snow last winter and that in most years a 6" snow which closed school for three days would have been memorable. Little did we know then...

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, don't forget all the pitchers and video so many of the snowbound took. And the oodles of painkillers after all that shoveling.

Posted by: MsJS | December 20, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Thought I would share my happy holiday story today, I am off today and took the girls to see Tangled, we all enjoyed it.

At the end of the movies as we were getting up from out seats I heard shouting, since this was an afternoon matinee full of young children it seemed odd. I realized the voices were from an adult woman and and older couple. They were very angry and shouting and insulting each other. Apparently my comment about being poor role models for the children did little to shut them up. What I did not know was the group were sitting in the seat behind us, before the movie I went to get middle child some popcorn, which took forever, the entire time I was gone an argument erupted over moving of coats, and sitting in someone else's spot, at one point the adult women looked at the grandchildren and said "I feel sorry for you having grandparent like that".


So to the woman in front of me who laughed when I accidently dropped a half eaten hotdog on her coat I say thank you, would that others have a little better perspective.

Who says life in the burbs is boring :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | December 20, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Snowmageddon doesn't show up in Google Ngram, so I checked out "Rapture","Last Judgment", "Apocalypse", and "Revelation" (all capitalized). Revelation's always been the biggie, with a big crest about 1830 (but Millenium had a small burst of popularity about 1839-1845, coinciding with a peak for "end of the world"). After a severe decline, it began reviving about 1980. Apocalypse tried but failed to catch it in 1850. Last Judgment's never been popular and has been slowly declining since about 1875. Rapture, an unpopular item, has gained in recent years and looks about to overtake Last Judgment.

I don't see any of these having upticks during the Cuban Missile Crisis (probably the closest Washington's come to being toast), nor at the release of Coppola's extravagant Vietnam War movie. Nor with restoration of Michelangelo's fresco in the Sistine Chapel.

We're talking about "end of the world" far less than in 1845. Amazing.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Who says Bushies have no sense of humor?

Posted by: kguy1 | December 20, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, two neat ways to make books. Thanks, Mo of M. The Boodle's power is vast.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 20, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

More Ngram. "Fort Sumter" was a blip in 1800, a spike rising from 1860 to 1864 or so, smaller spikes afterward, like aftershocks of an earthquake. Finally settled down.

Thinking of surfing, Mahaka exploded like a supernova in 1969. It was December 4, 1969 that Greg Noll rode a 30-foot wave there.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It has been snowing since 0900 in St. Paul and now it's accumulating about an inch an hour. Will be a very interesting Vikings game tonight.

k-guy-pretty adroit analysis of the MN situation. However, it looks less likely than previously thought that MN will lose a house seat. Redistricting will still happen though and the Reps will propose something not too far off what Dayton will sign. He'll veto their nominally unpalatable map and they'll come back with an incumbent protection plan suitable to both major parties and that will tick off the IP and Greens into the next century.

Bachmann running for VP on a ticket with Sarah Palen seems like a saner idea than trying to unseat Klobuchar. But I don't guess there's any shortage of crazy in this world.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What I thought were supposed to be 'flurries' here have turned into about 3" so far of sorta wet snow. It's very pretty and Christmasy but not a lot of fun to drive in as we here in New England have amnesia at every first snow of the season. Half of us drive like maniacs and the other half drive like we've never seen such a thing before. But I got home and scraped the driveway and am warming up with some tea.

Those marriage/divorce statistics are interesting. I certainly have equal 'power' in this relationship and I know my ex thinks I didn't have it with him ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | December 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, I end all anti-Obama discussion by saying, "better than if McCain had won."
Very few people will disagree with that.

By the way, taking a note from the BBC's top 100 classic books (which I dispute)--

I decided my tally of 79/100 total could use some augmentation and read Corelli's Mandolin, and it is worth reading, unlike some of the books listed.

Just wanted to say it's a nice read, chapter 1 is probably the worst-written in the book. So thanks BBC, although I remain insulted by some of the titles listed.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, thanks for the link. I found it interesting to find my tally (I do pretty well but not close to your 79). That said, it seems a very strange list to me with some of the titles listed.

While any list like this is necessarily going to be subjective, at least some criteria must be used to help make a determination. I'd be really curious to find out what that was.

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 20, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It looks like "classic" included "books that movies were made from" as one definition, and most books are of the 20th century or thereabouts, except for a few golden oldies that had movies made from them.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

There is no such list. Just because it's on Facebook or someone e-mailed it doesn't mean it really exists. The closest list ever done by BBC is their Big Read which is a listener compiled list of the Britain's best-loved novels which is far different from a canonical list of classics:

It bears only passing similarity to the really stupid and random list currently being chain lettered around. Here is one blogger's futile attempt to find the source:

A closer list is this one from the UK Guardian which is closer, but still doesn't have things like The Complete Works of Shakespeare as a single book.

The whole meme is interesting from a social engineering from the false appeal to authority (The BBC) to the implied challenge (only 6). It's clearly highly viral, but annoyingly error-ridden.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Here is a fairly thorough exegesis on the 100 Book meme. The comments are invaluable.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Besides, people lie.

I've read three of the book on that list. Or is it nine?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Good seasonal news from the American Institute of Biological Sciences:

A Victory for Supporters of Evolution Education in Louisiana

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education recently approved new high school biology textbooks that include the topic of evolution, despite the objections of some creationists. The 8-2 vote means that the state will purchase textbooks that do not mention creationism or intelligent design.

Supporters of evolution education praised the decision. “We are pleased and proud that the board has done the right thing,” said the Louisiana Coalition for Science in a statement. “As a result, students in Louisiana public schools will have the most current, up-to-date information about biology, including the theory of evolution, which is the strongest explanation of the history and development of life on Earth ever constructed…Students in our public schools deserve the best science education we can give them. Thanks to [the board’s] decision, they won't have to wait any longer for decent textbooks.”

According to Eugenie C. Scott, the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, “The board's decision is a ray of sunlight, especially because the creationist opponents of these textbooks were claiming -- wrongly -- that the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act requires that biology textbooks misrepresent evolution as scientifically controversial. It's refreshing to see that the board withstood the pressure to compromise the quality of biology textbooks in the state.”

AIBS is headquartered at 1444 I St. NW

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Great, now if somebody can find where this list really started, we'd be ahead.

Still, it has caused some discussion among people I know as to how well-read they really are.

Many of those books were assigned in school, so "six" is a ridiculous figure.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I like the 100 books in Italian.

Don Chisciotte della Mancia

La Fattoria degli Animali

L'insostenibile leggerezza dell'essere

Il Gattopardo (I've gotta see the movie)

Il Signore degli Anelli (saw the movies)

Il buio oltre la siepe (saw the movie; the play, a couple or three times. One of those words means "mockingbird")

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 20, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes. I had heard about Corelli's Mandolin before but seeing it on the list made me read it.

Yellojkt, I don't need to lie about what I read.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Stay safe, badsneaks. I also crawled home in my Civic through the evening commute. Maybe half an inch or so down, but the roads were a little slick. Every once in a while I'd get the urge to spout off about how slow people were driving, then my tires would lose traction. Never mind!

I am so with you about the amnesia that occurs until AFTER the first snow of the year.

Posted by: baldinho | December 20, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The full moon is certainly brilliant tonight, been a busy day not sure if I can stay up for the eclipse.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 20, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Any list which puts me at disfavor for not reading "Harry Potter" is a list I don't give a hoot about!

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 20, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The Seasonal Balsam Fir is up and smelling. It is getting very Chrismassy.
Next thing you know I'll be taking pictures of the VLP with a Santa hat on.

Well baldhino, when it is greasy, it's greasy. I've been driving in crappy winter weather all my life, I'm from Q-city after all, but fertilizer happens. I slipped and busted a wheel rim last Friday; I hit a curb trying to go up a gentle slope covered with half-frozen muck. On a 4-wheel drive car to boot. The $50 steel rim was busted but the $150 tire made it unmolested, thanks the FSM. That's why you don't see many expensive alloy rims wrapped with snow tires around here.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 20, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

A happy holiday story for you all. On Saturday the State Police here discovered the theft of some items from a Toys for Tots storage pod. It seems the thieves took the time to go through the toys and take only those suitable for children over the age of eight. Of course these would be the more expensive toys too. In all, they took about $15,000 worth of goods. This theft hit the news here last night. This morning, a local CEO (of a company I temped for a few years ago) drove to the State Police headquarters in Framingham with a check for $15,000. All day long people have been stopping by the SP headquarters and other barracks around the state with bags full of toys and checks made out to Toys for Tots. The last figure I heard was about $60,000 in cash donations and no one has estimated the amount of toys that have been donated. All of the donors have expressed outrage and many were in tears. I'll be near the SP headquarters tomorrow and I'll be dropping off a check as well. So the grinches who ripped off the kids haven't stolen Christmas or its spirit. I'm very proud of my fellow citizens tonight.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 20, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Gee, that is a nice ending to a pretty crappy story!

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Glad there was a happy ending badsneaks, this seems appropriate,

Posted by: dmd3 | December 20, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

That's a horrible theft and a nice communal generosity borne of outrage, Badsneakers.

I'd be proud too.

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

That is a heart-warming story, badsneaks.

Did I accuse you of anything, Wilbrod?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 20, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Of course there's been much speculation on the fate of the culprits if/when they are apprehended. Let's see, State Troopers or Marines, who would get first shot (so to speak) at them...

Posted by: badsneakers | December 20, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Favre just took a major hit and had to come out of the game, at least for a few plays. At first I didn't even think he was gonna get up, but he walked off under his own steam.

Da Beerse lead.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 20, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - There's just something accusatory about you, dammit! I always feel defensive around you, and you hardly ever even deign to acknowledge that I exist. (Sniff. Whimper.)

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Lest this thread get out of control, I was kidding about yellojkt. And I hope that Wilbrod has realized that yellojkt was making a reference to the (very relevant) link that he provided, not to anything that Wilbrod has (or has not) said or read.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 20, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I knew immediately that list must be a fraud because I'd read more than half. This never happens when the boodle lists of best books are produced, though I occasionally do better than 6 on some university lists.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 20, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Why so defensive, yello? Of course the BBC meme-list is not definitive. Neither is the Oxford (or Queens or W&M nor Harvard) syllabus. People like different stuff, and I'm glad the BBC was more inclusive of modern lit that most academic institutions (which define 'contemporary literature' as anything between 1900 and 1940, because, don't you know, anything more recent hasn't stood The Test of Critical Time).

Of that, I'd read 91% of them. Of other lists, some all or, sometimes, none. It doesn't really matter, it is just fun (just like it is fun when watching travel-TV to say, "I've been there! There was a great little bar just around that corner!") to say, "I've read that!"

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Awwww. Got an email from #1 today, asking for four family recipes that only get made at Christmas. This is our first Christmas apart, and it touches my heart that she's carrying on the traditions. She said, "It wouldn't feel like Christmas without them."

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Awwww. Got an email from #1 today, asking for four family recipes that only get made at Christmas. This is our first Christmas apart, and it touches my heart that she's carrying on the traditions. She said, "It wouldn't feel like Christmas without them."

Posted by: Yoki | December 20, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 20, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I'm dropping in briefly. I have to go to bed so I can wake up and get the Boy in the middle of the night, to watch the Lunar Eclipse. End of the world, here we come!

DNA girl, that's perfect as usual. That particular story thread may be my Sinfest favorite - the Devil Book and the Devil Girl with the bookworm. Thanks to you, every day has a bright spot when I check the daily Sinfest.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 20, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Bob-S.

For further news on the umbrage front, somebody has accused canadian jokes of being 'racist,' immediately precipating a squall of discussion on whether Canadians are a race or not-- i.e. "the Other White Race?" Fortunately, the squall was in a minor internet locale and no pundits' lighting rods were hit.

In other stormy news, roughly half of North America is blanketed in clouds and will be unable to see the predicted absence of moon due to the absence of clear skies. Also, a quarter or more of America will have enough snow this week for ten White Christmases. Some villagers plan to burn effigies of Bing Crosby in protest, or in offering-- the precise metero-theology is unclear, but the collective umbrage and lumbar strain are not.

And now for sporting news, delivered by our new sportscaster Bobbi, who remains our world champ in greased-pig riding:

Thank you. Remember, football fans, the Women's Football Alliance will have games beginning in April. I for one am tired of getting avalanches on my head while enjoying a spot of football, instead of getting a nice tan, so count me the newest fan of any and all teams in California.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, that's so sweet. And she's right, it's a good-- and highly delicious-- way to feel rooted in a new land.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 20, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Hahahahaha! HAHAHAHAHAHA! A Canadian 'race?' We don't talk about race at all, and seldom ethnicity. And if we're an ethnicity it is a mess-cross of First Nations, Eastern and Western Europeans and just about everything else. None of us that I know spend any time even thinking about it. We're *Canadians.* As soon as an immigrant takes citizenship, he or she is a Canadian, with all that entails.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

from Scott Adams Blog
Media: How would you balance the budget?

Politician: I would cut spending.

Media: What part of the budget would you cut to balance the budget?

Politician: I would cut the pork.

Media: If you think that's enough, you're either a liar or an idiot. Can you clarify which one you are?

Politician: I am insulted by that question!

Media: If you understood the question that rules out "idiot."

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 21, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Exactly! That's why that "umbrage" was so funny :).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Sounds about right, Jumper. Good night and fondue.

Also, wok on.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 21, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse






Posted by: -bc- | December 21, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

late to the party, as usual. the last time the winter solstice and a full eclipse of the moon occurred on the same day, according to the lede on the front page, was in 1638. thus, i thought that this was appropriate, being shot at the foot of the giza pyramids:

Posted by: -jack- | December 21, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I may have to do some researchin', number crunchin', and judgment callin' on this one.

Given that the designated moment of calendar date change is somewhat arbitrary, I'd be interested to know how narrowly the eclipses and solstices have missed falling on the same date. I'm gonna guess that they've occurred within the same twenty-four period more often than some of these current articles make mention.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 21, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

But that would ruin the story, Bob-S! Don't do it.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

It's almost time for first contact. I'm very disappointed to discover that my nice digital camera does not have a manual-focus capability. Usually, that's not a problem, but it makes it very hard for it to focus on the Moon past all the twigs overhanging my driveway. So, I probably won't get any decent photos.

But I will have the fun of awakening the ScienceKids at 2:00 AM to see the eclipse approach totality, reportedly at 2:40-some AM EST.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 21, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

OK. Much to my surprise, you've talked me out of it. I thought I was gonna put up a harder fight.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 21, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

My work here is done. I'm going out to see what I can see. 'night all.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Just reaching totality. It's a bit chilly for me to wish to stand out there staring non-stop, but we've got gorgeous viewing conditions.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 21, 2010 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 21, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Sorry,,, that was sloppy. What I meant to say is that the moon is leaving the pudendum and is about to be under the umbrella.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 21, 2010 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Mind your mouth.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

My son let me oversleep. So we bundled up, walked out onto the front steps, looked left and saw the orange Moon. He said, "That was cool." and went back to his Warcraft/Hulu/whatever he was doing on the computer.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Some people* need to take the chip off their shoulder.

*Not directed at any particular individual (that means you, BOB-S)

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

I started a rant about how and why I despise that Facebook 100 books meme, but it was getting too long, so I turned it into a blog post so it would be easier to ignore.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all,

Let's get right to it. I see yello saw an orange moon. I had read that at one stage the moon should have a greenish caste, just read another article suggesting a pinkish or reddish caste.

At 4:15 am I looked out of the window and saw a cloudy sky through the bare branches. I did not go outside to observe as I might have in slightly warmer times. So, I missed the eclipse. bc or Science Tim, or anyone, what color did you see?

These are extraordinary times in which we live.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 21, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. No orange moon here VL, we had an overcast sky. It went from a bright spot in the clouds to a darker spot in the clouds. :(

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 21, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt:tiara::blind pig:acorn

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

I watched most of the eclipse, and really enjoyed it. Like many, I thought the colors were slightly different from past eclipses I have seen. And I guess this makes sense. During the early and later parts of a lunar eclipse the moon is illuminated by sunlight that has passed through the earth's atmosphere. This means the blue light has been scattered down towards the earth and all that is left is the red light. In essence, the moon is being illuminated by sunrises and sunsets. And just like sunrises and sunsets, the exact color will vary depending on what's happening in the atmosphere.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 21, 2010 7:04 AM | Report abuse

I missed the eclipse, deciding to sleep instead, but woke to go stare at the moon it was so nice, low in the sky so it seem so big and bright.

Not sure if I mentioned this, the other day we had our daughters birthday party, we rented the ice at a local arena (yes a Canuck joke!). She invited friends from school and her hockey team plus their families if they wanted. One family that came were classmates, this friend's brother was skating around in short track speed skates - don't ever recall seeing someone skate in those before, everyone enjoyed watching him skate and he demonstrated how you glide through the short corners at high speed - he is really quite good. In talking to his mom she was hoping he might switch to hockey as the travel to the next city to train three times a week and around the province for competitions was becoming draining.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 21, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Q : What does a Canadian say when you step on his foot?
A : Sorry!

I can tell that joke because I'm 1/16th Canadian.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! I slept through the eclipse, but Daughter says she got up to see it.

Yello... the tiara looks nice on you, especially with that surprised look on your face.

Wilbrod... nice to see that a book list can lead to someone reading one she wouldn't have otherwise read. I loved Corelli's Mandolin, of course, considering the setting.

Jumper... you should try Harry Potter. At least the first book. You may be pleasantly surprised and you'll understand why they are so popular.

Another fun series, in a completely different way, is the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. Daughter, at age 17, has just read through them again and loved them all the more these 10 years or so later.

I like any kids' series that doesn't necessarily dumb it down. One of the series is titled The Ersatz Elevator; another book is Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 21, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Good morninkzz, Boodlies!
For weeks had trouble opening the WaPo.

Woke up to see eclipse coinsiding with your winter, my summer solstice. Pure magic.

Been to Tsunami and earthquake devastaded area. Later on that.

Haff a good day, everyone.


Posted by: Braguine | December 21, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

And yello... don't forget: that's pronounced "sore-ee."

Posted by: -TBG- | December 21, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Jealous of RD! Woke up at 5 am to watch "S" shovel the driveway and clear off his car. Couldn't get back to sleep. It's going to be a long day.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 21, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Hi Brag!

Tweet this morning from Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition and thought I would pass along this tune cootie...

NPRinskeep: RT @morningedition After @NPRInskeep saw #eclipse he said this song was in his head Now it's in ours

Posted by: -TBG- | December 21, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Yello if you were at least 2/16ths Canadian you would know the proper response is "Excuse me, I am so sorry. Thank you!"


Posted by: dmd3 | December 21, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Congrats MsJS and YJ on the tiara. What a festive week to have it...enjoy. (I love a real winter game. Field could have been muddier, but 40 to 14 was karmic justice.)

DC's babysitter is 21. Very 21. The hair, the clothes, the music, the open face and the starry eyes. But when I came home last night, this is what she had left up on youtube.

The 100 book list...I read most of them, but I wouldn't recommend anyone else do that...some of those books were total head-bobbers. As YJ noted, there were signs the list was goofy, but I did think the list was interesting in and of itself. But I also liked that its specious nature was exposed, if for nothing other than keeping JA's space as clean as we can (which might be like dusting in the desert...when can you say you've made progress?).

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 21, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Slept outside between 12:30 and 4 AM...absolutely lovely and shrouded in mist due to moisture....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 21, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to yello I have a far worse tune cootie whenever I think of that song

Far too cloudy for eclipse viewing in St. Paul. At midnight city lights reflected off both the snow on the ground and the very low clouds making it brighter outside than it had been at noon. Mr. F said he had a very fine view in Tampa.

Hi Brag!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 21, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Morning all. Mr. T and I slept through the eclipse, I hope Geekdottir and her significant other, the grad student, got pictures. I have photos of the last eclipse a couple of years ago so I didn't feel the urgency to witness this one.

Should I check out the book list? If it's mostly 20th century lit I won't have read more than a handful, but I'm okay with this.

Last night I went to the memorial service for a sweet lady who I miss already. It was a wonderful service, and the sanctuary was almost full. I hope half that many come to my funeral. On the way, I watched the moon as it rose and was huge in the sky. So beautiful.

Much to do today. Clean house, or bake? That is the question!

Posted by: slyness | December 21, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Bake! (and fax)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 21, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Why, thanks TBG. The tiara does look nice. I will wear (and share) it with pride. I will also make sure my dart throwing monkey gets an extra banana today in celebration.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Dang overpaid gummint worker with their lush benefits, fancy offices, and free coffee.

Well, as Meatloaf says, two outa three ain't bad.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Last night was the second time in a row I've slept through that same eclipse-on-the-winter-solstice thing. The first time was back in 1638. I had been in Sweden visiting some family, and had decided to sign up as helmsman and quartermaster on two ships heading to the new World, the Kalmare Nyckel and the Fågel Grip, out of Gothenburg. The Swedes were tired of having to deal with English and French merchants to get their furs and tobacco, and decided to bypass the bunch of them and set up their own colony. The leader was an admiral I knew by the name of Clas Fleming. "Mudge," he sez to me one day in 1637, "you been over there on the other side a couple of times. Where do you think a good place would be to start a new venture? Somewhere preferably far away from those [redacted] and [redacted], referring of course to the Brits and the Frogs.

"Well, your admiralness," I sez, "if it was me, I'd steer clear of New England all together. Ya got a bunch of crazy-eyed puritans running around holding trials and kicking each other out, and frankly, it's just one religious nightmare up there right now. Ya go too far south, where it's nice and warm, ya got yer Spanish running around naming everything after saints. But see, it's a Goldilocks thing. Not too far north, not too far south, but right smack dab in the middle ya got yerself this real nice big bay, can't miss it, it's mouth is a hunnert miles wide. Ya sail up it a ways and it gets proper narrow, like a river, and pow, Bob's yer uncle and yer got a totally vacant wilderness ripe for the pickens, all except for some Delaware Indians, and they don't signify. I think we should call it New Mudgeviana."

"Well, I'll take the name under advisement," Fleming sez. "But I hired a captain named Jan Hindriksen van der Water and I bought us a pinnace in Kalmar, which I'm calling the Kalmar Nykel. She needs a good coxswain/boatswain helmsman, kind of a jack-of-all-trades number two guy. Will you go?" So I sez sure, why not. "Who you gonna put in charge of the colony when we get there?"

"I'm thinking about hiring this guy I know of who founded that Dutch colony in New Hetherlands, named Peter Minuit. He bought this whole durn island from some Indians up there for $38."

"Oh, I heard about him," I sez, "but I thought he bought it for $24."

"Naw, that's what everybody thinks, but that was just the list base price the Indians put on the sticker. After he signs the deal and smokes the peace pipe, Minuit reads the fine print and discovers there's sales tax, recording of deed tax, and the Indians charged him for his luggage. Came to $37.98* when he was done."

* This is true, BTW. The $24 thing is a myth. Properly computed, Manhattan came to $37.98. I swear I'm not making this up.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 21, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Scary incident at a planned flash mob, do hope they post the video of the singing when it is ready.

And RIP Steve Landesberg, my favorite character on Barney Miller

Posted by: dmd3 | December 21, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes indeed, RIP Steve Landesberg. I loved Barney Miller. My favorite character was Jack Soo and my favorite episode was the one where Wojo brought in brownies his girlfriend made.

Waiting for the rest of the story Mudge. I have to leave around 10 am for an appointment ;-)

Posted by: badsneakers | December 21, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Um, not to interrupt, but new kit.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

"Anyways," Fleming continues, this Minuit guy, he's a Walloon out of Wesel. He bought Manhattan for 60 Guilders."

"Weally?" I sez, "Sounds wike a bargain."

Here's a photo of me on her poop deck, standing right aft of the mizzen mast in front of her lateen-rig mizzen sail. You can't see it real well, but I have my hands out wide as a sign of welcome. We're flying the American flag, which is what a foreign vessel does when it enters port (in this case, we were in Chesapeake Bay. We had missed Delaware Bay by a hundred miles or more, which was a bit embarrassing. When we hit Baltimore and realized our error, we turned around and went back south, out the bay, and then went back up north until we found Cape Henlopen.)

Anyway, we leave Gothenburg in December, and believe me it was colder than a [redacted] [anatomical part]. We sprung a leak and had to put in to the Nethrerlands. We stayed for New Year's Eve, and the next day when we sobered up we departed for the New World. We had another, smaller ship with us, the Fågel Grip, which as ftb can tell you means "Griffin Bird" in Swedish.

On the voyage, to while away the long days and nights, we took to carving blocks of wood and made faces of ourselves and our shipmates, and attached them to the sides of the ship, kinda like the Vikings did with those shields. Here's a photo, and I;m sure you can tell which one is me:

Yes, the blue bottom is a dead giveaway.

So we sail across the Atlantic and we come to the mouth of Delaware Bay, and there's a cape on each side, so we name them for two traders financing the trip, Thijmen Jacobsz Hinlopen and his business partner, Cornelis Jacobsen Mey. Cape Hinlopen and Cape Mey. Well, I don't have to tell you guys what lack of a good copy editor did to those poor guys names when it was printed in the Rotterdam Gazette-Picayune. Yep. Cape Henlopen and Cape May. *sigh*

Well, I wrote their ombudsman one stinging letter, I can tell you. They issued a correction, but it came too late: the maps had already been printed.

So we sail up the Zuidt River (somebody changed the name, morons) and land a rocky outcrop at the Minquas Kill (Miquas Creek), which today you call Swede's Landing. We establish a colony and built a fort, Fort Christina, named after our queen, near the Christiana River in what later became known as Wilmington.

The valiant Kalmare Nyckel made four roundtrips back to Sweden, which was actually an unprecedented feat back in those days. Next thing ya know, Minuit's got some 600 Swedish and Finnish settlers along with some Dutchies and Germans on his hands and "New Sweden" (I lost the naming contest).


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 21, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

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