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Posted at 9:38 AM ET, 12/ 5/2010

Redskins still in playoff hunt, but not TCU

By Joel Achenbach

Digressing momentarily from the b--k project, I see in this morning's sports section that Boise State, which is a missed chipped-shot field goal away from having a perfect record, may get a spot in either the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas or the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

I am sure that both of these bowls are considered highly prestigious, particularly among employees of MAACO, an institution, or association, or facility, with which I am currently unfamiliar but will I am certain I will learn much more about in the exceedingly unlikely event that I witness the aforesaid MAACO Bowl and sit through commercials espousing the virtues of MAACO appliances, or MAACO automatic transmission services, or MAACO yard implements, or whatnot.

And who could object to the Fight Hunger Bowl? Other than, you know, the pro-hunger people, like the guy who runs North Korea.

I am sure the athletes at Boise State will intellectually support the purpose of the Fight Hunger Bowl, and would also be happy to attend the Imagine World Peace Bowl (this year held in Marin County) and the Perform Random Acts of Kindness Bowl (Palo Alto).

That said, there's one painful fact these players must face: The "meaningful" part of their season -- as defined, perhaps a bit ruthlessly, by sports fans nationally -- is over.

That doesn't mean they can't play for pride! Same goes for TCU, which has a record of, let's see, 12-0. Almost good enough! But not good enough to ensure that the "meaningful" part of TCU's season will continue. The simple fact is that TCU has been eliminated from the quest for a national championship.

So has Wisconsin, at 11-1, despite routinely scoring 80 points a game.

So have Ohio State and Michigan State, also at 11-1, and Virginia Tech, which hasn't lost since early September and just won the Atlantic Coast Conference title. Anyone out there hungry to play Tech right now? I don't think so. They could be the best team in the country, but they're out of contention because early in the season they lost to Boise State and then James Madison, and might well have lost to Mary Washington or Sweetbrier had they not gotten their act together.

All these good teams have been eliminated from the title hunt because President Obama has failed to deliver on his promise to create a college football playoff. Instead there is this wacky BCS thing that decides, here on Dec. 5, that all the games still to be played by all these teams in all these various bowls are meaningless, except for the Jan. 10 (!!!!!!!!!!!!) championship game between Auburn and Oregon.

That is ridiculous. Heck, the Redskins are still in the hunt at 5-6!!! If the Redskins can still be mentioned, theoretically if not plausibly, as playoff contenders, and thus can still carry some Vegas odds to win the Super Bowl, then why can't an undefeated TCU team play its way toward a title game?

I will confess that my position on this has evolved somewhat over the years. I used to be comfortable with the uncertainty and chaos of college football's final rankings under the system in which the AP and the UPI (or, later, ESPN, etc.) would determine the national champion. Sometimes there would be a split decision. People would holler. People would stamp their feet. But the uncertainty of the poll-driven championship reflected the reality that there wasn't a championship game, there were no playoffs, and there really was no way to say, with any degree of confidence, that Southern Cal was truly better than Alabama since they hadn't played each other.

But now the BCS poses as something more conclusive than it really is. There is a single championship game -- but no playoff. We are supposed to praise the champion without feeling with any confidence that this is truly the best team.

Admittedly, I hate Auburn. Hating Auburn is part of my heritage. I remember ancient pains. I remember scores run up, and evil perpetrated. The very name, "Auburn," causes me to flinch, just like hearing the word "Beelzebub."

Complicating matters is that I also feel like I need to pull for the conference in the title game. This is going to be agonizing. "Do it for the conference," my brother will say. I don't know. I may have to do some heavy compartmentalization. I got nothing against the Ducks. Don't know nothin' bout them Ducks, to be honest. How much does their quarterback make? Someone give me a fill.

By Joel Achenbach  | December 5, 2010; 9:38 AM ET
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But the NY Times Sunday Magazine has an enthusiastic story on Oregon's speed-freak Ducks. I like the bit about having a hanger-like indoor practice field, not so sure about how a modest, severely underfunded university can afford some $4 million a year for a football coach.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I've got "local" rooting interest in the Ducks, but I too would have preferred seeing TCU and Boise State shake up the BCS. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I've asked J, my football-watching husband, about the playoff issue, and he prefers it the way it is. He says that this way, the whole season is a playoff, every game matters, and especially if you have good teams in a conference championship, every one of those is a huge game, because only the winner has a chance for a national championship. If both teams already had good enough records that they knew they'd be in a national playoff, the conference championship would hardly matter. He's big on having games matter -- that's why he doesn't care to watch the NBA until the playoffs.

So, I dunno, I don't think it's particularly fair as it is -- too much depends on polls and opinions and what conference you happen to play in -- and Wilbon has lots of convincing things to say about the big money problems in the current system. But I can see where J is coming from as a fan.

Posted by: -bia- | December 5, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

President Obama tried to deliver on his promise of a college football playoff system but the Rethuglican "party of no" filibustered the bill in the Senate. Plus, he inherited the BCS system from Bush. The fact that more people don't know this is part of the massive fraud perpetrated on the American sheeple by Faux News and their 3.5 million jackbooted . . . uh . . . oh.

Football. Right.

Sorry, knee jerk reaction. I'd try and do the other side [insert fair and balanced joke here] but my inventive powers seem at a low ebb for the moment (A playoff system is Socialist, Perpetrated on the American People by the Communist Democrats in a Fascist attempt to Use the Liberal Media to destroy the Founding Father's unalienable pursuit of a more perfect happiness under God!).

Ah well. I don't pretend to understand college football. I'll certainly watch it if it's on (I caught most of the first half of the Auburn game last night over a couple beers at the bar) but I don't follow it. Oddly, I think I've caught four or five Auburn games this year so I will say this: Cam Newton, not a hack. Kid seems pretty good and that's as far as my thinking or powers of observation takes me.

And with that I'm going to do some work for awhile. Sadly, we've again made the mistake of releasing the software to customers. This always causes a ruckus.

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 5, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Please confirm my deduction: this conversation is about sports, right?

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 5, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Correct, SciTim.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

OK, this just in because I finally opened my mail of yesterday.

Owe 36 cents on my estimated taxes. GOV SAYS I DO NOT HAVE TO PAY.

BUT, the penalty for this, over three quarterly pay periods is 56.34. That, I MUST PAY.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 5, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I blame Obama (both for the sports dilemma Joel mentioned, as well as CqP's tax imbroglio.

And yes, I am truly excited about the Redskin's playoff potential, because a team with the 32nd best defense has never been in the playoffs, to my knowledge. So, yes, this is a truly exciting opportunity. I am undaunted by the fact that the Giants just scored their very first first-possession touchdown of the season, or the fact that the Skins just had an OFFENSIVE facemask penalty. Usually facemask penalties are the preserve of the defense, but I'm guessing the offense decided, why should the D's have all the fun? I expect an encroachment penalty next, in a world in which anything seems possible.

Meanwhile, can someone fill me in on something? I've been seeing these TV commercials decrying the gummint's interference with kids' right to choose some college or other. What's that all about? I confess I haven't been following this, but what has Obama done now? Why is some outfit running "don't let the gummint interfere" ads? (I assume it's bull----, of course, but am mildly interested to know why.)

Our house and garage are about 90% resided, house has new shingles, and half of garage roof has them. They've just got a little bit left to do and the makeover will be complete. The yard is a total mess; they've got a lot of cleanup to do. But already it's like living in a brand new house.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 5, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Big school college football stopped being a school pride-driven amateur endeavor long before I came on the scene, so there's little point in examining it in any way other than with a clinically financial focus. If little schools can't afford to buy their way into the show, the heck with 'em. At least the service academies make no bones about the fact that they clothe, house & feed their players, and promise to find them jobs after graduation. They just don't spend a lot of time whining about how they aren't getting their fair share of the BCS pie. (Although I'll grant you that being taxpayer-funded helps relieve some of the pressures.) I just wish the NCAA would drop the dishonesty, and leave the business of football to grownups.

College football's a strange game. The physical demands of the sport and the strictures of the academic setting preclude a long season capped by a long play-off series. Arbitrary decisions about who's in and who's out are necessarily part of the process so long as the conferences have no mechanism for promotion/demotion based on results. A (soccer-style) more fluid conference structure with yearly readjustments based on performance (and only a couple of games reserved for traditional rivals) would go a long way toward giving the rankings some more credibility. But it ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 5, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Now 14-0, with only 50 and a half minutes left to play, so anything can happen on any given Sunday. A volcano could suddenly erupt at mid-field. Dan Snyder could sell the team at halftime to Wade Phillips. Albert Haynesworth's menstrual cycle could shut down and he could be available for the fourth quarter. Israeli jets could get confused and mistakenly take out the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

I am not discouraged. Although I'm wondering what kind of cleavage Giada might be displaying right about now.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 5, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Funny article about decorating for Christmas:

We have our tree up and decorated. We don't do outside lights. The Santa doormat and minor inside decorations (ceramic Santas, snowglobe, candles) have been left in place since last year (by inertia, not design).

I know nothing about football, but I'm sure it's Obama's fault. Haven't seen any college-related anti-government commercials, but maybe it's about the student loan reform that was passed? Takes the banks out of the picture.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 5, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

From the NYT:

"Pushing a Right to Bear Arms, the Sharp Kind


"Changes in knife laws in Arizona and New Hampshire have given new life to the knife rights lobby."

There's a knife rights lobby? Does this mean I can finally wear my saber to work?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 5, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I bet the Swiss Army is behind it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 5, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Giada doesn't always show cleavage.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 5, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

seasea, we're all decorated as of this morning, but if the granddaughters weren't coming this afternoon to do the gingerbread cookies, I might have let it go until next weekend. Of course the rest of the neighborhood is aglow, so it's hard to be odd man out. We just do candles in the windows and a small tree in the bay window and the larger one by a front window. Oh, I forgot, "S" always does a tree on the sunporch out back for the (stuffed) bears. It's a long story...

Baldinho, I agree with you about the Rockettes. I remember seeing them in NYC when I was in middle school and thinking they were a bit 'cheesy' even then. And it seems they dance to prerecorded music (adding to the cheese factor) rather than an orchestra, which of course has the musicians union in an uproar.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 5, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I see that Leslie Johnson is scheduled to take her oath of office tomorrow. Since I'm not a resident it would be unseemly, but if she were one of my newly-elected county councilpersons I'd consider showing up in a hearse, clad for mourning.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 5, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments section over at Pegoraro's Faster Forward article on Wikileaks is moderately more interesting than many other comments sections in general.

I wonder how it will all play out. (The revelations.) Seems to me the large press and networks are concentrating on the trivialities over the blockbusters. Ex: "Diplomats are spying! Gasp!"
Me: "LOL."

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 5, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Bob S-- what's the original that "You are a fluke / of the universe" parodies?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 5, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy what happens when wind gust lift the feathers of a mother duck and her little wee duckings in a row.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 5, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Bob-S | December 5, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought MAACO was a chain of cut-rate body shops.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 5, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

ScTim -- a shark, clearly. Stop watching the Carl Sagon Cosmos DVDs and get thee some Shark Week action...

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 5, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit verklempt here. Guy Lafleur is playing his last hockey game for the Old Canadien and it's on TV. They are having a celebration about it in Thurso later. He was my first and most defenitive man-crush. He was playing peewee-midget-junior hockey in my home town of Quebec city when I was a kid (we are 9 years apart). He re-wrote the Junior A league record book back then. Super Mario wiped them off the book because of a longer season and because he was, well, Super Mario. It's nice to see the old guys. Damphousse, Sittler, Keane, Robitaille, Shutt, Stasny(s), Cournoyer, etc are all there. Flower was a popular guy with the players.
10-7 for the Old Canadiens after 2. No, defence is not very tough in those games.

Lions 20-17 over da bearshs in the third. The kitty cats play good but now they have to show they can put some games away.

Still cold here. I'm making beef broth for a barley and carrot soup. That should warm up the old bones.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 5, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, what channel is it on, as an old time Habs fan, loved those players.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 5, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Hot Fudge, not enough barley for the soup! But Giada de Laurentiis came to the rescue with the lentils, beef and carrot soup.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 5, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Hot Fudge, not enough barley for the soup! But Giada de Laurentiis came to the rescue with the lentils, beef and carrot soup.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 5, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Congress got bothered about for-profit colleges that leave students stuck with debt.

We may have freezing temperatures tomorrow night and the next. Maybe time to open up the dining room to the orchids.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Movable type lied to me, again.

RDS/Réseau des Sports. The French TSN, they are 32&33 here on videotron, I don't know about Rogers/cogeco.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 5, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Both of those soups sound delicious, sd! Can't go wrong either way.

Glad to hear your house is getting back together, Mudge. Hope it doesn't take too long to clean up the mess.

Posted by: -pj- | December 5, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Not only that, DotC, but Congress also wants the for-profit schools to actually be able to fulfill the promises they make about job placement assistance, etc.

For the early games, I'm most surprised with the defensive struggle at Arrowhead. Sounds like KC has missed several opportunities to put the game away.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, all.

I'm stll reeling from watching Auburn - or more precisely, Cam Newton - completely dismantle the OBC's South Carolina team in the SEC Championship last night.

I still doubt that TCU could beat the Washington NFL Franchise in a full 60-minute game, but I suspect that the Horned Frogs could at least score on that 32nd ranked defense. Man, Washington looks *bad* today. Again.

Finally, I am not convinced that the BCS is about finding the best team in college football. I think it's about finding money.

So whatever you think of Cam Newton (or his dad), or Reggie Bush, or heck, maybe even Jim Thorpe (I know, it was baseball and the Olympics), there's a lot to consider when it comes to the notion of college athletics and amateurism.


Posted by: -bc- | December 5, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

SD, I love mixing lentils and barley in soup. It'll work out well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 5, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Someone's planning a for-profit medical school in Palm Beach County. They're apparently credible. Tuition would be a mere $50K/yr.,0,1359032,full.story

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Giada seems to be trying to smuggle a pair of coconuts up to her room.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I am amused to find that there is the Beef O'Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg. The original Beef O'Brady's was in my hometown about a mile from my house and was a regular haunt of my father-in-law.

The two worst teams from the ACC likely to get bowl bids are GT and Clemson. If GT gets invited to the Northrop Grumman Military Bowl it will make holiday travel planning much easier.

Finally, when I had a 1979 Toyota Corolla whose roof was fading down to the primer I couldn't afford anyplace as upscale as MAACO. That is when I learned that Earl Scheib's "Any car, any color for ninety nine buck" motto really meant "Any car, any color from a selection of twelve that have never been used by any automobile manufacturer ever for ninety-nine buck plus a weird assortment of prep fees". Which is how I ended up with the only baby blue Toyota in Atlanta which made it very easy to find in parking lots.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I mean who wouldn't trust their car to this guy:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I know very little about college football. Very, very little; only slightly less than I know about professional football. Watching the OU game last night Ivansdad told me that, in pro ball, if a person slides the last 2 yards into the end zone it is a touchdown, while in college ball it is not, if the player's knee touches the ground before he reaches the end zone. "Why?" I asked. "Because the rules are different," he said. "Why are the rules different?" I asked. After a bit of floundering he said, "Because they are." This was not a very good answer.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 5, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

All five of my later afternoon picks are loosing.




And four of the five leaders are underdogs. Only one favored team is winning. Guess which game I picked for the upset. Uh-huh.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 5, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

And *yet again* after leading through three quarters, the Lions give it up in the fourth.

It's sooooooo hard to be a fan.

As for the Redskins......*yawn*

For those two teams, nuttin's ever gonna change, methinks.

I tried watching the duckies, but couldn't. I just didn't want to see them get hurt, and I couldn't stand to watch the floundering (no, not mixing species).

Nice relaxing day, even if I did get some stuff done, surprisingly.

Hope all is well with, well, all.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 5, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The Nats just signed Jayson Werth to a big stinking contract. Wow.

By the end of next season, that contract will be an albatross, and they'll be trying to deal him and eat some of it, I bet.

Posted by: baldinho | December 5, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

the WaPo -- a newspaper that I used to believe was second only to the NYT,wants to know what to wear under a kilt.

I used to think this new "answer the question and be counted" stuff was sort of funny, but it is getting absolutely scary.

Posted by: nellie4 | December 5, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

UPS has rented a house in an affluent Orlando golf neighborhood. It serves as a warehouse--deliveries and collections are done by golf cart. The homeowners association is not amused.

As the St Pete Times noted, there must be a lot of online shopping going on.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what Theo Epstein thinks of the Werth contract. Mixed emotions? It makes him feel better about the ridiculous contract he gave JD Drew... this is much worse. It makes him feel terrible (like all other GMs) in that a new bar has been set for signing anyone with remote talent. JD Drew was about the 30th best outfielder in the game when he got 5/70 a few years back. Werth similar, and he gets 7/126. Wow.

Posted by: baldinho | December 5, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - ostensibly, the rules are different because college has a higher emphasis on safety. Once a college player's knee (or various other body part) hits the ground, he's down. He doesn't have to get hit and take a chance on an injury. In the pros, he has to be touched while on the ground - and if you see some of the footage from the 40's and 50's, there were some nasty shots being delivered.

-bia- - your husband is completely and totally wrong. It's not true that every college football regular season game in meaningful. Almost none of them are. In fact, not a single game TCU has played in the last 10 years has meant anything towards any national championship, including this year.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 5, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

DotC, that's hilarious. My favorite part is where the President of the HOA says, "Today it's our neighborhood, tomorrow it could be yours" as though some tragedy had befallen the community and the residents were suffering terribly due to warnings unheeded.

I mean, if it's me I'd much rather have one delivery truck show up once or twice a day and then have the packages distributed unobtrusively by golf cart. Seems much quieter. But then, it's not being offered as an option in my neighborhood. Perhaps I'd feel differently.

Or not.

Posted by: cowhand214 | December 5, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Finally I get to sit down! The granddaughters and #2 came, decorated and left. #2 is a truly talented decorator of cookies. She even made musical notes on one of the bell shaped cookies. The g-daughters used outrageous amounts of frosting and candies on their gingerbread houses - which is as it should be.

What is wrong with Peyton Manning? Four interceptions today and I think a total of 11 in his last three games - scary. I feel bad for all you 'Skins fans, very disheartening.

Looking forward to finishing up Christmas shopping and, after a few days of rest, getting back to baking.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 5, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I suppose, ArmyBrat, the college players should save themselves for injuries in the pros. If they make it, of course.

Ivansdad's analogy was that They allow aluminum bats in college but not the majors. Of course, that is driven by money. Wood bats - so cheap when we were kids - are expensive and break. I understand They're changing the rule so the aluminum bats will weigh more and generally be more like wood bats, except for the breaking and wearing out part.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 5, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, aluminum bats as a rule add about 10 to 15 feet to a hitter's long drives, and also speed up infield hits a bit. If the pros went to alumin bats, we'd very soon start seeing scores like 21-17, a lot more infield hits, and slightly more infield players injured. Maybe even a dead pitcher.

College play is just about on the border where aluminum bats would start to significantly change the game. I think the pros need to stick to wooden bats to keep the game under control; I think of it as being akin to restrictor plates in NASCAR races.

At the pro level, everything has reached a kind of equilibrium between offense and defense; that's why a few players using steroids upsets the balance and distorts the numbers. Aluminum bats would be much worse.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 5, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Frank Howard sniping liners with an Al bat, that's all the MLB Safety Committee need to know. That's got to hurt. The man came close to killing third basemen with soft wooden bats.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 5, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse


Guilty as charged! Yes, hummmmmm? Ah, a new kit!

"Admittedly, I hate Auburn. Hating Auburn is part of my heritage. I remember ancient pains. I remember scores run up, and evil perpetrated. The very name, "Auburn," causes me to flinch ....."

Me, too.

First lover was a War Eagle ... Independence Day, 1967. Red Mustang convertible ... not much leg room but Jim Morrison was in the air and ..... the very mention of Auburn causes me to flinch myself!


Posted by: talitha1 | December 5, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I blame Obama ... why wasn't he driving that redhot Mustang? In 1967? I'm sure it was his fault. What's that you say?

Posted by: talitha1 | December 5, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

There is such a thing as the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 5, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

yello --

it wasn't a quiz!

Posted by: nellie4 | December 5, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 5, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

That Werth deal is... astounding! If the Nats also go after the Rays' Carlos Pena, as the WaPo coverage suggests, things could get rather interesting next year, never mind when Strasburg returns.

Also astounding was the biggest favorite of the week, San Diego, completely pratfalling at hom. Almost as astounding was the Manning meltdown at home -- methinks the injuries are finally catching up with the Colts. Congrats to at least one of the following winners this week: bc, gwe and MsJS!

*in-search-of-a-very-large-and-hopefully-very-warm-coffee-on-this-particularly-chilly-morning Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I agree Scottynuke. Seems like an awful lot of money for a player who, in baseball terms, is pretty long in the tooth.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 6, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Frank Howard. Thanks, sd, for bringing a smile to my face this morning.

I was a little disappointed to find myself getting up, wide awake, at 6:30 a.m. on my day off. Too many chores are already finished at 8:00 this morning.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

TBG, I'm going to call you to come and walk with Mr. T and me at oh-dark six ayem, one of these days...I'm good till the temp is below 20, then I prefer not to go out.

We did walk this morning, coldest yet as Mr. T noted, but still nice to be out with stars in the sky and some Christmas decorations still lighted.

Just got called to go to a meeting at 9:30. I've already been to the doctor's for labs, plus I have a load in the washing machine. It's good to get started early!

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

When the subject is football, I take that as a mandate to post on random subjects. So I will report that we are having some ideal weather here in South Florida--good time for a vacation, if you know anybody who's looking to escape the cold northern weather. On Saturday morning I rode my bike to the local green market, bought vegetables for soup and was home by 8:30 a.m.

The Miami Book Fair report is almost finished. I'll try to get it posted tonight. I'm afraid my account of the book fair is long and boring, but the event itself was brilliant.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 6, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

So I should've dropped down. Day trips to Miami tend to be 6 am to midnight affairs.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 6, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci! So nice to see you here! I can't wait to read your report. Wish I could have joined you again this year.

I'm ready to hop a plane to head down there now for some nice warm weather--and good, fun company, too. Don't tempt me.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

No report from the Miami Book Fair could be long and tedious. Provided you didn't go to the sold-out Meghan McCain event.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Rub it in KB. We had the first shovellable snowfall this year. Yuk. It makes the C-trees look better, that's about the only good thing about it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 6, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Tsk, tsk, Bertooch. You know you never need an excuse to talk books in these here precincts.

'Morning Boodle.

Zonker's coming to town!!!! I don't care about the money.


OPRAH!!! from AP:

December 6, 2010
Winfrey Picks 2 Dickens Novels for Book Club

Filed at 9:10 a.m. EST

"NEW YORK (AP) — Better set some time aside for Oprah Winfrey's latest book club pick.

"The talk show host has selected a pair of Dickens classics, "A Tale of Two Cities" and "Great Expectations." The two novels are being issued in a single bound Penguin paperback edition, around 800 pages, with a list price of $20. The electronic version, also from Penguin, sells for $7.99.


"Winfrey is to announce her selection Monday, when her long-awaited reconciliation with Jonathan Franzen will air.

"Winfrey picked Franzen's "Freedom" nine years after his ambivalence over her selection of his novel "The Corrections" led her to withdraw his invitation to appear on her show. Franzen has written enviously of Dickens' time, when a new literary release "was anticipated with the kind of fever that a late-December film release inspires today."


"Winfrey has chosen older works before, including Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" and John Steinbeck's "East of Eden." Her website recommends Dickens' "David Copperfield," noting it was a favorite of Tolstoy's."


Despite being forced to read it in school (I hated most everything I was forced to read, which should surprise no one here), I liked ToTC. I confess I have never read Great Expectations, but having seen the movie with a naked Gwyneth Paltrow, methinks I may have to give the book a shot some day, though I doubt those parts will be in it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

yello, your post(s) made me laugh. I had a '78 Corolla which was a fine car except for the premature paint failure. That, and every time it rained the trunk was so tightly sealed that when it rained the sudden cooling sucked water under the sealing trim into the wheelwells in the trunk. Slosh. And polyurethane in auto paint leaves me profoundly unimpressed, or even a bit alarmed. I did know some people who painted their VW van with Rustoleum. Impatient to drive, the Florida "love bugs" became permanently implanted in the still-plastic paint. Otherwise, it seemed to be a fairly good auto paint.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 6, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

yello, when we studied Great Expectations, we also watched the older version of the movie, with Michael York, it was well done, do not recall any naked bits - think that was a Hollywood addition.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Sorry my Dickens comment was in reply to Mudge, not yello, I need more coffee.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The whirl wind wrap up of BOARDWALK left wife and wanting.

Posted by: bh72 | December 6, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

That is, the owners were impatient to drive. Not the love bugs.

Musing over the lack of attention to the "death tax" in the mass media lately, I suspect back-room shenanigans. Ran it through Google News. I may be right. Some muttering about a $5 million cutoff (increase), and permanent 35% over that. Pfah.

Here's the foxy WSJ:

Here's wiki:

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 6, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

But dmd, the *real* older version of the movie wss with John Mills and Jean Simmons (who was *very* young at the time).

I may have to get back to Dickens myself. I am currently reading "Tech Transfer" by Dan Greenberg. This is the first novel he's written, but he was the founder of "Science in the Public Interest" and is the author of a bunch of nonfiction books about the interaction of science and politics and academia. He also used to write Op-Ed pieces in the WaPo on those topics. "Tech Transfer" is a funny book, probably intentionally so, and early on I found a reference to a labrador which made me laugh out loud. He and his wife (a good friend of mine) used to have black labs. I remember one of his Op-Eds had to do with the demise of their beloved Walter, for whom they sent out letters to Kings, Queens and non-royal heads of state for them to send back congratulatory letters to the 10th birthday of Walter Labrador. Many, many of them did. Funny as hell. "Dear Walter Labrador" or "Dear Master Labrador" -- not sure if Walter himself appreciated it, as there was no food enclosed in the envelopes (as he was a retriever, he was (by definition) a vacuum cleaner whenever food was around.

I recommend the book to those who are interested in a quick read (it's under 300 pages) and a fun read. Gives a lot of insight into "higher" (so to speak) education.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 6, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, the Ravens/Steelers game last night was pretty much classic NFL football. Two heavyweights slugging it out toe-to-toe for 60 minutes. Ultimatly decided by a defensive gem by an all-Pro and a Q-back who came in with a broken foot and played the whole game after having his nose broken in the first series. Final score - 13-10. And the class of the players after the game ended, shaking hands all around, knowing that everyone gave all they had. Unlike a certain defensive lineman in burgundy and gold.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 6, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

SCC, and I wanting

Posted by: bh72 | December 6, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that all three service academies are going to bowls: Air Force against Georgia Tech in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, Navy against San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl in what would seem to be a home game for SDSU but for the large naval presence is southern California (both US and Canadian), and Army versus Southern Methodist in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl played in SMU's hometown of Dallas.

Of local interest, Maryland will take on East Carolina in the ESPN
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman after snubbing it last year for taking place during finals week. Those student athletes have grades to maintain after all.

TCU got a very respectable bid by going to the Rose Bowl since the PAC-10 champ Oregon is off to the mythical BCS game which is neither a championship nor a series.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Warm pumpkin bread, coffee and OJ on the table.

As much as I love football--and MrJS can attest to the fact he can't have a conversation with me from September to January unless he uses phrases like "quarterback pass rating," "torn ACL," or "prevent defense"--I would love for the college teams to get kicked off campus and treated like the minor-league, pre-pro programs they are.

Since Niece#2 is a senior at Wisconsin I'll root for them on January 1, proudly wearing my Bucky sweatshirt and mindlessly devouring piglets in blankets, Swedish meatballs, corn chips and spinch/artichoke dip, and big soft ginger cookies. As for the other bowl games, I'll find a different top to wear.

Posted by: MsJS | December 6, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

IMHO, the most interesting match-up is Florida versus Penn State in the Outback Bowl. Both teams have identical 7-5 records having gone 4-4 in their respective conferences. (Double check that statement for subject/verb/pronoun agreement.)

Penn State is undefeated in their three previous Outback appearances while Florida is 1-2.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Off-kit, here's my latest origami diorama.

Posted by: MsJS | December 6, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks MsJS. Fun way to start backboodling (DNAGuy was here all week).
I must admit I looked for a mutant Jesus fish in your sea/sky diorama

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 6, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Hiaasen was in San Antonio on Nov. 15. This is the link to the promo article, our paper's book editor also did a follow-up.

I see Carlos Fuentes had to cancel his opening presentation at the Miami Book Fair. That's a shame. And tickets were required for all the big names or best sellers. I guess that's one way of handling limited seating and imposing a form of crowd control.

To my surprise, I see Dallas writer Kathleen Kent on the list of names for Saturday's events in Miami, in a group of four authors that includes Kostova ("Black Swan"/"The Historian". And what was the mention about Kostova, of Yale, during my tour of Harvard...something to do with vampires...)

Kent was one of the authors I missed (real regret) at this year's Texas Book Fest. Kent's latest, The Wolves of Andover" (wolves in this instance having two meanings, one metaphorical) was my long Thanksgiving weekend read, a prequel to her "Heretic's Daughter." I think "Wolves" is truly a labor of love since the regicide Thomas (Morgan) Carrier is Kent's distant great-grandfather. And much to my surprise, toward the end of "Wolves" she has in print the name of one of *my* distant great-grandfathers, one I discovered when I was back East and missed her appearance in mid-October in Austin. Small world.

This is the other Yalie I missed seeing in Austin, also with regrets.:

Posted by: laloomis | December 6, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I'll work on that, DNA_Girl!

RIP Don Meredith.

Posted by: MsJS | December 6, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hi all!

MsJS, I know you've shared them before, but I really love those fish. :D

Posted by: MoftheMountain | December 6, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Turn out the lights,
The party's ooooover.

Adios, Dandy Don. The guy provided much needed counterweight to Cossell's unique blend of pomposity and synchophancy. He never seemed to buy into the notion than pro football was a complex chess match played by genius coaches upon which the fate of the planet depended.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 6, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Aw, man. Despite my intense and nearly-all-encompassing dislike for All Things and Everything Dallas Cowboyish, I make a major exception for Dandy Don Meredith. I'm not actually sure if I "liked" him during his playing days, which were mercifully brief (only 8 years), but I didn't actively hate him as I did other Dallas QBs (Staubach was also problematic). But I really liked him best when he was Cosell's co-announcer on Monday Night football. And I liked him as a general celebrity, too -- laid back, didn't take himself (or anything else) seriously, etc.

I will miss ol' Dandy Don. "Turn out the lights, the party's over" was his famous theme song.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

So sad about Don Meredith, in my younger days I was a football fanatic, Don was my favorite personality.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Too bad about Don Meredith, but he was a Cowboy's quarterback, so I never had too much affection for him.

But I do wish there were more Merediths and fewer Collingsworths in the booth these days. I might watch more football.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

My recollection is that high school English reading was mostly difficult and unpleasant, including Great Expectations, which seemed grim beyond bounds. Bridge at San Luis Rey was more unpalatable, though I wonder whether it would be allowed in Texas these days. It seemed to suggest that bad things may happen by chance. I think that by the end of high school, I'd read more Spanish than English literature and was perhaps having a better time with the Spanish, even if Miguel de Unamuno was a bit weird. Ortega y Gasset was as much fun as Russell Baker.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 6, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. My post posted spontaneously, just as I was about to correct a serious blooper. I thought "San Luis Rey' was palatable, not yucky.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 6, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I see there is a poll claiming Afghanis have lost confidence in the United States. Can I please see a poll about how many Americans have lost confidence in the Afghanis, either as a people or as a government?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I found this story pretty disgusting. I don't know what the youth of America are coming to. (Frosti may be interested.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

RIP, indeed, Dandy Don.

He was a great counterbalance to Cosell in that MNF booth.

On a related note (to me, anyway), this week marks 30 years since John Lennon was shot and killed. I learned of that tragedy courtesy Howard Cosell during Monday Night Football -- I remember the Patriots were playing, but that's all I remember of that game. Couldn't help but think about Lennon's Stranger in a Strange Land appearance on MNF during a Washington NFL Franchise game several years earlier, too.

Interesting that the Patriots are playing tonight, too - almost 'zackly 30 years later...

And on a final note, the NFL Network Thursday Night games must need to have oxygen pumped into the booth - Matt Millen and Joe Theismann can pretty much suck the air (and the life) out of any broadcast.


Posted by: -bc- | December 6, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

You might be ineterested in these, bc: about Lennon's apartment at the Dakota

and the night he was shot:

The NYT has four or five other stories, too.

Theisman is the pits.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

We always said that Theismann was a glassbowl, but he was OUR glassbowl.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The Warshington Pro Football Franchise is awesome at something. They have the best "at" uniform of the league. Peter King's right, the shiny gold pants jump at you from the screen.

The Packers retro uni was a disaster however. There was a major recession bacl in '29. Maybe all they could afford were poo-coloured helmets, pastel shade of goose-tird pants and painted targets on their jerseys' chest side but that is no reason to repeat the mistakes.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 6, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

One of the announcers even commented that the Packers' retro uniforms were the worst ever, shriek.

The last time I wore my awesome gold pants and they jumped out at somebody, she hit me so hard my head rang for a week.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Backboodled. So, off-kit and off-Boodle (or is that even possible? Wait, wait, I'll be grandfathered in under the Walter Labrador story), I have made most of the arrangements for a Christmas foster lab.

She'll come in this weekend while I'm at my cousin's palatial country home, be picked up by another foster family and I'll get her Sunday or Monday. I have Monday and Tuesday off to help her settle in.

She's a pocket lab, less than 50 pounds (Emma is a lean 75#, cutter's a skinny 65). Chocolate, 1 year old, a stray who's been in the shelter since August. They said she was a little shy but warms up.

Although I've had dozens of fosters and always sent them on, I may become a foster flunky this time if she's really good with my 2. Cutter's so old that Emma will need a new pal shortly. If they become good friends, Callie will just be staying.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 6, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Wait ... you mean Walter Labrador wasn't on-kit?

Posted by: ftb3 | December 6, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I've been a fan of the Washington yellow pants since they trotted 'em out for the season opener against Dallas. And I think they're Lombardi era-yellow, not gold.

San Francisco is the home of the men in gold pants, and has been for years. But I digress.

I though the Packers throwback unis yesterday were a hoot, particularly the jerseys. The faux leather helmets brought a twinkle to my eye. Still, the Chargers powder-blue throwbacks are the best and I have a soft spot in my heart for the Bucs orange, red and white as worn yesterday, though they are enough to hurt your eyes if you stare long enough (much as the Bucs football was back in the day that was the regular unis). [I'd add here that both Tampa and San Diego lost...]

The NY Jets/Titans throwbacks (as worn by Farve a couple of years ago) might be the loopiest after those Packers unis... vertical striped socks - wow.

Thanks for those links, Mudge.


Posted by: -bc- | December 6, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Certainly on Boodle, ftb. An interesting and funny story.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 6, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, please tell me that with all this retro-uniform nostalgia that nobody is resurrecting Bruce the Buccaneer in all his orange glory.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Two SCCs:


And the awesome vertical striped socks were worn by the Denver Broncos, not the NY Titans.

All errors are mine.


Posted by: -bc- | December 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, I hope Callie stays, dbG! Copper, the new dawg in the family, likes me because I give him cheese. (I *know* how to be buddies with a dawg!) He's an adorable dachshund, raised by Elderdottir's SO's niece. He was kinda castoff, the SO's dad didn't have room for him, so he gave Copper to them. They are not welcome to visit us unless they bring him.

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

An FPL power plant has long directed its cooling water into the Indian River, making for a warm refuge for manatees in winter. The plant's now being rebuilt, but to keep the manatees alive, the power company has installed a big water heater.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 6, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Dawgs like cheese? I didn't know. But it opens up a whole new field for potential dog names in the future. "C'mon, Roquefort, here, boy! Camembert? C'mon, girl, let's go for a walk."

Howsomever, I do not ever anticipate asking my beloved Velveeta to fetch my newspaper. Not happenin'.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Yikes. Bad day for editing. I linked the manatees to some interesting investigative reporting on homeowner insurance at the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Here's the project to keep manatees warm on nights like tonight (freezing):,0,6620438.story

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 6, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

yello... CqP has given us some firsthand tales of Maryland's football coach and his belief that, for the most part, his players are students first. I'm not surprised to hear they turned down a bowl during final exam week.

Their men's basketball coach, on the other hand, doesn't seem likely to do such a thing.

I got out of the house so early this morning and finished all my errands in time to put a beef stew in the crockpot when I got back. We just ate it and I must say my decision to include parsnips was brilliant. An undersung vegetable, I think.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Never did find the channel to watch Guy Lafleur's last game as an Old Timer, but did see this. A near sell out for an old timers game, incredible.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

As the proud parent of a Princeton graduate, it gladdens my heart to see today's youth concentrating on issues of the highest priority and not just empty symbols.;jsessionid=9867800D2FD8C8C2F6DD26C16E17046A?contentguid=QIG0MUXP

Posted by: kguy1 | December 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The news of Elizabeth Edwards' failing health is very sad...

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Wishing Elizabeth Edwards peace.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt -
"Of local interest, Maryland will take on East Carolina in the ESPN
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman after snubbing it last year for taking place during finals week. Those student athletes have grades to maintain after all."

Not to nitpick, but Maryland COULD NOT have turned down any bowl last year. They were 2-10 and thus ineligible. In fact, they really wanted to fire the coach, but the school was too darned broke to do it. So they were stuck with the Fridge for another year or two.

To fire him, they'd have had to buy out his contract and it would have cost 2-3 million dollars. The Governor made it clear that no state dollars could be used to fire the highest-paid public employee in the State of Maryland. (He was afraid of the backlash in an election year.) The school didn't have enough of its own dollars to do the deed, so they got to hang on to him.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 6, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Very sad about Elizabeth Edwards. I certainly hope that her children (especially the younger ones with help from the older one) will inherit the resilience that she evidences.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 6, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

What a shame about Elizabeth Edwards. I too hope her family takes to heart her example of handling pressure with class.

It is freezing here. I may have to turn the heat up more than I usually do.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 6, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

My bad. Time flies. It was 2008 when UMD snubbed the Eagle Bank Bowl (as the Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman was then known) to instead play in the Humanitarian Bowl on the Blue Field of Boise State. The excuse given was because of exams, but methinks they were trying to avoid a potentially humiliating loss to Navy, which ended up losing to Wake Forest instead.

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

I just saw a promo for Kate and her 8, they are going to camp out with Sarah Palin and her family. I think the end is near.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Great. I can ignore the two most annoying women on television simultaneously.

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

I hate being jaded and correct. Bipartisanship of the last 10 years: "If you guys vote for our tax cuts, we will vote for your spending increases." Done and done.

Posted by: baldinho | December 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

"Jumping the shark" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Tbg, thanks for the link. So sad. I loved her book.

Slyness, too funny. I think Copper would love you anyway but cheese never hurts.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 6, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Sad indeed about Elizabeth Edwards. May she and her family have peaceful days together for as long as possible.

And in the Completely Unexpected and Not Really Important Dept., the Broncos have fired Josh McDaniels.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

for Don

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 6, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

A rented house full of clutter AND home-made explosives in San Diego County. It's been declared a public nuisance, so the local government won't have to compensate the owner for burning it.

Once in a while, California has something weirder than Florida.

Over here, it's kind of funny watching the newer, severely underfunded, state universities racing to build grand football programs. The enormous University of Central Florida in Orlando seems to be succeeding. (UCF, FAU, and FIU are also opening medical schools, following behind FSU).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 6, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

God bless Elizabeth Edwards. She's no more perfect than the rest of us, but what she's been through and survived is more than I can comprehend. She deserves peace and the love of her family. I trust she has that, and the services she needs to rest and die comfortably.

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I remember back when the 'minor' Florida universities were forbidden by the state constitution from fielding Division I teams despite the fact their enrollment was bigger than the former Florida Women's College.

Now UCF is facing Clemson in the
Meineke Car Care Bowl while the Sun Bulls of of USF go up against UGA in the
AutoZone Liberty Bowl. And if Scott Blair had made that last kick, we could have kept the Dawgs at home.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

And for some really esoteric bowl trivia, there is this scandal:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

So the guy gaming the Google algorithms with terrible customer service, cyberbullying and threatening phone calls has been arrested...

Posted by: -TBG- | December 6, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Pats are doing fairly well so far...

Posted by: badsneakers | December 6, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I remember the almost-at-the-top days of the NASDAQ bubble. I'd go to online investing chats and say how silly the valuations were and how there was going to be a day of reckoning. I was routinely laughed out of the room.... because that time was diffferent. I was so lame, and I was just mad that I didn't own all those dot-coms.

Sadly I am getting deja vu with our national propensity to leverage everything with debt and deficits. People find all types of arguments to advocate for the crazy levels of debt spending. Some sound good! Numbers are trotted out to explain why even though everything points towards a collapse, it won't happen. Why? Because adding to the debt is what must be done! See, we have reasoned arguments why we must add more and more and more and more.

I prefer to just look at the numbers with a clear head and say we are in big trouble, and that it is the fault of just about everyone.

Posted by: baldinho | December 6, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

It's hard for me to believe that the bBoodle has annual traditions--this Achenblog thing has been going on for so long! For three or four years it has been a tradition for me to try to have tomatoes in my garden by the time DC has its first snowfall. Nothing is ripe but I do have a green pepper and about 14 tomatoes growing. I totally beat the hornworms this year. Yay me. No chemicals, either, just vigilence and egg-icide.

The book fair blog is posted--it's very nice to be able to share the experience with the boodle. You all were there with me in spirit; I was representin', as they say.

Apologies for lack of photos and less than professional style...and the boringness. boringitude. In French the word for boring is the same as the word for annoying. I get that.

Good night, all.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 6, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Hi, kb! I moseyed over to your site a bit ago and just finished reading your account. Not boring or annoying at all! I watched some of the Miami Book Fair on C-SPAN2 - thought Simon Winchester and Jonathan Franzen were very good (so was Salman Rushdie). Hope to be there next year (along with a certain WaPo writer).

Posted by: seasea1 | December 6, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Just to cheer you up baldinho, here are four ways the country could hit the skids. All plausible and not necessarily mutually exclusive:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Not boring at all kbertocci, I was looking forward to your comments on Gwynne Dyer but do understand.

Toronto and S. Ontario lost an icon today, a voice so recognizable to those of us who grew up in this area.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 6, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

If you were wanting to slip some dollar bills into garters tonight in Baltimore you are out of luck.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Scotty, aren't you glad you didn't take the Jets and the points?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Geez kbertocci, I wish I could write that boringly! You've made me want to read all those author's books (I did read Hiaasen's). You've also made me want to go to the book fair, but I don't think I can justify it, unless someone dies and leaves me money ;-)

Well, I'm finally able to watch this game without being so nervous. I don't think the Pats can lose this one.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 6, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I can't say I've ever had an impulse to tuck currency into lingerie, in Baltimore or anywhere else.

Posted by: Yoki | December 6, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

It's a guy thing, Yoki. And not our finest hour.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 6, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | December 6, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

And anyway, as genders go, we don't have all that many finest hours anyway.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 7, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I dunno. I like guys.

Posted by: Yoki | December 7, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

Corn pudding for breakfast!! lol I am to bring a hot casserole dish to a luncheon today, so I will make extra as there might be a few of you who would enjoy silver queen corn, albeit frozen, then cooked, added to other ingredients and cooked some more.

Elizabeth Edwards, may God hold her in his hands...

Joel, when Va Tech lost to JMU, dear husband felt it his duty to call our oldest son (prof. at JMU) and congratulate him; son didn't even know about the game, his sport is basketball, his team is Arizona.

Va Tech Alum happy for the Orange Bowl, happy, happy, happy. I wonder what the announcers will do next year when they can't yell TYROD TAYLOR 50 times during the game?

Loved the fluffy Mama and her baby ducks link, some wind there.

KB, always glad to see you post, will now take a look at your link.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 7, 2010 5:19 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Yeah, the much anticipated game turned into a shellacking by the Brady bunch. It was entertaining though.
We had an official snow storm. We had it easy. Out East there were roads washed out by the combination of high wind and the great tides of December.
Dotc, TSA will have to profile the Serbs as well now. Nobody likes to deal with primary explosives. In particular when they were made in the kitchen of a slightly deranged individual with no training. There will be crackle and pop in this burn.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

RE: last night's Patriots practice, I'll just remind the Jets of something I said Sunday afternoon while watching a Tampa Bay player who'd left the game with an injury but stayed on the sideline:

Don't woof if you can't bring it on the field.


So nice of the Pats to have Tedy Bruschi on hand, too.

*off-in-search-of-yet-more-coffee-on-another-sparkling-and-particularly-brisk-morning Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 7, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. Country ham biscuits will go nicely with corn pudding, VL. I think we'll have us a great breakfast!

C-c-c-old in the Carolinas this morning. 19 degrees when we started on the walk, down to 17 now. We got an email from our neighbors in the mountains; they have had 12-15 inches of snow and a wind chill of -20. It's hard to tell the exact amount of snow because the wind is blowing it around. And we're going up there Thursday...

Have a pleasant day, everyone!

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

VL, that was quite a transition, being the first "morning" poster. I leave it up to Yoki or Mudge to provide a transitional post or two so that it isn't so jarring.

Speaking of jarring--I have been up since 0230 working. I went to bed at 8 last night and just didn't get back up after my "nap"

Last night, I met up with a very good friend for a cheap "happy hour" snack and a glass of wine. He is a great friend who always reaches out to lend a hand--so important in these times. At the same time, he is a Rush Ditto head and thinks that "Atlas Shrugs" is a great book.

The funny part about this is that, right before we got together, I was having a 2.5 hour meeting with another friend working on promoting MagLev trains and had just returned from a 3 week visit to China. We were preparing his web site and looking at video that he shot from the Shanghai Airport Maglev ride. 19 miles in 7 minutes.

This train is more of a high-speed demo route, but truly amazing. My second friend shot a continuous video of the entire ride. The trip is a bit shorter than Columbia MD to College Park MD. Driving on highways most of the way on that trip takes 30 minutes on a good day.

The MagLev train in this style could sustain between 300 to 400 MPH while floating a couple of inches off of the right of way. The train is driven by linear magnetic motor. Basically, other than the safety wheels, there are no real moving parts. The Shanghai train does reach about 300 mph on this trip, but slows after about a minute. Once constructed, the maintenance to the guide-way is minimal. I am told that, in the past two years, only a couple adjustments to the guideway piers have been made, each taking a small crew about a day. The whole system is elevated for safety because of the great speed of the train.

At the same time, you can also see the construction of the roughly 1,000 mile CRH project--China Railroad Highspeed (i think) which also is constructed in an elevated mode at least in populated areas.

That train will run at about 360 mph, so they say, however, their other trains have been "dialed back" because of the additional maintenance costs incurred as speed of operation exceeds 250 or 260 mph. The French have made the same decision or considering such.

Well, back to friend one, at the happy hour, I was talking about the great footage and was going into how this nation of ours can't seem to get out of our own way when it comes to power and transportation infrastructure. I pointed out that the MagLev rightaways are perfect PV arrays and electric generation and transport and I am hit with a comment about how the Democrats are standing in the way of the only true USA power solution, which is Nucular. It appears that Solar and wind are Democratic plots to waste money. He then again ragged on the Volt--stuck in Rush talking points. A range of 40 miles and way too expensive.

I mention that the Leaf is cheaper and has a better drive. "What's the Leaf?" comes back to me. AHHHHG.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Corn pudding for breakfast? Wow. I loves me some corn pudding. Make it myself, usually for T-Day and/or Christmas.

Happy Pearl Harbor Day.

'Morning, Boodle.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 7, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse


I am dumbfounded... What do you say? The Volt was given the "Car of the Year" award from Car and Driver precisely because of the revolutionary design. I brought up the massive change in drive train. I mentioned that, for the most part, the engine is used only to re-charge the batteries. The drive train is electric. The friend starts to repeat 40 miles, 40 miles, like a Rush parrot. I mention a number I heard last week as they attempt at GM to reach an agreement with the government on Est. MPH that 70% or more of the daily drivers drive less than 40 miles per day.

No good.

BUT, I mention as he keeps attempting to pummel me with 'his' talking points that even with the gas recharge kicking in, the car still is expected to way outperform traditional designs.

It goes on and on about the cost of re-cycling batteries, etc. I ask, don't you think that the costs will drop as production increases? Change subject... again.

It goes on and on... I mention for the fifth time on multiple topics, the cost of ownership and the cost of operation and that doesn't seem to tick over in his mind.

We can't afford it, go Nucular...

(insert parrot sound)

It struck me that what I was dealing with isn't republican or democrat or conservative or liberal, it is just plain old candy-assed knowledge and thinking. Most Americans just don't know enough to draw a conclusion.

So, I come from a meeting on a MagLev web site and how to present information against the heavily lobbied special interests pushing pimp'ed up 1800's technology to a nice dinner with "your basic American" who is ill-equipped to discuss any topic about transportation or energy. I don't think I know that much, but whoa, baby.

So, this morning, I wake up at 0230 and look online for something from my old college classmate Scott Sklar. Here is a great video which is about a year old discussing the current state of renewable energy policy and practice in the United States.

Scott makes the point about the technology constantly improving.

Here, at Scott's own site,

you can see a video of a Fox channel 5 visit to his house. Basically tips on going "off the grid." He mentions numbers of which most Americans are not aware.

I think back to Loomis' post from last week about Thomas Friedman's point about the Republicans screwing up our energy policy and hamstringing our economic recovery because of that. We are constantly mired in old technology thanks largely to the special interests.

This is a truth that was wildly exacerbated by the Roberts Court's Citizens United ruling.

So, back to last night's discussion, I try to get the discussion righted by suggesting that through renewable sources of energy, if we were to cut even 5 to 10% of the petroleum usage out of our fuel diets, we might be able to very significantly cut the cost of Oil and Gas products.


Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Don't know nothing about how Rush has interpreted (misinterpreted?) Atlas Shrugged, but it is a really good book. Communism and collectivism are bad, capitalism is responsible for 20th century achievement, don't perpetuate corruption, live life in pursuit of your own happiness, reason is absolute, etc. It's not a how-to book, it's a get-you-thinking book. I think some might latch on to her idea that to combat corruption you should not participate at all (as opposed to participation with an eye toward change), but Atlas Shrugged is a must-read for anyone thinking of going into government, as is Mein Kampf and the Qur'an and the Bible and The Prince and and and.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 7, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I have no faith in the ability of GM to manufacture and sell a next generation vehicle. Wired Magazine had an article a month or two ago about the Tesla sedan.

Tesla has bought the NUMMI factory that used to make Corollas and Novas. They are licensing their technology to other car manufacturers and hold some really valuable patents.

They are approaching the performance problems from the other end. I saw a Tesla coupe in the Columbia Mall parking lot and it really generates some mid-life envy.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway:

Several years ago I rode the Aichi maglev as part of their world expo. It was a glorified people mover which was undersized for the crowds, but demonstration projects like this need to come to the U.S.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I read The Fountainhead many years ago and was not impressed. My son read Anthem in high school and we both roundly ridiculed it.

Publicly declaring yourself a Randian nowadays is shorthand for being a very rabidly libertarian sub-variety of teabagger. Not enough of them go Galt.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Any Geeks here know why I keep getting a message on the WaPo front page (only) that says "Out of memory at: Line 9"?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 7, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The parameters for a successful electric car are a 300 mile range and a ten minute recharging time. It's 700 miles from B-more to Atlanta and my parents and kid will do it in one day (I prefer to stop in Lexington for barbecue). On my One Lap Of America we had a few 500 mile days including a midnight to 2 a.m. run from I-70 to Salt Lake City where there was nothing for anywhere.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I mention that a large part of our energy challenge is the "suspicion" that our banks are using Fed sourced moneys that they borrow at a subsidized rate (for the purposes of loans) to trade on the commodities market--including oil.

I guess that Atlas Shrugged, because that was almost conspiratorial enough to get a nod of approval. We left as friends, but it was touch and go.

The facts about technology, as Ray Kurzweil explained in "The Singularity is Near" are always changing and changing faster and faster. Rush Limbaugh's understanding of Technology is probably not to be trusted. I might say the same thing about his understanding of economics.

As Scott Sklar also pointed out in his discussion about the Climate Legislation and all things energy, what happens in Congress has as much to do about lobbying and its impact than whether or not a voting member is a Republican or Democrat.

So there's the problem, Friedman tells us that, if we, as a nation, had or do play our cards right SOON, the non-petroleum wing of the Energy Industry could lead our nation out of the recession. The problem is that a baby industry has no resources to go toe-to-toe with one of the kings of the lobbying industry. So, they lose. AND, we all lose.

Even in the face of that lobbying shortfall, the realities of technological development and all the competitive effort from the small entrepreneurs will drive significant advancements.

Back to the Maglev, there is the same sort of "bad data" floating around. What's worse, it is planted right in our Federal agency, which is supposed to know better.

They are likely to tell you, at a public meeting to which they traveled on the Metro, that Maglev transport technology is a risky venture because, in a test environment, there was a case of human error that caused several deaths.

They will also quote you chapter and verse about the construction costs of the Maglev system. They, of course, will ignore recent improvements in construction and design that have significantly lowered the costs of building the guideways. They will also use comparative iron horse numbers that don't truly indicate that high-speed rail will cost more to develop than traditional rail because that, too will require a new set of rails and most likely elevated tracks through congested areas.

Yes, they would tell you about "the accident" even though they got there on a rail system called The DC Metro System which has had multiple "accidents," some caused by human error and some caused by rail and right of way failures. Anyone knows that riding the DC Metro system on the weekends is an adventure as large work crews are on every line making rail improvements.

The Japanese, known for their rapid rail system are developing test Maglev systems now because of the extreme costs of maintenance and operation. The Chinese are using Commuter Maglev for their new Beijing metro.

Why doesn't America get it?

Why do we form opinions on what we don't know?

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The most intriguing part of the Obama-Republican compromise (which is notable for its lack of Democratic congressional support) is the 2% FICA cut. This harkens back to late-Monyihan proposal to lower FICA rates back down to the pay-out rate and end the fiction of the Social Security trust fund.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

jkt, it isn't a myth, it has just been "invested."

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

It's almost funny that New-York can't built a much needed rail tunnel to New-Jersey, Michigan can't built a much needed new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor but an Ark is being built in Kentucky.
The money quote: "“It’s our opportunity to present accurate, factual biblical information to people"

The scumbag who owns the Embassador bridge in Detroit/Windsor built an extra duty-free store instead of a link to the freeway and successfully lobbied the Michigan senate in killing the new bridge project (which would have been paid in half by Canada).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The Social Security trust fund is loaned to the general fund with interest and is a method of financing current outflows with the trust fund/lock box/piggy bank account. Money is fungible.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I went to bertooch's website to see what she had written about November's Miami Book Fair, to discover that she had attended the one presentation that would have interested me the most: Peter Maas's book about oil and its violent twilight. I'm mildly surprised bertooch picked this session that also includes authors Cullen (weather in the future) and Dyer (climate wars). The session with perhaps the most gravitas.

I'm rewarded with next to nothing for my effort. *sigh*

Why not take up these subjects--oil, climate, weather, since you made the effort to attend what surely must have been a truly stimulating and thought-provoking discussion, and fill us in here on the A-blog, kbertocci?

Posted by: laloomis | December 7, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

ggg-good mmm-morning, y'all.

It's ccc-cold in TWC ttt-today.

Warm muffins & pumpkin bread, lots of hot coffee, cocoa & tea, and OJ on the table.

Well, one of the teams on MNF must have had its Gatorade spiked with downers or something. The Jets looked more like underpowered prop planes from a hundred years ago.

Got the holiday decorations up yesterday, such as they are. Today I plan to get the Wi-Fi installed. The new computers/peripherals arrive later this week.

Alas, all this glitzy new hardware and speedy connections won't improve the quality of my boodleposts. Technology has its limitations after all.

All this high-tech rail talk has me thinking about a souped-up wheelchair. How many pedestrians would I take out with a TGV chair, I wonder?

Posted by: MsJS | December 7, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Howzabout a hoverchair, MsJS? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 7, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if Julian Assange has any (new) revelations about BP? Much speculation about whose corporate information he has and what that information is...

Posted by: laloomis | December 7, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I imagine kbertocci is just fine posting her own thoughts in long form on her own blog, rather than repeatedly posting long comments in someone else's blog.

But that's just my opinion.

yello, I'm a fan of the Tesla Roadster (based on the old Lotus backbone chassis), but they don't have the kind of resources that GM has for such things as top-notch development, quality control and testing. IIRC several hundred Teslas were recalled for potential electical shorts after long term use, though I believe it was in one of the low-voltage systems. I think they're one of the better small-volume players in that market, but I wouldn't put them ahead of the large manufacturers in that area.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

bc, had breakfast Monday at LK.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

russianthistle - while I share your frustration with uneducated folks (and those who just don't want to be educated), it's just not that simple. And trying to make it simple just causes problems.

For example - concrete production is the third-largest source of CO2 (see ) And how do you erect a wind turbine and keep it upright? You embed it in a VERY large block of concrete. So, how much CO2 is produced in the initial establishment of windfarms, and how long does it take until that is recouped?

Additionally, windfarms can cause their own problems. Witness the folks in California upset with the impact of the Altamont windfarm on migratory birds - the turbines are killing hawks, eagles, etc. - to the point that California a few years ago ordered a winter-long shutdown of the windfarm.

There have been other complaints about them, as well - there's a windfarm being built in Western Maryland that's facing nonstop complaints from environmentalists who don't want mountain ridges defaced with windmills, plus the people fighting windfarms proposed for off Cape Cod and off Ocean City, MD.

Solar energy seems to be less controversial, although there are still issues that may pop up if someone seriously starts building arrays that cover dozens to hundreds of acres.

And nuclear energy is neither the panacea promised during the 1950's, nor the pariah it was painted around 1980; it has a role in the overall energy spectrum but it's probably a limited one.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 7, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh, man. I find this morning's Borowitz Report extremely painful:

DECEMBER 7, 2010

In Latest Compromise with GOP, Obama Agrees He is a Muslim

Place of Birth ‘Negotiable,’ President Says

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In his latest effort to find common ground with Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama said today that he was willing to agree that he is a Muslim.

Differences over his religious orientation have been a sore point between the President and his Republican foes for the past two years, but in agreeing that he is a Muslim Mr. Obama is sending a clear signal that he is trying to find consensus.

“The American people do not want to see us fighting in Washington,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House. “They want to see us working together to improve their lives, and Allah willing, we will.”

But Mr. Obama’s willing to back down on his claim of being a Christian does not seem to have satisfied his Republican opposition, as GOP leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) today insisted that the President must also agree that he was born in Kenya.

While Mr. Obama did not immediately agree to Rep. Bohener’s demand, he hinted that yet another compromise might be in the offing: “My place of birth has been, and will always be, negotiable.”

White House sources indicated today that the President might be willing to meet the GOP halfway on his birthplace and say that he was born in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Elsewhere, moments after his capture in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, “I knew I shouldn’t have signed up for Foursquare.”

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 7, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Have you looked at an oil refinery or nuclear power plant? There is plenty of concrete in those. Be careful about your sources on windfarms killing birds. A lot of that is astroturf FUD from oil companies. I agree that we need a better tool to assess lifetime environmental costs of alternative energy sources, but it's funny that companies that have no compunction about drowning birds in spilled oil get all concerned about them flying into windmills.

More importantly, is there enough wind to dent our current fuelish energy demands? And solar needs at least one more order of magnitude of improvement before it becomes cost effective. Not that it can't, but you have to spend the money to find out how.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

rt, I keep telling Carlos that I need to try Jose's eggs benedict.

But I keep falling to the siren call of crawfish bisque.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

rt, I keep telling Carlos that I need to try Jose's eggs benedict.

But I keep falling to the siren call of crawfish bisque.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

laloomis, sorry to disappoint. I recommend you read the books if you are interested in the subjects. My impression was that all three authors were intelligent and well-informed in their respective fields. They are also highly engaged in the meta-problem of how to convince the public that behavior changes are necessary. I guess I went to that session mostly to support the cause by encouraging the authors because they are all doing good and important work.

I didn't learn anything new to change my thinking about global warming. In order to maintain my serenity I have to accept what I cannot change. So I'm just doing what I can to minimize my own carbon footprint, and trying not to think about how little control I have over the fate of humankind.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 7, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Oops. Moveable Type problem.

Apologies for the duplicate post.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Completely off topic, but just made my day, via Dave Barry.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 7, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I can't think of anything I've seen on the cover of Popular Mechanics that's made much of a practical impact on my life to this point.

Re. maglev trains, electric passenger cars, wind farms, commercial flights to orbital hotels (not a Soyuz to the ISS), geothermal energy, flying cars, nuclear fusion for energy, solar energy collected in orbit for use on Earth, space elevators, etc.

All of which are demonstrable technologies or systems, but I'd say skeptical as to how much business development or adoption I'll see before I pull up my flaming Barstool in Eternity.

Heck, supersonic airliners came and went, didn't they?


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Add "I'm" to my second to last sentence at 11:42.

Decide for yourself where.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The I-10 corridor goes right through the Southwest "sweet spot" for both solar and wind. Modern locomotives are already diesel-electrics, so solar powered trains to and from California don't seem too far fetched.

Regarding all those unsightly photovoltaic panels, they would do a fine job covering overhead of all the unsightly asphalt in this country. I'd make zoning laws that mandate solar roofs over parking lots and roadways. Where applicable.

I liked Obama's stress on converting all applicable Federal buildings to solar. Oh, wait, he didn't do that...

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

bc, when I was a kid my next door neighbor used to make gadgets that got into Popular Mechanics. BroJS even had a photo of himself driving a handmade kiddie motorcycle down the sidewalk in front of our house.

Also, it would appear the 2 of us share the tiara this week. May I use it Thu and Fri? We have company for lunch those days.

Posted by: MsJS | December 7, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, VL, for the corn pudding! I'm always happy to have corn pudding.

kbertocci, I really enjoyed your blog post on the Miami book fair. I didn't think it was boring at all. Of course, this may say something about me, but the other commenters here have agreed. So, maybe it says something about us all - or perhaps your post wasn't boring.

I really appreciate the breadth and depth of the authors you put on your schedule. One reason I love reading your blog is that, while I would have chosen to see some of your authors, I might not have chosen others. You broaden my experience. Once again I live vicariously through the Boodle. Many thanks.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

AB, jkt, the point I was making was that our situation IS COMPLEX. You have to take advantage of everything. AB, you brought up Wind, not I. Please be more careful addressing me. (HA HA HA)... no, I don't care, but that is the point of folks arguing against any renewable source. You hop around. BTW, on nuclear power, I am not against it, per se, just our system, as we do it. You could talk me into the French approach, but the curious thing is that my friend didn't know the differences between the US and the French.

I mentioned that one of the biggest problems that we face is that our Electrical Utilities are not required to buy back power at a decent rate.

Unless you invest in a battery system, you face a complex cost game. There are also those who think that it is just the right thing to do. (go off grid, if you can). Hey, I live in Bethesda where PEPCO takes us off grid all the time during storms. I do have a generator and I do have an array of 6 APC XS 1500 battery backups along with an assortment of other battery packs for devices.

Believe me, I talk to a good number of folks who say the same thing, AB. That "isn't that simple or isn't the answer, but most of them will agree that what I suggest would make the situation better. I don't have to pull out pencil and paper to show them. If they know the problem, then they will accept that things will improve if more people invest in energy efficient upgrades to their homes and their businesses.

Here's one that gets laughed at all the time-Green Roofs on commercial structures. Once they see the numbers, the laughing stops. AND, we could look at Crop Circles on Google maps on top of buildings.

jkt, I don't see the factor of 10 thing that you mention. I see workable returns on investment right now. Of course, you are an engineer in so many ways and I am just an old-timey new world settler who drinks from pewter cups.

Even in the small residential projects, you can make investments that save 75 to 300 per month on your power bills and that will go to other purposes in the budget. That would be productive. Even the investment "should" provide more jobs in the USA from the installers to the manufacturers.

In the video of Scott that I posted, he mentioned that the solar panels were manufactured in Maryland. (even if it were final assembly, that's much better than nothing). Just like AB can point out drawbacks of this or that, I can also point out, ad nauseum, all the different small, even minute economic benefits. Those add up, too.

We know (1) that we have to reduce our reliance on foreign oil; (2) our own production doesn't make a dent in that problem; (3) new technology from the USA brings us more working Americans; (3) Less spent on imported Oil should translate to more budget monies for other items that should spur the economy.

jkt, you may want a better win, but it is somewhat win/win. Most likely, you would also agree that the more that we spend, the more improvements we will see.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

As to wind farms, they seem to be the least contributors to unnatural bird deaths:

And not related to anything discussed here, I need to post a link to the cultural impact of the introduction of trains, just because I like the late Tony Judt so much.

Posted by: gmbka | December 7, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

MsJS - of course you can use the Tiara on Thursday and Friday, dear. I'm more than happy to share it with you.

Here -- I've had it for a day, please feel free to wear it for the rest of the week.

It looks better on you than on me.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

PV is already here for residential and light commercial. Perhaps a cost factor of two could tip it over the edge. For institutional and industrial uses, the power densities are way too high to make PV anything but window dressing or a demonstration project. There is a lot of cogen getting mumbled about out there, but that is just moving the fire closer to the sofa.

The perfect is the enemy of the good and we need to try everything, but somethings are more practical and scalable then others. For example, we can't grow enough switchgrass to make a dent without starving people, but there have to be plenty of places where it is a logical crop. Gotta make choices.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Forget flying cars. I want my transcontinental dirigible. Put some PV panels on the top to light some billboards on the bottom and fly it around LA where Deckard can see it.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I enjoy those get-you-thinking books, just as I enjoy talk with people whose backgrounds, opinions, viewpoints or lives (and and and) are different from mine.

Other people and their throughts (in whatever form) are what I try to think of as learning experiences, rather than opportunites to practice name calling or simply loading ammunition for later.

I do try.


Posted by: -bc- | December 7, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse


yes... on your food idea. I usually end up witha large bowl of the gumbo, though I like the specials on the poached egg side, my favorite being the Eggs Sardu. My daughter loved their Eggs Benedict.


Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The greatest potential for green energy is exactly where there are the least people. For reasons that aren't hard to divine. We need a technology that draws power from overcast skies and excessive humidity and then deploy it up the entire Bos-Wash corridor.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

bc, a friend recently wrote on her blog that when dealing with particularly intransigent or unpleasant persons, if all else fails, she's had a lesson in "how not to behave". I can usually learn something from other people; it just isn't always a lesson I want.

Occasionally I find someone whose lessons are so reliably uninteresting to me that I disregard them entirely. I might miss something, but I'm willing to chance that for the boost to my peace of mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's remember what day this is-

Medal of Honor citation of US Navy Lieutenant John William Finn:

"For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kanoehe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant Finn promptly secured and manned a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine-gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

John W. Finn died this past summer at a veterans home in California at the age of 100. He was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Pearl Harbor attack.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 7, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that, Kguy. On another positive note, the 'Skins have suspended Fat Albert for the rest of the season.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 7, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

bc, a friend recently wrote on her blog that when dealing with particularly intransigent or unpleasant persons, if all else fails, she's had a lesson in "how not to behave". I can usually learn something from other people; it just isn't always a lesson I want.

Occasionally I find someone whose lessons are so reliably uninteresting to me that I disregard them entirely. I might miss something, but I'm willing to chance that for the boost to my peace of mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

And so AH receives $35,000,000 for playing in 20 games over two seasons and is credited with 77 tackles and 6.5 sacks. That works out to $419,161.68 per tackle\sack. Nice work if you can get it.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 7, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey Kguy, I haven't spoken to the head coach all season, nor do I plan to in the future, but I am getting away with it!

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The point was just made, yello, (at least I thought)that just because a big building's roof can't gather ALL the power needed for that building, that that is no reason not to put collectors there. Besides, almost every building uses hot water, and that's a good spot for creating it. I don't get your point about not putting power generation near people, either. I suspect if the Southwest builds it, more people will move close to it. Anyway, here's an image of the U.S. best solar locations. I saw a different image recently showing good spots for wind generation, and the best spot overlaid New Mexico, making it a double sweet-spot.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

russianthistle: if you're referring to the BP Solar (yes, THAT BP) plant in Frederick, MD, it no longer makes the solar panels. That's been moved to China and India. Basically, BP used up all the tax breaks/credits/incentives, then moved production to where it's cheap. All that's left at the Frederick facility is some minor R&D, and some sales critters. See

I'm not aware of another solar panel manufacturing plant in Maryland.

Re: the birds in California: Here's one of many references: If you believe that the numbers of birds killed is incorrect, or that the closing is overreaction, feel free to contact the government entities in California that require the closure.

And yes, there are lots of "little things" that can be done to make the situation better. I had my house built with geothermal heating (ground-source direct exchange) in 1993; my bills are substantially lower than my neighbors. Green roofs are generally a good thing. etc., etc.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If I had read Atlas Shrugged when I was 17, it probably would have been as influential in my life as the collected works of Kurt Vonnegut were instead. I read The Fountainhead in my mid-20s and while I was still sympathetic to its philosophical underpinnings, I found the prose style awfully pedestrian and I came to despise Howard Roark as an insufferable pr1ck who resembled too many of my professional acquaintances over the years.

I perhaps rightly or wrongly predicted that Atlas Shrugged would be more of the same so I have avoided it for several decades. I am glancingly familiar with Objectivism and while as a philosophy it is intriguing most of its practitioners seem to distort the precepts for their (irony alert) own selfish purposes.

There are a lot of hugely influential books I have never read. In a recent Facebook meme, I had only read 29 of the Top 100 List Of Something Or Other. Not because they weren't good books, although there was a fair amount of genuine trash in there, some of which I had read, but because life is short.

I would love to read the Quran or the Book of Mormon or the Gnostic Gospels, but I also rationalize not doing so since I have never read as a linear narrative the Old or New Testament. It's not that big a deal in the Catholic faith tradition for some reason.

As for Mein Kampf, there isn't enough money in the world to make me read it. It was notoriously unread even when it was a bestseller in certain countries. Reading it could only elicit one of two reactions: a) 'Hitler was a nut and a genuinely evil person' or b) 'That Adolf guy was onto something, why is he so misunderstood?' The former is how I already feel and the latter would terrify me.

At my current languid reading pace I already own enough books to last me a half decade or more and that includes some real shelf-bucklers like Anathem and Gravity's Rainbow.

I love reading books and reading about books, but as my window of opportunity slowly thins, I stick to things I want to read rather than what people think I should read. I hope that doesn't make me appear incurious or intolerant, but it rightfully may.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Actually yello there is a project that proposes to link the renewable energy-rich Southwest to the Eastern Grid. They use superconducting cables and other fancy pants technologies.
Tres Amigas:
I just read in the ASME magazine that it will likely starts soon. That is a cool project.

yello, your airship will come in camo. DOD has just awarded contracts and put out more bids to develop Lighter Than Air heavy lift for the Army and Marines.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

To revert to my much more worthwhile earlier topic, fifteen US sailors were awarded this country's highest military honor for their actions on this day 69 years ago. They included everything from Seaman First to Rear Admiral. Nine of the fifteen gave their lives that day. Their ages ranged from early 20's to late 50's. They came from 11 different states and the District, and one was an Croatian immigrant. Many of those who died did so willingly, refusing to leave their stations, preventing further damage, defending their ships, or assisting others to safety. Here's a list. It's sobering reading.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not completely convinced that I'd go to the American Wind Energy Association as my definitive source for unbiased avian statistical data (as the howstuffworks folks appear to have done), but I'll certainly grant that some of the bird-kill rhetoric is a bit overwrought.

Personally, I wish kbert would write more about the hot Miami babes wandering around the book fair. But I'm relatively at peace knowing that if I really wanted that article, I could research it and write it myself.

Posted by: bobsewell | December 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I always wondered about the steam in N.Y. I don't know of any other cities using it.

I wonder if it's plausible to power that with a nuclear reactor. Save a lot on turbines & generator. I bet Canada could use something like that in several cities.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse


And here is a map of US population density:

It's like they are the obverse of each other. The Southwest has a few climate related problems as a potential mass migration location. Perhaps or shrinking industrial base can move there. Right now the cheapest power in the country is in the Pacific Northwest where all the bonds for the hydroelectric dams have been fully paid off.

I think getting power sources closer to power uses is a great idea but you have to keep track of what you save in transmission losses making up for loss of economy of scale. The whole power generation and distribution paradigm needs to be rethought. Perhaps the perfect residential system is a photovoltaic array charging a fuel cell which powers a ground source heat pump.

But if you thought PEPCO was unreliable now, wait until everybody with a Honda genset in their backyard can put harmonics back on the system.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

In honor of kbert, whose blog post was a most excellent way to begin this morning:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 7, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

If I knew I was going to be in my house another 20 years AND if I could talk my HOA into it AND if I could decent financing, I would put in a GSHP tomorrow. Particularly since I'm getting very tired of waking up once a week to relight the pilot of the furnace.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Jumper it is used, can't find a great link for you but heating and cooling. There is also new regulations in place requiring new buildings to have Green roofs (Toronto).

If I get time I will look as I think steam has been used for a long time downtown, the lake water cooling is fairly recent.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 7, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

LOTS of cities have district steam systems. If you see a cloudy manhole in a movie, they have a steam system. Some of the Smithsonian museums as well as all of Capitol Hill get steam from the enormous eyesore that is the Capitol Power Plant, which is not particularly clean due to the lobbying of congress critters from coal-based states.

Baltimore even has a couple of district chilled water networks, one hidden in Camden Yards.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse


Here is a good start:

There is a lot of eye candy in that Flickr stream.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The gunmint has a steam plant that distributes heat to a large number of older gunmint buildings in Ottawa. It's located right below the Supreme court on the river. It made the news last year when the waste heat tank blew up and killed an employee. As it is operated by the department responsible for labour laws they had to investigate themselves. They found themselves negligent. A brand new plant was built inside the old building in the past year.

When it opened back in the days the boiler was burning coal, it was then converted to oil and now it's natural gas-powered. So it's kind of greenish.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Seezall Nozall

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

My stock glib Pearl Harbor Day joke is that I'm going to celebrate by drinking kamikazes until I'm bombed, but that quip is as insensitive as it is anachronistic. So I salute your touching tribute to the brave men and women on duty the day our country went to war.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the excellent reading, kguy and kb.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyway, yello, you are right about the lack of population to easily use the power gen out there. That's why I thought using it to power much of the transcontinental transport system might be cheaper than trying to extend the grid in all directions to further denser locations. An article I read about the "new grid" we need didn't seem to think of it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Today's Barney and Clyde was inspired by The Boodle:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Hello bc,

This is really Carlos at Louisiana Kitchen....try the egg benedict next time you come

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I am not a number, yello, I am a FREE BOODLER!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 7, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to think of myself as being complex rather than purely imaginary.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Would that be K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen or Popeye's?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Some of us are complex and irrational.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 7, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I am odd and no longer prime.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 7, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Some of us are negative and irrelevant.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 7, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, Isn't the spot in NM where the tres_amigas want to concentrate the US power distribution where the extra terrestrials land. Maybe it's a plan for space ship recharging.

Posted by: bh72 | December 7, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

DNA_Girl, that one got printed and posted by the computer!

Posted by: slyness | December 7, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I guess without an appendix I'm no longer whole, but a mere fraction of what I once was.

Posted by: engelmann | December 7, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

We could all move Reykavik, Iceland. Virtually the entire city is heated from natural hot water springs nearby. Downside - you are sitting on top of one of the most active volcanic areas in the world. What do think heats that water?

Posted by: ebtnut | December 7, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm rational and natural but I tend to be negative.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

jkt! seriously, no a little place on Cordell Ave in Bethesda, MD. bc knows them from their previous restaurant. I know them from their previous/previous restaurant in Adams Morgan.

I was talking with them about some web stuff that I was doing as a friend. Got paid in gumbo.

It's good stuff, so it is a deal.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 7, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Hopping Hamiltonian, here.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm pi. I'm irrational; I drive kids crazy; and the Indiana legislature tried to set me at some weird, incorrect value because of the difficulty I caused.

(And I like pi(e), too. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 7, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, during the Depression, the Penn State campus gained a network of steam tunnels, some also functioning as no-snow, no-ice sidewalks. That's when the campus morphed from college to university-sized, with massive new classroom and lab buildings.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 7, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I googled it and it looks very familiar. I'm pretty sure we have eaten there. My wife loves her some gumbo.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Just heard that Elizabeth Edwards died today.


I really admired her -- and, actually, him too before he revealed himself to be a total *expletive*

I wish her children well.

Posted by: ftb3 | December 7, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Much sadness over Elizabeth Edwards. She was classy and determined.

So it goes.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 7, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

One of my good friends gave me an early Christmas present this weekend. It's this T-shirt, which is perfect for me on a number of levels:

Posted by: bobsewell | December 7, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The Daily Beast had a good pre-obit for Elizabeth E. yesterday. Classy person, unlike her verminous husband.

Sarah Palin exposed as a faux-hunter. That was a patient caribou or it had a bad deathwish.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Quadratic driving:
when drunk frat boys are trying
to circle the square

Posted by: DNA_Girl | December 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The University of Florida used to use aquifer water for its air conditioning. Used up a whole lot of water, some of which went back into the aquifer via the sink in Payne's Prairie.

Heightened security in the wake of the attempted Yemeni plane cargo bombings is affecting Americans. More Cuban cigars, shipped from Europe (Switzerland) are being seized. Via the Miami Herald.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I have just started back-boodling, but some things caught my eye that need rebuttal (although they may already have been rebutted) -- it is true that building windfarms will require the release of CO2 in the production of the concrete, but I fail to see how this is a significant "hidden" environmental cost that is unique to windfarms. Building ANY major project requires concrete in modern construction practices, and it would take some serious work to convince me that constructing a windfarm produces more waste CO2 than the construction of another major power-infrastructure project, like a nuclear power plant or a fossil-fuel burning power plant, or just putting up the towers for the transmission lines, fer cryin' out loud.

I have heard the anecdotal reports about problems with migratory birds and windfarms. I have only ever heard these comments from people who are anti-wind farm activists for reasons beyond their claimed concerns for migratory birds. While it is possible that this problem is real, the one-sided sourcing makes me dubious. I have not heard any neutral party -- like, say, a spokesperson for the Department of Energy, or a science reporter at a nationally-recognized newspaper -- say much on this topic. Sounds like a perfect candidate for a crafty guy like Joel to do some valubale reporting! In general, birds and other nonbrainless animals are smarter than anecdote and folklore suggests, and I think they are quite capable of avoiding wind turbines. The actual fraction of wind "wave front" that is intercepted by turbines is trivial, so the probability of birds getting offed by turbines is very low, even if the bird is desperately stupid. Only if there is some attribute of turbines that directly attracts birds or bats will they have a problem with them. I find it very hard to believe that such an effect is real, but I am not prepared to discount it entirely.

Finally, I find the opposition to wind farms off the coast of Nantucket and other places to be simply trivial NIMBY thinking, a vestige of a time when people in those locations had the luxury of accepting cheap power from places where they don't happen to live. Their opposition is real, no doubt, and politically relevant, but that doesn't make it principled or well-thought-out. It can be countered by rationality and, essentially, bribery (by which I mean: offering community incentives) and eventually such fear of the unknown will be eroded as windfarms become part of a normal visual experience.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 7, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Rest in peace Elizabeth. However, I can't wish any peace to her 'estranged' husband. What a clueless and arrogant glassbowl he turned out to be. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that breast cancer is a fatal disease more often than not. I don't know anyone who was diagnosed with it that lived any length of time. Sad and maddening.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 7, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

This is the site of our recent BPH with CowTown... looks like it may be closing...

Posted by: -TBG- | December 7, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

'Sneaks.. fortunately, breast cancer is often survived and many live full, long lives afterward.

One of my sisters is a 21-year survivor, for one. But I have the pleasure of counting several breast cancer survivors among my friends. I'll bet you do, too, just don't realize it.

Posted by: -TBG- | December 7, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I have a couple of relatives and several friends who are 20+ years past their diagnosis & treatment for breast cancer. Like all cancers, it's kind of a crap shoot. Finding out early is better.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 7, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could say that I personally know someone who has survived breast cancer, but I truly don't. I realize this makes me the odd man out, so to speak, and I wish it weren't so, as it would be nice to still have these people in my life. When I had my last mammogram, the technician told me that the later in life the cancer is detected, the more likely one is to survive it. I don't know whether this is true as I had a cousin die at 39 and acquaintances in their 50's and 60's also succumb.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 7, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, couldn't the wind farm folks set up a migratory bird credits trading system? You could offset the farms by spaying some house cats!

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

I've known two women who have gone through treatment for breast cancer in the last year and a half and who are now considered cancer-free. One lost her mother to the disease; she works in a cancer research center and was diagnosed during a normal exam, done periodically. She had a lumpectomy and chemo and is fine. The other found a lump, went to the doctor, who found another lump in the other breast. She had a double mastectomy and is about midway in the reconstruction process. She didn't have to have any followup treatment. So yes, it can be done.

Posted by: slyness | December 7, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Cancer" is a catch-all term for a dizzying array crafty attacks on the body. We/they know vastly more now than twenty-five years ago, and (I hope) vastly less than we shall know twenty-five years hence.

If it wasn't for all that death & stuff, it would be a fun intellectual exercise.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 7, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

baldinho - I like the way you think! Let's get some market incentives at work here.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 7, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Howdy. I'm sorry to hear about Elizabeth Edwards's death, but she certainly lived through her disease, publicly, with grace and dignity. Most of us struggle to accomplish that under far less difficult circumstances.

I have enjoyed the energy/alternative energy discussion, and liked ScienceTim's observations about wind power. I think baldinho has the right idea with those credits, but spayed cats is just a beginning. How about bird hunters without birdshot? Warning horns in duck blinds? A multinational corporation might take aim, so to speak, at the slaughter of migratory songbirds in some parts of Europe. The possibilities, alas, proliferate.

Thanks also to kguy et al for the memories of Pearl Harbor. My dad fought in the Pacific Theater. I think he enlisted after that battle. We always had conflicted feelings about the use of the atomic bomb; as a first lieutenant preparing to invade Japan his life expectancy that August was about six months, tops.

In honor of the release of Cataclysm today we had roast chicken and mashed potatoes. Also, I traded the decorative pumpkins and gourds out for poinsettias, Christmas cacti, and various non-tree ornaments lovingly crafted by a much smaller Boy. I would have been delighted to do any of this without Cataclysm but it was not to be.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

It is raining here and has been for almost an hour. This is a very good thing, as we have had very little moisture in the last few weeks. If it gets cold enough it will snow, or ice, or something, but that's okay. The moisture is the thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

It is raining here and has been for almost an hour. This is a very good thing, as we have had very little moisture in the last few weeks. If it gets cold enough it will snow, or ice, or something, but that's okay. The moisture is the thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Bob-S the number of viable cap and trade systems is endless. When you eat an entire turkey, just pay some dissidents to go on hunger strikes!

Posted by: baldinho | December 7, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember who posted the recipe for yoghurt pie, but whoever it was, thank you. I tried it today and it was easy and delicious. Next time I'll add just a little lemon juice.

Posted by: gmbka | December 7, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Wind power and bird kills.
Seems a major reason for the killing was the older supporting structures were preferred nesting places where there weren't many trees around.

Posted by: bh72 | December 7, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of cats. I do have about 8 birdfeeders and one cat. A closely monitored cat for her predatory habit. She likes rodents, thankfully. Other cats have to deal with me or the Very Large Puppy. I'm the real threat but the VLP has some good moves and his visuals helps a lot.
Kids write the darnest thing.
Like all families, I guess, I keep a notebook open for groceries items. Anybody can write an item in. Witch no. 1 made me look like an idiot last week. Mort-aux-rats (Death-to-the-rats) is an old French name for rotenticide, whether it was strychnine, Tl sulphate or warfarine. She wrote for mort-aux-chats (death-to-the-cats) on the ticket. I had to put the piece of paper in the right light to read it. I cackled like the old stupid coot I am. Made me look like the moron I am.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim - while this is hardly a recommendation in my book, the deaths of migratory birds in the Altamont Pass windfarms have been high on Jerry Brown's radar. It was announced this morning that one of the companies will replace all of its turbines with newer, "safer" models in the next five years or shut them down. See for example

That article points out that between 1,700 and 4,700 birds die each year at that wind farm (doesn't say who did the study; maybe BP is throwing birds at turbines?). So either there are a lot of birds whose ancestors were deeply impacted by the Altamont Festival, man, or there's something there.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 7, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

SCC rodenticide, among others.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 7, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

My latest way to get rich quick and easy: move to Oklahoma and sell cut-rate Sharia Law insurance.

I watched a show recently that documented a lot of bat kills in California at wind farms. A theory was that insects were drawn to the heat of the turbines cutting through the air, and the bats were being killed by just flying very close to the blades. It seems the low pressure was causing blood vessels to break and stuff.

Posted by: baldinho | December 7, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Those bats better bone up on darwin.

Posted by: bh72 | December 7, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, baldinho. Just twist the knife. What a dumb, dumb law. Some enterprising person has bumper stickers that say "Proud 30% Voter" - meaning you didn't vote for that dumb, dumb law. One week we pass that dumb, dumb law by an embarassing margin of people who had no idea what they were voting for. Within two weeks we were hosting the Global Creativity Forum. Suppose those folks will come back? I wouldn't, or not without some anti-stupid guarantees.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 7, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Cap and trade murder, you guys. (It'd make a good movie, anyway.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 7, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Author Peter Maass gets around, and thnakfully, shares his obersvations on NPR.

Very, very timely, this five-minute-plus interview on Oct. 25 in which Maass says he observed behavior in Iraq in 2005 revealed in WikiLeaks files:

Maass 20-minute-plus interview on Aug. 12 on NPR about the violent twilight of oil:

Meanwhile, at the BP hearing in Houston today...Surprised to find the mention of smoking a cigarette in the lede graf?

Posted by: laloomis | December 7, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I can't ever hear about Peter Maass without thinking of the "Serpico"/"Valachi Papers" Peter Maas.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 7, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention that Maass spoke about the violent twilight of oil at 2 p.m. of the Saturday of the 2009 (yes, a year ago)Texas Book Festival. He went solo, his appearance in one of the Capitol Extension rooms. At that very same time, 2 p.m., Gail Collins of the NYT spoke in Austin's Paramount Theater about the progress of women in this country since 1960. If I had to do it all over again, I'd choose Collins.

At 1 p.m. in The Sanctuary on Lavaca Street, Bryan Burrow spoke about "The Big Rich." I bought "Rich" several months later, far too late to even think about obtaining an autograph.

Posted by: laloomis | December 7, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, the "twilight" of oil is violent because it's still valuable, not because it's entering its twilight. I don't remember any stories about violence surrounding the fading away of the whale oil industry, or the ice delivery business.

As soon as other forms of energy can pay their own freight, either because they've become cheaper or because oil has priced itself out of the business, this too shall pass.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 7, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I take it back. I'm sure I've heard stories about violence in both of the aforementioned businesses, as well as some hair-raising tales about tit-for-tat intimidation in the lobster & truffle harvesting games. And let us not speak of the diamond cartels.

But all of this stuff is small beer. The world muddled along without much use of petro-products until the early twentieth century, and it shall muddle along somehow without much use of them in the future. Difficult to imagine perhaps, and certainly disruptive, but nevertheless true.

Posted by: Bob-S | December 7, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

New Kit, darlings. So sad.

Posted by: Yoki | December 7, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Movie class tonight was "Mishima: a life in four chapters", a low-budget 1985 film that was a terrible dud ($5 million spent, maybe $250,00 earned) but features magnificent visualizations of scenes from three Mishima novels, with sets by a great Japanese designer and music by the formidable Phillip Glass, who kept the rights to the music, which has been widely used in commercials.

Migratory bird deaths are the responsibility of the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Acts. I don't know what the agency's done with respect to wind turbines, but tall buildings and broadcasting towers have long been known to be hazards.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 7, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

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