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Posted at 8:43 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Spring cleaning vs. spring training

By Joel Achenbach

Small children in their solipsism believe they can make problems go away by merely covering their eyes. As we age we move beyond such naivete, and eventually, in maturity, we understand that the best way to deal with difficult situations or overwhelming amounts of work is to buy a plane ticket to someplace very far away. Flee. No one can reach you when you're on the plane, and if you remember to forget your cellphone charger you may be unreachable even after you land.

When the going gets tough, run for your freakin' life.

The fugitive solution: Why not give that a try?

March 1, as you can tell, brings out the philosopher in me (normally stored next to the pancreas, or is that too much information?). I feel a powerful urge to do spring cleaning, but wouldn't spring training be a better idea? The Nats are tied for first in the annual miracle of March baseball.

This is the time of year when we throw open the doors and windows and, 5 minutes later, realize it's still cold outside. Then we shutter ourselves again and do late-winter cleaning by sweeping things under the rug and moving furniture to cover intractable stains. Another good cleaning technique: Close the door to a room and post a sign saying Do Not Go In There. Another underrated cleaning technique is selling the house. That instantly outsources a lot of maintenance issues. The three most beautiful words in the English language: "not my problem."

What would Frank Buckles do? I think he'd stay home and do his chores. The last doughboy lived 11 decades in part because of "daily calisthenics." Do people still do "calisthenics"? How about "isometrics"? Are jumping jacks still called "jumping jacks"? I need to get out more. I need to catch up on things. (Is there some kind of unrest in the Middle East? Is Charlie Sheen having some issues???)

By Joel Achenbach  | March 1, 2011; 8:43 AM ET
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Next: A drug called Charlie Sheen


Good Morning, JA. Welcome back!

Good Morning, Boodle.

Spring training. My 80 year old neighbor does something like 300 pushups a day, along with half an hour on the treadmill and some other exercises that all together take up an hour. At 5:30am. (Yawn!) He's very fit.

One of the things I miss most about Colorado is that the air out there makes you WANT to be outside doing something.

Posted by: oldbam | March 1, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Charlie who?

Apparently I get out less than Mr. A.

Posted by: MsJS | March 1, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Happy Belated Birthday, oldbam! Oh, go ahead -- have some more cake....

Posted by: ftb3 | March 1, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I know you've been very busy, Joel, so I'll quickly answer your pressing questions here and then you can go back to work on the book.

1) Charlie's doing fine, just a little bump in his road. Something about DNA, and also about work schedules -- problems we all face in life. He is being well-cared for in the (matched set of) bosoms of his loving household.

2) Several prominent muslim leaders have retired, and one more is currently negotiating his golden parachute. Nothing to get exercised about.

3) Speaking of exercise, yes, there are still "jumping jacks." We do them in my geriatric water aerobics class. However, members of the younger generation -- the under-30s -- may be unfamiliar with them unless you refer to them by their new Twitter name, #JpgJx. You can get an app for them and have your iPod do them for you. Saves a lot of time and energy that way.

4) Your government may soon go on hiatus. Don't worry about it. Crazed Republican anarchists will handle everything. Yes, you still have to pay your taxes (by April 15, if you still believe in deadlines, which are SOOOOOOOO 20th century and, like, an@l-retentive), but probably less of them. But it'll be okay, as long as you don't want safe meat, or your children educated, or clean water for your coffee-maker. Also, better start working on alternate plans for trash disposal, firefighting, police protection, medical care ("holistic" is very inexpensive), and other former creature comforts.

5) You didn't want your silly old pension anyway, did you?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 1, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The words and wisdom of Charlie Sheen as interpreted by kitty cats:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Hiatus, Mudge? I was in the Fort Lauderdale area on Hiatus Road. Sure enough, it goes along normally, then there's a mile or so where it vanishes, only to re-emerge.

Slyness, I think amaryllis may respond somewhat to day length. A huge old clump of them is flowering down the road.

I'm being negligent in not going to visit the Nationals. They're in another county, in a vast "new community" called Viera that has new schools, new churches, vast new shopping, and vast traffic messes.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 1, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, y'all!

New parlor game --- randomly chosen quotes from two madmen who are currently in the news are sorted into stacks ... one labeled Gaddafi, one labeled Sheen. Best guess tally wins.

I'm glad to know that the Boss found Frank Buckles's story as compelling as I did. That's a man I'd have enjoyed knowing.

Bright and sunny day here and the yard sports only small limbs after the storm. Whew! Good Tuesday to all ......

Posted by: talitha1 | March 1, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

In the last half century, this is the ONLY diet article that EVER made any sense to me:

However, attached to it in the NYT is a photo/hed shot with the following somewhat disconcerting cognitive-dissonance-causing... caption: "Now 75, Bobby Seale, a founder of the Black Panthers, cooks and eats barbecue 10 times a year." Surely that must be a Googlenope of the first magnitude.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 1, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The problem with selling the house, as I have discovered in the past, is that those pesky real estate agents always insist that you keep things reasonably tidy. For some reason they feel as though a kitchen sink filled with food-encrusted dishes diminishes, in some sense, the "ambiance" of the property. The same goes for enormous piles of laundry, no matter how comfortable such piles might be for household pets. And that alarming pounding noise coming from the barricaded downstairs room? They don't much care for that at all.

This is why the solution that comes to my mind when clutter become overwhelming is arson. Yes, the cleansing power of fire. Then you can dance around the magical fire laughing hysterically. And nobody bothers you! Oh yes! Oh yes!!

But that would be wrong.

So I'm liking the escape to the tropics approach. Just pack up all the dependents and head down to where the beaches are warm and the beer cold.

Especially since, with proper care, you can maximize the odds that your property will be visited by burglars while you are away. And then you can blame it all on them.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 1, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

My city will haul away just about anything. My neighbor hired two yokels to clean up the old rusty junk in his yard. They gathered it all up and hauled it way out into the bushes in the back yard, where they left it. Ta da!

(Even more exciting is, there is a metal recycling place a half mile from here, where they actually pay people for old rusty junk.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 1, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I've been doing both spring cleaning and spring training. In addition to the two SUVs of furniture and clothing that hit the Goodwill trailer this weekend, I took a giant contractor garbage bag to the curb this morning. It was full of the cassette tapes and their balsawood peach crate holders that I have been hauling around since 1989 when I bought my first CD player.

A lot of great music is now in a landfill, Madonna, Billy Joel, Cindy Laupner, ABC, Big Country, ABBA, and who knows what else. If I had tried to sort it I would have just gotten nostalgic.

As for spring training, Sunday was a bike club pancake ride. Rather than riding pancakes, we ride bicycles to a place serving pancakes, where we carb-load for the bike ride back.

This week's was at a very nice church in the greater Poplar Springs/Mt. Airy area. We rode a disturbingly hilly 18 miles out, enjoyed our fill, and took a much more direct nine miles back. At my 50 kcal/mile rule of thumb, the event may have been a nutritional break even.

This gave me a total of 80 miles of bicycling before March 1, a new early year record for me. Some years I don't even get on the road until April.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Lunchtime is approaching. New book:
Craving Earth: Understanding Pica -- the Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice, and Chalk

Florida is mostly inedible, unless you like sugar sand.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 1, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The only problem with that approach is that the burglars don't cooperate. When my house was robbed back in 1992, they took all but five of my CDs (sorry, George Michael, that album really stunk if a crook bothered to throw it on the ground) and left all the cassettes, proving that they had no residual retail value even 20 years ago.

Right now the only thing preventing me from turning my basement into a yoga studio/man-cave is a 40-year-old bunk bed set and a dresser that I would gladly leave the door open all day for if I thought the thieves wouldn't check upstairs for HDTVs.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Padouk, Padouk, my brother, you ought to try being *married* to one of those pesky real estate agents. It has been my experience that they eschew kitchen sinks filled with food-encrusted plates even when the home is NOT for sale. I suspect the answer is in their genes, but I don't really know. That's just a guess on my part. They have other crazy ideas, as well.

yello, I'm glad those ABBA cassettes have finally found the home they properly deserve. The Billy Joel, not so much.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 1, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, this ought to look great on a résumé: "I was the Jim Crow scholar at Texas State!"
"Texas group launches scholarship exclusively for white males"

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Spring break, spring fever, spring shoes, okay. But spring training? Really? Here I thought the daffodils came up all by themselves. What's a coach tell them? Lift with the knees?

Posted by: LostInThought | March 1, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm flirting with the idea of going to see the dogwoods bloom in the piney woods of east Texas and to smell the piney air.

These thoughts of spring break distract me from the tasks of cutting back dead growth (huge amount) in the yard caused by three days in early February of temperatures that did not go above freezing and granular snow that only got the end of a ruler wet (0.4)--the fact which greatly amused a young waitress we recently met who moved here from Athol, Mass., hoping to land a job (she hasn't) as an animal or big fish trainer (Shamu) at Sea World. That and my efforts to shampoo the living room carpet, a task that is part of my continuing labor in making the house more breathable before mountain cedar season next December.

Cold outside? Don't make me laugh! After the exceptional February snow episode, spring came in with a whoosh! Why, it's been in the low 80s and high 70s ever since. Shorts, sandals, T-shirt weather are everyday dress. Don't even need a light jacket until 8 p.m. Doors and windows open even during the Academy Awards presentation.

Posted by: laloomis | March 1, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Now that I think about it, Springtime in Washington is about 48 hours long start to finish. Is that really so arduous that it needs to practice so they don't pull a hamstring or develop shin splints?

Posted by: LostInThought | March 1, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

LiT, spring in DC may be something of a short sprint, but even sprinters train.

Spring in TWC is so variable from one year to the next, even one day to the next, that it requires an immense amount of crossover training. For example, one might be mowing the lawn one week and shoveling snow the next. Training in b oth skills is critical.

Don't get me started on the vast wardrobe required to get thru a Chicago spring. It's mind-boggling.

Posted by: MsJS | March 1, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I loved this kit, it is one of those days where I am so wishing for spring, it is sunny and quite pleasant but not quite springlike seems so close but still so far.

Forget spring cleaning I want to garden.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 1, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

After spending last week in Hawaii, it's clear that problems to go away, for precisely one week. Alas, back to my own personal slog.

It is fun to anticipate the first pitch of the season though. Go A's!

Posted by: edbyronadams | March 1, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The sun is shining. I got a comment up in the Weingarten chat. It is a good day, but then again I do set the bar pretty low.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 1, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

OK, someone ship Charlie Sheen a tinfoil cap and send him off somewhere far, far from any cameras. Maybe we should declare this month a Sheen-free month, per the Palin-free month just ended. It is a bright, sunny, typical March 1 here in Metro DC. Probably hit 50. Need to consider getting about a half-ton of corn gluten for the lawn this weekend. The forsythia will be blooming very shortly.

My grandfather on my mom's side was in WWI. He passed away in 1981, but had kept his uniform which his Legion post was very happy to receive as a donation.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 1, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

OK, going to go clean the shower now!!! no more goofing about.

Posted by: MissToronto | March 1, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Congrats on making the chat. Care to share which comment? There is one I wish I made.

Also, a big revelation is buried at the bottom of the chat: Tom the Butcher is competing with the Boss.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

When I was coming back from the doctor's office this morning, after being dracularized, I, too, thought Spring was in the air. Didn't matter that the temperature was in the low 40s -- Spring is insistingly upon us.

And, besides the agony of pollen allergies, I will admit that I am looking forward to it. As an 89-year old friend has been known to say: "Oh joy! Oh rupture!"

Can't improve upon that.

Posted by: ftb3 | March 1, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

mudge, it's nit-pick Tuesday! This year you don't have to file your taxes by April 15! You have all the way until April 18, because the Congress-that-recently-ended was so darned efficient that they waited until the last minute to make a bunch of changes to the tax code, requiring very-late changes to the IRS systems, delaying the start of filing and thus gaining everyone an extra three days. (That would be the same Congress that ended its term without bothering to pass a budget. Now there's something the boss can admire - shirk your duty by passing it on to the next crew. Who seem to be doing even worse.)

bobsewell, I saw the interview with the guy who set up that scholarship fund. He seems to be somewhat, um, misguided to me, but he did make one really good point - why is it that, in this economy, people think that if you're a white male you automatically have a pile of money available to pay for college?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 1, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Or as my biology teacher buddy says, ftb, plant sex!

Posted by: slyness | March 1, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Yello, my comment was the one you wished you'd made.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 1, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

btw, apologies if my attempt at humor ("nit-pick Tuesday") a few minutes ago fell somewhat flat. One might surmise that I'm just a wee bit annoyed that two successive Congresses, with majorities from two different parties, have somehow managed to not bother to pass a budget some 5 months into the year. :-)

But the comment about Tax Day was true - this year, Tax Day is April 18.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 1, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

And I thought it was pushed back to the 18th just because the wanted to ruin another weekend for tax accountants.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Rain is washing oak pollen out of the air. It probably also damped a huge wildfire that blocked I-95 for quite a long time, north of here.

Out in the yard, the scarlet sage, orange milkweeds, and white scorpiontails (a native beach heliotrope) are flowering and a couple of the well-established amaryllis are budding.

In Florida politics, two state senators, one from each party, have sued Gov. Scott for disobeying his constitutional duty to accept federal funding for high speed rail. The project was approved by the legislature and signed by Scott's predecessor.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 1, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I dis some spring training yesterday. I shovelled the pathways and blew away the 6in. of snow we got yesterday. That was heavy stuff as well. Last storm we had 10in. of snow in the driveway the weather guys were telling us was really 2 and a half in. This time we had 6in. the weather peeps insisted it was really 8in. Measuring the water equivalent is really misleading.

The spring cleaning can wait until we can keep the windows open. It was -14C this morning for crying out loud. But there are signs of spring. For example I ordered 2 new clematis, an hellebore and a heucharella with the gift certificate I got at Christmas. Because of the certificate I had to mail it in, with a stamp and everything. It must have been 2 years since I snail-mailed an envelope. I had a pre-licked stamp so it wasn't a total trip down memory lane, complete with the taste of stamp glue.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 1, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

They moved it to the 18th? I didn't know. Thanks, AB. (We have an accountant, and my wife takes all her complicated stuff to him, so it hasn't been my problem for many years now. I just have the single W-2, and I'm out of the equation.) And anyway, we've already filed, because we're getting a boatload of money back.

However, I already did my son's taxes for him, and he's already gotten his money.

Anybody know the backstory on Liz Kelly quitting?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 1, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Heck Mudge, I don't even know the frontstory.

Posted by: MsJS | March 1, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sending a package to Port Alberni, BC. Seems like that must be a picturesque locale, out on Vancouver Island. I'm kinda wondering whether the mail gets ferried from Vancouver (or Bellingham or Seattle) or if they just fly it in.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Liz Kelly is moving to Zap2it.

From the Feb 18 Celbritology chat:

Liz Kelly :

Sorry about having to postpone the chat from the usual Thursday time slot, but I was dealing with a very sick eight-month-old baby yesterday and, since I really wanted to chat this week, convinced Jen to move it to today. Thank you Jen, and thanks to everyone for the flexibility.

Part of the reason I wanted to chat is because this will be my penultimate live chat here at Those of you who aren't Facebook friends might not know, but I've accepted a new job with as the lead blogger for their newly-launched pop culture/celeb news blog, I'll be covering much of the same territory I've covered with Celebritology, but also taking on some TV show coverage duties.

So, my last day at Celebritology will be Monday, Feb. 28 -- the day after the Academy Awards and five years to the day since I launched Celebritology back in 2006 with a tentative post about the previous night's Oscar broadcast. I will miss all of you, but especially Jen. The good news -- I leave you in Jen's WAY capable hands. Plus. I'll still be around, just at a different site. So add another bookmark.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Lizard Kelly? Yoki and I are fans, as is YJ.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 1, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, ArmyBrat, I don't think it's quite fair to characterize it as "not bothering to pass a budget". I think that for FY10, each of the parties in both houses was very interested in passing a budget. What they were not interested in doing was pragmatic compromise -- or, at least, not enough of them were interested in doing that. In particular, a certain minority party that need not be named, employed a rather well-known parliamentary procedure to prevent the passage of any bit of legislation that could be blocked without making it look like they actually eat live babies in public.

As to FY11, I think the situation was more overtly political -- the minority party recognized the opportunity to drag heels until the reset button could be pressed, with them in control of one house of the legislature, so they did it. In this sense, you could almost admire it as an example of consciously applied discipline. If they had not gained control of either house of the legislature, they would have still been in a plum position to obstruct everything, while accepting responsibility for nothing. The Nov. 2010 elections really could not have turned out badly for the minority party in terms of political gamesmanship. In terms of actual results, one might rather see them figure out SOME form of compromise in order to get on with the business of actually running a great nation in the 21st century. But that is probably asking too much.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 1, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hooking up for revolution-

"On a Muslim dating site called Mawada, there’s a man with a profile titled “Where Is Miriam?” He will frequently receive messages from other Muslim women which read something along the lines of “may your day be filled with Jasmine.” He’s also quite popular with the ladies, amassing over 171,000 admirers. But neither “Where Is Miriam,” nor his admirers are interested in love. They’re interested in toppling the Libyan regime led by Muammar Gaddafi."

Posted by: kguy1 | March 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Tim - while much of what you say is true, there's absolutely no reason that the majority party in the House in the 111th Congress couldn't have passed a budget. They had a huge majority. They didn't, and to me it didn't look like they tried very hard. Yes, you can blame the Senate GOP to an extent, because had all 41 of them absolutely held tight to a filibuster they could have prevented final passage. But frankly I don't think that would have happened; one or two of them would have taken some compromises and broken the filibuster. It was the epitome of stalling by the GOP, but it was the height of cowardice by the Donkeys.

Looking at all that was passed in the lame duck session, once Democrats were no longer worried about preserving their jobs, I think it's entirely possible they could have passed a budget before or after then had they worked together. (And I'd argue that if they had actually passed so much legislation BEFORE November not nearly so many of them would have lost their jobs.)

Bottom line - to me, it's a colossal failure by both parties, and the blame has to be shared.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | March 1, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, good find. I like that they had to forge dating female identities such as "Girl of the Desert" and "Sweet Butterfly."

Now boodle, what would be your Libyan rebel code names?

I'm thinking "Low-floating Lotus" for mine.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 1, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Low-floating lotus
seeks tranquil pond for sleep:
Dog slurps out for walk.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 1, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

bob, Port Alberni is not far from where my sister lives. I think most likely mail is flown to Victoria and then trucked from there throughout the island. Alternatively flown to Vancouver and put on a truck, then ferry to the island. Having seen how long it can take to get mail from Vancouver Island the second option is quite likely.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 1, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Bibulous Berber?

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Libyan Rebel Code Name (LRCN) - Dromedary Maid? Lorna Dune? Tripoli Lil? Tobruk Shields?

Posted by: kguy1 | March 1, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Almost every single respectable economist has said that stimulus spending and some slight tax increases on the wealthiest Americans are the right prescription to the speediest economic recovery. The Republicans want to do the exact opposite. Since they reject math, science, and probably "cogito ergo sum," and claim that it is not them but everyone else who are the lemmings, compromise with this is problematic.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 1, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

And in the 'facts, what facts' department, today's entry comes from Mike Huckabee:

He says our current president was raised in Kenya.

Interesting reason why he says he's not a birther. He feels if there were any doubt about where Obama was born, the Clintons would have uncovered and used it during the primary campaign.

Posted by: MsJS | March 1, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, thank God, the breaking news is that the House has passed emergency funding.

I'm going to skip that particular story, MsJS, to keep my blood pressure under control. Thank you for taking one for the team, so I don't have to read it.

Posted by: slyness | March 1, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee was using what are known as "Fox Facts" which are just like regular facts except, you know, not.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 1, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Calling TBG,
As our resident expert Greek, what do you think of this ad?

Posted by: rickoshea12 | March 1, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Kinda like Huckabee mealy-mouthing about the First Lady's obesity program and that he didn't really disagree with the Limbaugh/Palin position that it was just more nanny-state stuff from the Dems.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 1, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

All but six Republican House members voted in favor of the stopgap spending bill. The Republicans opposing it were Rep. Steve King (Toolville, Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (Goofy, Texas), Justin Amash (Who?, Mich.), Michele Bachmann (Magic Kingdom, Minn.), Ron Paul (19th Century, Texas) and Walter Jones (Huh?, N.C.).

Dim lights and cue Twilight Zone theme.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 1, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I like Dromedary Maid, K-guy.

Bob-S... try girly. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 1, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As a non-expert Greek who nonetheless is equipped with a Yia-yia, that was hilarious, rickoshea.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | March 1, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, there's nothing particularly Greek about old geezers expressing disapproval of young folks' dress.

There's a lovely young woman who gets on the bus at the Park & Ride many mornings wearing her head scarf, which she removes as soon as the bus starts rolling. I'm pretty sure she's not Greek, and I'm pretty sure she's got a father or granny who would be unhappy with her.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - Oh, I was trying to make one for myself. How about "Lawatan Lioness"?

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse


When women start talking about their yia-yia, it always makes me blush.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Nope, that won't work. "Lawata" hasn't been used to refer to Libyan peoples for hundreds of years, and would be confused with the place in Indonesia.

Posted by: bobsewell | March 1, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I like Lawata, never heard of it.

Jadu Lioness? Zliten Purr?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 1, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

lol, yello. And true dat, bob-s.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | March 1, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

From the comments on the 'Huckabee says Obama raised in Kenya' article.

"Huckabee has fried a squirrel in a popcorn popper but he thinks Obama is exotic."

Posted by: talitha1 | March 1, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope the squirrel wasn't still alive.
Sorry, but my imagination just went there.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 1, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Mizdah Mama

Posted by: talitha1 | March 1, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The only problem I have with the Athenos commercial is the narrator's pronounciation of Yia Yia.

It's either YA-ya or ya-YA, but never YA-YA.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 1, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

kguy, Fox facts tend to displace ordinary facts.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 1, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, were it not for Pearl Harbor, most Americans might think Hawai'i is a Commonwealth, like Puerto Rico. They'd be asking whether they need visas in addition to a passport.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 1, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

My WV neighbor's mother has gone to the Orioles spring training ever since I have known them 10 years ago.She is such a maryland sport's nut.She has season tickets to the O's Raven's and Terps.Her husband doesn't even like sports.I would love to go to spring training some year,if only to escape the cold weather.

Spring always has meant warmer weather and full rivers which is a wonderful thing.I am soooooo ready for a kayak trip,I don't even have to catch any fish.I just need a day on the river anywhere......

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 1, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I will never think of this album in the same way again:!_The_Rolling_Stones_in_Concert

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 1, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The Republican plan is like a vengeful wife who wishes to remove her husband's naughty bits and then claim that she only did it because he's too heavy.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 1, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Gawd GWE, the river is still solid.
In the forecast: some snow, @ss freezing cold (-22C) then rain. *sigh* Welcome to Spring, Canadian style.

Petrol (gas) prices just went over $8.00 a usg today in the UK. Diesel is almost $9. The Ford F150 is not Ford's best selling vehicle out there.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 1, 2011 7:02 PM | Report abuse

This is spring on the river in Shriek's world.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 1, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Pretty tired and about to study old guys and gals of rhetoric, including Pan Bao who lived and wrote during the Han dynasty. Did I say she was a woman?

Anywhosessss. This occupied me in the AM. The Westboro peeps showed up at CPBoy's high school.

Not seen are the excellent police officers who met children at the Metro bus stop (in front of the Westboro unhappy, ill, vitriolic sad sacks) and walked them across the street. There, five of us from PTSA greeted the students, spoke to them and answered questions but then sent them on to school. Why?

Knowledge (and good will and reasonable mental health) are the weapons for warriors of peace and justice.

So, off to read and rest. Love you boodliesonnios...and Tina, love you dearest.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | March 1, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Wonderful, CqP! You did what needed to be done to show the world exactly what those folks are.

Isn't it interesting that similar events occur wherever they happen to show up?

Posted by: slyness | March 1, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Well done CP, I mentioned what was happening to eldest the other day. She had taken too going on rants lately against what she sees as injustice/prejudice.

While I am proud that she has developed a good sense of right and wrong I did have to caution her that "giving someone a slap upside the head" is just an expression, and not a way to tell a friend you are not amused by there poor choice of works/expressions.

Honestly I have no clue where she gets this from :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | March 1, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Let me rephrase that Shriek,be on an unfrozen river anywhere.How long before that would naturally breakup if it wasn't blown up.

One of the coolest things about living near the river,was when the ice broke and flowed.It was quite awesome and scarey.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 1, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Joel, when are you going to be finished with your friggin book? It's taking a long time as I know you know. Perfectionism can drive one crazy.

Meanwhile, my new job is non-stop from the moment I arrive until 10+ hours later. I do like to work but....

Posted by: Windy3 | March 1, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

DotC, it is somewhat misleading to refer to Puerto Rico as a "commonwealth," because the term has two different meanings (neither of which especially means anything, oddly enough). In the sense you are talking about (i.e., "Hawaii isn't a real state"), it is more accurate to say "territory," which Puerto Rico is (and Hawaii used to be).

Four U.S. states define themselves as "commonwealths": Penna., Kentucky, Massachusetts and Virginia. The other 46 are simply "states," although some do from time to time refer to themselves colloquially as commonwealths in general rhetoric.

Howsomever, this use of the word "commonwealth" by those four states is different from the term when it is applied to U.S. territories. In this context, "commonwealth" refers to an organized but unincorporated dependent territory. There are only two: PR and the Northern Marianas Islands, which are categorized as "U.S. insular areas." All U.S. insular areas are territories, but onky two are also commonwealths. However, as we all know, there are many more (12) territories than PR and the Marianas, and which are NOT commonwealths: Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a collective group of islands called the Minor Outlying Islands (the only two of which most people ever heard of are the Midway Islands, and Wake Island, of WWII battle fame).

For reasons probably too arcane to go into, the U.S. distinguishes between incorporated insular areas and unincorporated ones; and it also categorizes them as either "organized" or "unorganized." Palmyra Atoll, for instance, is neither organized nor incorporated, since it has a population of exactly zero. Yes, we own an uninhabited atoll, which is a U.S. territory. I suppose somebody's gotta do it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 1, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

If I was running an international aid organization looking to help some desperate folks, I could come up with a worse name than

The Peoples Libya Ration Army.

Posted by: baldinho | March 1, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Believe it or not Mudge but the topic in your 8:36 came up at work today, we were a) trying to locate where the US Virgin Islands were on the map and then trying to figure out were they a territory, etc.

Except I am still confused, do they have their own government, who sets the rules, why can I not let questions like this just go.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 1, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

made of dense masses
fox facts displace real ones at
very high volume

Posted by: DNA_Girl | March 1, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The saddest thing about Huckabee's moronic statements about Obama is that I guarantee many more people will believe his version of the truth now that he, a supposedly respectable person, has claimed all those falsehoods to be true.

Posted by: baldinho | March 1, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is interest the Northern lights are happening now, and can be viewed here. Glad I signed up for the tweet alerts.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 1, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

The "big three" Virgin Islands are St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, all located about 50 to 70 miles east or southeast of Puerto Rico (which is just east of Haiti/Dominican republic. Its residents are U.S. citizens, but can't vote in presidential elections. They have a House member, but she cannot vote in floor votes, only committee votes, just as with Eleanor Holmes Norton of DC. The USVI elect their own governor and senate, etc., and are loosely self-governing.

I've been to St. Thomas (on a cruise, ship, so it was like a day ashore and not much more). It is the "main" tourist island, and very nice...but touristy. St. John is smaller and much more quiet. It gets tourists, but not many. St. Croix is the largest, but not as popular as St. Thomas. Cruzan Rum Distillery, makers of Southern Comfort, is on St. Croix, and Diageo will soon start making Captain Morgan's Rum there.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 1, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, while Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory, Congress ratified the Puerto Rican Constitution of 1952. That document calls the territory "The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" or "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" (Free Associated State). Both names are misleading, but they've been official for a long time.

PR's status is a muddle in that Congress can revoke the PR Constitution and unilaterally impose a new form of government. The Wikipedia article looks as though it's been an editorial battleground:

I've always been surprised that Congress granted US citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1917.

Here's a tiny territory, Navassa Island.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 1, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I have a language usage question for the Boodlerinos. What do you think/know/feel about the use of "Hopefully, ..." at the beginning of a sentence?

I realize that the use of 'hopefully' as a sentence adverb within the body of a sentence is widely accepted but there is criticism (especially as applied to formal writing) of it's use at the beginning. I got into a good-natured disagreement with someone in another forum about this today and naturally wanted to consult you all. ;~|

I'll say up front that I don't like "Hopefully, ..." and invariably say or write "I hope ...".

One site that speaks to the difference of opinion ---

Posted by: talitha1 | March 1, 2011 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Practically, you can't use "I hope" if the sentence is written in the limp third person passive.

Ideally, if you must have an opening clause, it's nicer to have a sentence adverb rather than something that could dangle.

Hopefully, this grammar crisis will eventually be solved.

Realistically, I doubt the nitpicking over "hopefully" will ever die down.

Sympathetically, I understand how deviant and vulgar use of adverbs willy-nilly can mar anybody's inner peace.

Organizationally, I still wouldn't knock initial sentence adverbs.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 1, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I say "hopefully" when I mean "I hope". I try to be careful when I write, because I know it's frowned upon. I think it sounds more natural and it's not one of those things I get my knickers in a twist about (I also end sentences with a preposition!). Now, lay/lie, between you and I, it's/its - those drive me crazy.

What did I come here to say? No idea...looking forward to some down time, can you tell?

Posted by: seasea1 | March 2, 2011 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. This kind of sentence phrasing could get addictive, you know. Maybe it's good it's outlawed in polite circles.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 2, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, loved your 11:58. Hopefully, you will write more on the subject.

Posted by: nellie4 | March 2, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Mercifully, I know where to come to get an honest and wonderful answer!

Addendum: The whole thing started because we were bemoaning the misuse, misspellings and transpositions of words so commonly seen in texts and emails these days. Many posted lists of their pet peeves. Here's mine.

- affect and effect (fingernails on chalkboard)
- allusion and illusion
- disinterested and uninterested
- emigration and immigration
- flout and flount
- hear and here (likewise - there, their, they're)
- imply and infer
- it's and its
- loathe and loath (verb vs adjective)
- lose and loose
- of and have (wrong - You should of warned me.)
- past and passed
- prescribe and proscribe
- reign and rein
- set and sit (likewise - lay and lie)
- then and than (major aaarg)
- whose and who's
- your and you're
- "He sings good" vs "He sings well".

Posted by: talitha1 | March 2, 2011 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Talitha's right. Loyally:
the gnome feeds me.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 2, 2011 12:40 AM | Report abuse

scc: flout and flaunt

Posted by: talitha1 | March 2, 2011 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I abhor all what you listed, Talitha.

I'm a visual reader so these juicy little bloopers jam the meaning-machinery inside my head.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 2, 2011 12:43 AM | Report abuse

SCC: I abhor all THAT you listed.

Time for bed.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 2, 2011 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Fie on dogma.
Love on dogs.

Posted by: talitha1 | March 2, 2011 12:46 AM | Report abuse

do some spring cleaning is a good idea.
spring is warm and lovely.
imagine that have a nice cup of coffee after the tired work. that is wonderful!
your home will become clean and comfortable. living in such a lovely house is a really excited thing. don't you think so?

Posted by: 513010042 | March 2, 2011 4:31 AM | Report abuse

spring trainig? why not have a try? it sound wonderful. spring fever is really horrible. good health is better than any other things! cleaning is really a tiring work.

Posted by: 513010042 | March 2, 2011 4:38 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It snows like it was the night before Christmas.
GWE, the Rideau river runs SW-NE (i.e. warm to cold) and has long lazy stretches that make it subject to ice jams. So the city breaks up known bottlenecks prior to the general melt down. My rivers, the mighty des Outaouais/Ottawa and the Gatineau properly run N-S and have long stretches of rapids that break ups the ice floes, no ice jam problem here.
I also note the blasters use AN sausages to blast the ice. No wonder there is only one dynamite plant left in North America (they make mostly military stuff).

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 2, 2011 6:57 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. We've had a death in the family overnight. I haven't told my father, so trying to get dressed to do that this morning. It has been a rough night. Will check back later in the day if time permits.

Have a good day, folks, and love to all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 2, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. A cool and clear morning in the Carolinas, light frost on rooftops. It felt good to have on the coat, gloves, and earmuffs!

Cassandra, I hope you rested well and are ready for the day's exertions. This is our busy day of the week...Bible study this morning, for me, then I'm on the team preparing supper tonight at church.

Talitha, misuse of all of those pairs drive me crazy, expecially its/it's. I would add insure/ensure.

Wilbrod, you made me laugh. Hope you and your canine companion rested well.

Posted by: slyness | March 2, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Big article in WaPo today about people who interpret rock concerts fro the deaf.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 2, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, y'all.

Hugs to Cassandra!

Slyness, insure/ensure was on my original list, too. I edited it for brevity in the other forum out of consideration for them and/or because a 'peeve' had already been mentioned repeatedly.

Other deletions from original ---
- advice and advise (likewise, device and devise)
- among and between
- compare to, compare with
- bad and badly
- farther and further
- principle and principal
- fewer and less
- award and reward
- climactic and climatic
- council and counsel
- explicit and implicit
- tact and tack
- quiet and quite
- lend and loan
- elicit and illicit
- precede and proceed

And, of course (coarse), who and whom ... my particular weak spot.

Posted by: talitha1 | March 2, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

The funniest clip I've seen in a year, and perfectly in keeping with all the awards the King's Peach has received:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 2, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

And a pretty interesting Tom Friedman column:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 2, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

New Kit:

Charlie Sheen is officially on-topic.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 2, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I think I'll open a mobile stationery store. Not sure that would outsell a stationary stationery store, but maybe.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 2, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

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