White House, green thumb.

So, the White House will have a victory garden, a bit of news appropriately released on the first day of spring. Glad to hear it. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out — I’ll go out on a limb here and predict “spectacularly,” mainly because I’m not in charge — but I’m particularly interested in seeing the shapes it makes the president’s enemies contort themselves into, given their calm, considered reaction to the Special Olympics joke and the Wednesday night cocktail parties.

The main story has a map graphic, and I’m puzzled by all that lettuce. Even a thin family like the Obamas can’t eat that many salads, and lettuce will be a non-starter in a D.C. climate once the summer really settles in. My guess is, this is the initial planting map, and there’ll be quite a bit of modification down the road.

It so happens I’m thinking similar thoughts here at Casa de NN.C. We are infamous for our concrete back yard, but we do have a little tillable patch at the back of the lot that could be put into use as a garden. It would involve taking out a tree, not a big one, but it’s the stuff that would come after that discourages me. I’ve written before about the incredibly aggressive animal population here, probably a direct result of Detroit toughness in general. Squirrels here can be reliably counted on to strip tomato plants clean. The rabbits carry switchblades. My victory garden would have to be fenced and possibly roofed with chicken wire to discourage looting by the animal kingdom.

And any garden produce we grew ourselves would take away from my weekly trip to the Eastern Market, the most pleasant errands of the warm season. So maybe not. The tree lives another year.

The Obamas’ garden will feature hyssop, notable for being the designated paintbrush used to mark the Israelites’ homes with blood during the first Passover, in Egypt. This is clearly a coded message to Obama’s followers to prepare for the Great Purge of Conservatives; I’ll be starting some in a container as soon as the threat of frost abates.

They’re also growing collards. Rush Limbaugh can get some laughs out of that one.

The map doesn’t show, but the story states, that there will be two beehives “for honey,” which strikes me as a bit showy. For pollination, sure, but as we’ve discussed here before, growing your own food and being a locavore tiptoes dangerously close to being a boring jerk sometimes, and I hope the Obamas don’t use their private beehives to lecture their guests about the top notes of the local honey. (That said, I bought a small jar of local honey last summer at the market, in part because the label amused me — “Detroit honey” sounds more like a variety of heroin to my ear — and because I wondered if it would glow in the dark. The whole metro area has seen so much old-school manufacturing over the last century that it’s safe to assume every square inch of soil contains more heavy metal than Ozzfest. And yet, I still eat it, because I assume it coats the innards against more exotic invaders.)

On my season-opening bike rides last weekend, I checked out my friend Steve’s place. Steve used to write a gardening column for the paper in Fort Wayne, and has tilled every inch of his own yard, right down to the park strip. He’s generous with the bounty; a local dog-walker has his permission to take one leaf of Swiss chard every week to feed her iguana. Most of his stuff is behind fences, but the park-strip plot is still there, heaped with compost and waiting to be tilled. He rotates, like a good organic farmer, so I don’t know what’s going in that spot this year. I’m hoping for heirloom tomatoes. Or maybe some hyssop.

What’s in your garden?

Posted at 9:41 am in Current events, Popculch |

119 responses to “White House, green thumb.”

  1. Randy said on March 20, 2009 at 9:53 am

    We have a very thin strip of soil along the edge of our garage. My wife grows an absolutely absurd amount of tomatoes in there. The path that runs alongside them gets totally blocked off by the end of the summer.

    Late-2001, wasn’t everyone told to stop bickering and just get behind the President in a time of crisis? Why aren’t those same people taking their own advice? Because they would be out of work, I assume…

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 20, 2009 at 10:05 am

    When animals abound, go with herbs. They don’t touch oregano or chives or sage, and basil has to be protected a little while when young, but then they get ignored, too. Lavender as your background from whatever angle you look out of your house at the plot. Fun to tie up the bundles and let ’em hang on a rack in the basement or in the garage with brown gardener’s twine. They dry, you crumble them over foil and pour off into bottles and they give you triple and deeper taste than McCormick’s best from the store.

    Oh, and in the midwest, gourds, squash, punkin’s all thrive without animal interference.

    I’m betting the WH garden’s vast tracts of lettuce have more to do with state dinners than upstairs in “the residence.”

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  3. Mike said on March 20, 2009 at 10:10 am

    With silver bells, and cockle shells,
    And pretty maids all in a row.

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  4. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 10:12 am

    And soon they’ll be walkin’ the dog. Imagine that.

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  5. Jason T. said on March 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

    When I was a kid, I used to grow watermelon. (Note to Rush Limbaugh fans: This is not a coded reference, I just like watermelon.)

    We were spitting the seeds into the lawn, and I decided to bury them. To my surprise, they came up. Turns out they’re easy to grow.

    The first year, I got a nice crop. So the next summer, I planted seeds again.

    This time, when they came up, the damned rabbits found them. Little buggers wouldn’t eat the whole melon — oh, no — they just ate part of them, ruining the rest.

    Thus endeth my farming career.

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  6. MichaelG said on March 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Tomatoes – some heirloom variety whose name escapes me and Romas. Zukes and Jalapenos. None of which I see on the Obama list. I keep it simple. Bought the stuff the other day and had planned to do the garden this weekend but it looks like rain now. We’ll see. For Herbs I have rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme and chives back from last year and new basil that I just bought. I still haven’t made it to the farmers market yet this year.

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  7. Snarkworth said on March 20, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Allow me to purvey a little Pennsylvania garden porn…I inhabit what used to be a small horse farm. This year we’re expanding into an ideal spot: The manure pile from days of yore that filled our raised beds and is now almost level. Full sun. Earthworms the size of anacondas. I’m putting potatoes in, to start.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    It’s a good week to get started atop the fridge — http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=61908&id=811054678&l=2630afd70c — the heat off the coils in the back curls up and over the top, and helps the seeds germinate briskly.

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  9. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Moe, your link is bad. Can I assume you’re trying to link to the Michael Lewis piece? If so, it’s here. (I hope.)

    This is the gist of the Gretchen Morgenson i’view on “Fresh Air” Monday. It’s not the bonuses, folks, it’s the making-whole of everybody else.

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  10. alex said on March 20, 2009 at 10:42 am

    I have a 20′ x 20′ plot down by the lake. The ground is always saturated and every spring I get a couple of truck beds’ worth of composted horse shit from a neighboring farm to amend the soil (although all kinds of strange things grow out of that stuff, so I lay landscape fabric over it and cut holes for my tomatoes, peppers, etc.). I also have a raised bed where I do my lettuce, onions, herbs and flowers for cutting.

    Last year we had quite a drought and it was the first time the animals bothered with my garden. There’s usually enough other stuff around to keep them happy. But some sort of rodent, either chipmunk or squirrel, was noshing on my tomatoes. They wouldn’t eat the whole thing — just sink their fangs into it and suck out all the moisture. My chickenwire pen isn’t sufficient to keep them out, so may have to devise something else.

    I have a fabulous plantation of garlic in one area and harvest the scape (upper stalk and seed pod) and make oils and butters with it. That’s one of my early summer delicacies.

    Eagerly looking forward to the new planting season. (In these parts it’s the second week of May.)

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  11. brian stouder said on March 20, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Well, the day before the first day of spring, I skipped lunch so as to leave work a little early, and head for the library in Carmel (a northern suburb of Indianapolis). Laura Lippman was scheduled for a 7 pm discussion of her new book Life Sentences, which sounded altogether alluring to me. On one hand, the author’s career is on a definite upward arc, which radiates an interesting vibe; and on the other hand, her writing is quite good. Being a father of daughters, I find the girls that populate her stories fascinating (and more than a little terrifying!) – in the small things (leaving aside the murder and mayhem!) they have the ring of truth in them.

    My first exposure to her writing was her informally interactive website ‘The Memory Project’ , thanks to Nance (of course), and then the short story collection Hardly Knew Her (which I got for Christmas, and which I loved!), and then her ‘stand alone’ novel To the Power of Three (which I REALLY loved!), and then her enthralling first Tess Monoghan book Baltimore Blues. Upon arriving at the large, new-looking and beautful library, I had 30 minutes to spare, and rolled into Carmel’s arts district, hoping to find a bite to eat. But every place looked very fancy-foo-foo, so that mission was scrubbed and (after snapping a picture of a particularly striking bit of street sculpture) I went back to the library and headed for the event.

    This turned out to be a good decision, because I think there were about 100 chairs in the room, and when I walked in half were taken, and by the time Ms Lippman entered the room, I don’t think more than a half dozen or so remained available. A table toward the front had stacks of her books for sale, and I snapped up a hard cover (first edition!) of Life Sentences, plus a soft cover of What the Dead Know (with French Flaps!), and headed for a chair toward the back of the room. It was THEN that I discovered another table, groaning beneath heaping plates of cookies and brownies and cheese-cakey things and huge red strawberries and big glass bowl full of pink punch!

    Despite that I was starving (I think the last thing I ate was supper the night before!), it was apparent that no one had yet taken the first thing from there, and, discretion being the better part of valor, I didn’t think that this was the moment that I should reveal how much of a pig I really am. It was just as well, since soon enough one of the librarians announced that everyone was perfectly free to visit the refreshement table, and a small stampede ensued (with me in the First Wave). When I bit into one of those luscious strawberries, bright red juice got all over my chin and hands; luckily, the cheeseycake thingys proved to be absorbant.

    Jim Huang and Laura Lippman then proceeded to have an enthralling (very Book TVish) conversation, mostly about Life Sentences, but also touching on our somewhat treacherous memories, the essential scariness of suburbs (vis-a-vis younger girls), the process of writing, Baltimore, and various comments on current events.

    It was all good stuff, and indeed pleasant to say hello to Ms Lippman and shake her hand; she signed my copy of her book ‘Happy Birthday’, and indeed, it capped off an altogether pleasant day.

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  12. LA Mary said on March 20, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Tomatoes of course, and I leave the choices to the gardening son. The arugula from two years ago that was left to seed has spread over about a quarter of the back yard and is lower than low maintenance, so that’s staying. Basil, sage, thyme and flat leaf parsley definitely, and probably peppers, sweet and hot varieties. Marigolds bordering everything for bug control and ladybugs and praying mantises patrolling the grounds.

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  13. moe99 said on March 20, 2009 at 11:06 am

    That’s so odd, Nancy, because I can pull up the article (you guessed right) using either spot. What I take away from it is that it is easier for us to put faces (and thus condemnation) on individuals than it is large institutions. Enron, we could see the consumers who were harmed by the steep rise in energy prices so it was easy to fix our basilisk glare upon the corporate officers. With AIG, outside the bonuses, there are no faces to target with our wrath.

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  14. coozledad said on March 20, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Collards are definitely a smart move. You could overwinter on collards and sweet potatoes alone, in a pinch. They taste better after a frost, and they’ll continue to produce long after you’re sick of them. We eat them with a pot of basmati and tofu marinated in either Maggi or soy sauce and deep fried, with dollop of chili-garlic sauce or a sauce made up of black vinegar, soy, a little sugar and “dour amah” or Lau Gan Ma brand MSG glop:

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  15. Connie said on March 20, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. And chives. My space is limited, much of my yard outside the fence is drainage swale right of way, and a couple of times a year it becomes a briefly flowing river. Inside the fence is a pool and lots of concrete.

    We’ve had huge gardens over the years, and I miss having a good place for sugar snap peas – plant around St. Patrick’s day – although the last few times I planted those my rabbit defense failed.

    When we moved to southern Indiana years ago we planted a huge garden and included melons, having been told that southern Indiana melons were the best. We were overwhelmed by the summer heat and they took over the garden. The next year strange tomatoes and melons grew wildly from the compost pile.

    I want a raspberry patch. It would have to go in my front yard.

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  16. Dorothy said on March 20, 2009 at 11:16 am

    [hands clapping wildly in excitement before starting to type coz I have something to add to the conversation today]

    Last weekend we planted – in 288 little openings in trays – this assortment of veggies: Roma tomatoes, two other kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, jalapenos, green bell peppers, assorted colors of other bell peppers, two or three other varieties of hot or spicy peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, cabbage and maybe one or two other things. Still waiting to go directly into the ground are lettuce, radishes, parsnips, carrots, and at least 4 or 5 other things. My husband is obsessed. We might not plant all of them – we might contribute some plants to the Environmental Center on campus for the community garden that they’re starting this year. And/or we’re going to share with co-workers and the local Feed the Hungry locale. What else is there to do with 3 acres in the country?? Now if only the animals bother my next door neighbor’s garden instead of ours.

    Mike cooked collard greens about two weeks ago for the first time. They were fab. My guy can really cook.

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  17. Jolene said on March 20, 2009 at 11:20 am

    You know how raspberries grow, right, Connie? They grow on tall, woody bushes. Fabulous fruit, but not especially attractive plants.

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  18. Sue said on March 20, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Based on what you’ve said about the Obama’s garden, unless they’ve gardened several years and have the back yard in Chicago to prove it, it’s not their garden, it’s a professional garden that they might be allowed to play in once in awhile. And here’s hoping that they’ve put the hives in to start a National Dialogue on colony collapse disorder. And planted anise hyssop (not the other hyssop) nearby to keep the bees busy.
    After many years of gardening, I stick to tomatoes, peppers, green beans and various herbs. Damn lemon balm is killing me, it’s so invasive I hate it now. I want to drop by Coozledad’s place to pick up some manure (he has lots, I hear), but it’s not a handy drive. We are keeping up my neighbor’s patch while she is too busy (nursing school), with the understanding that we plant what she wants and keep the extra she isn’t using. Sneaky girl didn’t tell us that all her friends like green tomatoes so there’s no extra tomatoes for the annual canning bash.
    We had two peach trees for awhile (Reliance, great for the north), but they’re not long-lived and so we haven’t had yummy peaches for two years. Still, since they’re ready for canning at the same time as tomatoes, it amounted to way too many midnight canning sessions. So we go to the farmer’s market to get those fabulous Michigan peaches. Or go to Michigan!
    After several years of being too poor to afford expensive plants, I am treating myself by ordering six Just Joey roses, to clump all together and enjoy; the flowers are huge, peach-colored and smell great. They’re supposed to be rebloomers, but really don’t – most of my roses behave like the antiques I prefer anyway.
    Every year I throw all the gourds and pumpkins that I’ve used for decoration along the fenceline of the back garden. The next year I get fantastic hybrid-things to use for decoration. Last year I had orange and green spotted pumpkins.
    And I’m embarrassed to admit that the best gardening book I’ve ever read is Martha Stewart’s Gardening. This is when she wrote actual books (or had them written, I don’t know) as opposed to recycling bits from her magazine into book form.
    God, I love to talk about gardening. Sorry.

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  19. Jolene said on March 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

    All this talk of farming is making me homesick–or perhaps nostalgic is a better word. When I was a kid, we had fabulous gardens. I can’t say I loved all the weeding, but the planting and harvesting were great, and the results were terrific–dishpans full of peas and beans, crates of cucumbers and tomatoes, and all the rest–lettuce, carrots, onions, beets, melons, squash, pumpkins, corn. Wonderful food all summer and lots of canning and freezing for the winter.

    My mother orchestrated all this w/ us as unpaid labor, but she also did quite a few things w/ her sister. Makes me a little sad that my sisters and I live too far apart to, say, spend a day picking, shucking, and canning corn.

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  20. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I planted peas yesterday. I will probably plant radishes, lettuce, beets, onions, and maybe brussels sprouts later this morning. I’ve been composting all our yard and green household waste for years and using the stuff to amend our soil. Our tiny garden is now incredibly productive. Last year’s garden was the best yet. This year’s is likely to be better still. NM at altitude has a hot, dry, and short growing season. It takes a bit of ingenuity and dedication to get good results.

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  21. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Since the only thing we like to talk about more than gardening is food, be advised Kate and I made the NYT’s whoopie pies last night. Photos and full report TK; I have some ideas about how to improve, which boils down to “less buttercream.”

    Tonight we’re making Coozledad’s Dal, recipe from his blog back in February; I’m adding some cut-up sweet potatoes for the extra vitamin A, and trying a naan from scratch just because I need more bread-making frustration in my life.

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  22. Mindy said on March 20, 2009 at 11:46 am

    My corner of the world is too shady to grow anything, but I’m blessed with an open invitation to raid my BFF’s impressive organic garden just two miles away. She has the most beautiful garden ev-ah, on a large grassy lawn that gently slopes to the river. It even has grass paths between the rows of veggies for keeping the feet clean during raids and convenient hoses within easy reach. She grows potatoes, green beans, bell peppers, beets, butternut squash, asparagus and pumpkins. There’s also a blackberry bush to anticipate. Every year she chooses something unusual to try just for fun. After reading Nance’s enthusiastic recommendation of Brandywine tomatoes once upon a time, I asked my friend to give them a test drive. They’re now her tomato of choice.

    She cans and freezes much of this stuff. During lunch last year with two new employees at her labor camp, both young men, the chitchat got around to her garden and the tomatoes waiting to be canned that weekend. They gaped at her slack-jawed and one of them asked if she were some sort of weird survivalist.

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  23. Danny said on March 20, 2009 at 11:49 am

    The only thing that grows in our HOA is unhappiness from the sown seeds of discontent. But we’re in the process of correcting some drainage issues and after that, we’d like to take our landscape in the direction of dry Mediterranean to help conserve water. Lavendar and some other herbs would fit that theme nicely.

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  24. Sue said on March 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    A few years back I planted blackberries because:
    They were called “Illini”, and
    The catalog said they were “manageable”.
    The shits were 15 feet high. The thorns were evil and reached out to grab you. I’m still pulling out runners in the lawn 20 feet from the original planting.

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  25. adrianne said on March 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    I’ve now outsourced my gardening to the friendly folks at Brook Farm – bought a share in the farm last summer (Community-Supported Agriculture) and once a week pick up the latest bounty. It can get monotonous at the beginning and end of the growing season – 101 things to do with garlic scapes, anyone? – but it’s a beautiful spot, at the bottom of the Shawangunk Ridge, and they get to do the annoying things like weeding, etc.

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  26. Rana said on March 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    But some sort of rodent, either chipmunk or squirrel, was noshing on my tomatoes. They wouldn’t eat the whole thing — just sink their fangs into it and suck out all the moisture.

    alex, maybe it was Bunnicula?

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  27. LA Mary said on March 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Speaking of dal like items, try the red lentil soup recipe at the NYT healthy eating recipe page you provided. We made it last week and it was very good.

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  28. beb said on March 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Connie: “I want a raspberry patch. It would have to go in my front yard.”

    Plant them around your house. They’ll keep the burglars (and pretty much everyone else — out. Also, what Jolene said. And don’t forget the thorns.

    Sue “God, I love to talk about gardening. Sorry.”

    No apologies needed. It’s a welcome break from all the AIG trash.

    Sue at 24: “The catalog said they were “manageable”.”

    Best laugh of the day. That catalog deserves a prize for understatement.

    When I was growing up my parents plants a good acre of vegetable garden every year. We’re have fresh corn on the cob most of the summer (fresh corn on the cob is ambrosia) then can the rest for winter. We’d have peas, beans, green and lima, pickles, tomatoes (not as many as you’d expect in a garden today) and of course potatoes. We also had strawberries, rhubarb, asparagas, raspberries for a while, and the bitterest fruit imaginable that would be made into pies using about equal parts sugar and berries — gooseberries? I’m blanking on the name. They didn’t grow zuchinnie, brocolli or brussel srouts. They’d get those from the store once in a while and I always liked ’em. They farmed because they had the land and that’s what people did back then. Ah, fresh food. Of course a garden is a lot of work…..

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  29. alex said on March 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Bunnicula. Hmmm, guess I’d better plant more garlic.

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  30. Jolene said on March 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Foodies might want to check out the new food channel (basically, a subhead) at The Atlantic’s web site. It’s edited and, partly, written by Corby Kummer, who has written about food creatively and in excruciating detail for many years.

    At The Atlantic’s site, click on “channels” at the top and scroll down on the left to get to the food items.

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  31. John said on March 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Gooseberries….mmmmm. The favorite item to trick an unsuspecting cousin to try. Unripened (i.e. any still hanging on the tree) persimmons do the same.

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  32. Cynthia said on March 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    So Rush Limbaugh and his fans are racists, huh? I’m a Rush fan and can tell you absolutely neither Rush nor I have a racist thought between us.

    For such a smart group of people, your stereotypical ignorance is pathetic. I’m especially disappointed in you, Nancy.

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  33. Sue said on March 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Oh, darn, everyone was being so nice…

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  34. Catherine said on March 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    The new lime tree is blooming like crazy, and we’re dreaming hopeful dreams about gin & tonics with homegrown limes. The plum and the nectarine are starting to leaf out, and this year Buddy the schnoodle should keep the squirrels from the fruit. The tomatoes that should have died over the winter seem to be bouncing back — we’ll see if they bloom. Herbs are carrying on. And I’m farming roses in the front — they are in first bloom this week. Hubby resents them, but I say it’s a savings over buying them.

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  35. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    The knock against Limbaugh being a racist is many years old and did not originate here. In a particularly well documented example, he made a remark about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb several years ago that many people in the media, the NFL, and general public took to be racist. It ain’t just folks here that have leveled that charge.

    Limbaugh is scum and does nothing but disseminate hatred, lies, and mindless dissent. If you proudly label yourself a Limbaugh fan, then I question both your judgement and your ability to discern reality. Pollute your mind and your soul with his bile at your discretion, but don’t try and extoll his virtues. He has none.

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  36. LA Mary said on March 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I think Rush sharing the song, “Barack the Magic Negro” qualifies him as racist.

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  37. Dorothy said on March 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I have a recipe card in my little file box in my dear friend Donna’s handwriting. It’s for “Geral’s Gobs” and the “gobs” she’s referring to are whoopie pies. Geral was her mother-in-law and they were from Conemaugh PA. I’ve never been tempted to try to make them. Having a diabetic husband sort of precludes that. But I rarely pass up the chance to buy one when I see them. They’re around here, mostly in Amish country (Charm or Berlin OH). Once my daughter bought one at a convenience store in Monongahela PA and the cashier said “Oh my, them are SO good!” So now of course when we eat something very tasty, one of us invariably will say “Them are soooooo good!!!”

    (edited to give a high five to Gasman and LA Mary for their previous comments.)

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  38. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    There was the time he told a black caller to “stick a bone in your nose,” too. I’m sure there’s a clearinghouse for this sort of thing.

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  39. del said on March 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    LA Mary, I’ve made that red lentil soup too. Very good. Red lentils don’t take long to cook.

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  40. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    As long as Cynthia has opened this can of worms….

    In keeping with Michael Steele’s new hip-hop GOP, the comic strip La Cucaracha christened Limbaugh with his new rap moniker: “Notorious P.I.G.”

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  41. Danny said on March 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Cynthia, though I’m a conservative, I haven’t been able to listen to Rush for over a decade. It’s a personal choice and I don’t hold it against you because the guy can be funny and informative at times.

    My problems with Rush are along these lines:

    1. If you rely on your ears to make a living (e.g. radio talk show host), abusing prescription drugs to the point of losing your hearing is .. I don’t know ..odious? Hypocritical from the standpoint of all that “personal responsibility,” or “pull yourself together, man!” talk.

    2. I got tired of being mad every day. It just wasn’t fun and it started to wear thin early on. Plus the partisanship, at times, was obviously disingenuous.

    3. I was bemused by the McNabb comment. It wasn’t necessarily racist and I think there was a “gotcha” element to the whole episode, but it was uncalled for. Donovan McNabb is an awesome athelete and by all reports a good guy. Very dumb of Rush. I don’t know if he is racist though. His long time friend and colleague, Bo Snerdley, is black and supposedly to the right of Rush.

    All that said, it was great fun to listen to him during the years when the likes of Dan Rostenkowski and the other Democratic congressional losers were caught red-handed with their scandals. At that time, there had been a 40-year D majority and they sorely needed a spanking and for the pendulum to swing the other way. Kind of like what is happening to the Republicans now.

    Whenever politicians start serving themselves instead of the public, they need to be voted out. Unfortunately, our choices are slim these days.

    EDIT: You hearing all of that, jcburns? I’m sure your apology will be forthcoming.

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  42. Danny said on March 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    That’s funny, gasman!

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  43. Jean S said on March 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    back to what really matters: gardens. I looked at the White House garden map and thought, 1)that’s a boatload of lettuce! and 2) whoops, fennel…BIG mistake.

    Don’t plant fennel unless you want to weed out lots of little baby fennel plants, forever and ever. Someone planted the stuff out at our community garden and I’d like to slap them silly.

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  44. alex said on March 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    In other news…


    Bishop D’Arcy shitcanned Nancy Snyderman as the commencement speaker at much smaller St. Francis because she wouldn’t kiss his ring and proclaim herself a pro-life stooge. That poor graduating class ended up with Congressman Mark Souder instead. Imagine your commencement celebration feeling like a big scolding.

    Does anyone think D’Arcy won’t try to make political hay out of this one?

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  45. LA Mary said on March 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    We eat fennel pretty often so I don’t mind it’s procreating. Fennel and orange salad with a little olive oil and salt is very nice with roast chicken. It’s got a nice, clean flavor. I also make fish or scallops with fennel and leeks and a little white wine.

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  46. mark said on March 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Damn Catholics. Just because they founded and continue to fund some of the country’s great Universities, they think they get a say in how they run them. That might be okay if they were open-minded, but they try to stress Catholic doctrine as though they have some right to do that at a Catholic institution. How can we be truly diverse if the people who think differently are allowed to express their different thinking?

    It’s a shame that the St. Francis students were denied the memories of a day celebrated with a TV personality with an MD. D’Arcy was, however, over the top in punishing the University by inflicting Souder upon them. Cruel and unusual punishment.

    I’l be trying tomatoes and peppers again this year. It’s my own “audacity of hope” statement, though, as last years crop failed to win any ribbons, even in the special olympics category.

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  47. Joe Kobiela said on March 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Hang tough Cynthia, I have been reading N.N. since she was slamming a few at O’s and getting her picture taken by the old bus station in FWA. I consider myself a Rush fan and I am not a racist. If Rush said 2+2=4 some people round these parts would say it s a lie just because Rush said so, Then call him all sorts of names and go home thinking their superior to the rest of us. Do like I do let it roll of your back, enjoy the GOOD and FUN things that are said on this blog and forget the rest. Some people just yell to be heard.
    Pilot Joe

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  48. Sue said on March 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Would anyone care to comment on this? From fivethirtyeight.com, it speculates on some of the unintended consequences coming from the bonus tax, which apparently covers more than just AIG:

    “A senior engineer at General Motors, who shepherds the production of a new hybrid vehicle that will turn out to be a best-seller, shouldn’t get a bonus for that. Really?

    Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan, who has managed his company’s assets adeptly and kept it mostly off the taxpayer’s dole, is no more deserving of a bonus than an AIG crook. Really?

    An mid-level investment banker at Morgan Stanley, who works her butt off to persuade her bosses to facilitate a deal for a new wind-power company that turns out to be a big economic and environmental winner, should have her incentive compensation taxed at 90%. Really?

    An administrative assistant at PNC, who is volunteering to work 70-hour weeks because of cutbacks in the company’s staff, deserves a Christmas Bonus — unless her husband happens to be a lawyer earning $250,000 per year, in which case it should be taken away. Really?”

    Sounds like the makings of a major, major screwup.

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  49. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Very amusing snark there, Mark, but seriously: Are you fucking kidding me?

    Unless Dr. Snyderman’s draft speech was titled, “Cooking with Aborted Fetuses with Embryonic Stem Cell Garnishes,” I fail to see how her presence alone on campus was such a vile insult to the Church that she had to be publicly insulted by that toad. If the rules are, only line-toeing Catholics allowed at commencement, then that could have been taken into consideration before the invitation was extended.

    Also, I guess you can be doctrinaire and still honor the principles of a university, but if students aren’t ready, by graduation day, to handle the sight of a woman harboring a conflicting point of view, I’d say your degree isn’t worth the sheepskin it’s printed on.

    But yes: Mark Souder? Shudder.

    I don’t know if the bish will have the stones to go up against the president publicly, but I’m sure he has many flying monkeys willing to wage a propaganda campaign on behalf of fetus-Americans. Bill Clinton spoke at UND a time or two, and I think he was left alone.

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  50. MichaelG said on March 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Catherine, how long ago did you plant your lime? What size is it? Where did you get it? I want one!!

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  51. jeff borden said on March 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve been teaching part-time at a Jesuit university and while there is a crucifix in every classroom and religious statuary and stained glass windows in many places, the subject of Catholicism itself has never come up in any discussions about what or why or how we teach. Our schedule is reflective of the Church, of course, with regards to Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, etc., but otherwise, it might pass as a pretty secular institution.

    Admittedly, the classes I teach have nothing to do with the study or propagation of faith. Perhaps that is the reason.

    As instructors, we understand the majority of the students are Catholic, but we try to be respectful of all beliefs as all are represented on campus. It was very sweet on St. Patrick’s Day to be walking down the hall past two young women –one decked out in bright green including green streaks in her hair and shamrocks on her cheeks and the other dressed in black slacks and blouse with her head completely covered in a black scarf– who were laughing and talking.

    So, I tend to agree, in general, with Mark that if you are running a university according to the tenets of your faith, you get to set the rules including who speaks on campus. (Notable exceptions would be a place like Bob Jones University, which has embraced racist practices in past.) I would argue, however, that the students benefit from interactions with other faiths, beliefs, ideas, etc.

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  52. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Of course the Catholic church can run its colleges any way it wants, but in this case, Jeff, the invitation had been extended by the college administration and accepted by Dr. Snyderman. It was only then that the bishop stuck his nose in and decided Snyderman was insufficiently doctrinaire. I don’t even think she’s Catholic, but she’s on the record as pro-choice, and so: LITMUS TEST!!!

    The issue, to me, was why the bishop felt he had to publicly insult a woman who had done him no offense other than disagreeing with him, not to mention bigfooting his own college’s staff and administration. However, having just read the utterly stomach-turning entry on the Brazilian abortion/excommunication situation over at Amy Welborn’s blog at Beliefnet, I’m feeling very, very surly concerning the church of my birth. I don’t think I’d go back into one of those buildings at gunpoint.

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  53. jeff borden said on March 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    On Rush Limbaugh:

    He has said stupid, racist things in the past, but I don’t see him as a racist. After all, Clarence Thomas officiated at his second or third wedding, right? I simply don’t see him as particularly bright, insightful or funny and it isn’t because he’s a conservative. P.J. O’Rourke, for example, splits my gut even while he is eviscerating things in which I believe.

    Limbaugh is an entertainer. What he says or does should be given roughly the same attention as, say, Brad Pitt, who also is an entertainer. His current status as a leading light in the Republican Party says a great deal more about the GOP than it does about Limbaugh.

    Like Danny, I am working to avoid the angry shouters and that includes Keith Olbermann. I don’t need anyone else to whip up my ire. I’m already pissed off enough.

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  54. jeff borden said on March 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm


    I didn’t know the background. Believe me, I’m not defending this bishop. He sounds like a publicity hound and not the kind the church needs these days.

    Though I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, the church these days is so difficult to embrace when martinets like this bishop seem to be the ones with the megaphones. And don’t get me started on that lunatic in Brazil. . .

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Jeff, does Dom Crossan still get up around your campus any? He’s the most fascinating person i’ve ever talked to, regardless of the subject, tho’ his field is NT studies and hermeneutics; still takes flack for having discussed the Resurrection as something other than a previously established fact, which as a believer i still think is a fair way to approach the subject, certainly for an academic. (And i’m not sure it’s fair to assume where his own thought and beliefs rest, it’s just that he discussed all possibilities, which IMHO only helps to strengthen your final assessment.)

    Second Danny on El Rushbo, pretty much right down the line; the degree to which religiously motivated conservatives think he’s an asset bothers me — if you google about, you’ll find i’m far from alone in that respect, and i don’t just mean Jim Wallis.

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  56. mark said on March 20, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I’m not Catholic and I don’t defend D’Arcy’s decisions. Sister Elise, whom I know and respect, got hung out in the wind. But it’s their school and their decisions, good, bad or inconsistent.

    I was a new lawyer in the mid-eighties working in South Bend when ND hosted the International Summer Special Olympics. It was the first to receive some live, prime time coverage. My law firm represented both Notre Dame and the International Special Olympics Committee for certain purposes. What an eye-opener. Assignments I had a small hand in:

    Mission: Make lots of money for ND. Accomplished.

    Mission: Defend ISOC against last minute suit by Intenational and US Olympic Committees seeking injunction against the use of the word “olympics”. Accomplished.

    Mission: Lull all trademark infringers, local retailers and airport gift shop into thinking that ISOC and ND were not paying attention to counterfeit goods, then conduct last minute raids carting off truck loads of bogus goods, and last minute negotiations for legitimate goods at outrageous prices for suddenly empty shelves. Accomplished with remarkable success.

    Mission: Keep Ted Kennedy sober for opening ceremony remarks. Sargent Shriver did a fine job filling in on short notice.

    Now that I think back on those days, my very first solo venture into Court was on behalf of Notre Dame. Small claims court to evict three heretic, holdover nuns from their St. Mary’s housing. Father Hesburgh was much loved and revered, but tough on nuns that didn’t tow the party line. I worry sometimes that I may have to answer for that one at a later date.

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  57. Sue said on March 20, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Jeff: lunatics. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the Vatican’s head of the Congregation of Bishops, has Archbishop Sobrinho’s back. http://www.southtownstar.com/news/hantschel/1479637,031709hantschel.article

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  58. mark said on March 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Apparently yesterday’s mention of cheating the urine sample game was noticed by the big brothers at Google. Today’s sidebar ads are about drug testing. Click away and help pay the rent.

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  59. Catherine said on March 20, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    There were lovely ads about organic gardening and heirloom tomatoes today, until the Rush conversation started, when the drug testing ads apparently kicked in.

    Back to the limes for MichaelG: Last summer, 4 feet so far, and DH ordered it from… hmmm… Monrovia Nursery? I think it’s a dwarf species that still fruits (and no, that’s not a Special Olympics reference).

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  60. jeff borden said on March 20, 2009 at 4:53 pm


    Thanks for the link. That is a very powerful column and beautifully argued.

    This is precisely the kind of action that makes me wonder what Christ would think about all those who claim to speak for him. Wouldn’t Jesus be holding and comforting that little girl and her mother for the horrors they endured at the hands of the stepfather? Wouldn’t He be casting some of these bishops down the marble steps of their magnificent cathedrals and demanding they be out in the streets with the poor, the sick, the outcasts? Wouldn’t He be wondering why there is still so much poverty and pain in this world when so many faiths are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars in buildings, real estate, jewels and gold, art works, etc.? Maybe trillions when added all together??

    I figure maybe the Amish, the Mennonites and some of those religions that truly live simply and care for each other might get a pass from Christ, but I really wonder how he would assess the Catholic Church, the major Protestant religions, the Evangelicals, the Mormons, etc. with their vast financial holdings. I’m thinking we’d see something like the casting out of the money changers from the temple.

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  61. jeff borden said on March 20, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    The latest on Rush. . .from talkingpointsmemo.com

    House GOP Candidate: Nothing I Said Should Be Construed As Criticizing Rush
    By Eric Kleefeld – March 20, 2009, 4:24PM
    There really is no dismissing Rush Limbaugh, is there? Earlier today, in the special election for Kirsten Gillibrand’s old House seat, Republican candidate Jim Tedisco declared that “Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me.”

    Now, Tedisco’s campaign has released a statement clarifying what he meant:

    “Jim’s comments were in response to a question about what voters are asking him about on the campaign trail. So far, the concerns he has been hearing from voters on the campaign trail have been local in nature, such as his support for lower property taxes, fiscal responsibility, and his opponent’s appalling support for the AIG bonus loophole. That was his point and any effort to characterize it otherwise is a distortion of the facts.”
    Late Update: The DCCC’s statement ridiculing Tedisco is available after the jump.

    Tedisco to Rush Limbaugh: I’m sorry!

    Add career Albany politician Jim Tedisco to the list of spineless Republicans who can’t stand up to their leader – Rush Limbaugh. Just hours after it was reported that Tedisco said, “Rush Limbaugh is meaningless to me,” Tedisco quickly apologized to the de facto Republican leader. Tedisco follows in a long line of Washington Republicans who are too afraid to stand up to Rush Limbaugh.

    “It’s just like Jim Tedisco, a career Albany politician, to talk tough and then whimper an apology to Rush Limbaugh even though Limbaugh wants President Obama to fail during America’s economic crisis,” said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Tedisco once again showed his true colors: he won’t stand up to Republican leader Rush Limbaugh, he certainly won’t stand up for Upstate families worried about keeping their jobs.”

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  62. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    jeff borden,
    Brad Pitt is indeed an entertainer, but he has not declared himself the de facto head of liberalism. Notorious P.I.G. has anointed himself as the conservative kingmaker. He also has his dittohead zombies that are ready and willing to bombard the phones and e-mail addresses of anyone who would dare to insult the Porcine Oracle. Pitt has no such army of brain-dead loyalists.

    Complain about Olbermann all you like, his facts are spot on. When he does err, he corrects himself on air. When was the last time Limbaugh issued a mea culpa? Olbermann can do his schtick without lying his ass off, Limbaugh cannot. I have yet to hear Olbermann make racial, ethnic, or sexist slurs, yet Lord Lardass does so all the time.

    Neither are there many liberals supplicating themselves before the altar of Brad Pitt after they let slip less than adulatory remarks regarding said Pitt.

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  63. Rana said on March 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    He has said stupid, racist things in the past, but I don’t see him as a racist. After all, Clarence Thomas officiated at his second or third wedding, right?

    Having a black person as a friend or officiant doesn’t make one not a racist. One can still think of black people collectively in negative ways while liking one who is perceived as “an exception” or “better than the rest.”

    There are plenty of sexists who are married, after all.

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  64. jeff borden said on March 20, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Gasman and Rana,

    I am not defending Rush Limbaugh in any way, shape or form. He’s a loathesome creep who makes a very handsome living spewing bile that does anything but elevate the political discourse. His hubris and his hypocrisy are breath-taking. My comment about Clarence Thomas performing one of his three marriages was meant to be snarky. I must be losing my touch. Of course, his black pals would have to be like Thomas, Michael Steele or Alan Keyes. They’re in his tribe.

    Gasman, I understand what you are saying, but my point is the only power Limbaugh wields is what we give him. His on-air theatrics are great for making him rich while reducing the Republic Party to minority status. Can he get his listeners to jingle a lot of telephones? Sure. So what? If the Republics want to hitch their wagon to this Hindenburg-sized buffoon, let’s help them. This guy has a 29% approval rating. Democrats and independents don’t dislike him, they loathe him. In brief, following El Rushbo will lead the Republic Party to oblivion.

    Perhaps we will have to agree to disagree on this one,
    Gasman, but I simply reject the idea the big tub of goo is anything other than an entertainer. If he were a real political leader, he would not be leading his merry band of flat-earthers into the maw. But he is. . .because it’s all about Rush. Always was. Always will be.

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  65. JGW said on March 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I grow mostly tomatoes in different varieties. I like the heirloom types but they can have issues with cracking or blossom end rot. I won a bunch of ribbons at the Bluffton Street Fair, but the real secret is I only grow my tomatoes in those 5-gallon pails.
    I make a soil blend with a high sand content – tomatoes like sandy soil. I drill holes in the side and bottom for drainage, then put a few inches of small stones at the bottom.
    It seems to deter critters more, makes the whole watering thing easy. I just try to be consistent and I’m not as likely to have drought issues or cracking.
    I also grow a lot of peppers – this year I made my own hot sauce and pepper vinegar. I usually put in a zucchini plant or two which of course is way too much because you can hardly even give them away.

    I keep trying watermelons and cantelopes to no luck. i grow regular cukes and kirby pickling styles. I also grew Okra this year but no one else in my house likes the stuff.

    I also have an herb garden in a big old barrel that is mostly basil, chives, oregano, and scallions. The annual return of my chives is a great sign of spring and the plant must be 5-6 years old. No return on the oregano yet.

    This year I have a really cool crop and I can’t wait to try selling these at the local farmer’s market – I hope the local Apostolics take great offense. Behold THE PETER PEPPER:


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  66. brian stouder said on March 20, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    I agree with both Jeff and ‘gasman’; Limbaugh is a true believer, as well as a cowardly lion.

    He refers to himself as a harmless loveable fuzzball, and he used to insist that indeed all he was was an entertainer, and that his own excess was simply ‘being absurd to point out an absurdity’. But things changed, and he succeeded all too well, and began to believe his own absurdities.

    If the man had courage, he’d run for office, and actually put himself into the prcess by which things change; instead he has succumbed to the belief that his yapping is itself a change agent, and to some degree (almost entirely on the negative side of the spectrum) he’s right.

    But while he has the courage of the rabble-rouser – never afraid to whip a crowd into a frenzy – when the glass starts busting and the cops show up, his ass will be nowhere near the front line…sort of like the Fred MacMurray character in the Caine Mutiny (although even in THAT case, MacMurray’s character was at least IN the wartime Navy, and not comfortably cultivating trouble while ensconced in some south Florida compound!!)

    When the chips are down, guys like Limbaugh will be happy to hold your coat (if they aren’t already moving rapidly for the door), whereas guys like John McCain (who Uncle Rush disliked immensely) will jump into the arena and put their own ass on the line.

    President Obama graduated college and looked around, and then jumped into the arena at a young age, and worked for real change, and then put himself and his family on the line, for the chance at accepting real (and boundless) responsibility, along with real (and quite limited) power to fulfill that reponsibility, and affect change.

    Guys like Limbaugh are midgets at the edges of the public green, with outsized opinions of themselves, let alone how the world should be.

    Show me the national politician who is the most ridiculous – David Vitter leaps to mind – and I still respect that person more than a mercenary lip-flapper, because the politician has placed his or her name on the line, and faced the voters.

    I understand that today Uncle Rush ran tape of President Obama’a Special Olympics ‘gaff’, and paired it with audio of Governor Palin speaking of her special needs baby….proving who-knows-what.

    All it shows me is that Governor Palin remains attractive, whereas Limbaugh remains a shit-for-brains

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  67. nancy said on March 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    My recollection of the Snyderman/St. Francis incident is incorrect:

    Snyderman never said she was pro-choice. In fact, she refused to state her position either way. The bishop’s objection to her was based on the fact that seven years previous, she had done a report on women who, through IVF, found themselves expecting large litters of children, like Octomom. In the report, she mentioned the selective-reduction technique and apparently didn’t underline its intrinsic evil via thunderclap and dripping-blood visual effects. For this grave offense against the bishop’s opinions, she was called four days before the commencement and disinvited. It’s unclear whether the bishop ordered it directly, but both he and Snyderman were set to receive honorary degrees that day, and he did indicate that if Snyderman’s invitation stood, he’d refuse to attend. I think that pushed the whole business neatly onto the shoulders of the nun who ran the U., and she caved.


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  68. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    jeff borden,
    I think you are misunderstanding what it is that I am saying. I hope that I am helping in some small way to encourage the misguided souls on the right to rally ’round Lord Lardass.

    I think the only thing larger than his ass is his ego. He sees himself as being the center of the conservative world. All of conservatism revolves around him. (I had ascribed his mass as being hippopotamic, possibly continental, but I guess he sees his mass as at least being on the planetary scale. How else could he cause all of conservatism to revolve around him?) He has openly stated that he is NOT Republican, but rather a true conservative. If apostates are not smart enough and/or pure of heart enough to follow him, he wishes a pox upon all their houses.

    Joe K. and Cynthia, keep on listening to Rush and make sure that you obey his every command. After all, he is your Lord and Master. You are his loyal subjects and must at all times act accordingly.

    Whether he knows it or not, Limbaugh is helping President Obama mightily.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 20, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    JGW, the thing about okra is it’s good if you put enough breading on ’em and deep fry, but i can do that with my onions.

    Two words for the ultimate fate of Rush: Fatty Arbuckle. Or two letters and a word: D.C. Stephenson. It’ll come. Just watch. (Seriously, click the links and check the pictures – eerie. Stephenson’s photo is at the Findagrave link at the bottom.)

    Sarah Palin, on the other hand, fishes and hunts for food her family eats, so that’s just as good as Michelle Obama’s garden, adjusting for latitude, right? Localism, and subsidiarity, and connections on a personal level to what you eat — it’s all good. Love the White House garden idea, may be their best move to date.

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  70. basset said on March 20, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I’m not Catholic, I fish, I hunt, and I think Rush Limbaugh is an obnoxious POS. That said, let me tell you about tomatoes.

    We live in a tract house near a creek in suburban Nashville. It’s a river by name, but in fact it’s a creek – about the size of, say, First Creek under the covered bridge in Greene County.

    When we moved in, going on twenty years ago, we knew this was The House For Us. We had visions of sitting out on the deck enjoying dinner on summer evenings, looking over our bountiful garden, and all being right with the world. That low area at the back of the yard, what rich bottom dirt that must have! What wonderful treats we will grow there! Sure, it’s in the floodplain, but only the hundred-year contour – we’re good!

    First winter we were here, I dug five six- by- 25-foot raised beds, by hand. Hauled in compost, turned everything over, sweated like a mule but when spring came we were all set.

    You see where this is going.

    The creek rose, the beds washed away, the water went down, and the beds were full of gravel.

    Dug it out, brought in more dirt, more compost, more material, planted, got some peas and some tomatoes and some broccoli, which looked perfect till we tried to steam it and all the worms crawled out and got heat-fused to the sides of the pot.

    Second year, well, it’s the hundred-year floodplain, can’t happen two in a row, right?

    Sure did.

    After that I gave up and just grew tomatoes and peppers up near the house. New neighbor moved in, looked down in the bottom, saw the remains of the beds, and asked… “You get a truck stuck down there or what?”

    Digging up more of the upper yard this year, tornado took out a big white pine and we have a lot more sunlight. We’re in the five-hundred-year flood contour up here. I am growing Russian yellow and German pink tomatoes from seed up in the house, just got some Kennebec potato sets and Brussels-sprout plants, turned over the compost pile, dug another patch out of the ground, we’ll see how it goes.

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  71. beb said on March 20, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Sassafras. We had a lot of that growing around the place. Only made sassafras tea a couple times but it sure tasted nice. Kind of sorry we didn’t make more. Also, it would be nice if I could remember HOW it was made. I think we soaked the foot in boiling water.

    It’s kind of amazing how much tomatoes has come to be the base for Italian cooking when the tomato is a new world plant.

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  72. del said on March 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    JGW, next time you link to mrpeterpepper please indicate adult content site. Was it Justice Potter Stewart who said famously of profanity, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it?

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  73. Danny said on March 20, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Unless Dr. Snyderman’s draft speech was titled, “Cooking with Aborted Fetuses with Embryonic Stem Cell Garnishes,” I fail to see how her presence alone on campus was such a vile insult to the Church…

    Nancy … you know I love you, don’t you? Hilarious.

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  74. Rana said on March 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Sassafras tea:


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  75. coozledad said on March 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    beb: Just try and imagine Indian or Chinese cuisine without chiles. The world is still relatively new.

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  76. Linda said on March 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    You do indeed pour hot water over sassafras for tea. When I lived in Tennessee, you could buy bundled up bark or root at grocery stores in the spring to make your own spring tonic.

    I grow Swiss chard every year–it’s hardier than weeds, tastier than spinach, and never bolts. Also, green zebra tomatoes,and some grape tomatoes, too. Lots of basil to keep the tomatoes company in summer dishes.

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  77. Cara said on March 20, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Zesto’s is open, so I won’t get to the garden for at least a day or two! 😉

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  78. Joe Kobiela said on March 20, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Gasbag, I mean gasman I only have ONE Lord and Savior and Rush ain’t it.
    Care to guess who it is??
    Mark care to tell us how most of those special athletes got to South Bend? I know how. I had some friends help out as DOVE pilots.
    Pilot Joe

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  79. Cynthia said on March 20, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Joe Kobiela,
    Thanks for the support. Believe me, I let a lot of stuff just roll of my shoulders here. In fact, I seldom read the comments because I’m more interested in what Nancy has to say. She’s a good writer with interesting blog entries. Once in awhile, though, I read something that really pisses me off and I have to speak up.

    And just to set the record straight, Barak the Magic Negro originated with David Ehrenstein in a column in the Los Angeles Times. You can read it for yourself here:

    Nothing like a little fact to disrupt the narrative.

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  80. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 11:46 pm

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  81. Gasman said on March 20, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Joe K.,
    And if your claim of Christianity is valid, how can you place stock in the bloviating lies of the alleged pedophile, in a wife hopping junkie who does nothing but spew hate and discord? Not much of a Christlike model in his behavior is there? Blessed are the junkies…. We are what we consume, and if you’re munching on a steady diet of Limbaugh, what are you? Quite an evangelical statement, Joe. As a devoted Christian it sickens me that so many conservative Christians are willing to suspend their beliefs in order to tout Limbaugh as their man. He is loathsome, as is his message. To paraphrase Mark 12:17, you might want to “Render unto Limbaugh what is Limbaugh’s and unto God what is God’s.” You cannot serve two masters.

    Cynthia, nobody accused Limbaugh of being the originator of the “Barack the Magic Negro” song, only pedaling it for his own purposes. If you want facts, tell me the magic number of Limbaugh lies that you would need as proof of his mendacity and I’m willing to bet that I can provide objective proof. If it’s facts you want, how about his little stag trip for some R & R in the Dominican Republic? Was he honoring his marital vows? If he was traveling with male companions, why the Viagra in his luggage with his doctor’s name on the prescription? All factual and verifiable. Yeah, a real stand-up guy.

    You may both listen to whomever you want, but if you are going to sing the praises of Limbaugh, save the self righteous indignation. He is pervert, a liar, a bully, and a coward.

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  82. moe99 said on March 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

    apparently for the right wing gasbags, the WH growing their own garden is very “Khmer Rouge” Nice.


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  83. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 21, 2009 at 12:21 am

    You forgot to make fun of his weight. C’mon, man, keep up.

    If Ohio State would just win this thing, i’d be in bed and not thinking futilely about yet another scheme to grow Brandywine tomaters in a way that deer can’t get at. I’d listen to Rush as often as some of y’all seem to, if it would keep the deer out of my garden enough to let me grow peppers and tomatoes.

    (Say, if i had a tape of Rush playing softly in the patch, would that keep away deer?)

    UPDATE: OK, so they lost. I’ve still got my Boilers to cheer on tomorrow. G’night!

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  84. moe99 said on March 21, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Well, I’m rooting for the Huskies to top the Boilermakers tomorrow, but I doubt that I will watch. I drove my younger sister to Purdue, when she enrolled there as a freshman in 1973 and I don’t think I’d ever been to a quieter, more boring campus. A friend who’s an attorney in Olympia WA, and had gone to Purdue as an undergrad, confirmed my opinion years later.

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  85. Gasman said on March 21, 2009 at 1:42 am

    I find that quote about Bourdain, and frankly the whole notion that any self respecting chef would not see the virtue in gardening a little hard to swallow – pun intended. I read Kitchen Confidential and I know Bourdain wrote about the virtues of using fresh, quality ingredients. That does not seem to sit with the notion of gardeners being acolytes of the Khmer Rouge. It simply doesn’t make sense when veggies from your own garden could not be any fresher.

    If Bourdain did indeed say that, I may reconsider buying episodes of No Reservations online at iTunes.

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  86. Dexter said on March 21, 2009 at 2:03 am

    can’t get enough of blowhard Limbaugh here, I see…this cover expresses everything…


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  87. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 21, 2009 at 8:52 am

    From near the conclusion of Dickens’ “American Notes,” written in 1842 (i’m just going to overlook Moe’s dismissive remarks on my beloved and bucolic vast scholarly endeavor, Unidue Purversity, whose only crime is to not party every night, but only on weekends after major testing periods, as befits an agricultural and engineering powerhouse with an awesome basketball tradition embodied by John Wooden) —

    Another prominent feature is the love of ‘smart’ dealing: which
    gilds over many a swindle and gross breach of trust; many a
    defalcation, public and private; and enables many a knave to hold
    his head up with the best, who well deserves a halter; though it
    has not been without its retributive operation, for this smartness
    has done more in a few years to impair the public credit, and to
    cripple the public resources, than dull honesty, however rash,
    could have effected in a century.

    The merits of a broken
    speculation, or a bankruptcy, or of a successful scoundrel, are not
    gauged by its or his observance of the golden rule, ‘Do as you
    would be done by,’ but are considered with reference to their
    smartness. I recollect, on both occasions of our passing that ill-
    fated Cairo on the Mississippi, remarking on the bad effects such
    gross deceits must have when they exploded, in generating a want of
    confidence abroad, and discouraging foreign investment: but I was
    given to understand that this was a very smart scheme by which a
    deal of money had been made: and that its smartest feature was,
    that they forgot these things abroad, in a very short time, and
    speculated again, as freely as ever. The following dialogue I have
    held a hundred times: ‘Is it not a very disgraceful circumstance
    that such a man as So-and-so should be acquiring a large property
    by the most infamous and odious means, and notwithstanding all the
    crimes of which he has been guilty, should be tolerated and abetted
    by your Citizens? He is a public nuisance, is he not?’ ‘Yes,
    sir.’ ‘A convicted liar?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘He has been kicked, and
    cuffed, and caned?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘And he is utterly dishonourable,
    debased, and profligate?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘In the name of wonder,
    then, what is his merit?’ ‘Well, sir, he is a smart man.’

    ps — i think we should all use “defalcation” more often in everyday conversation.

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  88. coozledad said on March 21, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I’ve been to quite a few parties hosted by Republicans where the whiskey started to bring out the “But you gotta admit, the n-s always blah blah blah ” and “At least before integration blah blah blah.” Sometimes with a black acquaintance present, n-s would be dropped in favor of “the black people”, sometimes “Them”.
    Back when I used to listen to Rush, specifically to hear how he was revving up the hemmorhoidal tobacco trash cohort at the post office during Clinton’s second term, he’d drag on Walter Williams to talk about “The Black Youth Problem” which was, of course code for “What are we going to do with all these negroes?” It was a fairly obvious dogwhistle, unless you happen to be one of the dogs it was pitched to.
    The concept of habitus and socialized mores and attitudes is something utterly alien to a Rush listener, so you can’t expect them to see the intrinsic racism of the spectacle. The notion that other groups have used similar tactics to marginalize or impoverish their Eurotrash ancestors doesn’t occur to them. It’s like asking them to stop playing Uno and take up chaturanga.
    When Nabokov was at Cornell he used to tell his students that in any group of people, anywhere, you’d find both persecuted and persecutor among their ancestors. The whole notion of white solidarity, or black solidarity, or any other is just a stupid, poisonous fiction. The one thing you can pretty much count on is the folks who own everything will always have the idiots by the balls.
    This must be the three hundredth time I’ve climbed on this goddamn soapbox.
    My wife says I should just copy and paste this into a fucking file.

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  89. moe99 said on March 21, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Extreme sheepherding. Posted for C’dad:


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  90. Danny said on March 21, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Jeff, so graduates of Pur-doo-doo like to use “defecation” in casual parlance?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. We have fun with some of the Boilermakers at our work. But they’re not as much fun to taunt as the Rose-Hulman grads. Now those lads can have chips on their shoulders. One fellow use to argue the superior virtues of Rose with the nearby Cal Poly grad. I thought at one point it was going to break into a discussion of whose dad can beat the other’s in arm wrestling.

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  91. MaryRC said on March 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    My parents planted almost everything but corn – they thought corn attracted raccoons. But there were plenty of places around where you could buy corn and have it in the pot, barely an hour after it had been picked. They didn’t plant broccoli or cabbage because the grubs were so hard to control, short of nuking the ground. They never used pesticides, just planted marigolds, sage, nasturtiums and basil to keep off the bugs. A late-summer meal of sweet corn, little new potatoes, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with butter and salt and some relish or pickle from the year before, followed by fresh berries or peaches — heaven. My mom never bought a jar of relish or pickles while I was growing up. She’s in her 80s and still makes pickles and something she calls piccalli, although piccalilli I have gathered since then is supposed to be made with cauliflower and carrots and hers is more of a salsa with tomatoes, peppers and onions. Maybe she just likes the sound of the name.

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  92. brian stouder said on March 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Del, your reference to JGW’s link made me scroll back up and see what the hell it was – and it made me laugh out loud!

    Don’t know if I’d call it “adult content”, exactly…maybe more of a “organic AIG-exec charicature”

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  93. moe99 said on March 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    A friend and lawyer from California has produced one of the finest expositions and discussions of international and US law and how they apply to torture administered by the US military in the Iraq War. I highly recommend it as source material for all the applicable conventions, US Constitutional provisions, statutes and case law. And it is written in a highly readable style for the lay reader:


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  94. LA Mary said on March 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    David Ehrenstein wrote about the cinematic concept of the magic negro, a phrase that predates Obama’s political career. Rush shared a song called, “Barack, the Magic Negro.” Not the same thing. Same words, very different concept. One is a lame cliche, the other is a racist jingle.

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  95. MichaelG said on March 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Bourdain’s remark about Alice Waters and the Khmer Rouge dates to January. It has nothing, I repeat, Nothing to do with the White House garden. It has nothing at all to do with eating or growing garden fresh food. His comment refers to the way certain food type people would push their way of eating on folks in general, it refers to the way they can’t seem to understand that not all people have organic, garden fresh food available to them and that not all people desire to eat organic, garden fresh food even if they could afford it. His comment has everything to do with Alice Waters’ elitist attitude. For, despite the excellence of her cooking, her restaurant, her writing and her contributions to American cooking, Alice is an elitist. People who are familiar with Bourdain also know that he is often given to hyperbole and exaggeration to make a point. See the following link. The Khmer Rouge remark is at the end.


    I have a billion dollars in bail out money I’ll give to anybody who comes up with something new or amusing about Limbaugh. I keep getting the feeling I’m reading the same comment over and over.

    I have another billion dollars in bail out money I’ll give to anybody who can explain why the weather is sunny and 70’s all week long and when the weekend comes it’s 50’s wind and rain. This seems to happen all too regularly.

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  96. whitebeard said on March 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    My wife is to nature born, with animals and plants that bend to her wishes. In Montreal, a very short growing season, she grew the largest sunflowers I have ever seen and all the trimmings of a bountiful garden. When falling ice broke a limb off a crab apple tree she taped it up with a people bandage and it was a amazingly successful graft.
    Her harvest from a tiny back yard prompted all the neighbors to be copycats and it turned a bleak alleyway into a feast of color and edible treats. Right now she is outside trimming shrubs and a spreading rose bush and plotting her garden. Over the years she has transplanted flowering shrubs from back of the house to the dooryard, turning it from a large open lawn into a giant flower garden with easy-to-mow pathways.
    Tall autumn olive trees mix with fire bushes to block the view from passing cars and provide food for the birds most of the winter months.

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  97. Bill said on March 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Re: extreme shepherding indeed. This from Carl Hiaasen:

    “Sometimes it’s not easy to admit that you live in Florida.

    Last week, our state Senate boldly took the first step toward making it illegal for a person to have intimate relations with an animal.”

    Funny stuff; you can read the entire column here:


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  98. del said on March 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    May we all have someone like Whitebeard’s wife in our lives. And may we appreciate that someone as Whitebeard does; if less eloquently.

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  99. nancy said on March 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Alice Waters grows worse by the year, it seems. I saw a clip from her “60 Minutes” profile on Gawker, and she was simply insufferable.

    I thought Berkeley leftists were opposed to cultural imperialism, but apparently not.

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  100. Jolene said on March 21, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Yes, the piece you wrote about your wife was lovely, whitebeard, as, it seems, is she.

    I saw that piece on Alice Waters, too, Nancy, and “insufferable” is exactly the right word.

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  101. Deborah said on March 21, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Back to Chicago tomorrow, it’s been a great warm and sunny stay in Abiquiu, have watched spring happen right before my eyes. I hear it’s a little warmer in Chicago, so that’s good too.
    I have 2 enormous black thumbs, haven’t ever been able to keep a plant alive. Which is odd because both of my parents were raised on farms and could grow anything. I grew up in Miami, FL (but born in Iowa) we had every kind of fruit tree you can imagine in our yard, grapefruit, key lime, mango, papaya, kumquat, and so on, we also had avacado and almond trees along with every other kind of tropical plant there is. People driving down the street used to stop and ask to look around. My father raised orchids later in his life. Lord knows I have tried but everything I touch shrivels and dies. I either over water, or under water, or I don’t know what. It’s a good thing I have lived in highrises for the last 20 years or so. My sister in rural Minnesota has the same affliction as me, every year she plants a garden and watches it fail.

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  102. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 21, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Deborah, i hurt for you. If could stay another week of my life in the neighborhood of Abiquiu, i surely would (make sure you find Stuart’s “Anasazi America” to read someday!).

    Moe, i can only say “Go Boilers, go Boilers, go Boilers . . .” [doing a superior dance, with the intention of partay-ing tonight!]

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  103. Catherine said on March 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    As the limes aren’t ready yet, we had kumquats from a friend’s tree in our G&Ts last night. I really think we’re on to something there — the best and highest use of kumquats, possibly. Now if we could just figure out the persimmons…

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  104. crinoidgirl said on March 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Bittman, again, makes more sense than Alice:


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  105. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 21, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    We’ve been hard enough on ol’ Rod Dreher hyar’bouts that we should give him his props when he’s calm and cogent — http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/columnists/rdreher/stories/DN-dreher_0322edi.State.Edition1.15c00e1.html

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  106. Dexter said on March 22, 2009 at 12:17 am

    JMMO: No complaint, just a friendly suggestion:

    the above url (to your link) was made and pasted in ten seconds using “Tiny url” website:

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  107. Danny said on March 22, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Better yet, Jeff, use [a href=”http://yada yada yada”]descriptive link text[/a] except replace all square brackets with pointy brackets. This way, you still get the url on a mouse-over event so you know kind of where you are clicking to and you don’t get the unsightly word wrap.

    Like this:

    Here’s a story about Rod Dreher.

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  108. Danny said on March 22, 2009 at 1:50 am

    I just finished watching the semi-finals of the NCAA wrestling tournament. Two things of note.

    1. One victor from Ohio State, J. Jaggers (2X NCAA Champion), said in an interview that he spent the morning at the hotel reviewing his opponents’ matches on youtube. Man, the times, they are a changing.

    2. Anthony Robles, who was born with one leg, became an All-American in a 4th place finish. He can run an eight-minute mile on crutches. His goal is six minutes. Amazing. That’d be a good goal for any of us.

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  109. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

    No, a mile, completed, would be a good goal for many of us. Or constant motion for six minutes, regardless of the terrain covered, also a good goal.

    Sorry for my unsightly links; i’ll try not to post in a hurry, but you should see my desk (and the floor next to it, and the shelves behind it, and the arm of the chair near it, etc.). Stopping to think of the html to type before and after is sometimes beyond my immediate capacity, but that may be a sign that i shouldn’t paste in the first place. I have a macro on my home-home computer, but i work off of about four around the county, and most of them i don’t even have bookmarks on.

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  110. moe99 said on March 22, 2009 at 11:15 am

    AIG sues US govt for return of taxes paid:


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  111. Danny said on March 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Is anyone here a Buddy Holly fan? I was reading this article about Peggy Sue Gerron and it linked to this one written by Don McLean. The reader comments to the McLean article were pretty good. Some of the commenters had even been to see Buddy. One guy had gone to the club he was supposed to play at the week before the plane crash. And I really liked the comment I quote below:

    …[T]he Beatles, Stones, and Dylan … All three claim Holly as a major influence on their young lives and music. … On January 31, 1959 in Duluth, Minnesota a 17 year old high school senior named Bobby Zimmerman took in a Buddy Holly concert. Zimmerman, who would later be known as Bob Dylan. Across the pond, on the cold February day young Paul McCartney and George Harrison huddled sadly around a newspaper reporting Holly’s death, while an 18-year old John Lennon donned black rimmed glasses.

    Bob Dylan
    “When I was 16 or 17, I went to see Buddy Holly play and I was three feet away from him… and he LOOKED at me… Buddy Holly was a poet – way ahead of his time.”

    Paul McCartney
    “At least the first 40 songs we (The Beatles) wrote were Buddy Holly-influenced.”

    John Lennon
    “He made it OK to wear glasses. I was Buddy Holly.”

    Mick Jagger
    “You could learn from Buddy Holly how to write songs, the way he put them together. He was a beautiful writer.”

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  112. jeff borden said on March 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm


    Buddy Holly is one of the those performers whose amazing body of work in such a short period of time makes you ponder what else he might have written if not for that horrible plane crash. He truly was a genius.

    I have similar thoughts about Patsy Cline. She was not the writer/arranger/producer that Holly was, but her voice was so completely pure and gorgeous. She was already moving beyond the country genre when she, too, was killed in a plane crash. My father was a big fan of her music. We were playing her greatest hits in the hospice room during the last hours he was alive. It’s not a bad way to leave this earth with her sweet voice in your ears.

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  113. Dexter said on March 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm


    Above is a link to another Holly tribute…a couple months
    ago I believe The Register did that huge online tribute with links to music and videos, a couple weeks before the anniversary date.

    I was too young to grasp his greatness in his lifetime, but I went to the opening showing of the film ,starring Gary Busey, in 1978, if memory serves.

    I really started rockin’ when Motown hit it big, and I was really ready to rock when the Beatles and Stones led the invasion to US shores.

    Elvis was not a favorite of my generation because we were just little kids then, but as the decades roll by, I find myself listening to the Elvis satellite station often. Elvis’ gospel music is his best, and his personal favorites, I read, also.

    Very few live so few days and are remembered as is Buddy Holly. For example, I am a huge fan of Springsteen, but if he’d have drowned on that trip to Greasy Lake, as that trip was documented in his “Spirits in the Night”, nobody would have ever heard of Bruce Springsteen outside of Freehold, New Jersey.

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  114. Gasman said on March 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    For those of you in Ft. Wayne, you’ve lost one of the finest men that ever lived among you, Karol “Roy” Chin.

    Mr. Chin was a decent man who helped guide and shape the lives of thousands of young hockey players, mine included. If it were even remotely possible, I would attend the funeral. If you take the time to read the Guest Book, you can read my lengthy obituary (it might take a few hours for it to be posted) for this kind and gentle man. He was well loved and will be missed by all who knew him.

    Thanks, Mr. Chin.

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  115. basset said on March 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    >>nobody would have ever heard of Bruce Springsteen outside of Freehold, New Jersey

    or, more likely, if he hadn’t caught on with the New York media at just the right time. if Bob Seger had been on the receiving end of all that cover-of-TIME, future-of-rock-music and next-Dylan bullshit… but don’t get me started.

    I will reflexively turn a radio, cd player, whatever off or change the channel immediately upon hearing the hip-hop beat (thump-whack-athumpthump-whack) or Springsteen. first became aware of him during the “Born to Run” period, never quite understood the attraction.

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  116. moe99 said on March 22, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Any BSG fans here?


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  117. brian stouder said on March 22, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    basset – agreed. If Springsteen is “it” – then I’m an uncomprehending philistine (which I probably am in any case).

    Ditto Battle Star Galactica; it just never pulled me in, although Star Trek did, back in the day

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  118. Dexter said on March 23, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Hey, it’s a free country—even the New York area was divided against Springsteen—many preferred Billy Joel, especially out on Long Island where Billy Joel’s base was located.
    That’s fine.
    I didn’t know who Bruce Springsteen was when my Time magazine arrived that day in 1975, but now I do. Thirty-four years later and I have Channel 58 (The Springsteen Channel) on my XM radio on at least 2/3 of the time I am listening. I have seen him live just three times, Joe Louis Arena, Pontiac Silverdome, and Columbus at Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, and each time was worth it and uplifted my spirits for days afterward.
    I’ve been to concerts that left me feeling ripped off, too, but if a person is careful and only goes to see artists s/he appreciates, it’s usually a night to remember. Elton John at The Palace of Auburn Hills was one of those great nights, so was seeing CSN and Gordon Lightfoot at the old Pine Knob Theater years ago. But yes, very few artists can please everyone.

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  119. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 23, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Friend of the blog update from central Ohio — the Jennifer Brunner juggernaut rolls forward in towards the governor’s office.

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