The drear.

Tuesday morning comin’ down, in the form of what looks to be an all-day rain. After a brief cold snap we’re back into the 40s, and while the warmth is better than cold (I guess), it’s certainly dreary. Let’s pick an appropriate picture from the ol’ Flickr stream. Ah, here’s one:

Corn added.

Chili — with or without corn — will taste good today. Photo by J.C. Burns, nicked from his Flickr stream, used under a Creative Commons license. Let’s hop to the links, shall we?

Jim Griffoen at Sweet Juniper! on how they managed to sneak a bit of American toy kitsch into their neighbors’ perfect apartment. How perfect?

So we’ve got these wonderful German neighbors who are such sophisticated design nerds they make us look like Randy Quaid and his wife emptying our RV’s septic tank into the storm drain. One is a professor of architecture (and since most architects already try to look like Germans, you can imagine how ahead of the curve these two are). They have pretty much every piece of iconic midcentury furniture in their immaculate Mies van der Rohe townhouse. It’s like the furniture wing at MOMA.

We had a neighborhood garage sale a few months ago and when this family stopped at ours, the architect saw her four-year-old son having a blast while playing with some of my son’s old toys and she said with a delightful German bluntness:

“I see he likes these toys, but the design is not good and they would not really fit in our home.”

The New Yorker on Callista Gingrich. Fact I didn’t know: She writes children’s books! Well, of course she does, being a strict Catholic who spent her prime childbearing years in unmarried congress with a married man, only to win the big prize (the man) and discover it really wasn’t what she wanted anyway, but it came with a shitload of fancy jewelry and the chance to play Pretend Mommy with her children’s book-authoring career. Every self-respecting child I know would flee from her in terror. Well, book-signings are rare, anyway.

Finally, I am long overdue with this, which ran last week, when my friend Sammy Smith, spouse of J.C. Burns and likely the creator of today’s pot of chili, was settling affairs in Michigan following the death of her mother. She and her father (the Botanist) visited the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, and found a photo of then-governor Albert Sleeper signing the bill granting women’s suffrage while selected members of the gender “look on,” as the caption-writers always put it. One is Sammy’s great-grandmother. I like the picture because the women, dowagers all, look like they have the assembled power to stab the governor to death with their hatpins if he doesn’t come across.

Anyway, condolences to Sammy, and a good Tuesday to all.

Posted at 8:16 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

45 responses to “The drear.”

  1. Maggie Jochild said on January 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Okay, okay, I finally gave in and added Sweet Juniper to the list of blogs I will check in on daily. Good thing I’m a cripple and have lots of time in between filling out intrusive social service forms.

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  2. Suzanne said on January 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Life is so strange. Barbie Gingrich writes children’s books (Hansel and Gretel from the witch’s perspective?), Rick Santorum’s wife had quite the love affair with an abortion doctor (, and Paula Deen is diabetic (

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

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  3. Deborah said on January 17, 2012 at 10:19 am

    “…Her hair is platinum blond and very stiff, with one remarkable lock styled into an immobile, upward swoosh…”

    See, I’m not the only one who is amused by that particular weird feature of Calista’s hairdo.

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  4. Sammy said on January 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thanks, Nance. We’re doing okay. (Even before I read this post, I was toying with making a pot of chili today—cold & overcast here in ATL, and sometimes rainy.)

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  5. adrianne said on January 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Nance, you gave me the laugh of the day with this line: “Every self-respecting child I know would flee from her in terror.” Whew!

    BTW, most disgusting moment on the GOP campaign trail (and there have been many contenders) had to come last night, when the audience booed Juan Williams for asking Newt if it was, like, racist, to call President Obama “the food stamp president” and then the audience cheered raucously at his racist answer. On MLK Day. Repulsive.

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  6. adrianne said on January 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    For the best take on the racial politics on display last night, check out Charles Blow of the NYT:

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  7. MichaelG said on January 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    It was 24 freaking degrees this AM. I thought I was in Duluth. This is simply too cold for human habitation. Good thing for the Niners that they don’t have to go to Green Bay Sunday. We’re scheduled to get rain on Thursday. The first rain in two months and this is allegedly the rainy season. Bad thing is two drops of rain and Candlestick turns to slop. That 49ers – Saints game on Saturday was one for the ages. Especially the last four minutes or so. Great game! We’ll see if SF can do it again on Sunday.

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  8. Brandon said on January 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    She writes children’s books!

    Of course. Sweet Land of Liberty with Ellis the Elephant. One could pair it with Dick Morris’s Dubs Goes to Washington: And Discovers the Greatness of America.

    Have you thought about adding these to the Kickback Lounge?

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  9. brian stouder said on January 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Adrianne, having watched that singularly troubling exhibition from South Caro-goddamn-lina last night, I can tell you that the racial politics last night went beyond dog whistles, and was as overt as it could become, short of the dogs themselves, and fire hoses. It seems to me they are well past dog whistles and subtlety; no more hints about what’s behind the curtain; it’s all hangin’ out now. The crowd roared at Juan Williams, who was (and remained) the model of restraint and forbearance – he never had a cross word that I heard in the post-game show, before I had to leave Fox News – and seemed genuinely hostil to the idea that Williams would ask Newtie about his flatly racist views regarding poor people and people who aren’t white.

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  10. coozledad said on January 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Brandon: Have you read “Dubs Does 14th Street”? The intro’s the shit.

    Dubs hailed a cab and told the driver
    “I do not know this place.
    Where can I find a girl who’ll rub
    her feet all in my face?

    “Hang on,” said the Arab dude
    and swung into the traffic
    “I’ve got an idea what you want,
    but try and be more graphic.”

    “You must be with AFP.
    They love to lick the feet.
    I’ll take you to the Southern Baptist end of 14th Street.

    My brother has a shop there
    He sells those vinyl jocks.
    The girls sometimes go there and order
    special latex socks.”

    Dubs leaned back and smiled a smile
    of raw anticipation
    and thought “I love the USA!
    My dissipation-nation!”

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  11. Hattie said on January 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Sounds like those Germans have a lot to live for with their good design and all.

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  12. Jolene said on January 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I tracked part of the debate on Twitter, where most of the people I follow are political reporters. Someone raised a question re why it’s always the black guy who raises issues having to do with race. Gwen Ifill replied, saying the issue is not why it’s the black guy who asks those questions, but why no one else does.

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  13. beb said on January 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Even since Perry was applauded for his record as an executioner it’s been obvious that the people who attend this Republican debates are among the most vile and heartless people on the face of the earth.

    I think everyone is jumping to the conclusion that Paula Deems menus are what caused her diabetes. There are a lot of reasons diabetes shows up late in life but I don’t think fats-heavy cooking is one of them. Over-eating…. that’s another story.

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  14. Heil Mary said on January 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I sure hope the media gets the guts to ask “Catholic” Call-Girl-ista Gangrene how her years of adultery, Breakfast BJs for Tiffany’s, and abortions to keep her blow-up doll figure get ignored by the fetal idolators/child molestors running her church and party.

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  15. brian stouder said on January 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    And on the black humor front, an instant classic:

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s tax agency has raided a Monsanto Co. contractor and found what it calls slave-like conditions among workers in its cornfields. The AFIP tax agency says Rural Power SA hired all its farmhands illegally, prevented them from leaving the fields and withheld their salaries. They had to de-tassel corn 14 hours a day and buy their food at inflated prices from the company store. AFIP says it will hold the American agro-giant responsible for its contractor’s slave-like labor conditions. Monsanto didn’t immediately respond to calls Monday to its headquarters in Buenos Aires and in St. Louis, which was closed for the Martin Luther King holiday. Argentina’s congress last month gave farmhands an 8-hour day and other benefits long denied under a dictatorship-era law.

    Gotta love the MLK irony . One wonders, though, if they observe MLK Day in Argentina…

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  16. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for Williams. He knew the job was dangerous when he took it.

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  17. brian stouder said on January 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I’m thinking Bitter Scribe just surged into the lead for the thread-win, today!

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  18. Sue said on January 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    One million signatures, folks. Now the work really begins.

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  19. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Monsanto’s existence is a major argument against legalizing pot. They’d fuck it up, for sure. But where would the modern world be without Agent Orange? And isn’t it fitting that the purveyors of Agent Orange are now modifying food genetically. Worked on humans, so what the hey? And colony collapse? Chemicals are life. They’re working on one to replace bees, I’m sure. Oh well. Just life in the foodchain:

    Juan Williams was simply channeling his inner privileged white guy, asking Newt about the Negroe problem. Insufferably pompous little prig. Reminds me of Alan Colmes, and Michael Kinsley, a couple of wimpy twats if there ever were. Was it just me or did anyone else think the scenes at the front on Downton Abbey looked downright cheesy. I kept thinking of those Wide World extravaganzas where tons of dirt were dumptrucked into the LA Coliseum for motocross:

    “Riding like Charlie Manson.” No shit.

    I won’t put beans in chili, but corn? Jes maybe. And Sarah Michelle Gellar had a great dress at the whatever awards. And Rooney Mara looked scary. I get the feeling that she could succumb to Linda Blair syndrome. AAnd sorry, supercilious snobs, the Fincher is decidedly better than either the Swedish version or the book. The book is hypnotic and gripping. The pages in which Kalle Blomkvist ends up in the beast’s basement torture chamber are astounding. I actually read as fast as I can. But the American movie is decidedly better than the European version, and it’s nice to be able to say that, for a change. Same is true for Let Me In and Let the Right One In, although the nighttime settings in the latter give it something of an advantage. All four movies are well worth watching, and the way things are going, some damn fool is going to attempt to remake The Big Lebowski, but in the case of those two remakes, the Americans made the better movies.

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  20. Kirk said on January 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Like Juan Williams or not, I feel sympathy for any black person surrounded by a roomful of frothing morons venting their inner Klansman as he is being lectured by a pompous, hypocritical douchebag. How would you like it?

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  21. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Point taken Kirk, but he put himself in that unenviable position when he decided to move up to the house from the field.

    And holy shit, I just realized Raylan Givens is back on TV tonight. Yeehaw. Sadly, he won’t have Ma Bennett, who poisoned herownself to plot his demise. But there is always Boyd Crowder.

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  22. Kirk said on January 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    No one should have to put up with that shit. Period.

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  23. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    OK, but it’s easy to see, it’s what he always wanted. He could have been overhead in a balloon emptying a chamber pot and shouting “Ordure!” like the insane oncle in Balthazar B, but he chose to hobnob with GOPers, in the Big House. What the hell did he think would happen if he attempted to act remotely manly?

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  24. Deborah said on January 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Sue, How cool is it that they got twice as many as they needed. I just hope to god every last one of the those signatures is legit. Because you know if even a single one isn’t, the wingers will go apeshit.

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  25. Deborah said on January 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Walkers beware:

    edit: that’s walkers as in people walking, nothing to do with the Gov of WI.

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  26. Sue said on January 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Dorothy, they already have. It’s very weird here right now, and count on it, it’s about to get weirder.

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  27. Sue said on January 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Also, Dorothy, signature-checking took place before they handed the signatures in. That was one of the first things organizers decided on and they took it seriously.

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  28. brian stouder said on January 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I just hope to god every last one of the those signatures is legit

    Deborah, TRUE! And indeed, when they find a “Mickey Mouse” or “Bugs Bunny” (or even a “Dorothy Gale”) and then try and say the whole thing is a MASSIVE, BIG UNION, OUT-OF-STATE FRAUD!!!!, my question for them is, how do they know that the signature didn’t come from some coke-sniffing Koch-backed out-of-stater? Why, in their universe, is voter fraud only possible from the left? Why do we assume that Walker was ever legitimately elected to begin with?

    In short, why do some people think the Constitution and the Founding Fathers and the tea party protesters and the Minutemen and all the rest – that these are all insuperably wonderful, timeless, and sturdy bulwarks when people they like win elections; but they are all akin to very fine long-stem glassware, prone to instant disintegration as soon as they disagree with an election result?

    One meme that I am heartily tired of already, and which we will surely hear more and more as November approaches, is that we are down to OUR LAST CHANCE TO SAVE THE COUNTRY (by electing absolutely anyone other than President Obama!)

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  29. Sue said on January 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Brian and Dorothy, an interesting side story is the recall of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. This morning 25% more than the required minimum signatures were turned in for his recall. The recall was started by one woman, after the state Democratic party declined to get involved because he was in such a Republican district and had won his election handily the year before. She did it without any ‘official’ help but quickly had all the local help she needed.
    Here’s a good, quick overview:

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  30. Sue said on January 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Oooh, Geez, sorry, DEBORAH.

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  31. brian stouder said on January 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    And, for the record, if Scott Walker wins the recall election, more power to him; he will be more empowered and more powerful, and the voters of Wisconsin will have had their say, as their law allows. The developing right-wing lip-flapper line is something like “This is gonna cost $10 million!!!” – but my question is – so what? In tough times, we should call off elections? Or – localities that have recall provisions should really NOT use those, if the official being recalled complains about the cost?

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  32. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    If everybody that signed the recall petition votes, Walker is toast. What a scumbag. It always seemed to me that if you signed on to a contract, you were supposed to hold up your end of the deal. When public employees unions in Wisconsin signed contracts, was duress involved? Any shotguns to temmple? Nope, so honor your contracts, you shitheels.

    And if Juan Williams had a full sack, he’d point out that the aholes using his canning against NPR are entirely full of shit. But no. He’s a weenie, and a whiner.

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  33. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Brian, the cost on Walker’s side will undoubtedly be borne by the Kochs, who got the ahole elected in the first place. And Scott Walker is a measly Zwieback, toast. He is a partisan Teabanger idiot. They are almost Wisconsonites, right? Somebody needs to deport those disgusting old farts.

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  34. Sue said on January 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    brian, first, none of the elected Republicans had a problem with the $5 million plus price tag for the voter suppression – sorry, the voter ID – law; that was just fine, apparently.
    And, courtesy of the Wisconsin Dems, here are some comparison numbers.
    Nancy, are you planning to take this website dark tomorrow? If so give us a warning so no one panics.

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  35. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    What Willard’s tax breaks could have funded:

    The NOAA one is particularly fascinating, since that agency is sound on global weather, so the Biblicists hate it.

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  36. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I don’t care much for the concept of recall elections. Politicians are under enough pressure with regularly scheduled elections. Once they win, they should at least have the breathing room allowed by a full term.

    That said, if those are the rules, you play by them. Anyone whining about Walker is invited to tell me how much he or she objected to Gray Davis’s recall.

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  37. alex said on January 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Like conservatives really give a shit that a recall election costs $10 million. Yeah, about as much as they give a flying fuck about Newt’s serial adultery, a rat’s ass about Palin’s teen slut daughter or a tinker’s damn about Bachmann’s gay husband. If they could recall Obama for twice the current national debt they’d be agitating for it full on.

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  38. del said on January 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Sweet Juniper’s take on a delightful German bluntness (“I see he likes these toys, but the design is not good and they would not really fit in our home”) reminds me of Mike Myers’ Dieter from Sprockets on SNL when he’d announce to his guest, “You are becoming tiresome … now is the time we dance on Sprockets.”

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  39. caliban said on January 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    What conservatives, to use the term loosely, Alex, care about is getting the darkie stain out of the White House. I swear, racism is what motivates the vast majority of this menagerie.

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  40. alex said on January 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Caliban, it’s more blatant than it’s been since George Wallace or Orville Faubus. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that we’d ever be spiraling backward like this.

    And their denial of racist intent exceeds in absurdity only that of evolution, global warming and their own loveless marriages.

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  41. Suzanne said on January 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Well said, Alex.

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  42. jcburns said on January 17, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Obviously there are more important things in the world than chili, but, scrolling back to the picture at the top of this page, I gotta tell you, my cold and rainy day today was warmed by some terrific Sammy chili this evening. Coincidence? Maybe not. May all your dinners be as fortifying.

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  43. moe99 said on January 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Rick Santorum’s wife lived with an abortion provider for 6 years before she married Rick. He was an older man who had delivered her!–rick-santorum-s-wife-once-pro-choice-lived-with-abortion-practitioner

    And, if you didn’t think racism was alive and well, well think again:

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  44. Bill said on January 17, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    JC/Sammy: Recipe please?

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  45. Brandon said on January 18, 2012 at 1:22 am

    @Coozledad: You have a way with words, and if you ever write children’s books, I’d buy a copy, but never for a child.

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