Man, you should see the moon right now, sailing over the eastern sky with its wingman, Jupiter. I’m told an eclipse is scheduled for later, but right now, I’m thinking sleep may get me before the show starts. I saw the moonset this morning on my way back from the gym, so I won’t feel bad about missing it. I’ve seen lunar eclipses before. Best ever: A summer night at Adrianne’s apartment in Fort Wayne, out on the third-floor deck. Warm night, reasonable hour for the show, and it never passed out of sight. Beginning, middle, end, wine, friends. Now that’s an eclipse.

Tonight: Cold. Catch you next time, Moonie.

I read something remarkable today, a conscientious objection to a book that’s been getting the full court press — “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity.” It’s about children who are radically different from the parents who bore them, whether through disability or just difference. I’m not going to read it, having had Andrew Solomon’s earlier book about depression pushed pretty hard down my throat and just couldn’t last through it.

The thing I read today, in Slate, was a rebuke from the mother of a child with Down syndrome, but it’s not like every other similar essay you might have read. Cristina Nehring had her baby against all good sense (although without a prenatal diagnosis) and found her life upended, complicated by the fact her partner ran for the hills two weeks after his daughter’s birth. Nehring is honest enough to regard her life without the usual soft-focus adjectives, and has some rather startling insights:

Wherever she goes, she brings people together—imperiously gesturing to cantankerous couples to sit down together and lifting their palms onto each others’ thighs, reconciling warring classmates by joining their hands, and charming child-leery adults with flirty smiles and studious imitations of their idiosyncrasies. Her gifts are the opposite of my own: Where I am shy, she is bold; where I am good with (known) words, she is good with drama, dance, and music; where I am frightened of groups, she loves them, and the children in her preschool compete hard to sit by her side at lunchtime as the nurses in her hospital petitioned to be assigned to her room.

Am I “cheerily generalizing” as Solomon says of other Down syndrome parents, “from a few accomplishments” of my child? Perhaps I am. But one thing I’ve learned these last four years that possibly Solomon has not: All of our accomplishments are few. All of our accomplishments are minor: my scribblings, his book, the best lines of the best living poets. We embroider away at our tiny tatters of insight as though the world hung on them, when it is chiefly we ourselves who hang on them. Often a dog or cat with none of our advanced skills can offer more comfort to our neighbor than we can. (Think: Would you rather live with Shakespeare or a cute puppy?) Each of us has the ability to give only a little bit of joy to those around us. I would wager Eurydice gives as much as any person alive.

But that’s just the warmup:

It’s when Solomon turns to his own life after hundreds of pages of publicizing the diverse, disabled, and combative lives of others that his unreconstructed conventionality emerges most obviously—and his cowardice. When all is said and done, Solomon mainly wants to bank an A-1 baby. While quickly regretting the “economic privilege” required for the engineering of his perfect offspring, he becomes “extremely deliberate about the egg selection.” Having prepared the ground for his reproductive missions by marrying his partner in a “shot-gun wedding” at the ancestral estate of the late Diana, princess of Wales, Solomon sifts donor profiles, consults attorneys, and flies around the globe to negotiate optimal parenting conditions.

But when the boy is born and needs a not-uncommon 5-minute CT scan, Solomon is ready to flee. Not merely does he panic, but he finds himself “try[ing] hard not to love” his newborn and has visions of “giving him up into [the] care” of an institution. All this within moments of a very small question being raised about the perfection of his child. All this from the author of Far From the Tree.

Awaiting the birth of any child is a strange thing. Solomon’s book is in part predicated on this paradox that, in bringing children into the world, we’re committing to a lifelong relationship with a stranger. I remember trying, and failing, to buy baby clothes when I was pregnant. I couldn’t; it felt too much like clothing an abstraction. “I don’t know her yet,” I told people, and I hope some of them understood. (Fortunately, if you have generous friends, the drawers are generally full by the time the kid hits the ground.) But at the same time, I was committed to playing the hand I was dealt, even if all the cards were still facing down.

It’s really worth a read.

As is this, which raises the question: Why does anyone, anywhere, pay a second’s worth of attention to Donald Trump?

Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul and television personality, has taken aim at two high-profile charity leaders, criticizing them on Twitter for collecting too much in salaries and not spending enough on programs.

The tweets pointed to “reports” about the financial practices of the United States Fund for Unicef and the American Red Cross and have been widely shared by some of Mr. Trump’s 1.9-million followers.

The problem is that the figures are false.

You don’t say.

I’m not so naive as to believe Trump actually does his own tweeting, but I’d think Mr. Yer-Fired could hire a smarter social-media slave.

Speaking of things that aren’t surprising, Florida GOP leaders come clean:

A new Florida law that contributed to long voter lines and caused some to abandon voting altogether was intentionally designed by Florida GOP staff and consultants to inhibit Democratic voters, former GOP officials and current GOP consultants have told The Palm Beach Post.

Finally, a person earning $65,000 a year in Fort Smith, Ark., has more disposable income than a New York City resident earning a quarter mil.

Which sort of wraps up the no-surprise roundup. Hope your Thursday contains no unpleasant ones.

Posted at 12:17 am in Current events |

71 responses to “Predictable.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Our local housing coalition is about to co-leverage a twelfth house for groups of adults with developmental disabilities. Working with these folk is humbling, in Nehring’s formulation, for how they can consistently find ways to “give a little bit of joy” better than most of us neurotypical strivers can. I keep waiting to run into one of our residents having a cranky, up-yours day, and they just keep showing up somewhere between sunny and serene, with no sidetrack into surly.

    Maybe they just don’t get it. Maybe. But they seem to comprehend sadness and sorrow as well as anyone, without letting it saturate their day.

    624 chars

  2. Sherri said on November 29, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I hate, hate, hate those stupid articles trying to compare disposable income. They’re really poorly done. Trying to compare Ft. Smith, AR, and Los Altos, CA is ridiculous. Yes, houses in Los Altos are very expensive. You also do not have to live in Los Altos to work in Silicon Valley; Mountain View, while still far from as cheap as Ft. Smith, is right next door, and houses cost half as much, and your commute is shorter.

    I lived in Mountain View for 13 years. I still have lots of friends in the area, and many of them don’t earn more than $250K, and they aren’t poverty-stricken. They have houses and they go on vacations and they live like normal people. Yes, it can be hard to feel like you have much disposable income if you’re buying a big house on a big lot in Los Altos, maxing out your retirement, paying for childcare and private schools, but you know, that is your disposable income. Most people in the area are getting by with much less.

    962 chars

  3. MarkH said on November 29, 2012 at 2:07 am

    No worrries, Nance, you had already missed the lunar eclipse. Not only did it happen earler Wednesday morning. it was started at about 9:30 AM your time, so not really visible. And it was just a penumberal one anyway, just slightly discoloring the moon.

    315 chars

  4. Connie said on November 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Comparing Redford Michigan to Los Altos? One of my co-workers grew up there and owns two rental properties there. He describes Redford as the first place you get to when you manage to crawl out of Detroit. From a Hoosier point of view the comparison is sort of like comparing Gary and Carmel.

    294 chars

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

    When we moved to West Virginia people kept saying, about income/compensation, “yes, but the cost of living here is so low.” Actually, by the time you went from one brake job a year to two or three, cutting your average gas mileage by a third, and most groceries of all sorts running 5-10% higher than in Pittsburgh, let alone anywhere else in the Midwest, I figured the cost of living was higher there than in most cities. But yes, you could buy an old, solid, if uninsulated and ancient single-paned windowed large house for a song. As long as you never wanted to sell it, what a deal!

    586 chars

  6. nancy said on November 29, 2012 at 8:17 am

    The cost-of-living argument was used constantly in Fort Wayne, in a variety of arguments. One editor used to tell job prospects that the local groceries routinely offered double coupons.

    186 chars

  7. Basset said on November 29, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Haven’t been to Fort Smith in years but it seemed pleasant enough… have managed to avoid New York so far and don’t see any reason to change that.

    Meanwhile, a short video I ran across on a music list (flatpick-l)… some Millennials demonstrating through various mugging and clowning that a lot of pop songs are based on the same four-chord progression. (Ya think? Really?) Anyway, they used bits of 46 songs and I recognized… eight. You kids get off my lawn…

    472 chars

  8. Basset said on November 29, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Probably would help if I included the link:

    74 chars

  9. alex said on November 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

    As long as you never wanted to sell it, what a deal!

    I’m beginning to suspect the same is true in Indiana, for which I left Chicago because of the sweet cost of housing. I received the asking price for my property in Chicago within four days of putting it on the market. Around here, things seem to sit around unsold for a year and the occasional drops in price over the course of that year seem to mark them as undesirable. Not that I’m looking to sell, but if I had to I’d probably get hosed.

    On the bright side, property taxes are next to zilch. When I hear people around here whining about taxes (and, for that matter, traffic) I tell them they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

    710 chars

  10. beb said on November 29, 2012 at 8:20 am

    The lead essay today, about children with disabilities and how parents respond to their challenges was quite good. The kind of writing that newspapers should carry more of. But it’s also hard to respond to. Not like debating whether it is cheaper to live in Arkansas or Manhattan. Looking at life as a simple matter of chemical reactions, building up structures layer upon layer guided only by the presence or absence of certain DNA expressed guide chemicals one comes away with a senses of surprise that most of the time everything goes out alright.

    But it’s easier to talk about relative costs of living. One thing the article does is simply assert that one has more disposable income on $60,000 in Arkansas than $250,000 in Manhattan. There’s a reference to some on-line calculator but nothing breaking out what constitutes disposable income, or what the relative costs are in the two regions. As for a home in Redford Twp for $60,000… I’d look to see if the plumbing hasn’t been stripped out already. Our home within Detroit, with one less bedroom and bath is assessed at $60,000, A home outside Detroit for less than $100,000…. there has to be something wrong with it.

    I was surprised to learn that $250,000 represented something on the order of the 98 percentile of US incomes. I would have expected it to be a much lower Percentile. But if $250,000 is the 2% that explains Pres. Obama’s insistence on higher taxes beginning at that level. I would have thought that setting the gate at an even million dollars would have been an easier sell and the revenue lost by not increasing the taxes on $250,000 to $999,999 was a small price to pay.

    My drive to work each morning is mostly eastward so I’ve often seen the full moon setting. And it’s just awesome to see. Yesterday (Wed.) it was orangish-red. Today I couldn’t see it through the clouds.

    1872 chars

  11. nancy said on November 29, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Sorry, I forgot this link for Deborah: My story on Michigan film tax credits. And the sidebar.

    The gist is this: WHen Michigan jumped into showbiz, it jumped with both feet — we had the most generous tax credit in the nation by far, at 42 percent. For a while, it was lots of fun. George Clooney came through town a couple of times. Robert DeNiro was spotted in a Grosse Pointe restaurant. And so on. But it was always too good to last. It was just too much for a bankrupt state to be paying the hedge funds and studios that fund these things, all for a little stardust. The jobs it generated were temporary by very definition, and with the exception of one Ernst & Young study, no one could really say what the economic impact of all the local spending was. It was something, but it wasn’t what a steel plant would have generated. I came away thinking this was a good idea at the wrong time, a hail-mary pass by a second-term governor who was out of ideas during the worst recession since the 1930s.

    A lot of governors had the same thought as the one who replaced her: We can’t afford this anymore. New Mexico was giving something like 25 percent, which attracted “Breaking Bad.” I believe they trimmed that. The data changes all the time, but I think the biggest non-Cali player is still Louisiana, which gives 25 percent, around there.

    1564 chars

  12. nancy said on November 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Oh, and Beb — your drive to work must be westward, or you wouldn’t see the setting moon. And I can get you into a house in Grosse Pointe for under $100K. It won’t be anything special, but you’ll be in the school district.

    222 chars

  13. brian stouder said on November 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

    And not only has the beautiful moon been in the western morning sky, but I believe it rises rather than sets, yes?

    It seems to me the girls and I spy it in the trees, as we head for the bus stop; and then after they’re off and away, I continue to work and there it is – arcing higher in the sky

    297 chars

  14. nancy said on November 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

    (Gently) The moon follows the path of the sun — rises in east, sets in west. Are we having this discussion?

    And thanks to MarkH for correcting me on the eclipse.

    166 chars

  15. Dorothy said on November 29, 2012 at 9:01 am

    The setting moon was spectacular this morning, no special colors or anything, just that fading white orb hanging so large in the western sky! I’m kind of amazed we ARE having this discussion this morning. Weird because I made the mental note about how cool it was to have the sun on one side of my car this morning and the moon so obviously on the other, that is until the road began to twist and turn again.

    410 chars

  16. Dorothy said on November 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    All this talk about skies makes me want to share a wonderful view I had from my backyard on Tuesday evening, Nov. 20:

    181 chars

  17. nancy said on November 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Let’s conclude this science lesson with an arresting photo by my talented neighbor and acquaintance, Bobby Alcott.

    174 chars

  18. brian stouder said on November 29, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Sets in the west?

    OK – now that I’m outed as an ignoramus – let me just do the thing that is my least favorite phrase from the 2012 political season:

    I’m doubling down, baby!

    When I head northwest on Goshen Road, the moon (it seems to me) is (seemingly) higher in the sky than when we back out of the driveway toward it.

    Possible confusion factors for me: I may be conflating two different mornings (rather than having this all on the same morning); and possibly the pitch (or relative angles) that I’m viewing it from are enough different to cause an illusion.

    Anyway, am I gonna believe our strikingly intelligent proprietress, or my lyin’ eyes?

    669 chars

  19. coozledad said on November 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Late here, but documentary proof of big light in sky in east:

    168 chars

  20. coozledad said on November 29, 2012 at 9:10 am


    56 chars

  21. brian stouder said on November 29, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Marvelous photos all! (Dorothy – I especially liked the fairy-dust at the feet of the trees)

    92 chars

  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Rise, set, whatever. “E pur si muove!”

    38 chars

  23. Jolene said on November 29, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I would have thought that setting the gate at an even million dollars would have been an easier sell and the revenue lost by not increasing the taxes on $250,000 to $999,999 was a small price to pay.

    A lot of people, especially legislators from high-cost, high-tax states (e.g., Chuck Schumer (D-NY)), have had this idea, but even in NY, $250,000 is quite a lot of money. Median income in NYC in 2011 was $49,461, which is shocking when you think about how many really rich people live there. From the same article: the income gap in Manhattan, already wider than almost anywhere else in the country, rivaled disparities in sub-Saharan Africa.

    In a NYT op-ed this past week, Warren Buffett recommended a $500,000 starting for higher tax rates, but neither that nor the $1,000,000 mark bring in enough revenue. In fact, according to some analysts, if the economy were stronger, we’d be better off letting the Bush tax rates expire altogether.

    1094 chars

  24. Jolene said on November 29, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Aaaargh! Forgot to end that link. Yes, great pic, Dorothy.

    58 chars

  25. Julie Robinson said on November 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Dorothy, your lovely photo took me right back to childhood and the regular view from the back yard. It only needs cornstalks to complete the picture.

    I have a cousin with Down syndrome and sadly, the options in rural Iowa are not plentiful, especially when your parents brag about the only book in the house being the Bible. He’d do well in a group home but they refuse to discuss the issue, not seeing how lonely he is. It frustrates the heck out of me.

    Warren Buffet was on the Daily Show Monday night, and I still don’t understand how the ultimate capitalist can’t talk some sense into the R’s heads. His ideas are so reasonable and logical, why don’t they get it? (Rhetorical question.)

    697 chars

  26. Mark P said on November 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

    For the last few years, the length of time it takes to sell a house has been very strongly influenced by the general economic downturn. There may be some places where real estate sells quickly, but there are a whole lot of places where it doesn’t. In my hometown in NW Georgia, house prices two years ago (when the city actually tried to increase my mother’s assessment) had actually decreased to a seven-year low. I appealed my mother’s increase, using readily-available federal data on house resales, and the city ended up lowering my mother’s assessment rather than trying to defend the blatantly unjustified increase. If you put a house on the market now in my hometown, you can expect it to take a year to sell, unless you give it away. Which, of course, means simply asking what it would have sold for before the real estate boom.

    836 chars

  27. Deborah said on November 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I love watching the skies night and day especially in New Mexico. Although watching midwestern thunderstorms roll in from the 27th floor of my building can be spectacular. One of my favorite websites is The Cloud Appreciation Society (sorry no link I’m on my iPhone at Starbucks). The great thing about sky watching is that it’s free, not to mention stress reducing.

    366 chars

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

    If it weren’t for the devastation it would wreak on a number of public goods like NPS, NASA, NIH, et cetera, I’d say going over the “fiscal cliff” doesn’t look like such a bad idea. We’re going to see a second downturn, aka double-dip recession anyhow, and the only economic debate is whether the fiscal cliff will extend it (obviously, it will hasten it, but if it’s coming regardless, might getting into and through it now make the total time in the trough shorter?). The “heads you win, tails I lose” part of it is that the major defense cuts would probably do major damage to industrial employment in the US, but that’s a heck of a reason to keep making those ridonkulous F-35s.

    682 chars

  29. Jolene said on November 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    The Christine Nehring article is moving, indeed. I, too, had a cousin with Down syndrome, and I could write a book about the consequences of his condition and his parents’ response to it. Like Julie’s relatives, mine were rural people, but it was my uncle’s inability to really accept his son that complicated their lives. Even so, he did pretty well. He learned to read, which was a great delight to him, as well as simply a great way to fill the time of someone who was excluded from many parts of life. Except for a couple years in a state school for the developmentally disabled, he lived with my aunt and uncle on their farm until they were too old to stay alone there themselves. Then, it was several years spent happily in a group home, until his recent death in his mid-sixties.

    My aunt once told me that she prayed everyday that she would be allowed to live just one day longer than her son, something she didn’t succeed in doing. But her constancy in caring for him was a model of self-giving that I am in awe of to this day.

    1039 chars

  30. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Hat tip, Deborah.

    54 chars

  31. adrianne said on November 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Nance, thanks for taking me back to good times on the bird poop deck in Fort Wayne. My drive home Wednesday night gave me a wonderful view of the full moon with the bonus prize of Jupiter hanging nearby. Beautiful.

    214 chars

  32. Connie said on November 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Alex, you’re right. I know this because I’ve been hosed. Sold my house in Elkhart after 18 months on the market for way less that is was appraised for. Even for less that I paid in 2000, long before the bubble years.

    219 chars

  33. Mark P said on November 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I wouldn’t mention this except for the comments about optical phenomena in the sky, since I haven’t posted it yet, but I have a few fairly bad pictures of a really amazing display of sun dogs (pretty common) and other optical effects (like tangent arcs, Parry arcs, and other stuff that is quite rare). I saw it a couple of weeks ago as I was leaving work. I plan to post them as soon as I can get to it. If you want to see photos of some of this stuff, look at the wikipedia entry on sun dogs (parhelia) and follow the links to other phenomena. If you make a habit of looking towards the setting sun on days with high, thin clouds, you will almost certainly see sun dogs and, if you are really lucky, some of the other phenomena. When I can manage it, I’ll post what I have and talk about it some.

    798 chars

  34. Jakash said on November 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I didn’t even realize it was a full moon last night, let alone an eclipse. After reading the post here, I was able to immediately head out and take a look, enjoying both the moon and “its wingman, Jupiter”. Didn’t seem like much of an eclipse going on, but after visiting the same website that MarkH linked to, I understood why. Oddly to me, given the brightness of the moon and the fact that there’s not a whole lot you can see in the sky in Chicago under any circumstances, there was a pretty good appearance by Orion not that far from the moon. At least I think it was Orion. I’ll have to check with Brian. ; ) Anyway, thanks for the heads-up, nn. Oh, and I remember that amazing shot by your neighbor from the last time you linked to it. Excellent.

    761 chars

  35. Joe K said on November 29, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Watched the sun rise Tuesday morning while I was eastbound,saw it set Tuesday night while westbound, saw the moon coming up behind me at the same time. Watched the moon set this morning on my way north to Cadillac mich. about takes your breath away.
    Pilot Joe

    260 chars

  36. susan said on November 29, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Mark P @33– Speaking of parhelia (halos, circles and arcs, which you didn’t!) take a gander at this photograph of a spectacular sky-show, associated with Big Storm Sandy:

    Earth Science Picture of the Day ( is one of my daily visits on the internets.

    362 chars

  37. Charlotte said on November 29, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Moon was lovely this morning hanging over the Gallatin range — one of those “gee, we get to live here mornings.

    I was a nanny for a little girl with Down Syndrome (a surprise to her parents who were under the age rec’s for testing at the time) — at five, she was naughty and bright and hilarious — in her late 20s she’s lost that twinkle and spark — I think she’s fully aware of what she’s missing. Her father bailed after she was born — was totally freaked out by her as a little kid but they seem to have a pretty good relationship now. Living with her for those couple of years was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything, but I’m not sure that isn’t just selfish on my part. Life is harder for her than it needs to be … and her older brother knows he has a big responsibility for life. But then again, life is complicated all around …

    862 chars

  38. Scout said on November 29, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    That Bobby Alcott photo is phenomenal.

    Jeff, what you said about a double dip recession really threw me for a loop. On what is that assessment based? This is the first I am hearing of it in several years and since I work for a small business that barely survived the 2008 crash (and may still not) this really concerns me.

    328 chars

  39. Prospero said on November 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Rick Scott committing a fraud on the Constitutions of FLA and the USA? Heaven forfend.

    n 1997, Rick Scott was implicated in the biggest Medicare fraud case in US history, stepping down as CEO of Columbia/HCA after the hospital giant was fined $1.7 billion and found guilty of swindling the government. As Florida’s new governor, Scott is now trying to kill off an anti-fraud database that would track the fraudulent distribution of addictive prescription drugs in Florida, over the protestations of law enforcement officials, Republican state lawmakers, and federal drug policy officials.

    Now we have jorts-wearing, mulleted yahoos in FLA that want to secede. I say it should be a question of whether or not the rest of us should be empowered to ask them to leave. Rick Scott should be a permanent guest of Club Fed. FLA does not evtend voting rights to felons that have completed their sentences, and this ahole is elected governor and immediately goes after the voting rolls?
    How bizarre.

    1160 chars

  40. Carolyn said on November 29, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I thought we used to tout TRIPLE coupons!

    41 chars

  41. beb said on November 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Double-dip recession, look to England for clues. A continuous regime of austerity shrinks GPD, forcing more people out of work and thus they are unable to contribute to the economy. The nation can’t grow out of the recession because the hole it’s in just keeps getting bigger.

    Personally I think going over the financial cliff makes sense. The deficit goes away and they would be money for Pres. Obama to spent to help the nation recover. Well, it would be a good idea if the Republicans wouldn’t be dickish about denying him a second administration.

    I apparently am flunking map reading. I’m starting from north-easr Detroit and am driving towards downtown. For some reason I had it fixed in my head that I was driving east. But I have really been going west. I know where I’m going, I just haven’t thought about where I was going.

    841 chars

  42. Prospero said on November 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Facebook pays people in Morocco $1/hr. to prevent lewd content from appearing on Fb pages?

    That just cracks me up.

    192 chars

  43. Mark P said on November 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm


    That is the very thing I was talking about!

    This guy got a much better shot than I did. It was absolutely stunning, but other people were walking around not paying any attention to it. It was so amazing that I had to stop a coworker in the parking lot and point it out to him. It has to have been one of the rarest of this type of events, because almost every type of reflection/refraction phenomenon you can get out of an ice cloud was there. With an atmospheric science background, I usually watch the sky and see the common parhelia, but I had never seen anything like this before. Thanks for linking to this.

    Now I’m going to have to link to this shot instead of showing my pitiful picture.

    710 chars

  44. Linda said on November 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Re: the facebook censorship. That’s about par for the course. Makers of filtering software have poorly paid college students do the same thing, so when you buy filtering software, you are getting their labor to protect you from wickedness. Sometimes the results are a hoot: the Piqua Public Library in Ohio got its own website filtered from its library computers because the main library is named after an early benefactor–a Mr. Flesh. The Flesh Memorial Library was a no-no until the filter got doctored a little.

    530 chars

  45. Prospero said on November 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Hilarious mocking takedown of a particularly asinine T. Friedman column.. And “particularly asinine” for Senor Pornstache is tops in asinine.

    Colbert on the “War on Men”:

    Seriously? Phyllis Schoofly’s niece?

    442 chars

  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Scout, I hope I’m wrong. I know that our attendance, membership, and active involvement in mission projects and youth activities and senior fellowships are all up, and since I went full time in June, we’ve also had an increase in the number total and number of commitments on giving . . . and in the midst of all that, there’s about an eight percent decline in the pledges across the board. Mind you, this is just east central Ohio talking. But no one is seeing pay increases anywhere in my circle of 40/50-somethings, professional to clerical, and the cost of transportation, food, and of course health insurance however provided, is going up.

    I’m optimistic generally, but I think we’ve got another contraction before we start to see slow, steady growth again. Maybe it will be Ohio only, and other parts of the country will buoy a full recovery, but with 20% increases in traffic at our county food pantries since Jan. compared to last year, a waiting list for transitional housing approaching 40 (that’s a 100% increase from a year ago), and the number of families applying at the Salvation Army for Christmas help nearly doubled from two years ago (close to 2,000 kids right now), I just don’t see a regional economic recovery taking root. And employers are all retrenching and restructuring without any new full time hires in 2013, that’s being said very openly. They just can’t quite figure out yet what 2014 is going to look like, benefit-wise.

    No new plant closures, no layoffs, and no more public staff trimming, I think that’s over. But non-profits, churches, and social service organizations are all planning big staff cuts, reductions in hours, and closures, because average donors are out of savings, feeling more pressure on the income they have, and there’s just no horizon for improvement that we can see. Hold on, hold tight, ride it out.

    1862 chars

  47. Deborah said on November 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks for the movie/taxes link Nancy.

    38 chars

  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    The Flesh Library certainly sounds like a website that must exist somewhere, but I’m not going to do a search for that title on a juvenile court computer.

    154 chars

  49. Dorothy said on November 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you, Mark, for teaching me about sundogs today. I had never heard of them before and find the photos and information very instructive and fascinating!

    157 chars

  50. Julie Robinson said on November 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Carolyn, the halcyon days of triple coupons and ad matches have been gone for two or three years. OTOH, Kroger/Scott’s have 5% discounts for 55 and older on Tuesdays. Score!

    173 chars

  51. Mark P said on November 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Dorothy, keep looking up!

    25 chars

  52. Prospero said on November 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Flesh Library sounds like a murder scene in a game of Grand Guignol Clue, to me.

    I too appreciate all the information about sundogs. Never heard of those before, somehow. I have taken a number of photos in which those repeating concave sqares have shown up in sunlight, but never had a clue what they are or how they are generated. Very cool to learn new stuff at my advanced age. And shouldn’t what are called concave squares actually be convex, and vice versa?

    466 chars

  53. brian stouder said on November 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Well, speaking of the economy, all I’m qualified to say is – “huh”. On the way back to work* after lunch with Pam, I heard Uncle Rush working up a sweat trying to scare his listeners into thinking that the president’s goal is to confiscate everyone’s 401(k). ‘Huh’, I thought. Leaving aside the absurdity of that, I’d bet it only scares/appeals to the same subset of people who voted for Romney anyway; that is to say – it is an angry white minority argument.

    Aside from that, here are two articles from my favorite industrial newsletter, which made scratch my balding head and again say “huh”.

    the “nut” graph (so to speak) – leaving aside the nationwide salmonella scare that this place created:

    Farmers are worried about getting paid for their peanuts, nearly a third the plant’s 150 workers have been laid off, and residents wonder what toll an increasingly contentious showdown between the nation’s largest organic peanut butter plant and federal regulators could ultimately have on the region’s economy. The tension boiled over when the Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it was suspending Sunland Inc.’s registration to operate because of repeated safety violations, meaning the plant will remain indefinitely shut down as the company appeals the decision. The company had planned to reopen some its operations this week after voluntarily recalling hundreds of products and closing its processing and peanut butter plants in late September and early October. Many in this flat, dusty and solidly Republican farm town of about 20,000 denounce the FDA’s tactics as unfair and unnecessarily heavy-handed — and become defensive about the shutdown of the largest private employer in town. “We had the best crop in years, and then these (expletives) came in and started this,” said resident and local telecomm worker Boyd Evans.

    For the first time ever, the FDA is using authority granted under a 2011 food safety law signed by President Barack Obama that allows the agency to shut food operations without a court hearing.


    And then, remember our Indian textile factory owner where 118 people lost their lives? Well – where’s the love for him? He’s deserving of understanding and not of blame, because nobody told him he should have things like fire exits and fire extinguishers that – you know – work!

    “It was my fault. But nobody told me that there was no emergency exit, which could be made accessible from outside,” factory owner Delwar Hossain was quoted Thursday as telling The Daily Star newspaper. “Nobody even advised me to install one like that, apart from the existing ones.”
    “I could have done it. But nobody ever suggested that I do it,” said Hossain, who could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press on Thursday. Activists in the South Asian country hope the tragedy will invigorate their lengthy — but so far fruitless — efforts to upgrade safety standards and force stronger government oversight of the powerful industry.

    And again I say, huh.

    3604 chars

  54. brian stouder said on November 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    *getting to casually say “on the way back to work” is, I realize, a very great blessing.

    Truly, as I now approach my 26th anniversary at the same place, I realize that even if I never ever win the power ball lottery, I’ve definitely won life’s lottery

    254 chars

  55. Deborah said on November 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    There are three things that I insist on chemical contents, deodorant, toothpaste and peanut butter. I have tried the organic, natural products and I say phooey. If they don’t contain chemicals they seem ineffective and/or dangerous, I know that sounds ridiculous and contradictory. Have you ever tasted the disgusting peanut butter they sell at Whole Foods and Trader Joes? Give me good old Jif or Skippy any day.

    I saw Joan Cusack in her shop on Rush St this afternoon. It’s called Judy Maxwell, named after the Barbara Streisand character in What’s up Doc. I’ve walked past the store a million times and this is the first time I’ve seen Joan in there. One of these days I’ll go inside.

    690 chars

  56. Prospero said on November 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Final campaign 2012 news:

    GOPers lost eight House Seats. Romney got his ass kicked, and the Senate is more solidly Dem with som consensus about changing the idiotic filibuster rules the GOPers have been using to avoid doing their jobs. Best election in a long time.

    364 chars

  57. Little Bird said on November 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Deborah also requires many of her household cleansers to be chemical, and so do I. I’ve found that fake (organic) windex does not work.

    136 chars

  58. MichaelG said on November 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Yeah, I tried some “organic” laundry detergent and dish soap. Didn’t work. Back to Tide and Dawn.

    Here’s Ken Levine’s take on the Lincoln movie:

    182 chars

  59. Linda said on November 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Hee, JTMMO, here’s the library link. You don’t risk being flagged for perversion. BTW, when I put “flesh library” in Google, the first hit was a story on human tissue storage.

    269 chars

  60. Deborah said on November 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Michael G, the Ken Levine link got me to reading his hoer posts, Liz & Dick etc. I still want to see Lincoln though.

    120 chars

  61. Deborah said on November 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    His other posts not his hoer posts. Oh my.

    42 chars

  62. Sue said on November 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    No toothpaste or deodorant, but for cleaning products and some personal care stuff that’s ‘natural’ and (more important to me) cruelty free, I can recommend Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products. I really love the super concentrated (super expensive) laundry soap, geranium scent.
    I used to buy Tom’s of Maine when I belonged to a cooperative, and made the mistake of buying their anise toothpaste once. Brush your teeth with a black jelly bean sometime and you’ll get the idea.

    477 chars

  63. Catherine said on November 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    This NYT article, “The Autism Advantage,” takes up the issue of where and how autistic adults might fit into the work world. The man in the article started an institute that places autistic people with certain skills in jobs for which they’re ideally suited, like software QA. It made me think that this is the approach to take in so many areas — education (yesterday’s conversation) and “far from the tree” children: asking not what’s wrong, but what their strengths are, and how they can contribute.

    502 chars

  64. Catherine said on November 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Gah, the link:

    98 chars

  65. Sherri said on November 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    The art of the takedown:

    135 chars

  66. Sue said on November 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Hey brian stouder I hope you check in before the next post, wanted to share with you the press release of a state rep who wants to be the next WI superintendent of schools:

    For more information contact: Bill Savage – 414 218 0959
    November 28, 2012
    Madison- State Representative Don pridemore (R-Erin) has filed papers to form a committee to explore to possibility of running for the position of DPI Superintendant this coming spring. “The status quo is simply not working. After spending billions of dollars on education in Wisconsin, we have not moved the needle a bit. I believe it’s time for a fresh set of ideas”, Pridemore said. “Our children’s education has suffered as a result and I believe it’s time to change that.” Pridemore added. Pridemore went on to say that he expects to reach a decision on the race very soon.

    849 chars

  67. Little Bird said on November 30, 2012 at 12:55 am

    I do like Mrs. Meyers, but then I also adore the Clorox wipes, and Windex, and Comet. They just flat out work.
    And the geranium scent is my favorite too! With lavender running a close second.

    196 chars

  68. brian stouder said on November 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Sue – interesting. I hope anyone who runs for superintendant of public education does actually support the concept of public education.

    The evolution (so to speak) of Diane Ravitch seems (to me) to illustrate that reasonable people may disagree – and opinions will change over time, if a person genually values and appreciates the task and the results that public education has

    387 chars

  69. brian stouder said on November 30, 2012 at 8:34 am


    9 chars

  70. Prospero said on November 30, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Coolest news in a long time:–mr-norrell-for-television?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

    This is one of the greatest novels ever written.

    Mr. Norrell must be Derek Jacobi and Jonathan Strange must be David Tennant. Oh, please. I dearly love this book. . My casting requirements are right up there with Lucy Liu playing every oriental woman. Damn, she is beautiful, and a very good actress.

    And for everybody that enjoyed Mr. Norrell and didn’t read Lemprierre’s Dictionary, what the hell are you waiting for? It’s even better.

    623 chars

  71. Prospero said on November 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    And Sherri. I am on pins and needles like never before. Having played mucho football in the past, this game has me on tenterhooks. I know from watching, Aaron Murray is a better football player than the TAMU (and when did that become the new JoPa?) Mainly, because he is more intelligent. And an obviously more accurate passer.

    327 chars