A fortnight of ice.

I realize we’ve been doing a lot of weather-bitching this winter, but this week we have coming up is going to test us all. After seven days of miserable cold, it warmed up just enough to dump a few more inches of snow on our heads and today and tomorrow? Single-digit highs, subzero low, and fuck you too. Will there be school? Don’t know yet. Will there be misery? Almost certainly. Will there be the small compensation of the abatement of my cold? Based on today’s tissue consumption, don’t think so.

I know, I know, in a few weeks this will all be over. Maybe a few days. Still.

Bitching complete. At least on that score.

Watched “Mitt” this weekend. It didn’t make me like him any better. In fact, it rather made me like him less. At one point, he ticks off the terrible taxes that a small business owner has to pay — federal, FICA, state, real estate, etc. “It goes to the government,” he said. Of course, these are taxes we all have to pay, too, only I’ve found it helps if you think of “the government” as an imperfect structure that inspects our food, repairs freeway overpasses, educates children and, of course, funds our never-ending supply of military operations around the globe. Pay a teacher a salary, and you know what he does with it? He buys houses, cat food and shoes. It’s an economy.

Now if you want to see money fly away and never been seen again, see what Bain Capital does with its profits. I also got peevish during the family’s final meeting before the concession on election night, and Mittens made a little speech about how the country was headed for a big-government tipping point within five years and, essentially, all is lost. Only a man who grew up the son of a major automotive executive and governor, educated at the finest schools money can buy, someone who beamed from Harvard straight into management consulting, whose wife was able to say with a straight face that they knew hard times because sometimes they had to “sell stock” to cover the bills, among about a million other instances of aggravated cluelessness — only he could get away with that and not have everyone else in the room pelt him with dinner rolls.

I also saw “Captain Phillips,” which was pretty good, an action movie with a conscience. Maybe when I don’t feel like my head is full of gunk, we can talk about that one.

For now, a skip to the bloggage:

Thanks, Dexter, for digging up this photo gallery from a California trail cam. It’s nice to see a place not covered with snow.

Your Italian extra-virgin olive oil is 69 percent likely to be not Italian, not extra virgin, and maybe not even olive oil.

Finally, as bad as it is where you are, take heart if you don’t have children in Louisiana public schools. Appalling. Infuriating and appalling.

A good week to all. Let’s hope it’s warmer by the end of it.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

60 responses to “A fortnight of ice.”

  1. Dexter said on January 27, 2014 at 1:35 am

    I was lifted up when I saw Paul and Ringo, and judging from my fiends’ posts on Facebook, all us old folks who were in front of TVs in February , 1964 that Sunday night felt the same way.
    I was also so happy to see my fave Bruno Mars win a Grammy.

    I did not watch the entire Grammys because I had to see what the Gallaghers were up to on “Shameless”. OMG, those messed up people are at it again; I could not believe the dual storyline tonight.

    I then watched “True Detective”, and that show is heating up. After last week’s scenes with Alexandra Daddario and Woody Harrelson
    going viral because of the hottest HBO sex scene in quite a while, this week more pieces of the puzzle are sort-of coming together.

    A friend just reported on Facebook that I-65 in NW Indiana is in horrible shape and he says they should close the road. Here in NW Ohio, it’s blowing hard with steady snow, whiteouts at times even here in town. My brother-in-law plowed out the drive and my neighbor cleaned off the walk with his powerful snowblower. Both are drifted deep again.

    Two nights ago US 6 was closed all night as a truck rolled over. Enough for me…we already blew the snow record for January out of the record book. When the neighbor got done, I measured the level snow-pack in my yard, a clean measure: 19 inches.

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  2. Dorothy said on January 27, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Remember our recent discussion about eavesdropping? Well I haven’t been getting out much lately, but we did go out to eat Saturday night. In the booth behind us two men older than us were eating. First guy: so anything new lately? Second guy: well, I do have my hearings in court this week. (Long pause, then:) Forensic psychology. Did you know that’s a ‘thing’?

    After that not much to share, but eventually I sort of guessed that Second guy was an attorney. But at first I thought he was the one on trial. Was really hoping for some juicy stuff…

    Happy Monday all.

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  3. Alan Stamm said on January 27, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Ditto on the thanks to Dexter, whoever and wherever, for that trail cam link.

    I’m typically too frenetic for a 30-image array, ‘specially at dawn, but it’s instantly addictive.

    But for anyone who’s time-impaired: Slide 16 is not to be missed.

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  4. Heather said on January 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I am hooked on “True Detective” but that sex scene annoyed me–girlfriend went full-frontal and Woody didn’t even have to take off his shirt. Literally, after they were done he just zipped up. However, I am calling an Emmy nod for Matthew McConaughey right now.

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  5. Suzanne said on January 27, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I saw Captain Phillips in the theater a while back and I think it was good, but all that hand held camera work gave me motion sickness, so I had my eyes closed a lot. Interesting note, though, that I ran across in a book on cargo shipping. The crew of the ship ended up suing Phillips for not following protocol and running the ship closer to the African shore than recommended (to save time), thus opening them to pirate attack. I can’t remember the name of the book, unfortunately.

    I didn’t even watch the Grammy Award assuming I wouldn’t know who most of the singers were anyway. From what I hear on the news, I am correct. There was a Godfather marathon on AMC, so I watched that instead. I can never get enough of Pacino’s performance in the first movie; the transformation from a relatively decent guy who is obviously very torn and nervous about doing his first hit into a completely cold blooded killer.

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  6. Suzanne said on January 27, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Also, after reading the olive oil article, it is interesting to note that Don Corleone’s “business” was olive oil imports.

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  7. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Grammys – we watched the red carpet pre-show, which was entertaining, and then we watched much of the show, the better to root for Lorde.

    She is superb

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  8. alex said on January 27, 2014 at 9:13 am

    It would have been helpful if they’d have told us which brands of olive oil are the real deal and which shouldn’t be trusted. What, are they afraid of food anti-defamation laws or something?

    Again, thanks to everyone for your well wishes. My partner just had another surgery this morning to close up the surgical wound from Friday and he’s expected to come home either tonight or tomorrow. He’ll be on IV antibiotics for the next 6-8 weeks and will have a home health care nurse looking in on him daily. The pathology verdict: A bone infection with the pseudomonas bacterium. His blood sugars are under excellent control and with proper diet and exercise he may well be able to reverse insulin dependency, if not insulin resistance altogether, as he did one time before.

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  9. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Now THAT is a ray of sunshine, on an otherwise very cold day!

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Bone infection – ow. Pseudomonas, yay. Blessings on the way, Alex.

    The story from Louisiana is troubling to me on so many levels, but probably differently than it would be for some of us. Pretty much everything presented I would say myself is wrong, and not to be permitted; the solution implicit in the Beast & ACLU discussion is the rigorous exclusion of all faith and religious content from public schools, and I don’t think that’s either the intent of “no establishment” nor as good a social policy as is presumed by my friends on the left.

    But my own particular religious tradition is in large part founded by a fellow who was friends with James Madison, and they both argued passionately for what they called “religious freedom” in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829. The Anglican/Episcopal church was still the state church (keep in mind that the Bill of Rights was for the federal pact; states could still “establish” a religious body and did through the 1840s, in places like Virginia & Massachusetts). What that meant was that, as is still the case in much of Europe, the “official” church body got direct subsidy from taxes, usually property taxes akin to the old model for school support. In the Episcopal churches of VA & Congregational churches of MA, etc., Sunday offering was either non-existent (no passing of the plate) or was specifically for the poor fund or something like that. The church maintenance and clergy pay came from the state/local revenues.

    Alexander Campbell & James Madison hammered away at religious freedom, saying that this system was as bad for the churches that received tax income as it was for those at the disadvantage of having to raise their own (pew rents, land tithes, and ultimately the now-ubiquitous collection plate on Sunday). Religion in thrall to public entities was neither truly free, nor able to be socially powerful. I believe that is correct; Madison & Campbell didn’t win their day, but their arguments ultimately prevailed within the decade. Campbell went on to avoid electoral politics and focus on building up the congregations in his tradition, perhaps to a fault, as he avoided taking a stand on slave-owning even as he freed those that were brought into his household by inheritance, claiming that to be vocally abolitionist would be unwarrantably political in the 1840s & 50s.

    Which is where I think Campbell was wrong then, and I think the purist ACLU view is wrong today. Somehow, faith and beliefs should be acknowledged out loud and in free discussion in public settings up to and including schools; a full exclusion approach has the same attraction as “zero tolerance” policies on student violence, but as we’ve learned, the unintended consequences of that extreme is really turning out to have more casualties than the issue we thought zero tolerance would simply and clearly address.

    And I understand for an atheist/non-believer, any expression of faith can feel like an intrusion. I really don’t dismiss that. But the idea that we can create a fully religion-free zone in schoolhouses is, just for starters, only going to push harder on faultlines for more separation and fragmentation in public education. This Sunday’s local paper talked about the decline of Catholic education, but as I read it I thought it didn’t even mention the explosion of small Protestant schools and charters, some of which aren’t so small and new ones of which pop up all the time around me.

    But the Sabine schools situation is not acceptable, not to me, and it really should worry even the more fundamentalist believers out there

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  11. nancy said on January 27, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Of course faith discussions, and study, should be permitted in public schools, but this was so far past the tipping point of reasonableness it boggles the mind. The anecdotal comments by the principal and superintendent, however, rang true to my ear, as they perfectly reflect the sort of pouty resentment I heard in places like Indiana, where Christians are always claiming to be horribly oppressed. (Yes, even as they tell this poor kid’s parents he should attend a school with “more Asians.”

    I’m sorry my daughter’s school doesn’t contain an English class I had in mine: The Bible as Literature. As we’re not church-goers, I’m always thinking about the million Biblical references in public life and elsewhere else that fly over Kate’s head, everything from a reference to Job’s troubles to David and Goliath to Samson to manna from heaven to…you get the idea.

    But as we see in Louisiana, those can quickly become de facto religion classes in the hands of an incompetent school administration. It’s really too bad, but there’s a reason this state routinely sits in the nation’s educational cellar.

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  12. Dave said on January 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I wanted to see Ringo and Paul but I didn’t have the patience to sit through all of that. I fear I have no way of caring or relating to most of those artists. Get off my lawn, indeed.

    When I was young, I could have never imagined I would think this way one day.

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  13. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 9:53 am

    it really should worry even the more fundamentalist believers out there

    Except that ‘the more fundamentalist believers out there’ – including college-graduate members of congress – think that science consists wholly of “lies from the pit of hell”.

    There is a reasonable middle ground here…in fact I’d argue that you have to willfully and tenaciously WORK to exit the vast expanses of ‘middle ground’ between dogmatic and unyielding theological interpretation of the world around us, and day-to-day practical reality.

    I say – no public money for educational facilities which don’t have publicly elected oversight.

    Vouchers (specifically) are highly destructive of public education, and indeed are NOT indiscrimate; in fact, they very specifically and overtly lead to official discrimination and racial and social segregation

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  14. LAMary said on January 27, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Dexter, I don’t have premium cable so I don’t watch Shameless, but they were filming an episode outside my office door a few weeks ago. It involved a wedding and I think a birth? They also piled lots of bags of crushed ice outside the exit to look like snow. It was very strange walking out of work at about 7 pm to a scene that looked like winter in Chicago with snow piles and Chicago PD cars.

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  15. del said on January 27, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Dave, I didn’t see the Grammys, but having kids who listen to popular music helps delay the “get off of my lawn” sentiment. With kids you can’t escape the top 40. And you develop preferences.

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  16. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 10:18 am


    And –


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  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Hey, speaking of voices from the pit of hell: watching the Grammys with my son last night finally got me to look up the lyrics to that charming, catchy little tune “Blurred Lines.”

    And all I can say is: What. The. Heck. Seriously, how is that not getting massive pushback? If he was black and rapping that, if he was a GOP congresscritter opining that, if he was Ann Coulter ranting that women really want to be animals and it’s up to the guy to force her, but it’s too bad modern life has made it hard to know how much violence in sex is too much — SERIOUSLY?

    My own “get off my lawn” moment was realizing how many times I’d heard the song bop by me and not realize what the heck Dr. Seaver’s son was singing. But I guess a handsome white guy can pull it off, especially if Miley is . . . well, I also realized last night that she was just doing what the song specifically instructed her to do.

    And Nancy, your words “incompetent school administration” cut right to the heart of it. And why we probably can’t go down any road but full exclusion. I had one of those “Bible as Literature” classes at Valparaiso High School, and it was glorious… and where my love affair with Shakespeare began, which tells you all you need to know about how Kitty Clark taught it, which was brilliantly.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on January 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Alex, that’s great news, and I hope the good recovery continues.

    Watching the first hour of the Grammys made me feel old and cranky, so I switched over to Downton Abbey in the bedroom. The living room contingent seemed to be enjoying themselves, but the appeal was lost on me.

    As a liberal believer, I’m appalled at Louisiana, but wonder how far our own state is from a similar situation. There are certainly schools here in town with similar practices, and people are getting vouchers to send their children to them. A religious charter school is surely not far away.

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I read where Lorde remarked, with a certain bemused irony, that she’s getting sucked into the bling-laden life she denounced in “Royals” (which won a Grammy, if I’m not mistaken). She seems quite self-aware for a young superstar.

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  20. Bruce Fields said on January 27, 2014 at 10:40 am

    “the solution implicit in the Beast & ACLU discussion is the rigorous exclusion of all faith and religious content from public schools”

    Absent anything more specific, I have trouble distinguishing this from “the solution that I fear though I see it nowhere advocated by anyone in the article”.

    “I think the purist ACLU view is wrong today. Somehow, faith and beliefs should be acknowledged out loud and in free discussion in public settings up to and including schools”

    You’re confused about the ACLU’s position. For example, from https://www.aclu.org/aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression, “The ACLU of Michigan (2004) represented Abby Moler, a student at Sterling Stevenson High School, whose yearbook entry, a Bible verse, was deleted because of its religious content. A settlement was reached under which the school placed a sticker with Moler’s original entry in the yearbooks and agreed not to censor students’ yearbook entries based on their religious or political viewpoints in the future.”

    “I understand for an atheist/non-believer, any expression of faith can feel like an intrusion.”

    Speaking just as one atheist/non-believer, no.

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  21. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Bruce, thank you. I’m reading that with interest. I wrote a column making a qualified defense of an inobtrusively placed memorial painting for a deceased teacher that showed Jesus tending sheep, removed from a school building, and got a big pile of e-mail and snail-mail, much of it citing the ACLU, and telling me how wrong and hurtful I was to argue that there’s any way a painting with Jesus in it could be in a school. So I’m still trying to figure out how to answer that sort of reaction… and many fellow Christians were irritated with me (including in my congregation) for not being more supportive of Christian expression in school in general. Your response is very instructive, and I have read and bookmarked it!

    I wrote a column some four years ago about the Obama administration guideline sheet on religion in school and religious expression, and it was very much in line with what you’ve shown me here, but I was not aware that it was the ACLU (or at least the national ACLU) position. Again, thanks for the correction.

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  22. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    I can’t find the document from 2009, but this was put out by George W. Bush’s secretary of education, and puts the Sabine situation in a pretty clear, harsh, unambiguous light: “Nor may teachers, school administrators and other school employees, when acting in their official capacities as representatives of the state, encourage or discourage prayer, or participate in such activities with students.” [from ed.gov]

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  23. alex said on January 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Religious expression in schools wouldn’t bother anyone if it were evenhanded; the problem is when you have majoritarian rule by people who are hell bent on shoving theirs down everyone else’s throats, the same sort who blast ecumenical celebrations as an affront to their religious sensibilities. I used to work with a bimbo who had this sort of mentality. I was quite taken aback one day when she openly talked about Jews needing to get right with God and accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior and quit demanding that everyone kowtow to their “happy holidays” bullcrap. I tried to caution her that such talk would get her shitcanned and that it’s just plain wrong. To which she replied something about “feminazis” and political correctness blah blah blah. She went to work in another office where they didn’t take kindly to her offensive diatribes. She now works as a restaurant waitress. Probably bitching about Obamacare, never mind that she forfeited some pretty damned good benefits just because she wouldn’t keep a cork in it.

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  24. coozledad said on January 27, 2014 at 11:18 am

    We are all of us guests on this planet
    And with guests — you know how it is
    Some are nice and some are tiresome
    And some behave as if they were hosts
    and even as they die they believe
    that they have owned the sun and the air and the history that took place
    even before they were born.

    Stefan Themerson

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  25. Heather said on January 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Nancy, I agree with you about the value of the Bible as literature. When I was a child someone gave me a Bible picture book with all the stories, and I really think that was the tipping point as far as recognizing those references as I grew older. I certainly never learned them in school, I don’t think. They reverberate throughout our culture. I also grew up in a largely Jewish area, which was helpful for getting all of the “and here’s one for Elijah” jokes.

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  26. beb said on January 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

    During the 2012 election I frequently heard the comment that “the more people know about Mitt Romney the less they liked him.” The level of insensitivity was always appalling — his house with the car elevator, bitching about the 47% as if people on Social Security didn;t pay for their retirement or people on Disability need our charity.But the worst of it always was that smug, superior grin on his face. He looked like a snake-oil salesman from day one.

    People have probably heard about Tom Perkins’ WSJ op-ed where he compared criticism of the 1% to the Nazi’s Krystallnicht.I figured Goodwin would be impressed because he went from zero to Nazi in under 200 words. Josh Marshall has a thoughtful essay about why the rich feel so embattled in his blog –
    It’s pretty insightful. Personally I think the Tree of Liberty needs to be watered by the blood of some plutocrats. Or at least we should take their money away…

    I don’t recall there being any religion on the public schools when I was going up. Of course I might have ignored any crosses in the building, I’m pretty sure there was no prayer aside from the “under god” part of the Pledge of Allegiance. And I felt sorry for the one Christian Scientist girl who was excused from the Christmas Party because she was missing out on a party, not because religion was being rained down on her. As for debating Creationism in 6th grade science class I had already read enough of the bible (you got to have something to do during tedious sermons) to know that there were two origin stories in genesis. That taken literally Cain and Able had to have married their sisters, and if Noah collected two of all kinds of animals, how was he able to collected a pair of Tasmanian Devils? There’s nothing quite so hopeless as teaching faith to a smart-ass 6th grader.

    I didn’t realize at first that the article about Virgin Olive Oil was a slideshow presentation. So I’m knocking down his grade a whole letter point for not being more obvious. In the end it’s’ kind of sad to realize that one can no more trust Italy for pure food and drugs than one can trust China. Or Monsanto. It’s sad to think that there is no one one can really trust to be honest and truthful.

    I was hoping to see Ben and Jerry — er, Tom and Lorenzo’s Grammy fashions report. The slideshows on Yahoo seem to indicate a lot of OK, if boring dresses.

    And the cold. The first snow we got this year I discovered that my snow blower needed essential maintanance. Finally got it back last week, after six weeks of the heaviest snow in decades. Ran it once and went to start yesterday and it wouldn’t start! I am cursed.

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  27. Sue said on January 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

    We were trying to decide between ‘Captain Phillips’ and ‘In A World…’ for a movie to watch this weekend. We decided on ‘In A World…’ because holy gods this is a seriously bleak winter and we needed something light. Good choice.
    Downton Abbey… oooh, Mr. Bates, you do have layers, don’t you? Which Julian will not peel away because why start now?
    I couldn’t watch Sherlock afterwards. Still too annoyed by last week’s episode for another helping last night.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Oh, shoot – so I came onto Nancy’s page to chuckle and post this, originally. I was thinking of Prospero Sunday morning as I shoveled and had NPR on my earbuds, because Krista Tippett’s “On Being” was all about Teilhard de Chardin, a subject that always brought joy to our departed friend Michael. If you are so inclined:


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  29. Sherri said on January 27, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Jeff(tmmo), here’s a good place to start if you want to find out the national ACLU position on religious belief: https://www.aclu.org/religion-belief.

    My understanding is that ties between local and national versions of the ACLU are pretty strong. I’ve been told that when I donate to the ACLU-WA, which is a relatively well-funded branch, some of my money goes to the national version to support branches in states that are less well-funded, such as (presumably) Louisiana.

    The religious right has tended to demonize the ACLU as anti-religious. It’s not; it’s pro Bill of Rights.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    What I simply cannot understand among those who insist on denigrating science and extolling creationism in schools is the incredible disservice they are doing to their own children. The U.S. faces enormous competition from fast-rising economies all over the world, nations that are spending heavily to educate their kids to world-class norms.

    How will these poor Louisiana kids compete? This is almost like a form of child abuse, isn’t it?

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  31. Sue said on January 27, 2014 at 11:57 am

    “‘if evolution were real, it would still be happening. Apes would be turning into humans today.””
    Or tiny little microorganisms that were unknown to knowledge-seeking scientists 100+ years ago would be turning into superbugs resistant to current medication. Thank goodness that’s not happening. But if it is, well, God’s will I guess.

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  32. Bitter Scribe said on January 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Jeff–If you’d like to hear directly from a couple of students how a faith-first “Christian” education is crippling, this would be a good place to start.

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  33. coozledad said on January 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    This is almost like a form of child abuse, isn’t it?

    Once they’re out of the womb, who gives a shit, really.

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  34. Jolene said on January 27, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    There are a lot of right-wing ideas that make me think along the lines of child abuse. Opposition to environmental regulation, for instance, just kills me. Don’t Republicans have grandchildren, and don’t they want them to have a habitable planet to live on? Often, it doesn’t seem so, as everything seems to come down to government getting out of the way of whatever any industry wants to do. Infuriating, indeed.

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  35. alex said on January 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    They only care that their grandchildren will be footing the bill for Obamacare and the 2008 stimulus, as they’ve been promised is going to happen by disingenuous schmucks like Paul Ryan. They couldn’t give a flying frig about the planet.

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  36. Snarkworth said on January 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    In my public high school, we had a course in world religions that, to my recollection, never caused any controversy. It taught about religion, and we were all students, not adherents. I’ve since been told that such a course would be unlikely today, not because of non-believers, but because certain Christians would oppose having their faith taught as one of many.

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  37. Joe K said on January 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Wife came thru knee replacement a ok, should be home Wednesday
    And Alax, I just had the shrimp scampi pasta down in the cafe, must say top notch.
    Pilot Joe

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  38. Jolene said on January 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Glad to hear your wife’s surgery went well, Pilot Joe. Hope the post-op rehab goes well, too.

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  39. Scout said on January 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Good news about your wife, Joe. Tell her I send my best for her continued recovery.

    To all – I’m thinking about you as you suffer this beastly winter. When I talk to my daughter in PA I won’t even talk about the weather, she’s already depressed enough.

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  40. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Julie has mentioned the let-down owing to the seasonal shortening of daylight hours, and I think I’m feeling some of that.

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  41. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Forgot to say – excellent news, Joe!

    Big shiny new hospitals are pleasant enough to visit, but it’s most fun to leave those places

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  42. Julie Robinson said on January 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Joe, very glad to hear that her surgery went well; now comes the rehab, which people tell me is not pleasant. You’ll definitely have to keep her off the ice during that time, and or course, pamper her every wish.

    Brain, do you just want to eat carbs in bed while feeling hopeless? Indeed I am feeling the SAD, and all my normal techniques to combat it have failed. This morning I got stuck in my own damn driveway, wrenched my already bad knee in the drifts, and finally came back in and had a good cry. Luckily we are going to Orlando next week, but I’m gonna dread coming home.

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  43. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I was tucked into a blanket on the couch yesterday, with one of the kitties upon my chest, while something or other was on tv (I think Pam was watching yet another Parks & Recreation episode on Amazon)

    Aye yi yi!

    The girls and I eventually saddled up and drove around town a little, and ran an errand or two

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  44. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    (Chloe, the 9 year old, had a science project to do, which was due today. So one of our stops was Walgreens to get a 3-ring binder and to pick up the prints of pictures we snapped of her conducting her experiments. Got the thing done, and then schools went down for today…so she’s ahead!)

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  45. Julie Robinson said on January 27, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    She’s not likely to need that project until Wednesday, with the temps predicted so low. Our office closed early today and has already closed for tomorrow, which is why I wanted to get in this morning. But it will all keep, and I have plenty to do here at home, and my dear sweet hubby came home at lunch to dig me out.

    But I’m imagining a lot of stir-crazy kids, hair-pulled-out parents, and despair-filled teachers/administrators at instructional time lost before the important testing dates.

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  46. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    …a lot of stir-crazy kids, hair-pulled-out parents, and despair-filled teachers/administrators at instructional time lost before the important testing dates.

    and don’t forget self-righteous blow-hard FaceBookers and others, bellyaching about “THESE DARNED SCHOOLS” that close down all the damned time, etc etc

    And of course, this is the same damned crowd that bellyaches and moans when they DO go to school, and then the weather turns.

    Dr Wendy Robinson, our superb superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools, has a job I would not want, and which she does supremely well, and for which she earns every nickel of what we pay her

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  47. Basset said on January 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Meanwhile and on a completely different topic… we bought the “5 minutes” bread book yesterday, made up some dough, will bake it tonight. Details to come.

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  48. Basset said on January 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    And, Joe, good to hear the knee repairs went well… Make sure she does ALL the rehab exercises.

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  49. Suzanne said on January 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I’ve been using the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day for a while. It took me a few tries to really get it right, but it is good, easy, and nice to have on hand. I usually make two loaves out of each batch. I think the book says to make three, but they are so little, it’s hardly worth the effort. I especially like the European Peasant Bread recipe.

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  50. Jeff Borden said on January 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Off topic. . .

    Is anyone here watching “True Detective” on HBO? I’m completely hooked. Matthew McConaughey, who is having a pretty damned great year with performances ranging from “Mud” to “Dallas Buyers Club,” is just a revelation. Woody Harrelson is almost as great. Roles small and large are written and cast with enormous care. Great cinematography and music selected by the incomparable T-Bone Burnett. I’ve been just about ready to drop HBO, but this and “Real Time with Bill Maher” are keeping me around for awhile.

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  51. alex said on January 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Glad things went well for your wife, Joe. Isn’t that a nice facility there? I spent a week in Lutheran a couple of years ago and don’t remember it being quite as posh, although it was certainly an impressive place as well. I’m heading over in a bit to have dinner. The scampi was good, had it over the weekend.

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  52. Sherri said on January 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Good news, Joe, and good luck to your wife with the rehab.

    Good news on the weather front here: it looks like we’re finally breaking out of the fog funk we’ve been stuck in most of the winter. Now we can proceed to our typical gray rain (and maybe even some snow in the mountains.) Here’s a pretty startling comparison of last year’s and this year’s snow cover on the west coast: http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/01/2013-versus-2014-view-from-space.html

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  53. basset said on January 27, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Five-minute bread was a success today, first loaf turned out well… may try another later tonight and make up a new batch.

    Damned cold here for Tennessee, supposed to hit two below tonight.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Grace and peace to you and your spouse, Joe. I’m betting you’re both monsters of rehab!

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  55. Deborah said on January 27, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Good news Joe, glad to hear your wife is on the mend.

    We went to Abiquiu today and then on the way back my husband found out his flight back to Chicago for tomorrow was canceled, so he’s staying here until Weds morning. It is good news all around because the high will be 21 on Weds instead of low single digits as it would have been if he arrived on Tues. As a result of his extra day here we’re going back to Abiquiu tomorrow and finish up some work we started on the land today. I’m so happy to be staying in Santa Fe where the temp will be 57 on Thurs.

    Little Bird flies to Texas on Friday for her grandfather’s memorial service on Saturday. She returns on Monday. I’ll have the weekend to myself, just me and the cat.

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  56. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    So this evening, Shelby, our freshman at Wayne New Tech High School, had a snow-day Winter Gaurd practice, which was to run between 3 and 8 pm.

    And then, around 6:30, we got a text from her, saying the school might be on fire(!!!”might”??!!)

    It is not too much to say – this drew our undivided attention. Very shortly thereafter, I was on my way south, and it was slightly jarring to roll onto the Wayne parking lot and see a fire engine sitting there idling; but it was also reassuring that there was only one fire truck (presumably if there actually was a fire, 8 or 10 trucks would have been there, plus police and all the rest).

    Anyway, as I headed toward the building a young lady from Shelby’s team was heading out, and I asked her the one word question – “Fire?” – and she laughed and said “Broken pipe!” – and this was a welcome bit of news, indeed.

    Proceeding into the building, I met Shelby, and also her coach – and on the way home Shelby was telling me how they had been practicing when the lights began blinking and the alarms sounded. She indicated that her coach and his assistant wasted no time at all – asking the girls to remain in place while they quickly moved out to see what the matter was.

    Apparently a pipe broke and great clouds of steam or water vapor gave the appearance of smoke. (I assume that if a sprinkler system pipe broke, and water began flowing, that alone would set off the alarms)

    Anyway, it ended practice a little early, and showed us that the adults there were pretty clear-thinking and up to the challenge of the occasional random event….and it provided a lot of Facebook fodder

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  57. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    And speaking of broken pipes –


    Several GOP lawmakers, who favor defining marriage as between one man and one woman, were uncomfortable with that provision, fearing it could eliminate employer health benefits in civil unions and other domestic partnerships. It may not matter anymore, because Monday evening, the House made the second sentence go away.

    ” 52 ayes, 43 no’s, the motion carries.”

    Same sex marriage supporters, who were on hand for consideration of the amendment, cheered in the balcony, overjoyed by the result. Minutes later, on a floor above, they held an impromptu rally. “We won today, there’s more winning to come.”

    Hallelujah, and Amen!

    Maybe Indiana can claim to be at least a little less crazy than North Carolina, afterall!

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  58. Dexter said on January 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    LAMary: yep, only the exteriors are filmed in Chicago, with the bulk of the show filmed in LA. I am surprised they filmed the scenes you mention in LA. Kev and Veronica are a couple who wanted a kid, didn’t happen, so Kev got Veronica’s mom pregnant to be the surrogate mother. OK, fine…but then Veronica got pregnant with triplets, so it’s anybody’s guess who was having the babies/baby in the episode you witnesses being shot.

    You guys know about Kevin Bacon’s show, “The Following”. It’s on Fox. It is the sappiest show on TV, creepy killers on the move, deposed FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) on the track-down. Bacon got ripped off badly by Bernie Madoff and needed to replenish the cash accounts so he worked his way into this lead role to make some money. This damn show has no character or strength to it. I watch, because I watched last year, but I am about done.

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  59. alex said on January 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    If I were to lay money on it, I’d wager that the state GOP will finally have the political will to kill HJR3 when it makes its second pass sans second sentence in 2016. In a major election year with turnout at its highest, the referendum could very well be a drag on the entire Republican ticket. It’s rumored that Governor Pence is terrified of having to share a ballot with it, having won in 2012 with the fewest votes of any Indiana governor in the last fifty years, for which Richard Mourdock was responsible.

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  60. maryinIN said on January 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Brian at #56: Yes if the sprinkler pipes broke it’s SUPPOSED to set off the alarms. However, the alarms are not needed when the pipes break in an inhabited building in a high-rise condo complex. The residents can figure it out by the water cascading down on them. Folks, a broken sprinkler pipe is not the same amount of water as a sprinkler head going off. Several units became uninhabitable within minutes and several others nearly so. Sigh, I believe all of us are headed for the dreaded Special Assessment.

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