The toilet problem.

When I was a lucky lass of roughly 25 or so, I had a friend from junior high who lived in Paris, and I went to see him for a couple weeks. We got along like we’d been besties since only yesterday, and had a marvelous visit. But bathrooms were a problem.

I don’t think I had an entirely comfortable elimination the whole time I was there. The bathroom in his apartment was tiny, the shower and toilet in the same enclosure — the toilet paper lived under a watertight plastic hood. But that was luxury compared to the repulsive facilities in the little cafes and so forth that we frequented. Some were literal holes in the floor over which you squatted. A crude seat was considered quite fancy.

When I returned home, everything looked gray and ugly and like a tire store, but at least the bathrooms were clean and roomy. So when you talk bathrooms, I always think of that time in Paris. Also, about how most of us use bathrooms.

Bathrooms were the undoing of the Houston equal rights ordinance, we’re told:

(What) was clear was that a monthslong effort by social conservatives to repeal the ordinance and reframe the issue had paid off, through tactics likely to be used again in similar battles around the country.

Through speeches, yard signs, T-shirts, banners and ads on TV, the radio and the Internet, they zeroed in on the measure’s gender-identity protections and focused the debate on a narrow issue whose very relevance was disputed by political rivals: bathrooms, and access to them.

This reframing cast the issue as a matter of public safety, with claims that the measure would allow men who were dressed as women or who identified as women to enter women’s bathrooms and attack or threaten girls and women inside. The measure’s critics called it the Bathroom Ordinance and simplified their message to five words: “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms.”

Women’s bathrooms aren’t like men’s — there are no urinals. We walk in, choose a stall, close the door and do our business. I suppose it’s possible to be assaulted in one, but a very unlikely place to inflame the lust of anyone, much less a man who’s living as a woman. Locker rooms? I’ll give you that one, but again, my experience with them was that hardly anyone used the showers, except maybe after swimming classes, and then we wore our suits. There’s a taboo against nudity in locker rooms among teenagers, and unless it’s changed, it’s quite strong. I’ve been naked in adult locker rooms about a million times, but in high school I was an expert at changing behind a tiny towel. I bet you were, too.

Why don’t any voters think of these things when they consider stuff like this? Transgender people have a way to go before they’re fully accepted, but when they walk into bathrooms, they’re the ones at risk, not the rest of us.

By all means, though, keep clutching your pearls, guys.

This week has seemed about a million days long, but it’s just about over. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Posted at 12:03 am in Current events |

86 responses to “The toilet problem.”

  1. jcburns said on November 6, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Well, I, for one, enjoyed Monday evening.

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  2. basset said on November 6, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Paris? Here ya go…

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  3. David C. said on November 6, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Everything is projection with conservatives. They can see themselves claiming to be transgendered to cop a peek in the women’s (as Huckabee said he would), so that’s what they believe everyone would do. Reality be damned. It was always “we can’t have gays in the military because showers”. Anyone heard any salacious goings-on the military showers since gays were allowed to serve? I haven’t.

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  4. Wim said on November 6, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I once spent a month in Paris with my wife, mostly staying in an apartment with some old friends of hers. There, I began to pee sitting down, because the one time I stood our hostess swept in pointing j-accuse and crying “Ooo-im! You make PEEPEE on the FLOOR!” To her I owe a couple of decades of relative cleanliness and the surety of never leaving the seat up.

    We got to Paris by way of Amsterdam, which had pretty much everything to do with all the adventures that followed. I saw quite an assortment of French plumbing traipsing around, everything from the old squat toilets with the foot pads to the street pissoirs to clean, sparkling coin-op booths on the sidewalks that my wife refused to use, because if she got stuck in there I didn’t speak enough French to get help. Near the end of our stay a family of Americans shared a table with us in a busy restaurant, and the Dad asked if I had any advice. “Yes,” I said. “If you need to relieve yourself, any MacDonald’s, it’s clean and it’s free.”

    Later, flipping by the History Channel, I realized that I was nearly struck by a skateboarder on the exact same spot Hitler was filmed viewing the Eiffel Tower. Weird, man.

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  5. coozledad said on November 6, 2015 at 7:59 am

    There’s a scarcely concealed bathroom Bob in the heart of every Republican.

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  6. ROGirl said on November 6, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Le “vay say” or WC is what you ask for in France. Those hole in the floor thingies are referred to as “toilettes turques” or Turkish toilets. They usually have bar type handles on the door that you hold onto while straddling the hole so you don’t fall in.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on November 6, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Are the nasty public toilets the reason for all the bidets?

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  8. Connie said on November 6, 2015 at 8:24 am

    In Germany as a sixteen year old I was OK with the various toilets, but absolutely horrified by the toilet paper. Oh my sweet midwestern behind. That stuff was barely usable as a paper towel.

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  9. Deborah said on November 6, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I only encountered one of those hole in the floor toilets in a cafe in Italy. We were driving around Tuscany and stopped for a late lunch at the only place in this tiny town that was still open, they actually had already closed but said they’d go ahead and serve us. It turned out to be the best meal I’ve ever had in my entire life. Very simple, just pasta and red sauce with wine, but oh my heavenly days was it ever good. Before we got back in the car I went to the restroom and then, oh my, there it was in the floor. But when you gotta go you go.

    I’m at midway, way early. Some poor elderly lady fell on the moving walkway, what a scramble to get to her. She somehow ended up with a huge gash on her arm.

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  10. ROGirl said on November 6, 2015 at 8:30 am

    In general, they think Americans are obsessed with hygiene and cleanliness (and naive about political corruption and sex scandals), and they don’t necessarily take showers every day. Plus, the water heaters are really small, so you have to take a quick shower or it will go cold on you while you are still trying to wash your hair and it’s full of shampoo. On the non-shower days the bidet can come in handy.

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  11. brian stouder said on November 6, 2015 at 9:16 am

    It must be Friday – we’re doing potty talk!!

    Let me just say, in all seriousness, unisex bathrooms at big events strike me as a matter of civil rights, if not human compassion.

    I recall a John Cougar Mellencamp concert at the (what used to be called) Deer Creek outdoor theater, and the easy-in, easy out Men’s bathroom, and the huge serpentine line out the door in front of the Women’s bathroom.

    That was just wrong.

    Aside from that, I have never (and hopefully will never!) defecate in a porta-john.

    That would have to be one very ‘bad day at blackrock’!

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  12. brian stouder said on November 6, 2015 at 9:48 am

    …and before I forget, let me just say that the Bill McKibbon lecture on Climate Change was interesting and compelling, and included many photographs of people around the world demonstrating for awareness. And – double bonus! – our 11 year old and our 17 year old both came with me, and were also quite engaged by the subject matter.

    Next up for the Omnibus Lecture Series is Mary Matlin and James Carville, and Pam has indicated that if we get tix for that one, she is going to go, too!

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  13. Bob (not Greene) said on November 6, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Here in the Chicago area this week we have had unravel a very bizarre case in which a Lake County cop staged his suicide to look like he’d been murdered on duty. Police basically shut down the northern suburbs for a massive manhunt and sparked a broad “never forget” style police propaganda campaign complete with blue ribbons still around what seems like most trees in the area.

    Well, all the details are coming out now. The guy was stealing money from the Explorer Post, and then reportedly tried to have a gang member kill public official who was apparently suspicious of what was going on. Oh, and the cop is also suspected of having arranged a sham marriage between his mistress and his son, who was in the Army, to boost his military benefits.

    The whole thing stunk from the word go.

    Neil Steinberg has a pretty powerful wrapup here:

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  14. Heather said on November 6, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Brian, I know someone who picked up a staph infection from a porta-potty–but it was on a construction site during the high summer and was filthy. I think they keep most festival porta-potties relatively clean, and aren’t some self-cleaning these days? But I avoid them too.

    In all the time I’ve spent in Europe, including a year in Italy, I think I only ran across a squat toilet a couple times. They’re not as common anymore, thank God.

    I don’t think I would even notice if a transgendered person were in the women’s bathroom. I try to get in and get out.

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  15. nancy said on November 6, 2015 at 10:16 am

    The only time I ever saw genetic men in the ladies’ was when Alex took me to the LGBT dinner dance, a Fort Wayne fall tradition. Believe me, those babes were ONLY thinking about fixing their faces, not little old me.

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  16. coozledad said on November 6, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Bob (Not Greene): Police in Louisiana are now killing white folks they have a personal grudge with. Killing their kids, too.

    This was an execution style murder.

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on November 6, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Those of us of a certain age will remember how the Equal Rights Amendment was killed in part by fears that it would be a Constitutional mandate for unisex bathrooms. The tune may change, but the lyrics remain the same.

    It’s amazing that people who, in all probability, argue against gun laws on the grounds that they won’t deter criminals from getting their hands on a pistol, think that a perv who puts on a wig and a dress to get into a ladies’ bathroom for whatever nefarious purpose will stop at the bathroom door because transsexuals do not have equal protection under the law.

    I don’t know how to use a bidet, don’t think I ever will, and am not sure I want to.

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  18. Dorothy said on November 6, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Bob (not Greene) that story has been national news all week. It’s just astonishing it took this long for this news to come out. Then again maybe the officials knew what they were doing, quietly building a case with evidence and witnesses. What does this to do the psyche of honest, decent cops who really DO the right thing and support their community and gain people’s trust? It makes them all look guilty. I wouldn’t want to be a cop for all the money in the world these days.

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  19. Heather said on November 6, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Actually I think cultures that use bidets think we are the gross ones. Why wouldn’t you want to clean your naughty bits?

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  20. coozledad said on November 6, 2015 at 10:44 am

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  21. Kim said on November 6, 2015 at 11:05 am

    My school showers were traumatic. The gym teacher was a brawny Germanic type with her toady sidekick. We had to strip and wrap our towels around our hair. Then, hands on head like a prisoner, we lined up and paraded through the showers while being critiqued. Picture that scene in the Magdalene Sisters. It was awful.

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  22. MichaelG said on November 6, 2015 at 11:24 am

    From yesterday: Thank you for your concern, Jolene. I had a PET scan the other day and the stuff is back in my lungs and leg. So I’ll be starting another round of chemo. As of right now I still feel strong and I feel good. But I can tell the stuff is there. The aim is to maintain a decent quality of life for as long as possible. I did have a brief discussion with my oncologist about end game strategies but will talk more about that later. I’m still hoping to make my trip to Cuba in December but we’ll see. I had been thinking of a trip to Buenos Aires in March or so but now . . .

    A while ago somebody mentioned Moe. Regina. Last year I went back and read all her posts and did it again this past spring. What a wonderful woman. I admire her deeply and hope that I can demonstrate a fraction of the grace with which she blessed us.

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  23. Sue said on November 6, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Oh Michael G…

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  24. brian stouder said on November 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

    MichaelG, I’d say that’s a “Mission: Accomplished”

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  25. alex said on November 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Not that it matters to the Republican true believers:

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  26. Jeff Borden said on November 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Sociopaths are such skillful liars they often can pass the lie detector tests because they believe in the very marrow of their bones they are telling the truth. Ben Carson appears to fall into this category. His blowup on CNN yesterday under polite but very pointed questioning about his alleged violent anger as a youth showed an intensely fragile ego when questioned in any manner.

    And yet last night on NBC News they showed him entering a bookstore to sign copies and the response was beyond rapturous. Interviews with his fans were terrifying. As Alex notes, they don’t seem to give a fig whether this guy is truthful or not. He’s a black guy. He’s a conservative. He rejects evolution and thumps the Bible. He hates gays. I guess that’s enough to make him a frontrunner.

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  27. Jolene said on November 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for bringing us up to date, MichaelG. I have only long-distance good wishes to offer, but I surely do send them. I admire the way you’ve lived since you learned of your illness–finding pleasure in time with the people close to you, in fine food, and in travel, and I hope you can continue in this way for a long while yet.

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  28. Brandon said on November 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Some say the squatting position is healthier than the sitting position when defecating.

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  29. Jenine said on November 6, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Michael G, I hope you get to both Cuba and Argentina.
    Also sending good thoughts to Dexter, hope his ‘scope this week is over with no excitement.

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  30. Sherri said on November 6, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    You privileged people, you. When I was a kid, for a few years, we lived in a house without an indoor bathroom. Chamber pot, or take the path to the private clearing, not even an outhouse, though I have used an old fashioned outhouse, too.

    MichaelG, I hope you get to go on your trips.

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  31. Scout said on November 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Brandon… yes that is true.

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  32. Jolene said on November 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Here’s an article about Ben Carson that goes beyond pointing out his falsehoods and kooky beliefs. Instead, the author identifies what he calls a troubling lack of “epistemological modesty.” That is, he believes he knows more than he does, more than people who are experts in the field in question–an unfortunate tendency for someone seeking a job in which he can’t possibly know everything, but must rely on advisors. Check it out. An interesting read.

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  33. Jolene said on November 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Sherri, the house I grew up in didn’t have an indoor bathroom until I was about ten years old. Before that, it was chamber pots at night, a chemical toilet in the basement, and an outhouse in warm weather. We had baths in the kitchen sink (fanny on one side, feet on the other) until we got too big, after which we used a shower in the basement. Wouldn’t you just love to raise a pack of kids under those circumstances?

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  34. Brandon said on November 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    @Scout: That’s a cheeky ad! Thanks;)

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  35. alex said on November 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Why do they always use narrators with British accents when the subject is bowel function? Is this supposed to class it up somehow?

    And regarding Carson’s penchant for fabulism, lest we forget, St. Ronnie was never one to let facts get in the way of a good story either. And among his close personal advisors was his wife’s astrologist. Plus ca change.

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  36. Deborah said on November 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Potty talk indeed. I’m back in Santa Fe again sitting in front of the fireplace. It’s cold here.

    Our building project in Abiquiu is phase one of our total plan. I’ve probably mentioned this before but we are in the midst of building basically a cabin. An unusual cabin for sure, but pretty rustic. We will not have running water or electricity in this first phase. We will have a composting toilet. I found one online that is very small, meant to go on a boat. I have learned to rough it as far as bathroom behavior goes from years of camping on our land. It took me a while to get used to it but now I’d rather go out in the wild than in a stinky, filthy public toilet any day. My friends in the city have a hard time believing that, but it’s true.

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  37. FDChief said on November 6, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I think that giving the opponents of this Houston measure credit for sincerity in their supposed fears of potty-predators is waaaayyyyy too credulous. The whole toilet-pervoid thing was just a way to make their bigotry seem less bigoted. I can’t imagine anything less salacious that a public toilet and they knew that as well as I do. The “issue” was a strawman intended to give people who had a hate-on for “those people” to ensure that “those people” got a good sharp slap to remind them that they are not the equal of God-fearing heterosexuals.

    And Carson lies like a rug. Is there anyone here who thinks that will deter his anthropoid legions? The man could clean, spit, and grill a Muslim infant on television and his lunatic cult would stop only to recommend an appropriate basting sauce. “Ceterum censeo, delenda est GOP”

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 6, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Why wouldn’t we just do what happens at most public events de facto when the line skew gets out of hand? Make ’em all unisex. Two sets of toilets is a relatively recent and peculiarly Western development.

    MichaelG, all I can add is: you’re inspiring me. Keep on doing so, please! Grace and peace to you on your travels.

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  39. Dexter said on November 7, 2015 at 2:07 am

    MichaelG, you are quite a fella. Not letting cancer get you down, you and my friend Jim Friedland from NYC who have been battling cancers for years are sources of strength and example for the rest of us. Jim writes hellishly long Facebook posts describing his life lived mostly in hospitals as he studies his diseases and criticizes his doctors when a new angle of treatment goes all haywire. MichaelG gets around, Jim is mostly confined to hospitals, but neither of you indicate, ever, a desire to kick it or give up.
    Well, now a word of praise for the modern day VA healthcare system, narrowly defined by my own sparse experiences in Toledo , Battle Creek, and now Ann Arbor.
    Just a year ago I hadn’t seriously considered VA healthcare, based on media condemnation of the whole system. What turned me was a post written by Craig Crawford (until a week ago the press guy for the abandoned Jim Webb campaign) in which Craig told of the kind and ultra-professional care his elderly father had received during a surgical procedure and the follow-up care, including calls made by the surgeon to the home, just checking. So, I decided to give it a whirl. A year later , I continue to be amazed. I was treated like royalty Friday in the Ann Arbor VA hospital during the C-scope procedure. This sounds corny even to myself, but that entire crew in that department were like angels, so caring, so nice, so professional. I have never encountered anything like it.
    On top of that, my results from the procedure were A-1 favorable. Nothing wrong. Great news…and this will likely be the last time I ever comment on colonoscopies because in ten years when I’m due, unless I have some major issues, I’ll never have to have another one, due to my age then. No routine c-scopes past age 75.
    The tech with me in the procedure room, as we awaited the doctor, even brought me a warm blanket, actually warm, as in temperature-wise, and fetched my wool hat for my bald head, as the room was indeed very cold.
    The way they administer Versed , the twilight sedation drug is also different. Friday I was awake , hearing conversations, nine years ago the local people knocked me out and I remembered nothing.
    And I missed out on my Zingerman’s sandwich, as my driver ( my brother…I was not allowed to drive of course after the procedure) and my wife both wanted to hit a Bob Evans restaurant , and most of us here at nn.c do not particularly care for Down On The Farm, but… I didn’t resist, and had a decent turkey and dressing lunch. I will rate Bob Evans coffee ahead of both McCafe and Tim Horton’s.

    I first saw those foot-pad squat holes in Vietnam. Toilet-talk was also the Thursday topic on “Bennington”, an XM channel. Gail, the (maybe?) 30-or-so year old co-host, told of visiting a bathroom on the Highline shopping linear “elevated mall”, entering with a friend, and the partition was broken in half and the two peeing women were sitting there talking, and Gail said she now knows and understands urinal-talk. She also said no girls in high school paraded nude in the locker room, but like nance, as an adult, no big deal to be naked in an adult gym’s shower facilities.

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  40. Dexter said on November 7, 2015 at 2:21 am

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  41. alex said on November 7, 2015 at 7:19 am

    FDChief I think you nailed it as regards Houston. So much of the anti-gay marriage rhetoric of a few years ago was equally disingenuous. Not that facts ever matter to some people. Certainly not to Ben Carson’s followers. Given that he blames slavery and the holocaust on its victims, whatever he says about the pyramids or West Point is pretty trifling stuff. Earl Butz was fired for less, and at a time when the world was a lot less politically correct than it is today. I don’t think we have to worry about Carson becoming president so much as we should be concerned about the media rolling over like a lap dog the way it did leading up to the Iraq invasion and legitimizing bullshit in the interest of appearing balanced.

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  42. David C. said on November 7, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Did anyone see Doc Maddow’s candidate’s forum last night? I though it was exceptional. I really believe that if the Rs did something similar, with Rachel as the moderator, and if they took it seriously and not as a chance to froth at the mouth, that they would end up looking as serious as all three candidates did last night. Then flip it have all the candidates from all parties do a forum with Rushbo or Shit for Brains Sean moderating. I have no doubts that our candidates would come off as capable and theirs would come off as lunatics. Because “the liberal media” believes in journalism and the RW media believes in scoring points and keeping people stirred up.

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  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 7, 2015 at 8:08 am

    If you saw O’Reilly take on George Will last night, you’d be thinking even letting him do a series of one-on-ones of the GOP candidates would be illuminating. Rachel Maddow did a very, very good job.

    I think O’Malley has wrapped up the veep spot, and Bernie is nicely counterweighting Hillary on progressive issues, which allows her to tack right and sail left. Honestly, I don’t see any credible way anyone slows her, let alone stops her on the way to the Oval Office.

    Except of course for Macmillan’s famous “events, dear boy, events.” Which I’m sure keeps O’Malley on his toes, just in case.

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  44. brian stouder said on November 7, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Jeff – agreed on all points. Last night Chloe (our 11 year old) and I went to Shelby’s* high school’s auditorium for a Veteran’s Day musical celebration (and it was surprisingly good!), so I dvr’d Rachel’s forum.

    Ms Maddow is superb, indeed, and O’Malley was flat-out impressive

    *Shelby was busy doing something else, and as she pointed out – “Why would I want to go? I’ve been there all day!”

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  45. coozledad said on November 7, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    When Nikolai Ceausescu comes to America, the Republicans will be the ones bringing him.

    I believe this is commonly referred to as “dictator style”.

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  46. brian stouder said on November 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Cooz – Pam wants to know what I’m guffawing about, and it was (specifically) the photo of the chiseled-into-the-wall biblical thing, complete with a mis-spelling (and odd punctuation and spacing)!

    ‘By Humility And The Fear Of The Lord Are Riches,Honor And Life poverbs 22:4’

    Dr Carson is out of his depth. Likewise, Donald Trump is out of his depth, too. And between you and I, Bernie Sanders would (I bet) be another Jimmy Carter – a credible person who would rally the opposition into implacable resistance

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  47. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 7, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Coozledad, thank you for that. Early Ceausescu, indeed. I just sent that link to two friends who have tried to make a case for Carson to me. It kind of sums up everything I thought I was hearing in his tone and amiable testiness.

    Let’s not let him develop a Late Ceausescu period.

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  48. Kirk said on November 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I like the painting of himself with his old pal, the bathrobe-wearing Jesus.

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  49. David C. said on November 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    That’s Disco Jesus not the true Aryan Jesus. Dr. Ben must not be a real Christian.

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  50. alex said on November 7, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    If you guys hadn’t spoiled it for me, I would have thought it was an innocent picture with his favorite rent boy known to his wife only as the guy who cleans the pool.

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  51. brian stouder said on November 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Alex, that image does have a certain…buzz about it

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  52. brian stouder said on November 7, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    …our Lord and Savior seems to be wearing a fluffy bathrobe

    this one would squeal my tires (more or less) –

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  53. coozledad said on November 7, 2015 at 7:37 pm

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  54. MichaelG said on November 7, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Just wondering if he has an autographed picture of Jesus.

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  55. coozledad said on November 7, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Michael G: Someone can work one up for him. I don’t begrudge him his self canonization, as long as he keeps it on the down low.

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  56. coozledad said on November 7, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Michael G: I know you’re one of the last feebs like me who love this.

    God help us, bro.

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  57. brian stouder said on November 7, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Cooz – honest to Goodness, I think the more appropriate theme music for Dr Carson (let alone the Donald) is this one

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  58. MichaelG said on November 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Boy, you sure skewered me with that one, Cooz. Yes I liked the Seekers back in the day. I never saw a video or a picture then or even knew that they were Ozzies until a year or two ago when I ran across something and googled them. Here is a video of their 50th Aniv concert from last year.

    Unlike the poor late Mary Travers, Judith Durham hasn’t lost her voice. God, the music was so different and the times were so different. I was also a big fan of Peter, Paul and Mary. I was so young and in college at U of I and then in the army and in Viet Nam. So many years ago. I listen to this stuff in my present state in 2015 and I have to admit that my eyes leak. Fuck. 50 years ago.

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  59. coozledad said on November 7, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Nothing to be ashamed about Micheal G. It was gorgeous. Good stuff.

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  60. FDChief said on November 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Great take on Doc Carson from Paul Bibeau’s Goblinbooks:

    “First, I honestly think I’m part chupacabra.
    Second, I read the Book of Revelation every morning, because it controls my bowel movements.
    Third, I never touch anything made of poplin or anything colored orange.
    And finally, I’m convinced that if I don’t punch a random tree every night as hard as I can, I’ll die before morning. It’s right there in Leviticus, only no one can see it but me.”

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  61. susan said on November 7, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I think a good au courant theme song for Dr. Mental could be this one. Or mebbe the cracker version of same (which is actually pretty amazing).

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  62. coozledad said on November 7, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Susan:It hardly seems to matter now.

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  63. Jolene said on November 7, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    The Seekers! I love them too. Wonderful memories of my first real boyfriend and all the passion of that time. Leaking eyes, indeed.

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  64. MichaelG said on November 7, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    As I type this, Mary Travers is singing 500 Miles in my head set. I don’t do buds if I can avoid them. Like Dexter, I first saw squatters in Viet Nam. I wasn’t amazed. I guess the whole whirlwind of training and shipping to the war zone dulled that. It was one of the early markers that made me aware that things were tougher for women than for those of the male persuasion. I mean it’s easy for a guy to piss. Just point it down wind.

    So Monday I start some more savage chemo. Six hours a day of infusion for three days. By Thursday I’ll be sick as a dog. Last year it took me damn near six months to fully recover. Who knows what this session will hold. My oncologist says this is not as bad as that was. Chemo is awful. I guess there are a few of you who know what it’s like, Jolene.

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  65. MichaelG said on November 7, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Then there’s Joan Baez. She’s both a staggeringly beautiful woman and an staggeringly beautiful singer. She can do it all. Still, today.

    I’ve only seen Joan Baez in person a couple of times and one of them was at Ravinia Park in Chicago a bunch of years ago. Yeah, like 50. Among the songs she sang was ‘Freight Train’. Magically, just in the middle of the song a train came by, blowing its horn and all. Joan paused for it to pass and then resumed the song with a huge grin on her face. The applause was off the meter.

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  66. Jolene said on November 8, 2015 at 12:02 am

    I was luckier than it seems most people are. The days I had treatments were long, but it was only a day at a time, three weeks apart. Two or three days after the treatment, I’d have two or three days of severe body aches, but then it was gone, and I felt OK until the next treatment. Different concoctions, I imagine, and different people react in different ways. Perhaps this time you’ll be luckier too.

    At the site cooz linked to, there’s a clip of a 60 Minutes interview with the Seekers conducted in 2012. Very interesting history. They’d already been stars for a few years by the time they provided the soundtrack for a romantic Christmas with a guy who was also a G.I., but one who had the good fortune to be sent to Germany rather than Vietnam.

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  67. MichaelG said on November 8, 2015 at 2:46 am

    I’m on a roll tonight. Now for the greatest, the one, the only, the greatest, pop, jazz, blues and everything other than operatic singer: the one, the only Ella.

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  68. Jerry said on November 8, 2015 at 2:50 am

    MichaelG, my best wishes for the treatment being smoother and less painful than you predict. And, of course for it being successful. Can I echo an earlier comment that I find your fortitude and determination to make the best of a bad situation admirable. My respect.

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  69. Deborah said on November 8, 2015 at 5:24 am

    MichaelG, I’ll be thinking about you this week, hoping for the best possible outcome.

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  70. Deborah said on November 8, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Getting back to the topic of Nancy’s post, I designed the signage for the Center on Halstead, a LGBT community center in Chicago. They wanted the restroom signs to just say “restroom”, not “Men” or “Women”. One time I was at the facility to deal with some issue about a sign, I had to pee, went into one of the restrooms and there were about 5 trans folks in there working on their makeup. It didn’t bother me in the least, I did my business and listened to them banter while they were applying their make up. They were hilarious.

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  71. ROGirl said on November 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Whatever else he may be, Donald Trump is not delusional, and his ego may be yuuuuge, but it’s not a God complex. He’s in it for the money and self-promotion. Ben Carson’s combination of ego and delusion are just batshit crazy.

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  72. Dexter said on November 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    “Blue” Peter, Paul, and Mary.

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  73. beb said on November 8, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    The author concludes that school should be shut-down, not by the board of education but by child protective services…

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  74. Kirk said on November 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I had the great pleasure of seeing Joan Baez and Patty Griffin perform in an extremely intimate setting (audience of about 125) a little more than a year ago. Both were brilliant. Joan’s voice was strong as ever at age 73.

    I wasn’t a huge Seekers fan, but I always liked hearing them. Another group with great vocal harmonies from back then, now forgotten by many, was Spanky & Our Gang. They produced a number of worthy hit singles.

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  75. Sherri said on November 8, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Something amazing going on at Missouri. There have been several incidents of racial abuse on campus, which the administration has treated as isolated, not very important problems. A group of African-American students, frustrated at the situation, surrounded the president’s car at the homecoming parade in an attempt to get his attention, and were vilified. Subsequently, an African-American graduate student has gone on a hunger strike which he says he will not end until the president is removed.

    Here’s the amazing part. The African-American members of the football team said yesterday that they would refuse to play in next week’s game if the president wasn’t removed. Today, the head football coach, who is white, announced that he stands with his players, as does the rest of the team. Notably, this is the same coach and football team that supported Michael Sam when he told them he was gay.

    It will be interesting to see what happens now.

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  76. Kirk said on November 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I am a Mizzou grad (1973). Quite a few African-American students there from the greater St. Louis area, which includes Ferguson, apparently contributing to some measure of tension in the past couple of years.

    Missouri is a weird state, with the St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas and vast rural stretches, including the Ozarks. When I was in school, at least a couple of frats were openly racist, brazenly waving the Confederate battle flag. There was a big-ass rock on a traffic island at a main campus intersection that was a Confederate war memorial. It was regularly painted, whitewashed or attacked with hammers when I was there; they finally got rid of the damned thing.

    Indeed it will be interesting to see what happens with the football team. Mizzou is due to play a non-league game ff-campus, in Kansas City, against Brigham Young.

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  77. brian stouder said on November 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    And let me just say – all snark aside – we DVR’d Saturday Night Live, and within 4 or 5 minutes, we gave it up. It was utterly flat, and more than a little contrived. We did get one laugh from the Seinfeld guy’s Bernie Sanders schtick, but that was it.

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  78. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 8, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Cruel, I know, but I have to share this here from Twitter, and @nytimesbusiness —
    Yes, it was hard to make movie stars look like frumpy journalists:

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 8, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    That cold open, which is a Trump-free zone, by the way:

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  80. MichaelG said on November 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. Sorry for all the posts last night. I was in my cups.

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  81. Joe K said on November 8, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    8th of November, 173rd airborne.
    Pilot Joe

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  82. Deborah said on November 8, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    MichaelG, no need to apologized, I enjoyed your comments and links and I’m probably not the only one who did.

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  83. Deborah said on November 8, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Edit: Apologize, not apologized.

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  84. Dexter said on November 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Joe: The song has been running through my head all damn day. “Niles Harris left his home and…” –=-and on the very day we spent four hours at a funeral home where my brother-in-law was laid out in an open casket. He spent three tours in Vietnam from 1971 to 1975, at the bitter end of the war.
    …for MichaelG.

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  85. MarkH said on November 8, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    “…the Seinfeld guy…”??

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  86. brian stouder said on November 9, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Uncle Google remins me that ‘the Seinfeld guy’s name is Larry David

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