Your digital assistant, and no-show.

I have a deadline at lunch today, and it means I’m going to have to write through blog time. So accept this photo of a typical cool-weather evening on my couch —


— and a few links. (Wendy is quite the snuggler, when the snugglee is possessed of body warmth. Once the weather warms up, she’ll be back on her tuffet.)

I admit that I have yelled at Siri in the car. I have told her she’s a stupid fucking twit, that all I want is a sense of the traffic between me and downtown, and how should I phrase that request so you can understand it?! I wonder if I’d be so profane if her name was Sam, and she was a he. The Atlantic explores the issue.

Donald Trump says one thing, backtracks. Oh, how long 2016 will be.

Dahlia Lithwick with a genius proposal for Merrick Garland.

Back for the end of this long week tomorrow.

Posted at 12:15 am in Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

53 responses to “Your digital assistant, and no-show.”

  1. Joe K said on March 31, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Would anyone know why a female cardinal would spend the better part of the day flying into a kitchen window? This think hits the window backs off and bang, hits it again,she did this all day.
    Pilot Joe

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  2. Sherri said on March 31, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Pilot Joe, I have had problems with robins doing this during spring for years. She probably has a nest nearby, and thus is protecting her territory from the strange bird reflected in the window. I’ve tried various measures to stop it, and have had the best success this spring with hanging a colorful windsock outside the window my robin usually attacks. It hasn’t completely stopped the window attacks, but it has definitely reduced them, and has added some nice color, too.

    Once breeding season is over, the bird will stop attacking the window. I can tell you that the decals you can buy to stick on a window to protect birds from flying into windows don’t help at all with this problem.

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  3. Suzanne said on March 31, 2016 at 6:47 am

    And thus the term “bird brain.”
    I know someone who had a cardinal peck at his reflection in her car’s side-view mirror. By the end of mating season, or whatever the season, her mirror was scratched up and laden with bird drool. She’d clean the mirror off periodically, but the bird always returned for more.

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  4. Mark P said on March 31, 2016 at 10:29 am

    A dog picture gets me every time.

    We don’t get birds attacking their reflections in our sliding glass doors, but we do occasionally get a hummingbird that flies into them thinking they are just a passage to more woods. They usually recover, although I imagine that they remain very confused about why the air got so hard so suddenly.

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  5. MarkH said on March 31, 2016 at 10:32 am

    Not to worry, Nancy. When Wendy abandons you due to warmer weather, just score one of these:

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  6. Dorothy said on March 31, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I love my big dogs (90 lbs. and 57 lbs.) but we have already decided when these two have gone onto their saintly afterlife, we will get a much smaller dog. It’s difficult to control big dogs when you walk them both at the same time, and some jogger comes zipping by, or another person with a dog on a leash is within their sight. I’d love to have a snuggler – although truth be told, most of the time I’ve got knitting in my hands when I’m watching t.v. so a snuggler might not be welcome. We’ll see. Sacrifices (in this case knitting) can be made.

    We had a woodpecker who LOOOOOVED our downspouts at our first lil’ Cape Code home back in the mid ’80’s. That dumbass bird would rat-a-tat-tat starting early in the morning and going at it off and on throughout the day. I called the Aviary in Pittsburgh to ask what I could do about it. Nada, Zip, NOTHING is what they said. Once mating is season is over it’ll stop. They were right, but my impatience got the best of me one day. I flew up the stairs and banged on a half circle window that was in Josh’s room. I banged too hard because my hand went through the glass and thus the blood came forth. It wasn’t bad but I sure felt like the dumbass now, instead of the woodpecker. Mike fixed it but it took about a few days until he had time. Every time he pulled up to the house and saw the tape/cardboard/whatever that covered up the broken window he’d mutter “SO white trash… so white trash!” Which is what I say about The Donald these days.

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  7. Sherri said on March 31, 2016 at 11:43 am

    The only Siri I talk to is my good friend, who has managed not to curse at anybody making jokes about her being in their phone. I turn off Siri first thing on my phone, because I hate voice interfaces. If I were to have it on, I’m sure I would curse at it regardless of its gender. I have to be really careful around other people because my usual response to computers being stupid or behaving badly is to call them a fucking piece of shit.

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  8. Little Bird said on March 31, 2016 at 11:46 am

    We have a woodpecker that frequently drums away on our metal chiminey cap. Usually around 8 or 9 in the morning, but not every morning. We don’t know if he’s confused or trying to clear the sawdust out of his beak, but it sure sounds weird hearing that rattaplan coming down the chiminey!

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  9. Joe K said on March 31, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I get a chuckle out of the cookie monster siri commercial.
    Pilot Joe

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  10. Dexter said on March 31, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    “Siri, check the timer please…” (14 minute cookie cook time, 9 seconds elapsed)

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  11. Dexter said on March 31, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    my bad

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  12. brian stouder said on March 31, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Not as cuddly as the pup in Nance’s marvelous ‘come hither’ photo; nonetheless, I know a little girl who is going to be upset about this one:

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  13. basset said on March 31, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I’m on, I dunno, my second or third iPhone and have never spoken to Siri.

    Meanwhile, dogs in Costa Rica:

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  14. Deborah said on March 31, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Taking an Internet break, I’ve been listening to the last 3 episodes of Serial, about the Bowe Bergdahl case. Season 2 is over, it wasn’t as dramatic as Season 1, but I enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see how the Bergdahl case plays out when his court martial comes to trial. I think he’s suffered enough, a bunch of people disagree though, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Fox News seems to be leading the disinformation charge, not surprising.

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  15. MichaelG said on March 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Jeez, Basset, can you imagine walking in that neighborhood. Bring your boots.

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  16. alex said on March 31, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I’ve never used Siri either, although I’ve had to tell her to fuck off about a million times when she chimed in uninvited.

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  17. Deborah said on March 31, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    In architectural circles this was a shock She was my age.

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  18. brian stouder said on March 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Deborah, I also always find it shocking when people pass away at a young age.

    I won’t think I’m ‘old’ ’til I hit 75.

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  19. Peter said on March 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Our architecture school, which was mostly glass, would tape pictures of owls and hawks this time of year – predators scare off other birds who don’t see the glass and would fly into the building.

    I tried it at my house and it works very well.

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  20. LAMary said on March 31, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Some days I’m ancient. Other days I’m far too young for whatever shit I’m stuck in.

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  21. MichaelG said on March 31, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    People (not including me) have been camped outside the local Tesla dealership in Rocklin since yesterday AM to sign up for a Model 3 that may be delivered next year.

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  22. brian stouder said on March 31, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    LA Mary at 20 for Thread Win!

    And MichaelG – that sounds interesting. If I was going to buy a new car (which I’m not), a Chevy Volt would make a great deal of sense

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  23. Dexter said on March 31, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    65 ain’t old, dammitt…but why are so many of us spring chickens croaking off? The architect certainly had a wonderful work portfolio…full news segment was on NBC Evening News tonight. 🙁

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 1, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Windows 10 is Microsoft’s April Fool’s joke on us all.

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  25. beb said on April 1, 2016 at 8:17 am

    No, Jeff, Windows 10 is too malevolent to be an April Fools Joke.

    Trump’s complaint that Chris Matthews question on abortion was ‘too convoluted’ — now that’s April Fools gold! (Actually I feel some sympathy for Trump because Matthews is the worst interview in the world: barking one question on top another and never gives the suspect a chance to answer. Except Trumps answer was pretty clear cut – punishment for women seeking abortions.)

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  26. brian stouder said on April 1, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Chris Matthews is an over-talker; he simply bulldozes through interviews, asking questions and then follow-on questions, and then repeats questions, all while the other person attempts to catch up.

    In other words, he and Trump are two peas in a pod.

    And in the exchange, Trump tried to turn the tables on Matthews, going after his Catholicism, whereupon Matthews forthrightly said he accepts the teaching of his church, and then delineated the difference between personal faith and governing a constitutional nation…it was actually quite good

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  27. MichaelG said on April 1, 2016 at 11:47 am

    I saw some baseball stuff on TV this AM. Isn’t baseball over? I mean didn’t they just have the world series?

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  28. Dexter said on April 1, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    The wars in “The Region” are over! Hillary Clinton has been cleared of all email allegations and all repuggs have promised to never utter “Benghazi” ever again. Trump’s second wife was not a high priced escort, and his current wife was not the one in those photos on and in that magazine…it was all a misunderstanding. Mexico’s government heads emerged from marathon meetings and announced they will indeed build a wall and pay for it. Ford Motor Company’s C.E.O. proclaimed they will immediately cease automobile and all Mexican-based vehicle production and return the jobs to Americans, by gawd. China has gone into crisis mode as Trump’s threats have become reality and shoes and combs and ever’-damn-thang will now be made here in the USA…imports coming over in cargo ships have been sent back to China.

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  29. Suzanne said on April 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    I upgraded to Windows 10 because I got sick of that annoying pop-up that kept asking me if I wanted to upgrade. I hate it. I shoulda known…

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  30. Dexter said on April 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    My computer ace told me to fuhgeddaboudditt when I asked him if I could install W10 and uninstall my old Vista. He patiently told me what I already suspected…the old framework won’t stand up to the new OS…in udder woids…I needs me a new machine, one with W10 already installed…and he told me to forget about buying bottom-of-the-line computers; he said if you ain’t spending $600 for a desktop you are getting shite. 🙁 Uhggghh. I just laid out $500 to get my plumbing problems fixed, house insurance gobbled up hundreds more…but cry me no tears, ‘cuz I am not giving up my cable premium TV. Not gonna DO it.

    Eugene Parker of Fort Wayne passed away, must have been yesterday. I watched him play and star at basketball for Concordia HS and Purdue University at West Lafayette. For many years he has been one of the most, if not the best, sports agents in this nation. Superstars, huge names, came to Mr. Parker to negotiate contracts. Cancer, 60 years of age. Damn shame. 🙁

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  31. David C. said on April 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I have Windows 10 without too many problems, but I used Vista for years so I am pretty blasé about poor Windows releases.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Gotta hat tip this headline:

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  33. Deborah said on April 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    So I’m in Chicago but this weekend my husband is in Santa Fe because of a state inspection of our Abiquiu project, which it passed with flying colors. This is unusual for him to be in Santa Fe and me to be in Chicago, usually it’s the other way around. I will be going to NM for a week in mid April to check out the furniture that we shipped there which was supposed to be there today or Monday but of course when I called about it, it hasn’t even left yet so who knows when it will be there. I wish I was going to be in Santa Fe later in April but our move in Chicago is scheduled for the 28th so that won’t happen. I would love to be there on the 25th when Karl Ove Knuasgaard and Zadie Smith will be speaking for a Lannon Foundation event. I’m reading book 4 of Knausgaard’s opus which I’m enjoying a lot. I guess this means I’m going to have to read books 1-3 after I’m done. There are 6 books but the last 2 haven’t been translated from Norwegian yet. I just recently heard about this guy, I’m glad I did.

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  34. Joe K said on April 1, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Wife and both daughters were in Chicago today taking in the Van Gogh paintings,drove to south bend then south shore into town, said they had a great time.
    Pilot Joe

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  35. Dexter said on April 2, 2016 at 2:49 am

    I rode the South Shore train many times, sometimes boarding in South Bend, sometimes Gary (shaky scary area at night, at least for a country bumpkin like me) and sometimes boarding in Hegewisch.
    Hegewisch had a great old-timey station with a giant free parking lot. If I was going to say, The Art Institute of Chicago or a Cubs game, I much preferred parking for free at Hegewisch, especially instead of parking anywhere near Wrigley Field since the locals got organized and if a doubter parked remotely close to the ballyard, on a residential street, it was guaranteed your vehicle was going to be towed and good fucking luck dealing with the assholes at those impound lots in Chicago! Jeeezuss! RUDE and RUDE! It’s been a few years, but I saw a couple shocking yard signs close by Wrigley one day the Cardinals were in town…some residents had one-car little garages and they moved their own cars out to offer closed-door guarded protection to anyone who ponied up…one sign advertised game day parking for $100, another for $75. Cub fans have the cheddar.

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  36. alex said on April 2, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Dex, I lived near Wrigley and had to deal with that shit. One time I was visiting a friend on Roscoe at Southport during a game and went into his house to get the necessary permit to place on my dashboard. From the window I watched as a wrecker backed right up to my car, yanked it out of the spot and took off with it, all in just seconds. It cost me $150 and hours of waiting in line to get my car out of the pound. After that my friend gave me a permit to keep in my car at all times.

    I asked my alderman, Helen Schiller at the time, why I couldn’t get a permit of my own. It was because my building faced Lake Shore Drive, which didn’t have restricted parking like the side streets, plus I had off-street parking in my building. I argued that as a resident of the neighborhood I should be allowed to park anywhere in the neighborhood. No I should not, she told me, I should fucking walk instead of driving.

    I hated Schiller until one time she finally was able to help me out. I received a very expensive parking ticket in the mail for parking in front of a hydrant or blocking an alley or some such on a street in a different part of town where I’d never been before. Though the license plate number matched mine, the car was described as a blue Dodge. My car was a red Honda. No confusing those two, right? The city refused my repeated appeals and jacked the cost of the ticket with each denial. Finally I called Schiller’s office and she asked me to fax her my registration and the ticket. She could see that the cop who wrote the ticket likely transposed a number; there was no way a cop would put down the wrong make and color. She fixed it for me and I liked her much better after that.

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  37. Deborah said on April 2, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Stop what you’re doing and read this about Aretha and then go and watch that video again of her singing A Natural Woman, the one where Obama weeps.

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  38. beb said on April 2, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Hernando, MS mayor sent a nude picture of him singing in the shower to a girlfriend. He’s getting divorced but is still technically married. Someone forwarded the picture too his city counsel. Everyone things it was done by the girlfriend; I suspect the wife found it on his phone…

    Loved this line from commenter “boidster: “There’s a simple rule of thumb here for elected officials: when you send a picture of your junk to your girlfriend, just CC your mom and the local paper to save time.”

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  39. MichaelG said on April 2, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I swear. Those anti-vaxxers have to be the dumbest, most self-involved assholes in the valley. You’ve probably heard about the school that is experiencing a measles outbreak. Somewhere near half the kids haven’t been vaccinated. The county health people finally said that only those children who have been vaccinated and have the certificate to show will be allowed to attend school.

    You’ll love this, Brian. Yes, it’s a charter school. But wait, there’s more. Some of these brilliant, community minded, shit for brains idiots have taken their kids out to eat. As a result, patrons in a couple of restaurants have contracted measles. This kind of conceited, narcissistic dumbassery leaves me speechless.

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  40. Deborah said on April 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Weird day in Chicago. The weather changes every 5 mins. I waited until it seemed to be clearing, blue sky and sunshine when I left the building to go to the grocery store. I got 3 blocks and it started snowing like crazy and windy as f@ck, big fat wet flakes coming at me horizontally. My clothes were coated with snow, thank goodness I wore a coat with a hood. When I came out of the store 15 mins later the snow had stopped, but sure enough I got 2 or 3 blocks towards home and it started again. When I got to the entry of the building I was soaked as before. By the time I made it up to our floor and stepped into our place the sun was shining like nothing had happened.

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  41. Dexter said on April 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Three different types of snow here in Ohio…wind-driven tiny flakes, calm lake-effect-type giant cotton ball flakes, then cold wet half-rain snow…ground covered in slushy wetness now. For me this day is dragging out interminably…it’s Final Four Saturday, the best sports day of the year, but years ago they moved it all to night-time for TV revenue. So yes I am fired up for some great intense college basketball but the wait is making me grouchy and I drank way too much coffee and I am wound up like a walking-bird toy from the 1950s.

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  42. brian stouder said on April 2, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    MichaelG – word! I remember having to be all vaccinated and TB tested and all the rest – and therefore never knew anyone who was crippled by polio or killed by measles. I remember in junior high that a young lady died from encephalitis (presumably mosquito-borne); a lovely, heartbreaking photo of her in her cheerleader gear was on the first page of the following year’s year book.

    I always took for granted the rarity of such a terrible thing happening; car crashes were much more likely to kill or injure a classmate.

    Deborah, today Fort Wayne has exactly the same weather as you describe; literally sunny and beautiful, and then gusts (and gusts) of wind, and blinding snow flurries blowing horizontally to the north….and then swirling and blowing south, and then stopping again

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  43. Judybusy said on April 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Great picture of you and the dawg, Nancy! Dahlia’s got the right idea. Just let Garland put on the robes and show up for work.

    Today looks gorgeous: full sun, April 2nd, you’d think it’d be lovely. Took the pup for her Saturday hour-long walk and lasted 1/2 hour. The hat I wore didn’t quite protect my ears, so I got very cold and a bit ill-feeling. After warming up, I checked the weather and the windchill was 16. Whew, no wonder I was frozen. Proudly, I still made it to the gym. After that, my wife and I spent a few hours doing deep spring cleaning. We have plans to go out to see a movie tonight, but five bucks says we end up staying home and watching “Outlander”* to avoid the cold. Especially since she’s in the kitchen right now cooking.

    *Outlander is based on the series of books by Diana Gabaldon. A 1945 woman is magically transported to 1740 Scotland, a time of war between them and the English. The production is great; I’ve only read the first book and am enjoying watching all the action all over again.

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  44. Sherri said on April 2, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    I’m sorry the rest of you are having bad weather. We’re having gorgeous weather, sunny and mid-60s, which we’re all delighted with after the wettest 6 months on record. When even the natives are starting to complain about the rain, I can tell its been a long winter.

    Other than the weather, not a great weekend around here. My husband and I had to divide up memorial services this afternoon, for two people that died young and unexpectedly, and then we found out that the husband of another friend committed suicide this week.

    The memorial service I attended was for a young man at our church who was special needs and had lots of health problems. He had been near death several times, but had been doing pretty well of late. None of his myriad health issues killed him. He had a brain aneurysm blow out while on vacation with his family.

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  45. brian stouder said on April 2, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Judybusy – my lovely wife enjoyed those Outlander books immensely, and she really, really liked the mini-series, too.

    One thing she did, though, was turn on the subtitles, as the Scottish accent was otherwise somewhat opaque!

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  46. Suzanne said on April 3, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Dexter, the South Shore station in Hegewisch no longer has free parking! But, it’s only a $1 or $1.50 per day, so not bad. The station near Chesterton is free parking, but a longer train ride to the city. You can even park there overnight as long as you call ahead and let them know. We haven’t done that for a while for a Chicago overnight er, but it sure best driving into the city and paying an arm & leg to park somewhere.

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  47. Jakash said on April 3, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Neil Steinberg’s Chicago Sun-Times column today deals with “our own little bit of the Southland in the Midwest, Indiana”, as he puts it. (Apologies to the nn.c Hoosier-folk, though y’all are clearly not representative of the Indiana Christian-Sharia party!)

    “Gov. Mike Pence signed a truly medieval law demanding, among other things, that aborted fetuses be given formal funerals or cremations…” “Rebellious Indiana women, waking up to this attempt to shove them back into the early 20th century, have created a ‘Periods for Pence’ Facebook page, sharing the governor’s public comment phone number and urging women to keep the Pence informed about their menstrual cycle, since he seems so concerned…”

    Neil’s modest proposal: “Given that menstruation could be construed as the ending of a nascent life, and given the state of Indiana’s obvious legislative interest in what happens to those lives, that the only thing a law-abiding Hoosier woman could do is send her used sanitary products to Gov. Pence’s office for proper burial.” followed by the Gov’s address.

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  48. BethB from Indiana said on April 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Judybusy, I discovered Outlander over twenty years ago, and I’ve been enthralled ever since. I’ve read all of the titles in the series (only once each), but I’ve listed to each unabridged audio book several times over the years. I could listen to them again and again, and I suspect some fans have read each book many times. Diana Gabaldon is one the the best writers I’ve ever read, and her thoroughness with the research for each book is amazing. She immerses the reader into the period and characters so well that sometimes when I look up from reading after a couple of hours I expect to see James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser come striding into the room instead of my husband! He (my husband, not Jamie) gave up reading the books in the middle of volume 3, but he has kindly watched the Starz series with me and not commented negatively! It is terrific–story, actors, costumes, sets, location, music–it has it all. And, yes, subtitles are a plus.

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  49. Jakash said on April 3, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    FWIW, re: my above post, #47. Mr. Steinberg has gotten into a bit of a kerfuffle on Twitter, as @”Periods for Pence” wants it to be clear that they “do not encourage this in any way.” I.e., the suggestion about sending used products through the mail, as opposed to the phone campaign initiated by “Periods for Pence.” NS replied that his “suggestion is more notional.”

    And there you have more than anyone will care to know about that. ; )

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  50. MarkH said on April 3, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Charlotte –

    I think you frequent the Pine Creek area. If you respond, we’ll know this is not you.

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  51. alex said on April 3, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Today went furniture shopping and bought nothing. Yet. Sat down in a pair of these and I want them, but still can’t quite get over the sticker shock. But they’d be lovely in my newly redecorated house.

    All of my old furniture looks so shabby in the new environs that I’m just not going to use any of it, except for a favorite few pieces.

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  52. Judybusy said on April 3, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Subtitles for Outlander? Yes, please! I figured there might be a few fans here. I’m looking forward to reading all the books, too.

    Sherri, I’m sorry for those losses in your community. So very sad about the young man who had survived so much. Also sorry for the man who committed suicide. It takes so much to get to that place of sheer hopelessness.

    Alex, those are truly beautiful chairs.

    Weather update: Sunny, 60. Long dog walks! We also watched Alan Rickman’s last film, Eye in the Sky. It’s really tense and sad, but very well done.

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  53. Deborah said on April 3, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Nice Alex. We are waiting for some furniture to be delivered, but to our new place so it doesn’t have to be delivered twice. Talk about sticker shock! And we got it on sale, but from Design Within Reach, so pricey. We figure it’s the last furniture we will buy in our lifetime, so worth it I guess.

    We are moving in 25 days, hopefully. I keep saying “hopefully” because even though everything is going according to schedule, you never know, it could all break down tomorrow. I have been going over every day to see the progress. The perimeter walls and the ceiling have been plastered, not completely done yet but close. You can’t tell where the interior walls were, which is a huge improvement. Plus the blobs of adhesive where the millions of mirrors were attached are gone and covered over, also a big improvement. It’s quite humid there because of the wet plaster, it’s drying out though. It’s quite a mess still because of the plaster dust and all of the equipment scattered about. It should start to calm down in the next week or so, final paint colors have been selected. We’re doing a small area with waxed plaster or Venetian plaster so we’ll be getting samples of that, plus some mill work so still lots to do.

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