Hey, everyone. How’re y’all? My knee hurts.

It’s my own fault. In my never-ending quest to deny reality and change my workouts around, I signed up for a conditioning class at a local circus school. Just one day a week, figured I’d get some tips on improving my balance before the next surfing expedition. I didn’t think for a minute that we’d work on any of the apparatuses, as they call them, but to my surprise the main part of the class involves clambering around on trapeze fabric and a couple of round things called lyras.

Nothing like trying a new skill to make you realize how much you have to learn. It turns out my core strength is fine, but upper body? Let’s just say the Cirque du Soleil will not be calling; I can barely hoist my body weight off the ground, although I managed one good inversion on some fabric, after I’d wrenched my ACL-free left knee, trying to swing it through the lyra.

Success on one did not balance out failure+pain on the other, but it helped. I’m sticking with the class.

I’m told lyra work is a big thing in high-end strip clubs these days, but I wouldn’t know anything about that, first-hand.

And this is the sort of thing you do when your husband consistently works late on Tuesday nights.

Bearing down on the holidays, I only have a million things to do. Three of us went out for a couple beers after work yesterday, the closest thing to a holiday party we’ll have this year. Bill told a great story about being an altar boy 50 years ago, and talking to one of his fellow servers about what he did during his, the other kid’s, considerable alone-time with Father in the rectory.

“Try on diapers,” the kid said. “You should try it sometime. They’re really comfortable.”

Bill wrote about this when the priest abuse scandal was breaking. Father was transferred around from church to church, of course. The other kid? He developed a drinking problem.

So, then. Some bloggage as we go forward? I’ll do my best:

Working-class jobs in the area, especially those previously filled by unskilled men, have largely disappeared. In the late 1970s, 786 people worked in well-paid union jobs in the timber industry; now that number has declined to six. The population is ageing. Incomes have declined. White-collar jobs have drawn people to Oregon’s cities, whose demographics mean they dominate the politics of the blue state. Harney County has a limited economic and demographic future – but if federal lands were handed over to local control, Bundy argued, perhaps the area could be great again.

That paragraph, from this interesting essay about the alt-right and “new patriotism,” could be written about northern Michigan, rural Ohio/Indiana and probably dozens of other regions in this country. Still working my way through it, but so far, so good.

One of my Airbnb hosts on my California sojourn worked on this show, “Generation KKK.” I no longer have cable, but I’m sure it’ll be available through one of the streaming services, eventually.

This douchebag again. When is someone going to sue him?

Happy Thursday to all.

Posted at 10:05 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

103 responses to “Ouch.”

  1. FDChief said on December 22, 2016 at 10:57 am

    The trouble with the whole “free the lands from BLM tyranny and a thousand making America Great Again flowers will bloom” thesis is the actual tyrants are geography and topography.

    Harney County is way the hell out in the middle of nowhere; it’s almost perfectly distant from anywhere in the Northwest where people live; Oregon to the west, Nevada and Utah south, Idaho and Washington north and east. Shipping anything to market is punitive, given that wetter places (better for timber, grain, and livestock) are closer to those markets.

    And history proofs that thesis. Harney was homesteaded back in the 19th Century and most of those operations failed. The distances were large, the transportation grid poor, and the water scarce. The place is scenic as all hell…but not great for small farming or ranching with out serious white-people welfare (a.k.a “farm subsidies”).

    IF the federal lands were opened the claimants would be big timber and big ag only those corporate entities would have any hope of making a go in Harney purely on economy of scale.

    Nope. The fantasy nourished by Bundys across the West (the so-called “Sagebrush Rebellion”) are as invasive, useless, and destructive as the tumbleweed that we mistake for authentically Western but are, in fact, a pernicious Russian weed much like our President elect…

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  2. nancy said on December 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Excellent points there. We forget that the myth of the old west was based on a shockingly brief period of time. But then Hollywood stepped in, and…

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2016 at 11:56 am

    “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

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  4. MichaelG said on December 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    So the computer guy (he calls himself Geekman) was here at 7:30 sharp this AM. I guess he’s fixed everything. One casualty is that my faves list is scrambled and who knows what’s gone. Another is that all the passwords that Internet Explorer was saving for me are gone.

    He taught me a lot about passwords. A couple of very simple things that will make your password much more difficult to hack: Everybody capitalizes the first letter and starts a number sequence with 1 as in Joan123. Capitalize a different letter and rearrange the numbers as in jOan231. Basically the same password but much stronger. Stronger still, two words: haPpyjOan231. Very strong. It’s supposed to drive password busting software nuts. At least it makes the search much longer

    This below freezing stuff is too much. I know it’s only for a couple of weeks but sheesh.

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  5. Judybusy said on December 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you, MichaelG, for providing us with your email passwords! Expect many lucrative offers to be coming your way! 😉

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Nancy, I didn’t know you’d grown out your hair and dyed it blonde. Not that it’s a bad look, just didn’t expect it of you.

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  7. Sherri said on December 22, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Harney County isn’t alone in being a place where there was a relatively brief period of prosperity that’s unlikely to return. Appalachia is much the same. Remote places dependent on extractive industries don’t make for sustainable economies.

    I think the days of unskilled labor paying middle class wages are behind us. It did for the post war expansion, and mostly for white men, but that was an anamolous time. Now, even what used to be unskilled requires more skill, and often more math, and fewer workers. I was just learning about irrigating fruit trees in eastern Washington, and how using formulas based on land type can make much more effective use of water and is better for the trees. Irrigation isn’t just about turning on the spigot, or even setting a simple program anymore, or increasingly won’t be.

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  8. Sherri said on December 22, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Three things about this story:

    1. It fails to mention that Comey knew all the details of the Russian hacking, and the Republicans didn’t want that public.

    2. Loretta Lynch should have stopped him.

    3. Fuck James Comey.


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  9. Sherri said on December 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    More details about Ted Cruz’s theocratic bill I mentioned yesterday, including its unusual preemption clause: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/16/the-gop-s-anti-lgbt-anti-women-religious-freedom-law-on-steroids.html

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  10. Sue said on December 22, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    One assumes Ted Nugent is already booked.

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  11. Danny said on December 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Sue, right. The Nuge could perform his timeless love ballad, “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang,” from his “Cat Scratch Fever” album.

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  12. brian stouder said on December 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    If I was being inaugurated, I’d want Pearl Jam performing…..and maybe that Australian woman – Lorde.

    As it is, I’ll consider our new president a success if he avoids triggering a Constitional crisis (impeachment proceedings) in his first 6 months, over the emoluments clause – in the part of the Constitution that they wrote with quill pens

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  13. Dexter said on December 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Anamolous time? Only the fact that what GM did made them rue their gaff for 35 years. The UAW demanded COL allowances, which later came to be known as COLA. Victor Reuther was the UAW leader who convinced GM bargainers this was a good deal. When Henry Ford jumped wages to $5 a day, that was to recruit the best workers and make them happy. The COL agreement (I ain’t gonna research the whole story, but it was about 1948), now that was what propelled line workers into the middle class in a couple contract’s time.
    I finished high school in 1967. Some kids went to higher learning institutions,some went to work. It’s a myth that Big Factory just took anyone however. Many were discriminated against at the hiring gates for being too fat, too short, too frail…but mostly for being non-white (in some areas) or , of course, until 1972, being female. Now Rosie the Riveter, that time was anamolous for sure, back in the 1940s. After the soldiers came home, Rosie was back where she came from, frustrated at the way she was cast out.
    Also, many kids were starry-eyed, artists, musicians, unwilling to be swallowed up in union and company politics but mostly unwilling to work around incredibly dangerous presses and furnaces, breathing asbestos and sucking fumes. We sarcastically but fatefully wrote “good luck Joe in the factory” in our yearbooks. Take a look at the movie from around 1980 called “Four Friends”, about 4 kids in tbhe 1960s in Gary, Indiana; one wanted to emulate Isadore Duncan, another hated both the war and the goddam steel mills…as real a movie as “Hoosiers” is. Hell, it’s probably free domain by now.

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  14. Suzanne said on December 22, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    The Bundy type patriots are like a lot of people I see around here; wearing the Carhart coats, cowboy hat, cowboy boots, flannel shirt, but there ain’t no ranch to be seen anywhere, only a few cows and some pigs. It’s a stereotype that people think is real, but mostly it isn’t. Just a bunch of rednecks pretending to be cowboys as though being a cowboy was all that fun. Read history. The Wild West was a horrible place to live,and the beginnings of the country was messy, but of course people like the Bundy clan & real patriots don’t read. Don’t need to because they know what the founding fathers wanted and how things are supposed to be run.

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  15. Sherri said on December 22, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Trump will be in violation of the Emoluments clause on Day 1, Brian, and the Republican Congress won’t do a damn thing about it, Brian. What makes you think they’re going to impeach him? They’ll be too busy gutting the social safety net. They don’t care that he’s corrupt, as long as he signs their legislation.

    I’m sure immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, scientists, and women will all be happy to hear that you will regard Trump a success if he avoids impeachment for 6 months, Brian.

    Look at who he’s nominating, Brian. What part of any of this makes you think any of this will be okay, much less a success if he avoids impeachment over the emoluments clause? As corrupt as Trump is, that’s pretty far down my list of worries. Nuclear war (Trump helpfully tweeted today about strengthening and expanding our nuclear arsenal), regular war, destroying the economy, voting rights, hate crimes emboldened by Trump, civil rights, immigrants, safety net, science – all way higher on my list.

    Success and Trump don’t belong in the same sentence.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    My knee hurts all the time and I can’t bend it like I used to. It’s swimming or nothing anymore. Aging sucks.

    If you’re flying out of the Fort these last days before Christmas, volunteers will wrap your gifts for you, free, after you get through security. Is that great, or what? Fort Wayne still retains its small-town heart in the best ways.

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  17. LAMary said on December 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I like Idina Menzel’s suggestion that Trump sings at his own inauguration. She’s sure that if you asked him if he could sing he would say he’s a great singer.

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  18. Sherri said on December 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    More silly people who should have taken Trump more literally: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/21/politics/donald-trump-tariffs/index.html

    Instead of listening to Peter Thiel, maybe they should have read Masha Gessen. Rule number 1: Believe the autocrat.

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  19. alex said on December 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Lorena Bobbitt motorola usted:


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  20. Heather said on December 22, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    I always think of this quote from Lady Catherine de Bourgh in “Pride and Prejudice” whenever Trump brags about how good he would be at something he’s never done: “If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”

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  21. Sherri said on December 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Steve Kerr is not a typical pro sports coach. His father being assasinated by terrorists is just part of what makes him different: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/sports/basketball/steve-kerr-golden-state-warriors.html

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  22. basset said on December 23, 2016 at 12:47 am

    My inauguration? Sleepy LaBeef.

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  23. Dexter said on December 23, 2016 at 2:41 am

    As soon as I heard the lead story last night I went to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists page , expecting The Doomsday Clock to be rapidly encroaching midnight…nope. They are still at 11:57.
    Of all the picks Trump has made, Flynn angered me the most. With Trump already tweeting about “expanding” the nuclear bomb arsenal, and Putin doing the same , on the same day, well, hello nuclear aggression , coming very soon.
    Gee, we thought Kim Jong-un was a nutcase, a dangerous maniac. It’s now clear, confirmed by Twitter, in Trump’s own hand…we got one too.

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  24. ROGirl said on December 23, 2016 at 6:11 am

    LAMary, I’m with Idina. My inauguration band would be Los Lobos.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 23, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Alex, thanks for the Lorena Bobbitt story. I’ve sent that to a number of friends in our area who work with abused & battered women, and it certainly rings a bell. The same reasons it became a punchline are why it’s so hard to get law enforcement and the judicial system to take it seriously. By the same token, we don’t have a really good idea of how to handle, treat, and constructively punish the John Wayne Bobbitts who keep reoffending, any more than we do guys like the fellow here just arrested for his 9th OVI.

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  26. Diane said on December 23, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Heather @20 That’s excellent!

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  27. brian stouder said on December 23, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Sherri @15 – I could not possibly agree with every single point you made.

    truth be told, I am still coming to grips with the idea of “President Trump”.

    Watching Rachel have a serious conversation with Kelly Anne Conway last night – whose intelligence I genuinely do respect – was absolutely no help at all

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  28. brian stouder said on December 23, 2016 at 9:44 am

    edit for the opening sentence:

    Sherri @15 – I could not possibly agree MORE, with every single point you made

    etc etc

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  29. alex said on December 23, 2016 at 10:06 am

    So now Trump’s casually tossing around the threat of starting a nuclear arms race. Where’s Dick Lugar and why doesn’t he speak up?

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  30. brian stouder said on December 23, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Alex, indeed; a proven Republican leader, with actual brains = persona non grata, period.

    Either the Donald doesn’t understand that his ‘I’m bored; time to tweet some non-sequitur turdballs’ schtick is actually dangerous to American interests (short and long-term)…or he does get this, and simply doesn’t care.

    I don’t know which of those two possibilities is more troubling

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  31. brian stouder said on December 23, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Btw – the young folks and I had this very conversation last week, and I pointed out that my favorite president, ol’ Abe, would occasionally jot down random thoughts and fragments, and then put the slip of paper into his top-hat, or into one of his cubbyholes on a desk in the White House.

    I’d guess he’d never have taken to ‘Twitter’ – as the concept he was operating on was something like “this is an interesting thought, which I may expand upon later” – or not. In any case, the fragments were (in his judgement) “Not yet ready for prime-time”

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  32. Sherri said on December 23, 2016 at 11:16 am

    If the media had taken a little time away from emails and from treating Trump like a joke, they might have noticed that he’s been thinking about nukes for a long time: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_spectator/2016/03/trump_s_nuclear_experience_advice_for_reagan_in_1987.html

    The realists and the neocons have had control of Republican foreign policy for a long time, but there’s always been a strain of Republican that wants a more, shall we say, muscular foreign policy, while being isolationist. Make all those little countries do what we want, without the pain and cost of occupation.

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  33. Sherri said on December 23, 2016 at 11:46 am

    In my ideal world, people would stop booking people like Kellyanne Conway on TV. What purpose does she serve? To lie about what Trump clearly said? To dodge questions by saying “you’d have to ask Mr. Trump that”? To lie about what a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted campaign she was involved with, by saying “I’d never be involved with such a campaign”?

    Intelligent, maybe. Soulless, definitely. I think she’s convinced herself the black really is white and up really is down, and that she didn’t help elect a terrible man president.

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  34. FDChief said on December 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    One of my favorite bits of Western history is the head-on collision between climate, stupidity, and reality.

    The “great plains” were grassland steppe for a reason and the Plains tribes weren’t horse nomads because they were easily bored with the local scenery. Without large-scale irrigation the bulk of the lands West of the Mississippi and east of the Sierras/Cascades are too arid to support tilth agriculture. Even pastoralism (for European cattle, anyway…) was fairly iffy in a lot of places.

    But “real estate developers” – the 19th Century Trumps – conned tens of thousands of proto-Trumpeters into believing nonsense like “rain follows the plow” (the theory that tilling semiarid grasslands releases soil moisture that then returns as rain. Seriously; I shit you not people believed that stuff…). Plus the USG wanted white farmers to replace the Dangerous Savages.

    So what would happen is that every couple of decades North America would get a change in the ENSO (the “El Nino/La Nina” variation) and the Plains would have a couple of wet years or five…enough to get a bunch of sodbusters through the winter. And the homesteaders would proliferate!

    Aaaaand…then the climate would return to the semiarid norm, crops would fail, cattle starve, the homesteaders go bust. The bank would foreclose, everybody would move on…until the next wet cycle.

    Wash, rinse, repeat; this happened something like 3-4 times between 1865 and the beginning of widespread irrigation in the Fifties.

    As P.T. Barnum would have said; there’s one born every minute…

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  35. Sherri said on December 23, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    The final part of that story, FDChief, is that wide-spread irrigation was only possible thanks to government water projects. The myth of the rugged individualist, so beloved in the West, is especially wrong; very little about the Western US has been accomplished without the heavy hand of government.

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  36. brian stouder said on December 23, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Ol’ Abe pushed for the transcontinental railroad (aka – massive government program) while also prosecuting the American Civil War…..and those big cattle drives, that sustained the cowboys?

    Who was (mainly) buying the beef?

    US Army

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  37. Sherri said on December 23, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Putin thinks Democrats should “lose with dignity”, compares himself to FDR.


    Ha! Republicans told us Reagan won the Cold War, and now Putin picks our president.

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  38. Snarkworth said on December 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    My great-grandparents caught the Westward Ho! bug in the 1880s and moved the family from a comfortable life in Boston to become cattle ranchers in northern Colorado. It did not go well. My grandfather hired out as a cowboy on more successful ranches. He did not lead a glamorous life.

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  39. Jolene said on December 23, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    “The final part of that story, FDChief, is that wide-spread irrigation was only possible thanks to government water projects.”

    But the story doesn’t end there. There’s also the part where the underground aquifers, used to provide water for irrigation, run dry.

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  40. FDChief said on December 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Sherri; good point. Without the massive subsidies to railroads and highways, telegraph and telephone, and everything from local sheriffs to the U.S. Army most of the American West between St. Louis and Tahoe would look like Outer Mongolia only with less yurts

    But…”we built that”, of course.

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  41. Dexter said on December 23, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Today Trump released an exchange he had with Putin, in which Putin congratulated him and expressed hope for a “coming-togetherness” , to which Trump replied he wants the same…if….

    People who closely monitor worldwide nuclear arsenals are still in shock after Trump’s tweet from Thursday, then today he “clarified” the tweet by saying he meant he wants an arms race, which is something nobody wants, including dingbat Kim Jong-un. http://www.skynews.com.au/content/dam/skynews/news/politics/international/2016/03/04/skynews_1027620247.jpg/jcr:content/renditions/skynews.img.1200.745.jpeg

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  42. Dexter said on December 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    “The Bulletin…” just replied to my post: Dexter wrote: “I came here and I was expecting 11:59 also.”

    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists The Science and Security Board has begun deliberations. Sign up for updates at thebulletin.org, and see Doomsday Clockwork:for an explanation of how the time is set: http://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clockwork8052

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  43. Rana said on December 23, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Regarding the West and the feds, I’ve long admired this pithy explanation from the historian Richard White: “Westerners usually regarded the federal government much as they would regard a particularly scratchy wool shirt in winter. It was all that was keeping them warm, but it still irritated them.”

    Regarding Conway and her silly comment about Trump’s tweets having nothing to do with policy, I wonder just what it’s going to take to get them to realize that the game’s a different one now. He’s not a silly celebrity with delusions of grandeur who can get away with saying stupid shit because no one takes him seriously. He’s a person in a position of global influence and power, for whom even casual statements carry great weight.

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  44. Jolene said on December 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    We’ve had other articles about Trump voters who don’t want him to repeal Obamacare, but this one struck me as particularly sad as it brings together his promise to resurrect the coal industry with his anticipated assault on healthcare. The people interviewed are hoping for more jobs in coal mining, but don’t want to lose their health insurance. What’s likely to happen is the opposite: No new jobs for miners, and a much diminished health insurance program.

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  45. LAMary said on December 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I camped on some BLM land in Southern Colorado once. After setting up our tent we were visited by a mule. Then another mule and another. They were branded US ARMY. I think it we had found an army mule retirement village. The mules were all tame and would hang around and beg for food like dogs when we were eating.

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  46. Sherri said on December 23, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Rule number 1: Believe the autocrat.

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  47. Suzanne said on December 23, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Amen, Sherri. I am in continual amazement at the people I hear interviewed about Trump who say they really didn’t believe he meant what he said. What???
    And Newt got his rear handed to him by Trump after he (Newt) went on record saying “Drain the Swamp” isn’t a thing anymore and that Trump no longer says that. Then the man himself tweets that he sure does still use “drain the swamp” and that it’s still relevant.
    It would be fun to watch all the GOP turds being given swirlies if it didn’t involve the possibility of such dangerous outcomes.

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  48. David C. said on December 23, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    What do you know, Obama may have no more fucks to give. It looks like he had some fuck yous for Trump and Netanyahu, though.


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  49. Deborah said on December 23, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I’m back from Abiquiu until Christmas morning, then back to the cabin for 3 nights. After that we go to Tubac, AZ for a few days to see my husband’s uncle and his family again. And after we return LB has surgery on the 4th. So lot’s going on. We’re making progress on getting her healthcare needs taken care of as much as possible before she loses it, thanks to the lovely Republicans.

    I’m trying to catch up with recent nn.c posts and comments. You guys have had a lot of interesting things to say, and links galore that I will try to get to.

    Let me say congratulations LAMary on the new job, good for you! And MichaelG, I’m so happy that you are feeling well and have some fun things planned. Good for you, too.

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  50. Deborah said on December 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Rana, it’s good to see you back again. Missed you.

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  51. MarkH said on December 24, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Tom Horn: Listen, why are you hangin’ around with me?

    Glendolene Kimmel: Because you are a link to the Old West.

    Tom Horn: If you really knew how dirty and raggedy-assed the Old West was, you wouldn’t want any part of it.

    — “TOM HORN”, 1980, as delivered by Steve McQueen and Linda Evans from Tom McGuane’s script.

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  52. alex said on December 24, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Come to think of it, Linda Evans played an old west character in the ’60s, although I doubt women in the old west had platinum-blonde bouffants and fake eyelashes and push-up bras or wore jeans.

    And Miss Kitty was tarted up (or rather down) for prime-time television. If they’d been into realism she’d have been syphilitic and toothless.

    Reading the pioneer histories around here, I wonder how anyone got anything done between 1849 and 1855. Almost all of the men ran out to California to pan for gold and a lot of them died trying.

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  53. Deborah said on December 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Shopping and errands are done. We have a tradition of having pasta Bolognese on Christmas Eve. LB made the pasta a few days ago so this afternoon is just making the sauce with onions, garlic, ground beef, ground pork and ground veal, tomato paste and lots of cream at the end. It’s my favorite dish of all time. We’re having the two guys from upstairs as our guests, one is an orphan (he’s 25, his father died when he was 10 and his mother died a few years ago in a plane crash) the other has family far away. We have wine and Prosecco, ice cream and caramel sauce for dessert. I’m making pear slices wrapped in prosciutto for an appetizer, we have to fire up the grill for that.

    Hope you all have a fantastic holiday! Tomorrow we go back to Abiquiu for a few days.

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  54. alex said on December 24, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Just put two 8×8 casserole dishes full of chicken divan in the fridge for tomorrow’s festivities. No cream soups or condiments in this one, just a roux made with Half and Half and Harvey’s Bristol Cream, pinches of nutmeg and curry and a bag of shredded cheddar. Chicken divoon.

    Tonight someone else is making us dinner.

    Here’s wishing everyone happy holidays, along with inspired and witty retorts to any drunken uncles.

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  55. Judybusy said on December 24, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Love hearing the plans and menus.

    We went early to the co-op today to get ingredients for the next two days. We always have Tournedos rossini for Christmas, just the two of us. This year, it’s on the eve, as my wife’s family’s shindig is tomorrow. I splashed out on wine, a bottle from Volnay in burgandy. There is a great wine shop in my hood and the guys (it’s all guys) know their stuff. He showed me the vineyard on the wall map and went on about how the micro climates make a difference in each vineyard. We bought a local runny cheese to serve as an appetizer. Salad of blood oranges, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and basalmic vinaigrette round things out.

    Deborah, have you ever had Comice pears? Firm yet floral and juicy. I’ve bought them two weeks in a row–we use ours in salads, often with smoked salmon and walnuts.

    I hope that 2017 is full of good things in our personal lives and we fight like hell against the rising tide of insanity!

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  56. Deborah said on December 24, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Judy Busy, we get the pears every year from Harry and David as a holiday gift from my husband’s younger sister. We are always looking for ways to use them before they go bad. I have no idea what kind of pears they are, but doing this wrapping in prosciutto over an open fire is the best thing we’ve come up with so far. The recipe is from the Argentinian chef Francis Mallman who has become a favorite of ours because of the stuff he does on open fires. An Argentinan archirctect friend of ours turned us on to Mallman.

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  57. beb said on December 24, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    We’re down in Indiana spending Christmas with my Dad. Being mostly blind, Dad spends a lot of time listening to CNN. Turns out CNN is a bad as FOX. All day they were going on about the US’s abstention on a UN vote condemning Israel’s expansion of settlements in Jerusalem. Considering that the settlements have been a thorn in the side of the Palestinians and thus an impediment to any kind of peace settlement, you would think CNN would have someone on to defend the vote. But no. Everybody was wailing about how the vote was a betrayal of America’s greatest ally. There was one person who argued that Trump’s Twittes about the UN vote amounted to Trump interfering with polices of the sitting president, who is not Trump. The Normalization of il Douche is complete.

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  58. Sherri said on December 24, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    All the presents are finally wrapped, the task I put off for last because I don’t like doing it, and my daughter is making the dough for the rolls for tomorrow’s dinner. A salmon and Dungeness crab chowder and a salad, with another family we share Christmas with, and games to play and jigsaw puzzles to put together, and that’s our Christmas tradition.

    Merry Christmas to all of you.

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  59. Dorothy said on December 24, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    We had Christmas tonight with our son and his wife. She’s just starting her last trimester – I suspect this will be a very big baby girl since Meg seems big for being six months along. We had ham, chicken Parisian, au gratin potatoes, broccoli and a new recipe using beets. Everything was scrumptious. I hope each of you has a very good Christmas or Hannukah, and that you enjoy the company of many loved ones.

    Oh – we also found out today that my mother’s apartment building is too unstable for residents to move back in. So we are in the process of finding her a new place closer to my sister in Indiana PA. It’s for the best. Mom’s eyesight is very poor and although she is relatively healthy, she is 94 and counting. And she needs more assistance than she used to. Here’s hoping we can find a safe place that she likes. What a year this has been!

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  60. Julie Robinson said on December 24, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Sherri, you and my mom both. Every year when it was time to open presents, she’d disappear into the bedroom and start her wrapping chores. It kinda became our own family tradition, all of us yelling that we didn’t care if they were wrapped or not and her insisting she was almost done. Gift bags were just the thing.

    Now we’re home from church and watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Cinnamon rolls are waiting for the morning, and the candles are flickering. Christmas Blessings to all.

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  61. MichaelG said on December 24, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Just had the best Christmas (Eve) in many years. At T’s house with our daughter, her sweety and the grandkids who aren’t so much kids anymore at 15 and nine. T made her usual fabulous dinner. Pork loin, salmon, her special green beans, mashed potatoes a salad with her incomparable Crème Brulee for dessert. A wonderful afternoon and evening.

    Merry Christmas, everybody.

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  62. Jerry said on December 25, 2016 at 2:56 am

    Merry Christmas from England. Our traditional Christmas Eve meal of sausages in a honey and mustard glaze with mashed potato and spiced red cabbage. A different sweet of vanilla ice cream drenched with amaretto and covered with toasted, flaked almonds. Deeelicious. Two of our sons here and we Skyped with the eldest and our grandson in Australia.

    Today lamb with all the traditional accompaniments, then Christmas pudding, mince pies etc. Boxing Day another five joining us, four of whom are vegetarian. One son arrived bearing panettone, cheeses, boxes of chocolates and four bottles of wine. I can see 2017 starting with a period of repentance and deprivation to make up for it all!

    In the meantime a Happy Christmas to you all and let’s hope against hope for 2017 being better than we fear.

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  63. Connie said on December 25, 2016 at 9:17 am

    We drove across the state and back yesterday so my daughter could visit her grandfather. Husband and I will do it again next weekend when my nephew and his kid get to town.

    We stopped for a last day before closing visit to our favorite farm market where we stocked up on winter squash and pie pumpkins at fifty cents per. And two big bags of deer apples.

    Stepmom laid out a snack spread of all my Dutch favorites: saucijenbroedje, (sp), aka pigs, krakelingen, a flaky crisp pastry cookie, and banket, an amond paste filled cookie.

    Today an hour up the road to the inlaws with the cheesy potatoes. We will take the alternate country road that takes us past the place with hundreds of Christmas blowups out front. One of our Christmas traditions.

    So Merry Christmas to all, hope you also have tomorrow off.

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  64. MichaelG said on December 25, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Jerry, that Christmas Eve dinner sounds delicious. Can you tell us what type of sausage, how cooked and especially how to make that glaze? Also how the cabbage was cooked. I love that kind of stuff.

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  65. David C. said on December 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I put a leg of lamb with a rosemary, mustard, paprika and salt rub in the smoker about 6:00 this morning it should be ready in about another hour. I’m about ready to fire up the grill to roast vegetables for soup. It’s pretty simple but so good.

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  66. Dexter said on December 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Merry Christmas nallers from Hilliard (Columbus )Christmas eve in Grove City then Christmas dinner here, grandkids all happy, and I will be loaded with gifts heading home tomorrow.

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  67. Dexter said on December 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    WHAM and solo artist George Michael peacefully passed away, pneumonia…age 53…as 2016 grinds on.

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  68. Connie said on December 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Today we went north to Flint for a happy day with 17 inlaws. Always so noisy I just sit back and let the sound buzz around me. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s day off, I am hoping for a quiet day off with no unexpected obligations.

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  69. LAMary said on December 26, 2016 at 12:49 am

    The sons are having Christmas dinner with their father so here at home it was a nice braised pork tenderloin with shallots and white wine and cauliflower with garlic, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. All good. The boys were here this morning and everyone gave everyone else art supplies, skillets or saute pans and socks. Seriously. The only variations were two down vests, three flannel shirts and a cookbook. Otherwise, we all got art supplies and pans. I scored big on the art supplies. Being away from my old job has brought out the old weird creative Mary a bit. I think it’s been noticed.

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  70. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I believe you see red cabbage being cooked in “A Christmas Story,” placed to give us a good idea of Bob Clark’s opinion of it.

    (Bob appears on the street as a loud-voiced admirer of the leg lamp, btw.)

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  71. Jerry said on December 26, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Red cabbage is one of the tastes of Christmas. And what isn’t eaten on Christmas Eve reappears on Boxing Day. Delicious, and various children (all middle-aged) are doing the washing up whilst I take my well deserved rest before more present opening and then games.

    I shall retire to bed tired but full and happy.

    “God bless us all” said Tiny Tim , and I agree.

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  72. alex said on December 26, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I had red cabbage at a German restaurant the other day and just about went into cardiac arrest when I took a mouthful. It ought to be illegal to put that much vinegar into anything.

    Rainy day here. We’re cleaning our garage and taking a bunch of stuff to the dump and setting aside a bunch of other stuff for Habitat for Humanity.

    Christmas with hubby’s family went by with no politics.

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  73. Deborah said on December 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Jeff tmmo, you might be interested in this, we’re sitting in the car at Ohkay Owingeh waiting for the second half of the Turtle dances to start. There’s cell service here so I’m taking advantage of it. It’s cold and windy, I have lots of layers under my puffy jacket.

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  74. Julie Robinson said on December 26, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    We took advantage of offices being closed today by driving to South Bend for the Downtown Abbey costume exhibit. Nerdgasm! Everything was 10 times more amazing in real life; all the embroidery and beading wowed us. Both Mother & I have done costume work so we were looking at all the little details. Some of it is vintage, some constructed new, but all had period fasteners like hooks and eyes for the women and button flies for men. No zippers.

    Hubby saw every other exhibit in the museum and still ended up waiting for us. What a guy.

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  75. Judybusy said on December 26, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Julie! How fantastic!

    Christmas was spent at my MIL’s 20″ away. Small gathering of we two, wife’s mom, wife’s sister and BIL, her brother and his delightful girlfriend. The downside is the insane dog belonging to the BIL and sis: this 10-year-old lab literally runs around in circles, jumps on everyone (even when we’re sitting on the couch) for HOURS even while medicated. The owners have lame issuances of “No, Casey.” We hate this dog so much. We leave ours at home, as does the girlfriend, because it’s really not fun for well-behaved dogs. At least the crazy dog gets gated in the basement for gift-opening and dinner. A highlight: the girlfriend and I had great conversation about books and movies–she wants to see all the best picture nominations prior to awards night. At least one local theater shows them all in one day, or two if there are 10 nominations.

    Today, we both had off, and spent it reading and cooking. I went to the gym and did some shopping at a nearby mall. Loving the Hamilton biography and picking books I’ll read when on vacation for two weeks, which begins on the 16th. Puerto Rico, all Vieques with 2 NYC gay couples plus a local couple joining us for a week.

    I think there is at least one person here who loves YA fiction. Forgive me if I mentioned this book, but a librarian I’ve befriended recommend The Knife of never Letting Go, a harrowing tale of survival by young folks in a new society gone wonky. It’s the first of a trilogy, so I am planning on reading at least the second book while on vacation.

    It sounds as if people had really nice holidays–great food and good family/friends time.

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  76. Julie Robinson said on December 26, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I’m one of those people; thanks Judy.

    Forgot to say that all the costumes are tiny, even for actors who look beefy on screen. For the women, teeny-tiny. No wonder there are so many eating disorders.

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  77. Jolene said on December 26, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Julie, your museum visit story reminded me of one of my own. Years ago, my parents visited me in Arizona, and we went to a small museum that was hosting an exhibit of Navajo rugs of various vintages. Mom and I stopped to read about and admire every one. Somewhere along the way, we lost track of my dad, but, fortunately, he found a perch on the stairs near the entry and was only mildly put out by having to wait for us. Some people just don’t know how to appreciate the finer things in life! The Downton exhibit sounds terrific. Glad you had a chance to see it.

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  78. Julie Robinson said on December 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Oh, he wasn’t put out in the slightest and he enjoyed the rest of the museum more than we would have since it’s mostly old cars. The original plan was for Mom and I to go by ourselves but my crummy eyes mean I can’t do long car trips anymore. Truly, I am married to the best man in the world.

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Deborah, I am jealous. But happy for you! Layers are the key to happiness, we keep telling the new Scouts.

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  80. basset said on December 26, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Just got in from Christmas with Mrs B’s family in Michigan, 665.8 miles from Caberfae to Nashville and I drove it all myself, not quite 13 1/2 hours. Thought of you all as we passed the Cadillac Sands on the way out this morning – was it Dorothy’s family who either owns it or used to?

    Took a nice rib roast up there, Yorkshire pudding was a foreign concept to most of those present but they seemed to be OK with Bisto gravy. Next year I will introduce roasted Brussels sprouts.

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  81. brian stouder said on December 27, 2016 at 8:43 am

    basset – sounds grrrrreat!! (gotta do the Battle Creek thing)

    We did roasted pork loin & also turkey (I never made it to the turkey) plus lots of other goodies, in Logansport

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  82. Dorothy said on December 27, 2016 at 9:40 am

    Not I, basset! Speaking of Cadillacs, did anyone see La La Land? I need to know what kind of car Ryan Gosling was driving in the movie. Mike said it was a Cadillac but I thought differently. Anyone know? (I’ll also ask Uncle Google in a minute – just thought I’d toss that out there.)

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  83. Scout said on December 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Happy post-Christmas to all. Our Christmas Eve was spent at my daughter’s home enjoying the from-scratch manicotti made by my Mom and playing a rousing four generation round of Cards Against Humanity. I don’t think there could be anything funnier than my Dad (84) reading “bleached asshole” except for my Mom (78) reading the word “queefing” then turning to my Granddaughter (18) and asking “What’s queefing?”

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  84. MarkH said on December 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Dorothy – In what part of the Pittsburgh area was your mother’s apartment building? The Post-Gazette web page listed no less than five apartment building fires over that two day period.

    Basset – Check out this page. At these schools, college radio is living up to its promise as progressive and experimental staging grounds while serving their universities well.


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  85. alex said on December 27, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Dorothy, the car in question is a Buick Riviera. (And I didn’t see the movie, just googled to see what kind of car Ryan Gosling was driving in it.)

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  86. Dorothy said on December 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Parkview Towers in Munhall PA Mark – that was on 12/16 at 5 AM. Thanks alex – I tried Googling it but I”m also at work and really should NOT be visiting this page! However during quiet moments I slip away and do this….I could not find the make of the car.

    I’ll be seeing Mum on Thursday. My sister’s mother-in-law died on Christmas day and we’re going in for the funeral. Seeing Mum will be a bonus. Hope there’s not a time limit on how long I can hug her.

    And anyone doing a wrap up of all the celebrity deaths this year might want to hold off until 12:01 AM on 1/1/17. Carrie Fisher is gone now too.

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  87. alex said on December 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    The car: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00087266.html

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  88. Sherri said on December 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Carrie Fisher is gone much too soon, robbing us of the old broad phase of her life. Obviously the obits are going to focus on Leia, but I was enjoying her appearances on Catastrophe, where she played Rob Delaney’s mother. I listened to the audio version of Wishful Drinking, which she read herself, and it was as funny as you would expect.

    2016 has been a hard year.

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  89. Little Bird said on December 27, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Richard Adams, author of Watership Down has died too. This year sucks. And I don’t have especially high hopes for next year.

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  90. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 27, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    And “Shardik.” Bless him . . . he was 96.

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  91. basset said on December 27, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    MarkH, that’s an interesting list but I wonder what their criteria might be… weighted toward small private colleges in the Northeast, it appears. WIUX at IU should be on there and toward the top, they won best in the USA from a legitimate radio organization recently.

    And what the hell is Five Towns College?

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  92. MichaelG said on December 27, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Basset, I heard a feature the other day on NPR that characterized Nashville as the world capitol of women’s pre-nup parties. According to the feature, there are hundreds of young women and their bride’s maids wandering drunkenly around Nashville prior to their weddings and spending lots of bucks. Supposedly they come from all over the country – California included. Sounds like a nice opportunity for an enterprising young man. Or men. The NPR program claimed that they accounted for 20% of Nashville’s tourist income.

    Wanna see a Cadillac health plan? Here’s my 2016 accounting from Kaiser through November:

    Value of services provided: $85,699.08.
    My cost: $145.00

    Drug costs: $4469.3
    My cost: $141.66

    The plan cost is something like three hundred bucks a month and Medi-Care pays for it.

    I did not plan this or orchestrate this. I’m just the luckiest fucker on the planet.

    I had a meeting with my oncologist, Mother Lisa as T and I call her (Dr. Law), today. She’s a teeny little 35-40 year old Taiwanese who is whip smart. Scary smart but open minded and able to think on her feet. The first few times I met with her in 2014 she had a poker face and displayed no emotion. It didn’t occur to me at the time that she was expecting me to die in the near future.

    Today she was practically giggling. She kept repeating that I was amazing. She explicitly told me that she had expected me to croak (not her word) some time ago. She told me that I was very special because the type of cancer I have usually spreads throughout the body and the victim dies fairly quickly. She said that she is amazed at my response to chemo-therapy and at my spectacular recovery from my illness in Sept and Oct and Nov. I told her that it was because of her. The grin on her face was wonderful.

    She’s happy about my trip to Mexico next week. I’m even thinking about another trip to Barcelona. I must say that I feel really good. I’ve been driving again and things are like they were a year or two ago. Of course this is all subject to change on a rapid basis but I’m very happy for now.

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  93. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 12:37 am

    After reading your comment, MichaelG, I hate to complain about my sprained ankle, but I’m going to do it anyway.

    We were walking out the door tonight to see a play at Seattle Rep when I turned my ankle badly. I roll this ankle all the time, and usually it’s not a big deal, but tonight it was especially painful. I gave up on going to the play and sent my husband and daughter off without me and have been icing my ankle. It’s wrapped and propped up.

    I think I may have to do something about this ankle. I severely sprained back when I was a teenager, and it’s never been stable since then. The slightest unevenness on the ground can roll it, and though usually the ankle doesn’t hurt as badly as it does tonight, the fall can be worse. I’m realizing that as I get older, it’s the falling that will become the bigger problem, so maybe it’s time to deal with the ankle. I think the ankle is getting worse, too now that I think about it. I’ve had three falls due to the ankle giving out over the last four months. Probably has something to do with why it hurt so much this time.

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  94. Dexter said on December 28, 2016 at 2:01 am

    I understand a little bit, MichaelG. Leukemia comes in many forms, for example. Some little kids get it and chemo cures them, some adults get a certain form of it and recover with treatment. And then there’s the group my 61 year old cousin was in…he was treated at Cleveland Clinic, sent home feeling well…next thing we heard, he was rushed to an Indianapolis hospital with sepsis and was gone forever in mere hours. Life ain’t a crap shoot but it feels that way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX6FsTIq6ls

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  95. basset said on December 28, 2016 at 8:13 am

    MichaelG, there are certainly a lot of em, maybe too many:


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  96. brian stouder said on December 28, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Sherri – what was the play?

    And, how many times did you get some variation of the joke “Break a leg!”?

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  97. Dorothy said on December 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Sherri I have the same complaint about my right ankle. First time I sprained it was in high school, tripping down the steps at home. Then I had one or two other slips and hurt it again. Fast forward to my first play on a proscenium stage (Steel Magnolias) and my heel caught on a step going off stage at intermission. I really did a number on that ankle again. I finished the second half of the play but stood like a flamingo as much as I could, it hurt so much. Went for x-rays the next day and it was just a severe sprain. Fast forward AGAIN to October 2011 and I slipped on wet leaves on the pavement (felt like ice they were so slippery) going to my car after work. Left knee got banged very badly (that’s the one I eventually had to have replaced due to arthritis and no cartilage in it), but the right ankle once again was the worst culprit. It aches me a good bit of the time. Walking longer than a mile and I’m getting stabbing pains in it. I’m only 59 but feel like an old lady when it comes to that ankle! You said you might have to ‘do something’ about it, but do you have any idea what you’ll have done?

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  98. kathy t said on December 28, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Fellow traveler Michael G, yippee! Medicare is also doing well by me so far.
    It surprises me how much this diagnosis and all the followthrough both shrinks (lots of sleep, pain vs slight grogginess, don’t wanna talk to anyone, no interest in anything) and expands (the random fellowship, the awareness that yes it could be better but it could alao be worse), and the deep education provided by being in, not at the bedside (I’m a retired pathologist in a small town and was virtually at the bedside of everyone with a serious diagnosis).
    Happy new year to each and every one of you interesting and intelligent peeps. And Nancy, thanks for sharing your talent anf for this forum!

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  99. kathy t said on December 28, 2016 at 9:04 am

    And Sherri and Dorothy, I feel your pain! I’m not one of them that can grin and bear it. Pain is pain never mind the source. Distracting and isolating. Wishing you total relief.

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  100. Julie Robinson said on December 28, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Michael, I suspect few of us would say we were lucky to have spent three years fighting cancer, but I love your attitude and wish I had your health insurance. My mom has a similar great medicare supplement thanks to the city union where she was a librarian and never seems to get any bills or copays at the pharmacy.

    Sherri and Dorothy, I had a lot of problems with my ankles when I was younger and my dad would tape them before basketball games. For practice I tried to replicate it with ace bandages, and I wonder if wearing a brace would help you in the short term.

    You’re so right that falling will make other problems worse. What kind of options are there? Do they replace ankles? I’m amazed at what medicine can do these days–a friend’s husband had both hips replaced at the same time and was home two days later. He’ll be off work for a while but is getting around pretty well with a walker.

    To put our modern lives in perspective, something I read from the BBC: 60 hours of work cutting down trees and chopping the wood equals 54 minutes of light from today’s light bulbs. What a weenie I am, bitching when the power goes out!

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  101. David C. said on December 28, 2016 at 10:03 am

    A friend’s wife had both ankles that would roll under at the least provocation too. She went to several orthopods and received recommendations of physical therapy. That never worked. She finally went to an orthopedic surgeon at UW Madison. He did surgery where he folded the stretched ligament over on itself and stitched it together to effectively shorten it. It worked like a charm and she hasn’t sprained her ankle since.

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  102. Sherri said on December 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Brian, the play was Vietgone, about a pair of Vietnamese refugees who meet in the US after escaping Saigon. It’s a sem-biographical story of the playwright’s parents, and it’s funny and poignant and has a different perspective on the Vietnam War than we’re used to. I saw it this summer at OSF with much the same cast, but we had been looking forward to seeing it again.

    As for solutions to the ankle problem, my research so far aligns with what David C says. Try PT to strengthen the ankle and improve balance, but the real problem is that the ligaments are stretched and don’t provide stability. There are several surgical techniques that are used, including incorporating a tendon to provide support for the area. I haven’t talked to a doctor yet, and won’t until I get back from TN. In the meantime, I’m looking into various braces beyond the soft elastic and neoprene kind to wear.

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  103. susan said on December 28, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    We weren’t meant to walk upright on two legs. Horrible back problems. Horrible knee problems. Hips. Ankles. Neck. We never should have left the trees.

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