Midweek. More week.

There are times, in the middle of a busy week, when only “The Great British Baking Show” and a glass of wine will work to calm one’s shattered, or at least frayed, nerves.

Frayed. Yes, that’s it. It’s been a long one, and it won’t stop until…a few more days. I have weekend stuff, too. But there’s a long weekend coming up eventually, and it’s not like I’m digging coal here.

Lifeguard training is going well, in the sense that no one has actually drowned. I had difficulty doing the deep-water rescues, as either the victim or the saver, because I float like a cork. I think it’s Charlotte who has difficulty floating? I can’t sink.

“Adipose tissue,” I said as I failed to touch the bottom of the deep end yet again. “I’m a manatee.”

But little by little, we four are getting it. You wouldn’t necessarily want to hire us at your water park, but we can certainly be useful assistants in an emergency. At least I hope so.

Man, water parks. I’ve been to the one at Cedar Point a time or three, when Kate was at an age to enjoy it. I always liked the lazy rivers, and could have stayed in one all day, if I were allowed a cocktail every third circuit or so. But guarding them must be maddening; so many people simply don’t know what they don’t know. (How to swim, for starters.) Not that this keeps anyone out of the water. I’d go nuts in 15 minutes.

So. Shame about Ossoff, although I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I’m done with that. Grim resignation, that’s my new default. Pendulums swing. Let’s just hang on for the ride.

In the meantime, some bloggage: A WashPost story about Kosciusko County, Ind., just west of the Fort, where the demand for skilled factory workers to fill the artificial-joint plants is acute and not being met by the market:

Kosciusko is only one of 73 counties in the United States with unemployment rates of 2 percent or lower, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many are in ­energy-rich counties in the Midwest and Colorado, where the fracking and natural gas booms have vacuumed up the workforce.

They also include communities that defy the heartland stereotype of industrial decay — like Warsaw, in northern Indiana, and Columbus, about three hours south.

Cummins, a global engine builder based in Columbus, recently opted to open its new distribution center an hour north in Indianapolis, where the labor market is much larger. (Columbus is the seat of Bartholomew County, which also has a 2 percent unemployment rate.)

Companies in Warsaw probably would not move manufacturing jobs abroad, said (economist Michael) Hicks, who follows the region. Firms are more likely to transition to Indianapolis or Chicago, he said, since quality control is crucial for medical implants, and businesses want to protect their designs from foreign competitors.

This is where the importance of talent comes in. And that is where the importance of good schools comes in. I’ve been gone from Indiana long enough that I can’t recall the quality of the schools in rural Indiana, but I think it’s safe to say they’re hit-or-miss. And the legislature has been working mightily to strip the public districts of funding, so that vouchers can be issued for religious schools. Dunno how they do in preparing the workforce of tomorrow. They need to be good. They better be good.

(We talk about this issue in Michigan a lot. Safe to say the legislature is not entirely in agreement.)

And the Senate health-care bill is set for its big reveal. Discuss.

Posted at 10:03 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

95 responses to “Midweek. More week.”

  1. alex said on June 21, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    The U.S. 30 corridor — that hideous, infernally dull stretch of flatland between the Fort and Chicago — is becoming quite the Fertile Delta. There’s Sweetwater Sound, a recording studio par excellence that’s siphoning off biz from Nashville and LA, and the bionic joint industry in Warsaw above mentioned, which is still awaiting reversal of taxes imposed by Obamacare on its multi-jillion-dollar knee and hip replacements for 500-pounders insured by good group plans.

    It would suck to live along there, a truly desolate piece of hell, although execs are evidently lured by the big-bucks Lake Wawasee and the lowest cost of living anywhere (if being flashy against a backdrop of rural squalor in a humid clime is your thing).

    Kosciusko County is even more notorious for its rates of meth and heroin addiction than its unemployment, so I’m not sure where the stats are coming from or whether they should be trusted.

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  2. Charlotte said on June 22, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Yes, even old and fat, I still can’t do a backfloat.

    And apparently, our MT Dems sent Gianforte a new suit for his new job — an orange jumpsuit. Juvenile perhaps, but it’s going to be a long haul, we might as well have a few chuckles along the way.

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  3. Sherri said on June 22, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Hamilton is, in the words of my husband, awesome.

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  4. adrianne said on June 22, 2017 at 6:15 am

    And the big health-care reveal is…this is a tax giveaway to the rich, masquerading as a health-care bill. Pure and simple.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

    I float about six inches below the water; never have really mastered a crawl, got yelled at for years at the Y swimming classes my mom put me in, neither the teachers nor me realizing that the problem was when I did everything right, and turned my head for the breath, it was below the surface. I can float on my back as long as I keep a high arch and moving my hands and feet, but even then I have to lift my head to keep my mouth out of the water.

    Finally a waterfront director at Scout camp watched me try and fail another swimmer’s test, and asked me to do a “dead man’s float” for as long as I could hold my breath, unmoving and face down. When I came up, gasping and paddling, he said “day-ummm, I’ve never seen that before.” Called over some of his staff and had me do it again.

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  6. Suzanne said on June 22, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I am so grateful I got to see Hamilton. It really is an amazing show. I have been listening to the soundtrack and keep being amazed. And having read the Chernow Hamilton bio (no simple feat), I am amazed how well all that history was pared down to two hours and still stay pretty true to the actual story.

    The health bill. Sigh. Our Rep, Jim Banks, tweeted the link to an article that discussed MDwise & Anthem announcing they are dropping out of the exchanges. An article which clearly states that they are leaving because of all the uncertainty about the future of the healthcare marketplace. Which is being caused by Congress, which would be people like Banks. Stupid is as stupid does.
    I am back to planning to have fun in my nearly here retirement years and then face death in an impoverished gutter somewhere.

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  7. brian stouder said on June 22, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Suzanne – when you reach the Impoverished Gutter Somewhere, I’ll be the bald guy sleeping and muttering, on the next grate

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  8. A. Riley said on June 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Years ago when I had to take a lifesaving course to be a camp counselor, the guy I was assigned to “save” had negative buoyancy. Seriously. He was on his high school swim team, minimal body fat, and the only thing that kept him from sinking like a stone was the air in his lungs. I can still remember getting him in the cross-chest hold and jamming my hip into his back to drag him across the pool, muttering, “Goddammit it, Ed, would you at least kick your feet a little?”

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  9. Suzanne said on June 22, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Ok, Brian. We’ll talk in person there in the gutter. It’ll be fun!

    I don’t swim well, but surely I enough fat cells to keep me buoyant! Those fat cells have to be good for something, right?

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  10. brian stouder said on June 22, 2017 at 10:11 am

    OK – this is a ‘laugh, or cry’ thing –


    an excerpt (not to say the “money quote”):

    Trump, who bashed Goldman Sachs during the presidential campaign, received backlash for choosing wealthy Wall Street figures for top administration posts. Many of his nominees had complex financial holdings around the world, which created myriad potential conflicts.

    Trump contended on Wednesday that wealthy people can better run the U.S. economy because they do not need money.

    “I love all people, rich or poor. But in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,” Trump said. “Does that make sense? Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it. But I like it better this way, right?”

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  11. Bitter Scribe said on June 22, 2017 at 11:19 am

    The Heritage Foundation has its shorts in a knot because the Senate version of AHCA still has subsidies for low-income citizens. Apparently they think there’s nothing wrong with telling a newly unemployed person that his health insurance will now cost $800 a month.

    Where do they get those people? What does the job interview consist of—how fast and far can you kick a line of puppies?

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  12. Suzanne said on June 22, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Bitter, it’s simple.
    A)If we take all safety nets away, people will magically get good paying jobs and have insurance
    B)On the off chance that A doesn’t work out, those people can just go to the hospital or local charity clinic. Never mind that all our costs will go up because emergency room visits are more expensive & don’t cover preventative or maintenance care. That problem will eventually be worked out by those magical jobs in point A.

    See, no need to be fret. It’ll be fine.

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  13. 4dbirds said on June 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

    The reason people are poor and are on assistance is because they don’t want to work. If we take away all welfare, they will get jobs and have benefits. It worked this way in the 1800s until we ruined it. I’m a floater too. If I drown, it was murder. 🙂

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  14. Jakash said on June 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I’d love to “float like a cork,” or even like an upside-down bottle cap, for that matter. As it is, I found myself identifying strongly with Jeff (tmmo’s) comment, minus the expert’s appraisal at the end. Hey, I can swim fine — I just can’t breathe while I’m doing it. ; )

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  15. elaine said on June 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I worked as a lifeguard for our school’s indoor pool during high school. Fairly boring business, save for the rowdies. However, one day I had a middle-aged guy begin his swift trip toward drowning right below my elevated chair. He somehow managed to get under the deep end rope and in over his head. And as mentioned earlier, he wasn’t flailing or trying to pull towards the top, he just stayed in place, looking bewildered. Though I could have yanked him up with a lot of effort (he was pretty good-sized), one of my football player friends was there and came over to help me get him up. When he caught his breath, the man was still bewildered as to how he got himself in that situation. The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than two minutes. Scared the shit out of me.

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  16. Deborah said on June 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I could float on my back when I was a kid, even though I had zero body fat. I was a lousy swimmer though, as I’ve said here a million times, even though I grew up in Miami where everyone else could swim like flipper.

    I think about Hamilton a lot. I would love to see it again. Maybe I’ll wait until the movie comes out.

    I’m in Santa Fe until Sunday, I just couldn’t face 99 degree temps with no electricity or running water. Our cabin gets a great cross breeze but still. We went to Taos yesterday where the high was only 92 (hat har).

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  17. Deborah said on June 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Har har not hat har

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  18. Heather said on June 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I just got back from swimming. I’m definitely good at floating but have a hard time diving–I find it hard even to do a somersault underwater (which is part of the problem with trying to learn the flip turn). I also have a lot of anxiety related to other swimmers. It seems like each pool has its own rules about sharing lanes and so forth, while lots of people don’t seem to know the etiquette. I’m always worried about a head-on collision in the water in those situations. The lifeguards are pretty hands-off unless someone is drowning.

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  19. Minnie said on June 22, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    After a few days of reading in the new format, I respectfully offer these opinions. For the body copy, the leading seems too great. The spaciness makes it harder read. The script for names and post times is pretty, but less quickly legible. I’m not opposed to change and enjoy messing about with fonts and such myself. However, for a blog with responses that may go on – and on – into three digits and may be read late at night, I would prefer a combination that doesn’t tire the eyes.

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  20. Charlotte said on June 22, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Jeff TMMO — I am still semi-famous at my summer camp for being the only kid ever to pass the basic swimming award without floating. They were all lined up on the dock, watching me try to float on my back, and then sink. I did love swimming in grad school at Utah though — the U has a beautiful pool up on the bench, and for some reason there were always flippers lying around for anyone to use. With flippers I could swim laps! It was great.

    Really interesting, and terrifying, piece at Slate today about the libertarian/despotic thinker behind so much Heritage/Cato/GOP thinking (and also worked for Pinochet). Money quote: “I think it’s also much more about this psychology of threatened domination. People who believe it will harm their liberty for other people to have full citizenship and be able to work together to govern society. And that somehow that goes much deeper than money to me. It’s hard to find the right words for it, but it’s a whole way of being in the world and seeing others. Assuming one’s right to dominate.” http://www.slate.com/articles/life/history/2017/06/james_mcgill_buchanan_s_terrifying_vision_of_society_is_the_intellectual.html

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  21. brian stouder said on June 22, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    OK – I confess that this (fairly terrible article made me chuckle:


    and the perv’s name? Ay yi yi

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  22. Joe K said on June 22, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Currently in Groten Conn, will be doing water rescue training Friday morning in the dunk tank, hope the life guards are as good as Nancy.
    Pilot Joe

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  23. Joe K said on June 22, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    And no I’m not being mean.
    I’m serious.
    Pilot Joe

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  24. alex said on June 22, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Aw, Groton.

    Saw that Brian. Shit’s so surreal in these parts you’d think the local news was written by the same people who put out the Onion.

    And Minnie, you sure dated yourself. Leading! (For those of you who never worked in publishing, it’s pronounced “ledding” and it refers to what people now call line spacing.) In my first job out of college I worked in hot lead, but only because the printer’s union still had a vise on everyone’s balls and publishers had to provide work for older employees who didn’t want to retrain. The Chicago Tribune put an end to it by refusing to budge in a strike, and shops everywhere went desktop.

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  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 22, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Hot. Lead.


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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 22, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    And Brian S. — I will admit it. I did some web searching just to confirm that wasn’t some practical joke that got completely out of hand.

    Wait, I mean . . . oh, never mind.

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  27. Bitter Scribe said on June 22, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Alex @24: It wasn’t a straight line from hot lead to desktop publishing. In between there was photo-offset, which is what I cut my teeth on. And what a pain that was. Guessing how long a story would run, my reporters furious with me because I had to cut their stories to make them fit. (I used to tell them, “If you want to write stuff that never gets cut, get a job translating the Bible.”)

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    (Tell that to the Apocrypha.)

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  29. Charlotte said on June 22, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    My first job out of college involved repackaging Conde Nast material into books — Best of Gourmet, Glamour Food Book, collections of House and Garden articles packaged as design books. I spent a lot of time a) running type up to the Gourmet offices to use their hot waxer, then b) taking the waxed type way up to Yorktown to our designer, and c) taking the mechanicals over to the Conde Nast building to be signed off. Which involved the Elevator of Fashion Death, which I often shared with Andre Leon Talley, who is so tall I came up to his elbow, and was so magnificent I tried not to stare like the Midwestern girl I was …

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  30. David C. said on June 22, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    A couple days ago someone here was talking about IKEA bowls. I saw this today. It’s pretty funny, if true, and the Consumerist is owned by Consumer Reports, so they’re pretty reliable. I think it makes me want to buy them even more. Anyone who can make a bowl with enough precision and polish that it’ll concentrate light enough to set a fire is OK by me.


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  31. Jill said on June 22, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Dorothy may be too busy to be checking here, but if not, I’d love to hear how it’s going with Nestle.

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  32. Candlepick said on June 22, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I’m with Minnie at 19.

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  33. Minnie said on June 22, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Line spacing, of course. (smacks head)

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  34. Sherri said on June 23, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Between Pride Week and the Fiftieth anniversary of the summer of love, San Francisco is even more colorful than usual. There are rainbow flags everywhere, and wherever there aren’t rainbow flags, there is something tie-dyed, like these flowers in the lobby of my hotel.

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  35. alex said on June 23, 2017 at 12:26 am

    David C, it was IKEA cooking pots and pans. They shine like that too. And look fab in my industrial-chic stainless kitchen. I’ll make sure to keep them there and out of the sunlight.

    Walmart parking lots seem to be all the rage with exhibitionists around here. Of course, if you’ve seen the People of Walmart web site, there are plenty of privates peeking out of clothing inside the store too, none of which anyone would want to see.

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  36. basset said on June 23, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I agree with Alex@1 that northern Indiana is not the most interesting drive… but some people seem to like it. Kokomo to Huntington is not my idea of a scenic tour, though:

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  37. Deborah said on June 23, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Leading, kerning, picas, who remembers any of that? When 9/13 meant 9 point type with 13 point leading. We always had our type set with tight kerning, we said tight but don’t touch. Oh those were the days. Now when I type kerning, autocorrect tries to change it to keening.

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  38. basset said on June 23, 2017 at 11:50 am

    It’s mourning the death of hot type… or pining for the fjords, dunno which.

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  39. Snarkworth said on June 23, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Crop wheels, pica sticks and hand-counting headlines (and coming up with synonyms that didn’t have Ws or Ms, to make ’em fit).

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  40. MarkH said on June 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Not that I comment much politically here, but this is blockbuster stuff and some damned good journalism. Putin caught red-handed giving direct orders and favoring Trump. And a feckless response from the Obama administration despite Kerry’s pleas. A good read today.


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  41. Jakash said on June 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Having driven U. S. 30 from Chicago to Ohio maybe a hundred times, I can’t really dispute Alex’s bracing description in the first comment. We try to think of it as a “blue highway” (anybody remember that book by William Least-Heat Moon?), getting off the interstate and into real America, and all that, but that doesn’t count for much when compared with the ever-burgeoning number of traffic lights and the “infernally dull stretch of flatland” one is traversing. After trying just about every fast-food chain extant over the years, we’ve lately settled on the Culver’s off the I-69/U.S. 30 bypass of Ft. Wayne for our sustenance on the excursion, FWIW…

    A trip to the Vice Presidential museum in Huntington, IN, named in honor of the illustrious Dan Quayle? (Basset’s link @ 36.) Woo-hoo! Damn, our car is old, but we don’t qualify, though. Sad!

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  42. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    You’ve got to be a complete shithead or fully compromised flak to try and dish this off onto Obama. Republicans are the vanguard of an enemy power. They ought to hang as traitors

    The New Confederacy finally found an allied country gutter trashy enough to help them suck at the same tits of racism and kakistocracy. It’ll take generations of investigators to nail every piece of filth in the conspiracy, and an active program of mass deportation to rid the country of its deepening moral stain.

    Russia is big enough to accommodate a lot more gullible old serfs. Save the government some money, and undertake to move there yourself.

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  43. FDChief said on June 23, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Pierce has a good piece on the whole Putin-hack thing, but to me the real question is buried in the middle of the piece (http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a55836/obama-russian-interference/):

    “Why does Putin want this guy to be president?”

    I mean, sure, the story is that Vladi hated Clinton with the intensity of a thousand suns. But Trump? The supposedly-populist, America-First, loose-cannon? Why, if you were a Russian oligarch whose whole game is restoring the old glory of the Soviet Union, would you want this gobblesnatch in the White House?


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  44. Dorothy said on June 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Nestle is a happy and sweet addition to our household! She and Lucy barely look at each other (Lucy’s the cat). They know they are there but choose to pretend they don’t see each other. That’s better than hissing or scratching or barking! The first night she peed on the carpet in our bedroom. I refuse to crate her at night cuz she has to be in a crate during the day M-F. I came home at lunch today and yesterday. Clean crate both days, and she went in the yard as soon as I took her out. Excellent all around. She is walking better on a leash (at the shelter she rarely did that). She ‘army crawled’ on her belly to get under our platform bed last night, so Mike and I got back out of bed and moved all of our tennis shoes out from under the bed and put them in another bedroom and closed that door. We use a gate on our bedroom door – Lucy plaintively cries on the other side of the gate. But we need to keep Nestle confined for several months until she is trained to go outside. If you can see Instagram, there are some new pictures on my account – truvy57. She smells better than she did the day I met her too! I said to Mike last night at dinner time “A couple times today at the office, I thought I could smell Nestle near me.” He said “You too?!” We were amazed by that. I guess that means we’ve imprinted her on us! Or somethin’ like that.

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  45. Dorothy said on June 23, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Ooops – I forgot. Daughter’s interview at the WaPo is Tuesday.

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  46. brian stouder said on June 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I agree with Alex@1 that northern Indiana is not the most interesting drive… but some people seem to like it. Kokomo to Huntington is not my idea of a scenic tour, though

    Basset – I could not possible AGREE more strenuously!!

    We’re glaciated, what can I say?

    But Pam has us on track for this year’s little vacation jaunt – to Dollywood!

    So. I’m looking forward to beautiful Pigeon Forge/Smokey’s/etc – plus I may be able to get her to stretch and refuel near the Lincoln birthplace, which I’ve never visited….

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  47. Jakash said on June 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I’m not gonna dispute that Obama’s response was feckless. He made a calculation about the likely results of the election and he was wrong. Given the willingness of even top Republican cold-warriors to stick their heads in the sand in order to assure more tax cuts, then and still now, however, I’m not sure what a feckful response might have entailed. It’s not like folks who voted for ole Rumpy were looking for reasons not to, nor would have been swayed by anything that Obama might have said or done. Please.

    Interesting tidbit:

    “On Oct. 7, the administration offered its first public comment on Russia’s ‘active measures,’ in a three-paragraph statement issued by Johnson and Clapper. Comey had initially agreed to attach his name, as well, officials said, but changed his mind at the last minute, saying that it was too close to the election for the bureau to be involved.” Oh, good call. Guess he changed his mind about “too close” when it came to freaking Weiner’s connection to Hillary’s emails eleven days before the election.

    Now, making sure to loudly remind folks “but her emails” at that juncture seems to have been far from feckless.

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  48. Connie said on June 23, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Once you are at Lincoln’s Birthplace you are almost to Mammoth Cave. We found Lincoln’s birthplace amusing in an unfortunate way. There is a grand marble building, then you enter it and there is the totally beat up tiny log cabin.

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  49. brian stouder said on June 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Connie – sounds wonderful!

    Y’know – Springfield has a big, beautiful, impressive museum, and indeed, they have ‘the bones’ at their cemetery….but the one thing that made the biggest impression on me (besides their hand-written copy of the Gettysburg Adress, under glass and with an armed guard) was one of his stove-pipe top-hats, also under glass.

    It had a worn-out spot on the front of the brim, as the wearer was always (always! tipping his hat as he passed other citizens

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  50. Suzanne said on June 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I have not read the WaPo article yet about how much was known about Russian interference pre-election, but had it come out, I am pretty darn sure it would have made no difference. With all that has already come out, I have not heard any Trumpista that I know say they believe a word of it. I am sure they think it’s fake news from liberal snowflakes. So that is where we are now.

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  51. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    “Feckless” is a semantic dodge for “insufficiently white”. Why else would someone reach for an orphan Victorianism that finds itself at odds with modern usage? The reach shows in the awkwardness.

    Every lowlife political ism, every political scam is betrayed by its sales cant. It would be better if you had the guts to go full Bull Connor or Jesse Helms than mushmouth your hate, but it doesn’t matter.Everybody who matters can read that transparent tongue like a rebel flag plate.

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  52. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Going full bore racist trash when your justifications for treason fail, has become a hallmark of the traitor party.



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  53. devtob said on June 23, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I’ve wondered why Nancy was “The One, The Only,” and first on the blogroll, over at Lance Mannion’s blog. Now I know:

    “When the blonde and I lived in Fort Wayne, our old pal Nancy Nall subscribed to Spy and when we were over at her place our gang read that together and laughed our heads off at the follies and depredations of the of the man the editors stuck with the nickname ‘the Short-Fingered Vulgarian.'”

    It seems everything is always all about Trump, who Mannion followed from afar before moving back to NY in the 1990s, when “The news about him was all about failures, bankruptcies, and lawsuits. The gossip about him lost its glamour and its thrill.”

    That didn’t last long enough.


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  54. Brandon said on June 23, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    “Criticism grows of feckless politicians who use ‘feckless’ fecklessly.”

    Also, Obama and family dropped by. It’s his second visit to Hawaii since he left office.

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  55. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I posted the wrong link: They’re going after the Obama administration, and you’re a liar if you pretend not to know why:

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  56. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Hear, O Israel:


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  57. 4dbirds said on June 23, 2017 at 3:36 pm


    How much did that Obama visit cost the taxpayer? Outrageous.

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  58. Brandon said on June 23, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    How much did that Obama visit cost the taxpayer? Outrageous.

    I wouldn’t know, but he was the talk of the town. This cost taxpayers a lot: “U.S. Wastes $28 Million on Afghan Military Uniforms, Watchdog Says.”

    The Pentagon wasted as much as $28 million over the last decade on camouflage uniforms for Afghan soldiers despite the fact forests make up only a small fraction of the country’s landscape, according to a report released Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

    The findings comes a decade after the Department of Defense moved to procure new uniforms for Afghanistan’s National Army as part of U.S. efforts to bolster the country’s capacity to provide its own security. The uniforms, which cost approximately $93 million, were made using a “forest” pattern from a company called HyperStealth—one which the report says was chosen over other free camouflage patterns owned by the U.S. government after Afghanistan’s defense minister at the time, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, “liked what he saw” on the company’s website.

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  59. Charlotte said on June 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Hey Brian Stouder — if you want to go rafting, ziplining, or jeep touring while you’re in Pigeon Forge — I can highly recommend Wildwater Rafting (wildwaterrafting.com) — really safe, really good folks — and um, I wrote the copy for their website!

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  60. Dorothy said on June 23, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Forgive me if this link has already been shared here, but have any of you read this? I have not had time to read the whole article, but my son did and he declared it unsettling. I’ll say.


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  61. brian stouder said on June 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Charlotte – I could be talked into rafting, but zip-lining is not on my list.

    When we visited Mt Rushmore, our oldest daughter wanted to do the zip-line thing, so I went up the hill with her, and snapped photos, and lent moral support…and that’s about it!

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  62. Judybusy said on June 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I tried ziplining in Costa Rica. I thought I’d be able to take the leap with the secure harness, but I just couldn’t. The guides were super nice, and I later rappelled down a very long waterfall, a much longer potential fall than the ziplining stuff. The difference? My feet were on the “ground,” i.e., the wall along the water fall. Brains are funny! One of the most beautiful days I’ve ever spent!

    Ok, I have to do a little outright bragging here. I have a child protection case and am the social worker for the dad through the public defender’s office. His son is in foster care. 5 weeks ago, the family stated they’d like to change the visiting schedule. The CP worker has not been able to communicate effectively with my client and the foster family to get this done. I finally stepped in yesterday afternoon and asked if I could be of any assistance. New visit schedule arranged by 10:00 a.m. this morning. So much less stress for my client! As Jeff TMMO knows, you celebrate the victories.

    Also, Rand Paul and the other 3 senators opposing the health care bill because it’s not cruel enough are so reprehensible.

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  63. Deborah said on June 23, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Jakash, I read Blue Highways eons ago. We still like to travel the off roads rather than the interstates when we go on road trips. One thing I remember about the book was Least Heat Moon’s claim that the more calanders on the wall in a local cafe, the better it was. I can tell you from much research that is a completely bogus claim. I think four calendar cafes were supposed to be the top of the line, maybe it was five. I can tell you that most of the food we had in local diners or cafes was horrible and that goes for the pie too.

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  64. MarkH said on June 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I read Blue Highways in ’83, two years into my six year stint working geophysical surveys throughout the west. Worked in two of his stops, Cedar Cuty, UT and Dime Box, TX. Least Heat Moon certainly had a keen observational eye but took a while to get through the book. Like Deborah, a love for the blue highways (lots in Wyoming and Idaho), but I never had any faith in a calendar theory for good eats. Asking a few key locals always worked for me.

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  65. Jolene said on June 23, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I’m curious about the publication schedule for the big WaPo story on Russian interference and Obama’s response. It hit the website this AM, early in the day, but much too late for the print edition. Though there are important interactive elements, surely they want this to appear in the paper. Seems odd, though, to publish it online a whole day ahead of the next print edition. Will be interesting to see what appears in tomorrow’s paper. I’d have thought they’d save this non-date-sensitive piece for Sunday.

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  66. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Your country is an apartheid shithole.

    And the fucking Republicans are responsible.

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  67. Jolene said on June 23, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Your link doesn’t work, cooz.

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  68. coozledad said on June 23, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    My mouse is fucking up. Time to replace it.
    But it goes to Daniel Dale’s twitter account, he’s a reporter for the Toronto Star.

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  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 23, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Brian @ #46, if you get to go by Lincoln’s birthplace, consider a short side-trip to http://www.monks.org and Gethsemani Abbey, the religious home of Thomas Merton.

    Day visits: http://monks.org/index.php/visit-us/day-visits

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  70. brian stouder said on June 23, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Jeff – interesting stuff! Looks like an almost perfect counter-point to the Biltmore mansion, which we visited last summer

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  71. Mark P said on June 23, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Dorothy, it does my heart good to hear about you all taking in the new dog. In my experience, although they may have long term issues, they know they’ve been saved and who saved them.

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  72. Jakash said on June 24, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Yeah, Deborah @ 63, we’d have to concur about the quality of most of the local mom and pop restaurants in the hinterlands these days. I’d say that they’re hit and miss, but that would be on the optimistic side. Maybe they were better 35 years ago when he was writing the book, but I doubt that the calendars were a deciding factor. ; )

    And I agree, Jolene @ 65, that *is* odd. The timing couldn’t be worse than the October statement about Russian interference being released a half-hour before the WaPo published the pussy-grabbing story, though…

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  73. Dexter said on June 24, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Something I learned on XM radio from Jeffrey Gurian, NYC bon vivant and professional party-goer, and friend to all the big-time, big-city comedians: Jackie Mason shuns fancy Gotham restaurants for diners…been like that always. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_v4saPuF0K10/SfhEVn0jpoI/AAAAAAAAAYg/yQ7K2IKgvo0/s400/20090424-20090425-IMG_7562.jpg

    I am also a diner and “home-cookin'” restaurant seeker. I remember great ones in Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. We have a Greek diner here in Bryan, Ohio, called “4 Seasons”, run by the lady & husband who formerly actually had diners in Astoria, Queens (NYC) and later the Ambrosia in Auburn, Indiana.

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  74. basset said on June 24, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Brian, if you’re going to Dollywood/Pigeon Forge, do it on acid. Never have myself, but from what i’ve seen of the place sober and working, that seems appropriate.

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  75. coozledad said on June 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Republicans are having a sad over being denounced as murderers. But every aim of right wing policy is murderously tendentious. This is the net effect of the dollar god and bleeding heart fascism’s intrusion into policy making. Like everything else, they suck at it.


    This Thatcherite bullshit should have been buried with her prion rotted corpse, but it looks like Britain is too heavy on the skinhead side to pick itself up off the floor. It’s the white power cult in Britain that’s dragging it to the shitter.

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  76. coozledad said on June 24, 2017 at 10:08 am

    I’m old enough to remember Republican trash warning about death panels. It was evident from their relish of the phrase that that’s what they intended to put in place once they’d gerrymandered their way to power. Murdering shite.

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  77. Mouse said on June 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Basset,if I remember right doing anything on acid made it more intersting !

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  78. coozledad said on June 24, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Well, so much for those “different outcomes.” There has to be a point where that gloss of tinny empathy reveals itself as undiluted fraud:

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  79. coozledad said on June 24, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    While the civility shills are lining up to say how vulgah! our political discourse has become, note the members of the Trump transition team on this list of Actual. Fucking. Nazis.

    Frankly, I think the Mussolini situation was ultimately handled with grace and aplomb. We need to get back to the old ways of talking to blackshirts.

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  80. Rana said on June 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    My rule of thumb for finding the decent restaurant in small towns is to look for the one with the full parking lot, ideally with cars that have in-state rather than tourists’ plates.

    Worst small-town “meal” I ever had was in a little place in Ohio that, upon hearing that I’d like “a plain roast beef sandwich, please,” gave me a piece of naked bread with a visibly elderly single slice of meat, and nothing else. We figured that they were either trying to get rid of the out of towner, or the place was a front for something else.

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  81. Deborah said on June 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    There’s a restaurant in the small town my husband is from that gets rave reviews in write-ups about Route 66 road trips. The parking lot is always jammed with local cars but to me the food there is consistently horrible. I’ve eaten there many times unfortunately because it’s one of the only places there (besides Ruby Tuesdays). It’s supposed to have good pie, I’ve had it and it always tastes like store bought. It’s been around forever, my husband went there as a kid and his dad and uncles went there before that, so it must be doing something right.

    Beautiful day in Santa Fe, 78 and breezy. I walked to the farmers market this morning. Fabulous. Back to Abiquiu tomorrow and a few days after, it should be a little cooler there too.

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  82. Dorothy said on June 24, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Sounds like our weather, Deborah. We’ve had windows open all day. The glorious temps and breezes are just terrific.

    We had to take Nestle to the vet today. She was sneezing and coughing lots over night. And had some discharge from nose and eyes. She has an upper respiratory infection. This is very common for dogs that come from shelters. She had one round of inoculations at the shelter, but our vet thinks we’ll have to just re do the first set in a few weeks, hopefully when this infection is cleared up. So we cannot board her when we have to go to Pittsburgh his coming weekend. Fortunately we can bring her to the hotel. We’ll bring her crate and she’ll have to be in it during the Mass and cemetery for Mike’s aunt. The one who died around Christmas. And on Sunday when we take my mom out for breakfast to celebrate her 95th birthday, Nestle can stay at my cousin Kate’s house. My kids are happy they’ll get to meet the pup!

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  83. Dorothy said on June 24, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    *Not breakfast – 28 of us are going to lunch at Armstrong’s. This is a small crowd for us. Mom has 10 kids but most livevout of town. She’s going to meet her newest great-grandbaby because our Olivia is coming with her folks!

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  84. David C. said on June 24, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Deborah, I bet half of everybody has never had anything but store bought pie and don’t know the difference. If a restaurant pie moves the needle one little bit it somehow gets a reputation for “good pie”. I don’t think I’ve ever had restaurant pie that wasn’t a disappointment. The biggest disappointment is seeing peanut butter pie on a menu and hoping against hope it’s anything like my grandma’s or now, my mom’s which is to die for. It’s always some piece of crap with a graham cracker crust.

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  85. Deborah said on June 24, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I finished reading “The Handmaid’s Tale” finally, I found it good, but extremely depressing, I had a hard time picking it up and continuing after a certain point. I’ve started reading “The Ghost Road”, by Pat Barker. I don’t know a thing about it except an Abiquiu friend loaned it to me saying it was fantastic and it was a Booker prize winner, it takes place during WW1, it’s the conclusion of a trilogy, so if I like it I’ll probably get the first two.

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  86. Sherri said on June 25, 2017 at 3:03 am

    The awards banquet was tonight, and some of you had asked for pictures of my dress, so here’s one of me and my husband before the event: https://1drv.ms/i/s!Atkosto9G5MX6AUO_A8lbQ5L4ss6

    Here’s another of us along with most of the rest of the gang: https://1drv.ms/i/s!Atkosto9G5MX6AlB28w-J1jt9Of9

    It was great to see these guys, some of whom I hadn’t seen in well over 25 years. We also ran into other old friends at the event, which was fun, and got to talk to some cool people. There were Turing Award Laureates all over the place. This evening at the reception, this kindly old gentleman comes up to us and says, “Hi, I’m Don.” Yes, we know who you are, Don Knuth, only the most beloved computer scientist in the world and someone who won the Turing Award when I was 12.

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  87. Dorothy said on June 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Sherri those are great pictures! And I loved the story about Don Knit I have no idea who he is but your explanation was enough to wow me!

    Deborah I’m almost done with The Handmaids Tale and it’s making me feel the same way. It feels like a chore to make myself finish it. I keep wondering how Ms Atwood found the energy to complete the story. Unrelenting non-progress for the protagonist makes for a very difficult reading experience.

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  88. Dorothy said on June 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

    KNUTH. Sheesh.

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  89. coozledad said on June 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

    With apologies to John Betjeman:

    Donald Ass Trump, Donald Ass Trump
    Overstuffed sofa retrieved from the dump
    What strenuous singles you played after lunch
    your sweaty knickers all striped in the bunch

    Love thirty, love forty, that waistline old boy!
    If it ain’t fifty inches, then you ain’t no goy.

    Morbid astronomy! Dead Saturns of rump
    Uranus in eclipse, Donald Ass Trump!


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  90. Deborah said on June 25, 2017 at 10:01 am


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  91. alex said on June 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Cooz, I high five you. Tennis garb aside, he could pass for one of those fat-bottomed Russian babushka dolls that pops back up when you knock it over. He’s built exactly like the son of an orthodox rabbi I once interviewed for a story who told me that he was constrained by shibboleths on butt sex but really wanted to try sucking some cock. I was there just to discuss an old synagogue being gentrified into condos in the gay part of town, so that came totally out of left field.

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  92. coozledad said on June 25, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I always wonder if the people of the book wouldn’t be happier if they had a “Book of Slight Equivocations.” It might even limit some of the killing.

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  93. Diane said on June 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Great dress Sherri!
    Re the second photo-proud of you but irritated at the world (and the limits it has placed on women in the sciences) that you are the only woman in the photo of the most of an old gang of computer science achievers.

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  94. brian stouder said on June 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Sherri – what Diane said; tremendous photos! Thanks for sharing

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  95. coozledad said on June 25, 2017 at 7:27 pm


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