As the clock ticks closer to midnight…

We’re going to war with North Korea (maybe) by threatening them with “fire and fury.” I guess POTUS is a “Game of Thrones” fan.

We’re going to war with addictive drugs by telling kids to just say no. I guess POTUS liked Nancy Reagan, too.

Meanwhile, here’s a delightful piece of journalism you should read before the fireball engulfs the west coast, or maybe Guam, or perhaps Japan:

They hitchhike across Europe, instantly recognizable in the wide-bottomed, corduroy trousers, white shirts and colored jackets that identify them as bricklayers, bakers, carpenters, stonemasons and roofers.

They are “Wandergesellen,” or journeymen — a vestige of the Middle Ages in modern Europe — young men, and these days women, too, who have finished their required training in any number of trades and are traveling to gather experience. Most are from German-speaking countries.

I knew nothing of this tradition, and had no idea why post-apprentice tradesmen and women are called journeymen. Now I do — because they journey, duh. It’s mainly a photo essay, so you can enjoy it without committing to a long read.

There was an election here yesterday. No surprises.

Posted at 10:20 pm in Current events |

57 responses to “As the clock ticks closer to midnight…”

  1. Deborah said on August 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    The journeyman link is indeed delightful.

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  2. alex said on August 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Yeoman. (Just means “young man” in old English.)

    It’s not unlike a lot of the American pioneer tradition from England and western Europe, where tradesmen struck out on their own as metalsmiths, gunsmiths, basket weavers, what have you.

    My Mayflower Fitch ancestor went out on his own as a teen-aged boy making guns and agricultural blades and ended up helping to build the metal pieces on the locks of the Wabash & Erie Canal. Reportedly he had fled an apprenticeship in Pennsylvania without having fully paid his dues. He settled down in Indiana as a millwright who still made guns and ploughs and spun cloth too and owned a shitload of acreage in which to do all of it.

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  3. Joe Kobiela said on August 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    If you go to and put gaj842 into the flight tracker,
    you can track me this week
    currently in Saratoga Springs N.Y.
    Pilot Joe

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  4. Jolene said on August 9, 2017 at 3:21 am

    At the bottom of the journeymen article, I found a link to a story re an even weirder thing people do in Germany. It’s the video more than the story that will have you wondering about our Teutonic cousins.

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  5. Dexter said on August 9, 2017 at 3:35 am

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock won’t be changed for a while…the last time I brought this up, the editor got back to me and explained the detailed, long process of moving the clock’s hand, but it has to be 11:59, eventually, after Tuesday, I’d think…but maybe the folks there at the editorial board think this is just DJT blowing smoke up Un’s ass.

    The Wandergesellen vaguely reminded me of how I set out, at age 18, busing to Winston-Salem to join a baseball team and wander the US countryside playing games in minor league professional stadiums, making money only for the owner of our team with the point being we might be sighted by a pro scout and be signed to a contract and begin playing professionally. Many of the guys were signed, but none of my era made the Majors, although many starred in the minors. I did get an offer to come try out the following spring in Florida for the old Montreal Expos and was offered the same deal by the Phillies, but my destiny was not there, it was Vietnam.
    I am impressed by the shillelaghs they call walking sticks. I collect canes and walking sticks and I love theirs. Life on the road like that is rough. And goddam if anyone tried to peg my earlobe with a fucking filthy rusty spike!

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  6. basset said on August 9, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Would be good to see the journeying tradition here… maybe it’d get Basset Jr out of the house.

    Googled the Deadly Vipers & found a YouTube video of them doing a Hawkwind cover. I was impressed… and it was from “In Search of Space,” which was a big part of the soundtrack for my IU years. Maybe they can include “Sonic Attack” next time.

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  7. john (not mccain) said on August 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Back in the late 80s/early 90s I was a typesetter at the Birmingham News. The old timers used to talk about journeymen typesetters. Just like the German ones they would travel from town to town looking for temp work at the local paper. I’m not exactly sure when that started dying off, but from the way they talked about it I think it was in the 50s.

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  8. nancy said on August 9, 2017 at 9:02 am

    To answer your question from yesterday, Bassett, the Deadly Vipers are still together. Had a weeklong tour early in the summer, but they’ve all got a lot going on individually, and are taking a break for a while.

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  9. Deborah said on August 9, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Jolene, as I’ve got a lot of German in me from my mother’s side I love to read your link but I can’t get it to work?

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  10. coozledad said on August 9, 2017 at 9:32 am

    They’re all so deep in that Trump treason they’re going to throw a few hundred thousand of your children at North Korea. For shits and giggles. For a distraction.

    There isn’t a Republican who’s worth a fucking bullet.

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  11. Sherri said on August 9, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Note: this is all speculation, but seems all too plausible, unfortunately.

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  12. coozledad said on August 9, 2017 at 10:22 am

    This is why they’re ginning up a war:

    I notice that all the old Bushie trash has wormed its way back into public discourse. Marc Thiessen. Joe Lieberman. There’ll be renewed calls for torture. Secret imprisonment and perhaps selective repeal of civil rights clauses of the 14th amendment.

    They’re the fucking enemy.

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  13. Joe Kobiela said on August 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

    38 years ago today I soloed for the first time. Cessna 140 off a grass strip.
    Pilot Joe

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  14. Julie Robinson said on August 9, 2017 at 10:40 am

    One of our nephews has been in the Army forever and has been making his retirement plans. He was supposed to be done being posted all over the world, then was offered a bump to general if he took one last posting in South Korea. He lived there quite a few years and married a native, so she was thrilled to go back, and it was going to be a lot more in his retirement check. He’s stationed very close to the DMZ. It just makes me sick to my stomach.

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  15. susan said on August 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

    39 years ago this spring I got my first paying archaeology gig.

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  16. FDChief said on August 9, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Trump’s playground posturing brought to mind one of the many wonderful bits of Robert Bolt’s”A Man for All Seasons”; his protagonist Thomas More has been arrested and is being “examined” by the Chancellor of England, Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell has just reminded More of the state’s power to harm him.

    “You threaten like a dockside bully.” replies More contemptuous.

    “How should I threaten, then?” sneers Cromwell.

    More – who had been Chancellor before his accuser – looks Cromwell up and down before replying dryly; “Like a Minister of State.”

    Hard to imagine anyone who could make Dubya sound like a Minister of State, and yet…

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  17. Jolene said on August 9, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Deborah, the link is to a story about the Germans’ fascination with the American Old West.

    Not sure it will tell you much about your German heritage. I mainly posted it for entertainment. Interesting to see the goofball elements of someone else’s culture for a change.

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  18. Mark P said on August 9, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Sheri — I have been thinking along those lines myself. There is a plausible path now to an end of the world as we know it. The probabilities are even worse now because of a convergence of two unrelated issues. We apparently are headed towards another debt limit crisis. If the freedom caucus (sic) is able to hold the line long enough, the US could end up in default on its debt. That could lead to things like delays in receiving SS checks (I won’t be the only one pissed by that) and an increase in the interest rates the US has to pay on its bonds. That could cost taxpayers and consumers billions over the next few years. Add that to the NK crisis. If there are even slight miscalculations on the part of the US, North Korea or China, there is a plausible path that leads to a nuclear exchange, maybe limited to NK-US, maybe including China. Either could be catastrophic for the US. A single nuclear detonation would probably lead to massive new debt and possibly economic disruptions. A small scale, but still multiple warhead exchange could literally destroy the US economy, not to mention leading to potentially millions of immediate deaths. If you follow the logic on a multiple strike, you end up with destroyed supply chains, food shortages, fuel shortages, increases in mortality from malnourishment and lack of medical treatment. Retirement savings would disappear in the flash, but who cares, there would be no products for you to buy anyway.

    I also think it is very plausible that a number of countries would take advantage of the conflict, Iran and Russia to name but two. If Iran decided to push on Israel a little, maybe even lob a nuke their way, the Middle East would dissolve in flames.

    Anyway, it’s just something to think about as we near the Labor Day long weekend.

    Oh, as to Trump’s “fire and fury”, I think he figured Bush had his shock and awe, so he needed a nice catch phrase.

    Sherri, the link you give mentions an electromagnetic pulse. I know there are a lot of people who think it would work the way the link presumes, but I have long suspected that a nuke-generated EMP wouldn’t cause the damage they all expect. In any event, I also suspect that if NK was pushed to the point that they actually launched a working nuke at the US, they would want the immediately-visible damage that an attack on a large population center would provide. It would make for better visuals, which is something Trump can understand.

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  19. Icarus said on August 9, 2017 at 11:30 am

    #ParisAttack is trending on twitter

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  20. Suzanne said on August 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Reading the posts & comments of my evangelical/far right Facebook friends, I see that it’s all about how great Trump is because he is standing up to international bullies like Kim Jong Un. So, the screaming about the possibility of nuclear warheads being fired is just snowflake liberals cowtowing to dictators.

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  21. Deborah said on August 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Jolene, thanks for redoing the link. We encounter lots of German tourists in NM, actually all around the SW. There’s a great movie called Baghdad Cafe about a German couple who get stranded in a small desert California town called Baghdad. Jack Palance is in the movie directed by Percy Adelon.é I recommend it. It also has a great song, Calling You. We’ve watched it many times.

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  22. Peter said on August 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    OMG, Karl May! Winnetou! My parents were from the old country, and my dad would go on and on and on about Winnetou and the May books.

    The reason that it’s a little on the odd side is that legend has it that Karl’s books are full of trivia and tidbits on how the Indians lived based on Karl’s extensive research – even though he never traveled to the US. Truth is that Karl made a lot of that stuff up, and Germans take it as gospel, which leads to some bizarre scenes at real Indian reservations.

    Why I love being married: When she heard Fearless Leader’s statement on “fire and fury” she asked if it was about North Korea or his bowel movements.

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  23. Jakash said on August 9, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    29 years ago today, I attended the first *complete* night game at Wrigley Field.

    43 years ago today, “our long national nightmare” was over. Well, one of ’em, anyway. In-between flights, one of us has helped deliver another.

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  24. brian stouder said on August 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Susan at 15 – Congratulations!!

    Doing something you love, and doing it well, and for a good long while, sounds like a win all the way around!

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  25. coozledad said on August 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    It’s knowing that the president’s an asshole
    And the path is clear to ruin
    That makes me tend to keep my flame resistant long johns
    Packed behind your couch
    And it’s knowing he’s not bound by any inkstains that are dried upon some lines
    Of the articles and sections of the US Constitution
    That he never pays no motherfucking mind.

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  26. Connie said on August 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Perfect, the words alone gave me the tune immediately and I was singing it.

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  27. Peter said on August 9, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Oh, and I did a bad thing yesterday – I checked the Chicago tribune’s comments on the North Korea shouting match. Oh brother “How many more messes of Obama’s will Trump need to clean up?” “This is what happens when you appease a dictator for eight years”. “Hillary would crap in her Depends if she was in charge now – Thank God that he has provided a real man in the White House now…” A few more of those and maybe we deserve to get nuked.

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  28. St Bitch said on August 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Baghdad Cafe is a longtime favorite, Deborah @21. I second the recommendation.

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  29. LAMary said on August 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Reading the comments is usually not a good idea, Peter. You lose faith in your fellow man.

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  30. LAMary said on August 9, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Thirty nine years ago I had just moved to NYC after wandering around Europe for a few months.

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  31. Deborah said on August 9, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    LB and I are going to spend the night in Abiquiu tonight to see some of the Perseids meteor shower. It’s not the peak yet but they’re still supposed to be visible. The best time to see them tonight’s is after dark but before 10 because of the moonrise and then again around 4am. Tonight there are expected to be around 40 to 60 in an hour. Last year we saw about 300 in 2 hours at its peak. This year because of the phase of the moon they will be harder to see, unfortunately. My husband comes back to NM on Friday, I think the peak is Saturday before dawn. We shall see.

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  32. Colleen said on August 9, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    50 years ago this week I was born. Summer of love, baby!

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  33. brian stouder said on August 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Somewhere in the mid-70’s, I visited NYC; flew there with my mom, for her niece’s (my cousin’s) wedding. The WTC was still new, and people were advocating that they should be torn down(!); they’d swamped the office-space market in NYC.

    And – Happy birthweek, Colleen! 50 years ago I was 6, and we had a dog that my brother got (for free!) on his paper route.

    One Trump remark: when did Republicans (thinking Teddy Roosevelt, here, aka “that damned cowboy!”) change their minds on ‘speaking softly, and carrying a big stick’? The DT doctrine seems to be ‘speak LOUDLY, belligerently, and incessantly”? Obviously, the Donald isn’t used to dealing with having a big stick (and indeed, he has small hands, so there’s that)

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  34. basset said on August 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    38 years ago today I was shooting news film… not video, film… at TV 9&10 in Cadillac, Michigan. All you kids with digital cams and cel phone live packs can just get off my lawn.

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  35. basset said on August 9, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Joe@3, that link doesn’t seem to work… goes to a couple of different sites, one about buying fuel and another about…something, I dunno.

    anyway, you know where to find me if you ever come into BNA. Or JWN or MQY, for that matter.

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  36. coozledad said on August 9, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    I luvs me some Joe kobiela
    I luvs me some Jttmo
    I loves me some Danny
    And whatever right wing fanny
    They stick in my face dontcha know.

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  37. Sherri said on August 9, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Grifters gotta grift:

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  38. coozledad said on August 9, 2017 at 10:21 pm
    All you’ve got to do is dip into English, and you’re a fucking mage.

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  39. alex said on August 9, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    And if trace amounts of tribulis terrestis don’t give you a hard-on, Alex Jones’ll git ‘er done with his lovely manboobs.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 9, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    If I were in a really cranky mood, I’d say to Cooze “bless your heart.” But I’ll just wave, and drive on out to the fair. Missed the figure-8 racing last night, darn it.

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  41. carl said on August 10, 2017 at 8:43 am

    A favorite album from Dave Grusin. Always improves my mood.

    On the North Korea situation, good commentary from Robert Bateman at Esquire.

    conclusion of Bateman’s piece: “If Secretary of Defense Mattis resigns, anytime soon (say in the next few weeks), all bets are off. Why does this worry me? Because Mattis would resign, as I think would national security adviser H.R. McMaster, should an order be issued to commit overt military action. If you see that happen, maybe we should all worry. Until then, relax but monitor.”

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  42. LinGin said on August 10, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Cooz @29 –

    Nice. Not only for Glen Campbell but also the late John Hartford who wrote the song. Hartford was a special favorite of mine. Thank you.

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  43. Suzanne said on August 10, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Gotta love my Hoosier Congressmen re: Trump’s tough talk “I think it’s showing strong leadership.” “We want to keep our enemies off balance”.
    Why do they fail to see that there might be some middle ground between letting N Korea bomb everybody and their brothers and us bombing them off the face of the earth? Oh, wait, that’s right. We have a very inexperienced Sec of State who has hollowed out the State Dept.

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  44. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

    One thing most Americans don’t think about often enough is the outsized role we play in the future of other nations with absolutely no say in our policies. If the hare-brained Orange King continues to rattle sabers, who is most at risk? South Korea and Japan. If we all melt in a nuclear ball of fire, we at least will know what we did to deserve it. We elected a cretinous con artist president and a Congress of half-wits and boneheads. The Asian and Western Pacific nations affected by our national stupidity will be helpless to do anything about it.

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  45. Mark P said on August 10, 2017 at 10:32 am

    The people who want war with North Korea don’t see any problem with all the death and destruction because it will almost all happen to people with somewhat darker skins. It doesn’t even matter to them that it would likely result in the deaths of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of our allies, the South Koreans. After all, their lives don’t matter because they aren’t good, god-fearing Americans. Oh, those 30,000-odd US military over there signed up for it, so they will be heroes. Dead heroes, but, still, heroes.

    As to Mattis and McMaster, their resignations or firings might or might not mean anything. Look at how many have been fired/resigned so far, and that was all just sound and fury. People say they have principles, ethics, a sense of reality, a sense of duty, but there is an irrefutable counter-argument for that: they work voluntarily for Donald Trump.

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  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Carl, have you ever listed to Grusin’s album “Migration”? It’s all the soundtrack ever issued of “The Milagro Beanfield War,” one of my favorite movies and his score helps make it so.

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  47. Deborah said on August 10, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Carl thanks for the Bateman link, I think he has a good head on his shoulders. I remember reading a piece he wrote when Mattis was being considered for the position in the Trump administration. Bateman said then it was a good thing, that Mattis would be a sane influence on Trump. We shall see.

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  48. basset said on August 10, 2017 at 11:59 am

    speaking of “gentle on my mind”… thus, from the Times of London, is how you write the lead to an obituary:

    “In an image that captured the dichotomy of his life, Glen Campbell revealed in his autobiography that at the height of his fame he spent his nights hoovering up lines of cocaine while reading the Bible.”

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  49. MarkH said on August 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Stumbled across this today. Lengthy and seven years old, but in light of basset and Nancy’s catch-up on Kate, a fascinating look at the rise of female bassists.

    Pilot Joe @13 – Congrats! Taildraggers forever! These gold standard bush planes are built 65 miles down the road form me in Afton, WY.

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  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Had a guy at our county justice center (aka, jail) hang back just barely within earshot for Bible study for three weeks; the third week, as we were wrapping up he came up to talk to me as they were calling a deputy to escort me back out. Told me he had some years back been in a hotel room, and had ripped a page out of the Gideons Bible in the dresser drawer to roll into a tube to snort coke, and figured God wouldn’t forgive that one. I assured him God could handle it, not a biggie, and we prayed together . . . he joined the circle the next week, following week got released and I don’t know what happened next, but I think of him occasionally.

    What sticks in the memory was after his “confession” and my assurance that this was, assuredly, one God could let him work past, he said with relief in his face “it was one of those pages in the back that didn’t have nothin’ on it, so I kinda thought it wasn’t so bad. But I’ve felt bad about it ever since.”

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  51. Dexter said on August 10, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Joe K: Dan Patrick Show today…new sponsor: Wheels Up.

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  52. carl said on August 10, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Jeff (mmo), yes I have Grusin’s Migration. The Milagro score is beautiful, quite different from his usual jazz stuff.

    Deborah, here’s the link to Bateman’s post on Mattis back in December, before things really got weird.

    Bateman ended with this: “Finally, I think I know what Mattis is trying to do by accepting this position, and it is not because he supports Mr. Trump: Mattis is sacrificing himself.

    He knows that this will not end well, but he’s doing it in order to preserve what he can of the military for the long-term, despite Trump. And he knows that he scares Trump. And so, he is essentially offering himself up as a shield. He knows his history, and he believes in civil control of the military. But in this case, and I suspect in only such a unique case as that of Trump, Mattis may have reached the conclusion that the nation’s armed forces need protection from their own commander.”

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  53. Deborah said on August 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Carl, yes that previous Bateman piece was even better than I remembered it.

    Well, I know I said we were going to spend last night in Abiquiu to see the Perseids. We had the best of intentions but a mouse got the better of us. It’s hard to envision but half of our cabin is outside, it’s the stairs area, at the bottom we have storage and there have been mice under there, no surprise. Usually my husband is around and he takes care of them. LB and I were uncomfortable with the critter hanging out with us so we basically turned around and headed back to Santa Fe. My husband comes back to NM tomorrow and we will spend the weekend at the cabin. Since the Perseids peak predawn on Saturday, weather permitting we’ll still get to see them.

    When we got back to Santa Fe we went to eat at a relatively new restaurant called Sonder. I love the name, sonder means “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” The food was pretty good.

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  54. Jeff Borden said on August 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Would someone please tell this asshole to STFU?

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  55. brian stouder said on August 10, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    …and not for nothing, but he’s an oaf on the golf course, too (not that that compares with this guy’s itchy trigger-finger)

    an excerpt:

    “He drives across greens. He drives and parks on tees,” Reilly said. “When you drive on a putting green, it’s like parking on the steps of a church. It’s like bringing your own ham to a great restaurant. It’s just not done, it’s the worst thing you can do. …When you ask him why, he says, ‘Hey, it’s my course.’ And that’s the worst part. It’s like he thinks he owns golf.” Trump doesn’t care much for traditions. “This guy cheats from start to finish,” Reilly said. “It was just one free mulligan after another.”

    So why do people put up with it? Because Trump’s entertaining. It’s fun.

    “He’s a gracious host. He buys everything. Everything’s free, so when he drives across the green … you’re just like, it’s a day with Trump,” Reilly said. “Playing with Trump is fun, kind of in the way going to the circus is fun.”

    I wonder if the Donald will realize that now – as President of the United States – EVERYTHING has a cost

    He’s spent any credibility he ever might have had, and he seems content to spend lots of other people’s blood

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  56. Jolene said on August 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Sad news from Gene Weingarten. Along with reading his columns and feature articles, I’ve been reading his online chats for years. In them, he has spoken often of his wife, whom he refers to as The Rib, a way of protecting her privacy. Based on the many warm, funny stories he’s told and simply the way he’s spoken of their life together, it seems impossible to imagine their uncoupling, but, once again, I am reminded that only the people living in a marriage know how it works–or doesn’t.

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  57. Dexter said on August 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Got me wondering…is my lust for Ashley wasted?

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