Mixed signals.

When I was a girl, rape was what happened when a man brandished a gun or knife, dragged you into a dark alley, and had sex with you. That was easy to understand.

Then, when I was a young adult, the concept of date rape was introduced – that it could be someone you knew, and there might be no weapon involved, just a stronger man holding you down. Also easy to understand. There was also a brief pass through the concept of marital rape, with John and Greta Rideout suddenly everywhere, testing the idea that a man didn’t have an absolute right to sex with his wife whenever he wanted, and that cause was strange, then righteous, then infuriating (with the Rideouts reconciled after his, guess what, acquittal).

Date-rape drugs were next. Remember roofies? Where do you get roofies? I am not deeply immersed in drug culture, but I know my way around a little, and I’ve never seen or been offered a roofie. A third, fourth, sixth or ninth cocktail? Now there’s a date-rape drug that doesn’t get its due.

Then, in the ’90s, Antioch College instituted its widely ridiculed sexual consent policy, and by widely ridiculed I mean it was an SNL sketch that very weekend. Antioch eventually went out of business, but that was a hardy seed it planted, because it flowered into how we now talk about sexual encounters: They must be consensual, and they must be consensual at every step of the escalation, and that consent can be revoked at any time. Already stuck it in? Sorry, guys, if she tells you to take it out, you have to. No one cares about your sexual frustration; that’s why your hands reach all the way down there.

This is where I began to step off the train. I like sex, but I don’t like sex that proceeds like a contract negotiation. Once the clothing starts to come off, I think it’s safe to make some assumptions. If I don’t like what you’re doing, I’ll speak up. I don’t want to answer “is this OK? Is this OK?” every few minutes. But at the same time, I see where that might be a useful framework, especially for college students who are still figuring this stuff out. Sex and navigating intimate relationships are skills you have to learn, and if these policies are essentially training wheels for the early years, no harm done.

Which brings us, as you knew it would, to Aziz Ansari, who is probably pacing his apartment rage-smoking, or maybe in a Xanax haze, or otherwise coping with the agony of being revealed to the world as a lousy hookup at best, and a near-rapist at worst. And here is where I step all the way off the train. Because the next stop is Pencetown, and I ain’t going there.

Either women are strong, independent individuals with the capacity to say what they do and don’t want in an intimate relationship, or they are delicate flowers who put out “cues” that men must decipher, and woe betide if they get their signals crossed.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, count yourself lucky. Or read up. A lot of us have been talking about being older lately; never have I thanked the fates for my arthritic knees and wrinkly ass more than this week, when the thought of having to navigate this dating moonscape made me quake with fear. Because evidently you can go back to a guy’s place, take off your clothes, perform oral sex on one another, change your mind because “things are going too fast” and also because he’s a lousy kisser, and still feel you were wronged somehow, because he also served you the wrong wine and he did that thing with his fingers and, and, and…

This young woman sounds, at the very least, deeply confused. It’s also possible she’ll grow into the sort of woman who gives her husband the silent treatment, and when called on it, says, “If I have to tell you what you did, then you’re even more wrong!” Maybe these two deserve one another, come to think of it.

I’m with Gene Weingarten. This was a terrible piece that should never have been published, and could do significant damage to an important cause. But I guess progress is rarely linear. We’re still figuring out how to get along with one another. I expect we always will.

So. Nearly the midweek. And the decline of facts continues apace:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — When truck driver Chris Gromek wants to know what’s really going on in Washington, he scans the internet and satellite radio. He no longer flips TV channels because networks such as Fox News and MSNBC deliver conflicting accounts tainted by politics, he says.

“Where is the truth?” asks the 47-year-old North Carolina resident.

Don’t have much to say about that, just throwing it out there. There might be hope for journalism yet, but I’m not sure how.

Finally, this horrifying thing from an English-language Russian news site. It’s easy to say “nothing will come of this,” but that requires ignoring history, in which genocides and purges always start with this sort of propaganda, and rarely end well.

But now it’s Wednesday, or nearly so. Over the hump.

Posted at 5:52 pm in Current events |
 

111 responses to “Mixed signals.”

  1. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    And speaking of strange sexual encounters, how about the governor of Missouri? Another family values guy of course.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on January 16, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    I am having a hard time believing the Orange King is in “excellent shape.” And he weighs just 239? Bullshit. Double bullshit. He looks more like a 275-285 kind of guy. By the same token, this was a naval officer. I thought officers were sworn to maintain certain standards. Would a serving officer lie about this man? Or, perhaps, is it true this foul creature really does have good genes and can thrive on fatty fast foods and ice cream? I’m confused.

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  3. alex said on January 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t know if Nancy remembers this, but in the early 1980s in Fort Wayne, there was a big brouhaha over a judge’s handling of a date rape case, a late-night bar pickup that probably went something like Aziz Ansari’s date except all the way.

    In court the judge lambasted the victim/accuser, a young single mother who if I recall correctly had left her children unattended at home while she went out “trolling” (the judge’s word) in bars well past midnight and was dressed like a “hooker” or “slattern” or some such (the judge had a fanciful vocabulary of old-timey shamey words) and the judge told her essentially that she was equally culpable in whatever had happened to her because she had “asked for it.” He also laid into her for neglecting her kids.

    The public discourse around that incident was fiery and a lot of people called for the judge’s removal. But taking sides in such a matter is the easy way out. How, in fact, do you fairly adjudicate a situation where the only testimony comes from two people who were drunk and probably aren’t reliable witnesses even when sober?

    I’m sure it’s a conundrum whether you’re a sexist old product of that judge’s generation or a millennial.

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  4. Rana said on January 16, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Consensual sex is pretty simple, actually. Either the other person is into it, and clearly enjoying it, or they’re not. If they’re not, you stop.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 16, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I’m an inch and half taller than Trump. He’s stated to weigh exactly what I do. That’s simply a lie.

    A small one, but yet another clearly visible part of the vast iceberg that is his lurking, looming, hull-smashing untruthfulness.

    The Ansari thing is a failure of editorship, which is to say there are (virtually) no editors anymore. I know, there are some, but for the most part, none. I read it and thought “she had a right to think that, to write that, but someone should have helped her either rewrite it, or not publish it as it was.” That’s what editors used to do.

    I can’t tell you how NOT freeing it is to know that when I type up a column and send it in, it goes onto the website and into 30,000 pieces of newsprint as is. If I put two periods at the end of a sentence by mistake, I see it online and in clippings. No one is checking anything. I liked knowing someone was keeping an eye on me, even as I bitched every time my lovely sentences were “tampered” with. Now I know how little I knew then about the value of editors.

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  6. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    The doctor who examined Trump also served as White House physician under Obama. I don’t think there’s much justification for thinking that he is pulling his punches.

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  7. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Is the physician being paid off? How weird. I’m turning into a conspiracy theorist.

    I’m back in Chicago, plane just landed. What a strange experience that was at LaGuardia.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    The hookup culture totally escapes me, but it also escaped me when I was young. So I don’t think I have anything to add.

    However, I have a son who is like that truck driver from North Carolina; he doesn’t trust most of the media, or most of the government. He seeks out podcasts and Ted Talks or the like on the internet to “make his own decisions”. We’ve had some lengthy discussions/arguments on whether or not he can fully vet the people on the internet.

    In the past he was on an eating plan I considered unhealthy and possibly dangerous, and I urged him to talk it over with his aunt, who had a master’s in nutrition and worked in the field. He refused, because she would quote the FDA and other institutions that he considered to be owned by big chemistry or big agriculture, or the like. (Now that I think of it, these days big ag IS big chemistry.)

    It’s his generation’s form of don’t trust anyone over 30.

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  9. basset said on January 16, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Never was much good at interpreting “cues,” which tended to keep me in the friend zone in my single days. I suppose having so many young women think, or at least tell me, that I was “really nice” was a positive sign, though.

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  10. Heather said on January 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    There are a number of problems with the way that Aziz Ansari story was solicited, but it highlights the fucked-up way that men feel entitled to sex and have learned to ignore unspoken signs that women aren’t into it, and the ways that women have learned to ignore their own discomfort in favor of sparing a man’s feelings and/or avoiding his anger. I keep hearing “men aren’t mindreaders,” but how hard is it to fucking read body language and verbal cues when someone isn’t into sex? Women have basically been forced to be hypervigilant to men’s emotional cues, but somehow men are totally unable to pick up on this stuff? I don’t buy it. I think the problem is that there is a huge paradigm shift going on in how we view sexual consent and the power dynamics involved. Yes, she could have just said no and left, but I and many, many other women have been in very similar situations and I can tell you it’s not always that easy. If you all have always had the confidence to do so, more power to you, but it’s the truth that a lot of women don’t, that there can be a million thoughts, fears, and beliefs going through your head that prevent you from doing so, and I’d rather we talk to women about why this is so and change the messages they’ve picked up than blame them for it.

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  11. Deggjr said on January 16, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Trump’s official height (6’3″) and weight (239lbs) puts him at overweight on the BMI chart. 6’3″ and 240 lbs is obese on the chart.

    Meet the Press identified a few NFL players with Trump’s height and about his weight. Maybe.

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  12. Heather said on January 16, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    This piece is along the lines of what I was trying to express: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/16/aziz-ansari-story-missed-opportunity

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  13. brian stouder said on January 16, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    I think Madam Telling-Tales nailed this, when she said

    A lot of us have been talking about being older lately; never have I thanked the fates for my arthritic knees and wrinkly ass more than this week, when the thought of having to navigate this dating moonscape made me quake with fear.

    I’d add that, imo, it’s always been a “dating moonscape” – for all the successive generations of young folks.

    Adding in the celebrity/entitled aspect for the feckless man (and the ‘wow, I’m with a celebrity’ spin for the young lady) in the story, and it’s a mess all around.

    So, I subscribe to Heather’s sentiments, 100%.

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  14. alex said on January 16, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Being gay, I’ve dealt with many of the same issues regarding sexually aggressive men when I was younger and I know what it’s like to suffer through bad sex instead of just saying no. I know what it’s like to be compromised by inebriation. I know what it’s like to wake up next to someone I don’t even remember meeting the night before and being disgusted with myself. I don’t think assertiveness or lack thereof are traits unique to either sex. Assertiveness is learned and it comes with maturity, and maturity comes with some hard knocks sometimes.

    I would counsel any young person that self-esteem is important and that the flattery of others is more often than not just a tool to get into your pants or your pocketbook, and certainly nothing you’re obligated to reciprocate. Once you learn to recognize it as manipulation you won’t have any problems on the dating scene or in a whole lot of other spheres of life.

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  15. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Trump isn’t delusional, mentally ill, or mentally incompetent, he’s just an amoral grifter who will say or do anything to pull one over on you. Period.

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  16. Dexter said on January 17, 2018 at 3:06 am

    I don’t know where to get roofies or Special K (Ketamine), but have heard stories that in the the drug HQ called Pinellas County, Florida they were dirt cheap and floating around every club back like 15 years back.
    Aziz Ansari is a good actor and comedian; I really liked his Netflix series the past two seasons. I heard from an XM show host that Aziz is a really dull interview, reserved, not any fun to be around, has to have scripted acts like Seinfeld, meaning he can’t do impromptu club acts or crowd work, and he is also unable to ad lib.
    But what is this about sticking fingers down a date’s throat? Yeah, I am one of the recent old age complainers, and I have only heard of bingeing eaters who puke like that, fingers down the throat. This is a sexual fun-thing? Jeezuss Kreist! I missed that totally. It sounds like a torture technique to me. Anyway, since all Louis CK did was jerk off in front of adult women, I hear he’s sorta served his time, in a way, and will be back to entertain us shortly. Will he use his “little problem” as material to make us laugh? Will club-goers laugh or throw beer bottles at him? Old gossip: when I was a young man I began hearing stories of lewd shit oldtime funnymen like Red Skelton did ( projected XXXXXXX films down his driveway hill onto his neighbor’s white garage door), Uncle Miltie Berle swinging his huge man sausage around, and Sinara’s Rat Pack crew seducing young ladies constantly, nobody checking IDs.

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  17. MarcG said on January 17, 2018 at 4:46 am

    The Russia Insider website is typical of russian “news” sites that are meant to justify the behaviour of the right-wing pro-putin gangs that roam russia these days. They are like brittbart on steroids. To take anything that they publish seriously is a mistake, yet the russian government, and the russian people themselves, will cite them as proof necessary for whatever crystalnacht type of anti-semite, anti gay or anti whatever today’s political action is. Please do yourself a big favour and don’t waste yours or anyone else’s time with that stuff, unless you would like to be inundated by russian trolls.

    Have a nice day!

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  18. basset said on January 17, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Clem Kadiddlehopper showed porn movies on his neighbor’s garage? Say it ain’t so!

    Back in a more recent universe, I did “read up” – wasn’t sure who Aziz Ansari was and had to google “woke bae,” though.

    “Deeply confused” sounds about right, and an editor surely would have helped.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 17, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Jolene, not meaning to condemn the doctor out of hand, but there is no way he’s 6’3″ and 239 pounds. Said a guy who could stand to lose some weight, but is 6’5″ and 239 pounds. That simply cannot be true. Therefore, I mistrust the entire process if we can’t even be reasonably candid about that point. It’s not like is it a combover or isn’t it, where there’s room for nuance. He is NOT 239 pounds. Either that, or I’m exaggerating my weight.

    Or, the doctor didn’t weigh him, and took his word for his weight, which leaves me equally untrusting. I wouldn’t call it all a lie, but there’s clearly lots of revised reality there.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 17, 2018 at 8:09 am

    The kindest interpretation — there’s some question as to how tall Trump actually is. He used to claim 6’3″ and even 6’4″ at times thirty years ago, but here’s a picture of him next to a college athlete who is verifiably 6’2″, and . . . well, anyhow. The Donald might be barely six foot in a solid pair of dress shoes and 239, and I might believe that. It all makes me suspicious of the doctor’s assessment . . . plus, he’s a Navy officer. If an admiral tells him that fudging the public story is a matter of national security, which it would be in a way, there you go. Anyhow, see Trump next to a 6’2″ athlete:

    https://imgur.com/a/r7G5d

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  21. alex said on January 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Here’s betting the doctor took great pains not to say anything that would offend the stable genius’ personal vanity and unleash his wrath, even at the risk of being disbelieved by anyone else. Just like Kirstjen Nielsen.

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  22. Jolene said on January 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Someone said on TV last night that Trump’s height has previously been given on a driver’s license as 6’2”. I think there’s variation in body composition and how people carry their weight, but mainly I was saying that this doctor is not a Trump appointee or a GOP plant.

    Trump does seem to me to be in good general health, especially given his health habits. Even having normal blood pressure at his age is somewhat unusual. According to this CDC report, 2/3 of American men have hypertension.

    Some people are lucky healthwise. Doesn’t make them kind, good, smart, or effective as political leaders. Doesn’t make them psychologically healthy either, which I’d say is more of an issue for Trump than cognitive impairment, which the Montreal Cognitive Assessment that Trump took is designed to measure.

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  23. Suzanne said on January 17, 2018 at 9:09 am

    The Trump weight seemed way low to me too. But as soon as I thought that, the little voice in my head started screaming at me not to become one of those conspiracy people.
    Yeah, Alex, I saw that woman on video yesterday saying she really didn’t know if Norway was majority white. And she’s in charge of what??

    On the up side, maybe if people get a good taste of what it’s like to have non-elites (read: incompetents) in charge, they’ll change their tune about those darn elites. I also heard that in a special election for I’m not sure what office, in W Wisconsin in a district that went solidly for Trump, a Dem was elected for the first time in years.

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  24. Suzanne said on January 17, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Wisconsin election story
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/01/17/daily-202-unexpected-defeat-in-rural-wisconsin-special-election-sets-off-alarm-bells-for-republicans/5a5eb5d230fb0469e884019a/

    Sorry. I don’t know how to shorten the link

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  25. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2018 at 10:07 am

    What’s the over/under on how soon the Aziz thing becomes an episode of “Law & Order: SVU”?

    (I stopped watching that show because I got sick of how the rape accusation that turns out to be false is their go-to plot twist.)

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  26. adrianne said on January 17, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Lost in all the kerfuffle is this amazing story about Trump’s fixer, Michael Cohen, paying $130,000 in hush money to a porn star who had sex with the Donald in 2006. Really. What has happened to us that this story completely fell off the news radar? Oh, and the news organization that broke the story was the Wall Street Journal.

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  27. Jolene said on January 17, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Sanjay Gupta has some concerns about Trump’s long-term cardiac health. But it sounds like he is only recommending the kinds of monitoring and behavioral changes that Dr. Jackson said he would be trying to get Trump to adopt.

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  28. Deborah said on January 17, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Regarding Trump’s weight: I’ve often heard that muscle weighs more than fat. I don’t know if that’s true but if Trump doesn’t exercise he obviously doesn’t have a lot of muscle. He golfs (excessively), but uses a cart, so he doesn’t even get the benefit of walking.

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  29. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2018 at 10:22 am

    I scanned that “Russia Insider” article, as much as I could stand anyway, and all I can say is that, in addition to being repulsive, it’s very confused. The writer blames “the Jews” for current-day hostility to Putin, but later blames anti-Semitism for Ukraine’s hostility to Stalin. The confusion is illustrated, literally, by a graphic that combines an image of Jesus crying bloody tears with a melange of Communist icons, including four images of Lenin, a couple of Stalin, at least one of Marx and a bunch of other people I don’t recognize.

    This guy needs an editor, or at least a good spanking.

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  30. Mark P said on January 17, 2018 at 10:47 am

    If Trump’s weight is mostly muscle, then he has the most muscular ass in modern history.

    Also, the President’s physician is military first and physician second. He’s a subordinate of the commander in chief. He’ll follow orders, even if that means lying. I’ve seen it happen.

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  31. Dorothy said on January 17, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Deborah my youngest sister used to be a cheerleader in high school and she told me the same thing (muscle weighs more than fat).

    It will never happen but wouldn’t it be delightful if a Fox anchor would challenge Trump to get on a scale and they’d record the results? That would be the simplest way to prove whether he weighed that much or not.

    I wish I could listen to Jeff Flake’s speech while I’m working. Apparently he’s called out the Prez for his claims of ‘fake news’ and the importance of a free press. Why has this taken so long for someone to speak up about this?! And I’d give anything to hear a reporter actually get confrontational with Sarah H. Sanders at a news conference one of these days. I can’t stand that she always seems to be able to deflect criticism. Someone needs to grow a pair and really light into her, face to face.

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  32. Suzanne said on January 17, 2018 at 11:47 am

    It’s too bad Flake isn’t in the Congress or something. Because, I mean, then he’d have the power to do something!
    Oh, wait…

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  33. ROGirl said on January 17, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    At work this morning someone asked me if I felt the meteorite boom last night. I didn’t know what she was talking about, then I remembered I heard and felt what sounded like something coming from my neighbor’s, like a car hitting the garage and the door slamming shut. That was the meteorite, around 8 last night.

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  34. Deborah said on January 17, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    I love stories about meteors, actually many enter earth’s atmosphere and land every single day. When they land they’re meteorites. There’s a shop in Santa Fe where they have lots of meteorites on display. They look like plain old rocks, they usually break apart on landing so they’re not easy to spot. The guy who runs the shop is fascinating to talk to, he gets a lot of people bringing in rocks for him to inspect, he says most are just rocks.

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  35. Jakash said on January 17, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Suzanne,

    I’ve never used the tiny url thing that most here do, nor know how to put the link straight into the hyper-texted text of a comment like they do, but I do know that you can easily *shorten* a link by taking off everything after the question mark, FWIW. : )

    It seems that a few folks have coined the term “girther” as an homage to ole Rumpy’s “birther” nonsense. So, of course there are already at least three Twitter hashtags for it: https://twitter.com/hashtag/Girther?

    Many have posted photos of him standing next to a clearly taller, 6′ 1″ Obama on inauguration day:

    https://twitter.com/TheBaxterBean/status/953469470667952128

    Others have noted that 6′ 3″, 239 lbs. is the exact limit before stepping into the “obese” category on a BMI chart, and that perhaps this is the explanation for those particular figures.

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  36. susan said on January 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Haw! I do like this twitter handle. Lots of funny pics. And cries of, “Show your girth certificate!”

    I suppose it is fat-shaming, but Dear BLOTUS deserves it.

    #GirtherMovement
    I’m on board the girther train!

    Man I only weigh 59 pounds myself!

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  37. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I read somewhere years ago about some guy finding a meteorite worth some fabulous sum of money—millions of dollars. I can’t remember (or maybe the story didn’t explain) why some meteorites are worth that much.

    What I do remember is that the guy, an aged and canny prospector type, didn’t find the thing on the ground. He found it at some kind of flea market, in a tray surrounded by worthless rocks. The young couple selling the stuff had no idea what it was worth and sold it to him for $5 or something, even knocking a few bucks off the price just to be nice.

    I like to think that if it had been me, I would have shared at least a little of that windfall with those folks.

    As far as fat-shaming Trump goes, when you regularly call women pigs and fat slobs, you lose all rights to object to that sort of thing IMO.

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  38. Jolene said on January 17, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Bitter Scribe, you might be remembering this story re finding a valuable sapphire in a box of agates at the Tucson Gem Show. I was living in Tucson when this happened, but I am still somewhat amazed that this memory was lodged in my brain. I definitely remembered the “find something of unexpected value” part of the story. I was more tentative about whether it was a sapphire, but that turned out to be correct.

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  39. alex said on January 17, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Trump’s inaugural crowd wasn’t even as big as his ass. He’s no 239 pounds. I’d lay money on 320 or so at least.

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  40. nancy said on January 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Obviously a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. Muscle is denser, so a person may gain weight, or not lose any, while still getting leaner.

    I’ve found this applies more to men, who are hormonally capable of building more muscle, than women. Maybe our newfound power lifter, Sherri, can tell us more.

    Also, no effin’ way does Trump weigh 239. He must have had one foot on the floor.

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  41. Icarus said on January 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    adrianne @26 What I want to know his how much did Melania pay her to keep having sex with Trump so she wouldn’t have to

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  42. beb said on January 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    The standard picture of Trump golfing (besides showing him fighting his way out of the rough) shows him as kid of a butterball. I don’t know if that’s just the angle of the photo or the way his body is twisted making his swing but he looks lot more like me — 6’2″ 300 pounds than what the doctor said he weights.

    It’s interesting that a man who said he could shoot someone in Times Square and not lose a vote was anxious to pay off a porn star for her silence. It makes one wonder what sorts of things he was trying to cover up? Hardly his adultery but perhaps his performance in bed? Kinks? Little hands? Then there’s the question where did the $130,000 come from — his charity foundation? The Russian Ambassador? And, since people had the story back when it happened one has wonder why none of these news-sites went with the story. The media did so much to get Trump elected.

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  43. Jolene said on January 17, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Sports fans are comparing Trump to their favorite athletes. The comparisons do not add to the credibility of the doctor.

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  44. Connie said on January 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Hey Dorothy, I’m going to Primante’s tonight! Don’t want fries on my sandwich, what should I order?

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  45. Sherri said on January 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Muscle is more dense than fat, and tends to be distributed differently on the body. I can wear a smaller clothing size at my current weight than I did when I was younger and 20 lbs lighter, because my body fat is lower.

    It is easier for men to gain muscle, thanks to higher levels of testosterone, but women can gain muscle as well. How prominent the muscles appear on either gender depends a great deal on body fat percentage. Bodybuilders don’t look like those pictures all the time, at least not if they’re natural: they go through diet manipulations to substantially reduce their body fat percentage in the weeks leading up to a show.

    My goal is strength, and I don’t have a crazy low body fat percentage, but I’ve added visible muscle definition in the last year, enough for people to notice and ask about. Riding around in a golf cart won’t do that.

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  46. Sherri said on January 17, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Connie, it’s sacrilege to go to Primanti’s and not get fries on your sandwich!

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  47. Dorothy said on January 17, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Connie if you’re eating at the original location in the Strip District, downtown Pittsburgh, you won’t be able to request ‘no fries on the sandwich’. I tried that once. The waitress was emphatic – ALL OR NOTHING. They truly are always wildly busy there so they like people to eat what’s on the menu – they’re too busy to handle special requests. However, there is a Primanti’s just a couple miles from my house and they let you order however you want. I personally don’t care for fries on a sandwich, or cole slaw. I prefer them to be separate. So it’s your own choice!

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  48. Peter said on January 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I’m sorry I can’t link this, but I saw a photo of the presidents on Inauguration Day, and the caption said: “Obama is 6′-1″ – If Trump is 6′-3″ I’m the Queen of England” Yes indeed, at best, with the hair, Trump is no taller than Obama.

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  49. Scout said on January 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    THIS.
    https://twitter.com/TheRickyDavila/status/953773101086662656

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  50. Jolene said on January 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    The New York Times asked some other doctors about Trump’s heart health. They are worried.

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  51. Connie said on January 17, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    So I had the margherita flatbread plus all the fries I wanted from the other three plates. And a beer. I found the women’s room sort of oddly decorated with framed headshots of today’s current actors. I don’t think I have seen that elsewhere. Neal Patrick Harris etc. Or as my daughter said, Liam Neeson was watching me pee. I must assume the men’s room is done with women’s portraits.

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  52. Charlotte said on January 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    So, the Babe.net “journalist” had a hissy fit about Ashleigh Banfield (clearly she’s too young to remember AB reporting from that vestibule while the trade centers fell). Serious hissy fit here — anyone want to take bets that “Grace” is actually Katie May?
    Here’s the link: http://www.businessinsider.com/aziz-ansari-writer-email-to-hln-ashleigh-banfield-2018-1

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  53. LAMary said on January 17, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    My father was just under 6’7″. He weighed 240 and his doctor told him to lose 15 pounds. No way does Trump weigh 239. My father was not fat. Large yes. Broad shoulders and very long legs and arms. He had no ass. The photos of Trump golfing and playing tennis show a guy who is obese. I don’t know why the doctor is lying but it appears he is.

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  54. Mark P said on January 17, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Lamary — If the doctor is lying, and I assume he is, he is either a supporter or he was ordered to. As I said, he’s military first and physician second (at best).

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  55. alex said on January 17, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Fellow NN.C commenter Dave posted this viral video on Facebook today and I had to do a double take. The title was “Amish Doing Donuts.” I thought for sure the guy in the buggy was pulling up to a donut shop. Then it struck me that I recognized this place: The liquor store in Grabill, a town about five miles down the road. The time is morning. (Yes they do a brisk business then.)

    http://geekologie.com/2018/01/amish-buggy-doing-donuts-in-frozen-parki.php

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 17, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    I think it was Colin Jost on last week’s SNL who said he was thankful to be living in a time when “President pays off porn star for silence” is the number four story of the week…

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  57. Jolene said on January 17, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Wow, Charlotte, that attack on Ashley Banfield is perfect for the Trump era—completely intemperate. How awful for Aziz Ansari to have his life destroyed by people who don’t have the judgment to understand the difference between a personal disappointment and a public issue, the skill to make an effective public argument, or the maturity to absorb and respond to criticism.

    A very charming aspect of the first season of his Master of None series on Netflix was that his real parents played his parents, something that they said they did simply so that they could spend more time with him. They are conservative people, immigrants from India who have lived in South Carolina for many years. His father is a gastroenterologist, and his mother works in his office. I can only imagine the complex melange of emotions they must be feeling: shock and anger at their son for behaving in ways that they would never condone, embarrassed that their patients and friends know all about this, and heartbroken over the public humiliation their son is enduring.

    “Grace” unleashed quite a shitstorm.

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  58. Deborah said on January 17, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    We walked down 5th Ave a few times during our NY trip and each time we walked past Trump tower I shot the bird with both hands. I do that when I walk past the Trump tower in Chicago too, unless I have my hands full of packages. I know it’s terribly immature but it makes me feel better.

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  59. Minnie said on January 17, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    A friend with a Naval background pointed out that Trump’s doctor is a Rear Admiral – two stars – and understands how to get his third.

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  60. Peter said on January 17, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Jolene, those doctors are worried about Trump’s health? I’d be delighted….

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  61. Andrea said on January 17, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    “Girther” is the funniest thing I have heard in a long long time. So divinely perfect. A gift from the gods, or goddesses, as the case may be. I hope Obama laughed his skinny little ass off when he heard it.

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  62. Dexter said on January 18, 2018 at 3:30 am

    Trump is 3 bills plus. If he’s truly 6’3″ he’s more like 320. That’s my guess.
    It’s been 20 years nearly to the day that Lewinsky friend Linda Tripp convinced Monica to go bite Clinton’s leg like she was a dog, to fell him and his presidency. It was shameful, sad, disappointing, but we moved on, the impeachment led to no conviction. Trump will skate away from his latest whoring report like he did over the Russian golden showers he reveled in in Moscow and the inspection of teen age vaginas as he strolled the dressing rooms of his beauty pageants. He is a fucking stupid creepy bastard who treats nuclear threats with juvenile “mine’s bigger…” retorts. And from what’s happened so far, if Bannon truly sits down and talks with Muller, nothing will come of that either.

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  63. Heather said on January 18, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Aziz Ansari’s life has not been destroyed. He still has his show. No one’s calling for him to be fired. Law enforcement isn’t looking into allegations of assault. He’ll be fine.

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  64. Jolene said on January 18, 2018 at 10:09 am

    He’ll be fine.

    I think that is, at best, up in the air. His Netflix show has run for two seasons. Will he get another? Nothing announced so far. The rest of his work is stand-up comedy. Will people buy tickets to see a guy now revealed to be, in the eyes of many, somewhat creepy?

    There’s nothing permanent about his circumstances. His career depends on the willingness of financial backers to support his projects and the willingness of the public to pay to see him perform in whatever venue. I’d guess that both—financial support and public interest—are likely to be much less available in the future.

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  65. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I just read an extremely discomforting article about Nassar, the Dr who molested all of those young women athletes. Wow, what a pervert, and so many people in charge let him off, and he continued to do it over and over. Yuck.

    I’m at uncle J’s Chicago condo waiting for the Salvation Army to come pick up a couch. It’s a perfectly good leather couch that makes into a bed. I guess there’s something wrong with the bed making gizmo. Anyway the view over Millennium Park and the city is stupendous. I brought some books and my iPad so I’m good for the duration.

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  66. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 11:12 am

    I suppose everyone has already read this http://amp.slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/01/the-tabloid-intouch-offers-us-a-peek-at-the-presidents-literal-and-figurative-nakedness.html?__twitter_impression=true nothing you wouldn’t expect.

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  67. Jeff Borden said on January 18, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I dutifully read through all the letters sent by happy Trump voters on the editorial page of today’s New York Times. Most of the writers are from blue states –New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, California– but they all overlook his racism, sexism, constant lying, pettiness, cruelty, etc. Several love his tough talk on foreign policy. Others give him full credit for the roaring economy. And there are some who fully support the wall and anti-immigrant policies. In short, nothing surprising. A few mention his crudeness, but are fine with it. These views are not any different from the little towns in rural and Deep South areas routinely surveyed by the press.

    I know the mainstream media is bending over backwards to demonstrate fairness, but is this the right use for this much valuable real estate in the NYT? There’s no fact-checking or vetting of the lofty claims of greatness from the letter writers. I found the whole exercise dispiriting. Maybe it’s just me. . .

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  68. adrianne said on January 18, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I get why the New York Times is doing this — and part II runs Friday, on one-time Trump voters who now are disillusioned — but it really wasn’t necessary. The most important thing going on right now is Mueller’s investigation. Eyes on the prize, people!

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  69. 4dbirds said on January 18, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    I read the article in Babe and came away with mixed feelings. She wanted to be his friend and spend some time with her, the real her. He wanted sex. That’s it. It took her way too long to realize it, but as someone said above, confidence comes to us after we really need it. Pressing you for sex, time to leave. He doesn’t want to be your friend. He wants sex. She is hesitating on the sex? She doesn’t want it. Tell her you had a lovely time but need to get some sleep and escort her to the door.

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  70. Jolene said on January 18, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    But he did contact her the next day, 4dbirds. If he had just wanted sex, seems like he wouldn’t have followed up at all.

    I certainly agree, though, that it’s a very mixed-up situation. Nobody behaved well or communicated effectively.

    That’s why the piece shouldn’t have been published, at least not in the form that it was. There’s too much ambiguity about the situation to impose such a high price on Ansari.

    A better writer could, perhaps, have created a better article dealing with the ambiguity and miscommunication head on, rather than simply blaming him.

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  71. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Yes, Jolene, you have the right idea in my mind.

    Oh Lordy, is nothing simple? The toilet doesn’t work in uncle J’s condo guest bathroom and some lights aren’t turning on, plus the Salvation Army guys couldn’t get the couch through the door of the room that it’s in, even after they took the legs off. They wouldn’t take the door off its hinges to give it extra room to get through. They said they weren’t really even authorized to take the legs off. They scratched the door trying to get it out (it’s just paint). So everything has been rescheduled and maintenance is coming to fix whatever is wrong with the toilet and lights. Geez.

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  72. Peter said on January 18, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Deborah – I’ve had problems with Salvation Army in the past. Habitat for Humanity has one of those ReStore places on the north side – they’ll come out and pick that guy up with no hassle – they’ve taken bigger things out of my friend’s homes.

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  73. Peter said on January 18, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Uh oh, the poop is hitting the fan – New York is reporting that Mueller has found links between Russian money and the NRA to fund ads for Trump’s campaign, which is illegal.

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  74. Jeff Borden said on January 18, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Nothing would be sweeter than to see the National Rifle Association skewered for aiding a hostile foreign power. It’s long past time for this unctuous organization and its leadership to be taken down several pegs.

    Meanwhile, re: the letter writers in the NYT who love the Orange King’s belligerent attitude toward other nations, check out this poll. Our international image is going down the toilet.

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a15367684/trump-world-leadership-gallup-poll/

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  75. Dave said on January 18, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Deborah, I flip him the bird every time he shows up on my television screen. Just as childish, I know, but satisfying on some primitive level.

    On a unrelated note, we got a call yesterday that we can get our new Apple Iphone batteries installed on Monday. As far as I know, there’s no internal damage of any kind, so we’re hoping to get a happier outcome than our hostess.

    Also unrelated but my sister dropped her purse the other day and her brand new Google pixel phone quit working. Someone told her to look online for advice and she was able to get it working again. I believe it was a YouTube video where she found the instructions. I have to wonder if that invalidated the warranty but she was happy it works.

    As far as Aziz Ansari goes, I have enjoyed his show on Netflix but I wonder if most show business people are really like this. Do they all expect sex on the first encounter? My sheltered world groans at the thought. I’m old but it seems so shallow, for lack of a better word.

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  76. Icarus said on January 18, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    A better writer could, perhaps, have created a better article dealing with the ambiguity and miscommunication head on, rather than simply blaming him.

    A half baked thought has occurred to me, one that I haven’t been able to fully flesh out without sounding like a conspiracy kook, but here goes….

    You know how the BLM movement has been portrayed in some circles as militant thugs and rioters? (Not saying successfully but it definitely allows some people to turn a blind eye instead of face head on the actual issues). If someone wanted to derail or at least reduce the momentum of the MeToo movement, the Aziz pieces are a good start.

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  77. Heather said on January 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Not only celebrities but a bunch of men expect sex on the first encounter, especially if you use Tinder. Welcome to dating today!

    And Icarus, this article makes your exact point: “What actually happened was this: A man was rude and sexually entitled, fucked up and hurt somebody, and she told him so. He apologized and took it to heart. An unscrupulous trash publication chased this woman down and got her to tell her story, which it reported in the lurid language of celebrity sex scandal. It then shoehorned the story into a movement that demands sexual and gender justice for women, and framed it in a way designed to garner maximum attention, derail important activist work, and humiliate everybody involved.”

    Long, but worth it: https://longreads.com/2018/01/18/were-not-done-here/

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  78. Jolene said on January 18, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Great summary, Heather.

    On another topic, if you are a fan of the Showtime drama, Homeland, you might be interested in this interview with its showrunner, Alex Gansa. A new season will be beginning in mid-February.

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  79. Sherri said on January 18, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Maybe Aziz Ansari’s career has been ruined because of this. That’s unfortunate, perhaps even unfair. How many women have had and still are having their careers ruined, derailed, or stillborn because of the assumption that they be willing and available for sex?

    We’ve still got a long ways to go before the culture changes sufficiently for men to get that women aren’t just objects of sexual desire.

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  80. Scout said on January 18, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    I just got around to reading the Babe article and I have mixed feelings. I think Ansari acted like a jerky, entitled famous guy who is used to having women give him what he wants, but from this account, his actions sounded more embarrassing to himself than menacing to her. If he wasn’t famous, might she have just chalked it all up to a bad date? Why did she hang around so long once it was clear he didn’t want to ‘just chill’? I realize I sound like I am blaming ‘Grace’, and I do empathize with how uncomfortable she must have felt. But I never had any sense that she felt she was in any real danger. Idk, this feels exploitative of the Me Too movement, similar to the way the taking down of Al Franken was.

    The NRA in Mueller’s crosshairs? Ooooo, this could be as big as Tramp’s lard ass!
    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/this-one-is-big

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  81. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Heather, excellent link. It made me Google Laurie Penny and look up some of the other things she’s written. She’s good.

    Scout, “as big as Trump’s lard ass”, ha ha ha.

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  82. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    I read an article on Trump’s height and weight recently and it made me think about my own situation. I was 5′ 8 1/2″ tall for many years, nearly 5′ 9″, then in the last few years I’ve shrunk some, but when I’ve gone for my physicals my height has fluctuated up and down some, which is odd but I have attributed it to the person doing the measurement. I’ve heard that your spine “deflates” so to speak, or compacts as you age, the space between the vertebrae shrinks vertically over time. This makes sense but there have been times recently when my height has increased when I was measured during a physical so I have no idea why that is except human error in measuring. Anyway I like to think of myself as being my tallest self and when anyone asks I usually respond with that number. You’d be surprised how many people ask how tall I am. So maybe Trump was taller as a younger man and he’s trying to hang on to that. I can’t believe I’m actually making excuses for Trump.

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  83. Icarus said on January 18, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    deborah (waiving to you from the north end of Millennium Park) I know what you mean. I’ve been 6’2″ my entire adult life except for a short time of being 6’3″ in my late 20s which I attributed to chiropractor visits.

    Anyone here know anything about Garage Door Openers? Ours is toast and I’m shopping for a new one. It seems LiftMaster is the industry standard and so it’s a matter of belt or chain. So far it seems installation costs more than the darn units and I’m planning to get two so both doors are on the same lifecycle.

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  84. alex said on January 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Icarus, we’ve been through all kinds of garage door hell the last couple of years, so I’ll weigh in. LiftMaster is fine. Chain drives are noisier than fuck. Installation is a ripoff and putting it in yourself isn’t all that difficult if you’re moderately handy.

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  85. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Icarus, uncle J’s condo is on the North side of Millenium Park. He actually has two condos in the same building, one on a lower floor is maintained for guests exclusively. The one on the upper floor has a spectacular view of the Maggie Daley children’s park and all of Millenium Park to the Art Institute, the view to the west is the skyline and the east obviously is the marina/lake. My husband, the architect, says it’s a poorly made building, if you’re in it during high winds it makes a racket, windows rattling etc, but boy howdy the view is amazing. Our building on the lake is rock solid, it doesn’t rattle in high winds at all. It moves in the wind, as it should or it would crack apart. We know it moves from east to west because our window blinds on the north side of our unit sway side to side when the winds are in the 20+mph range, it was strange at first but I’ve gotten used to it. When we lived in the building across the street, we didn’t notice the movement because that building is much deeper east to west.

    Every time I type windows autocorrect changes it to Windows.

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  86. David C. said on January 18, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Belt drive garage door openers are nice and quiet. I would never go back to chain drive or screw drive.

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  87. Sherri said on January 18, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I had to replace my garage doors a few years ago and replaced the openers at the same time. I got Liftmaster belt drive openers, and as Alex notes, they are a lot quieter than the chain drive openers they replaced.

    One thing to be aware of; the standard for the in-car garage door remote technology has changed in the last few years, and it’s not backwards compatible. So two of our three cars can’t be programmed to work with them, and we have to use the physical remotes.

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  88. Rana said on January 18, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    My suspicion about Trump’s health report is that it is actually sufficiently worrisome that they’ve censored it as a matter of national security. Basically, do we want our international rivals to know that the US president is clinically demented or only a Happy Meal away from a heart attack? So I’m thinking that they released enough to seem plausible if not entirely believable, then had a serious sit-down talk with Pence and the other folks who need to know what the real situation is. (This could also explain why there have been no Trump tweets about it.)

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  89. basset said on January 18, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    I keep getting advertising about Las Vegas, because I made the mistake of thinking we might go there to see the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show and so looked up some flight and room packages. The more of this stuff I see, the more I am convinced that there is nothing in Las Vegas I care about excepting the show and maybe a nice dinner somewhere. Walk around looking at the artificial scenery? Take a bus to the desert and look at rocks, or maybe a dam? Go stand in line outside a pawnshop? I don’t think so.

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  90. Joe Kobiela said on January 18, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Bassett,
    Touring the damn is worth the trip to Las Vegas, went thru the whole thing one time, top to bottom, took around 4hr, saw everything, this was before 9-11 so I’m not sure how intense the tour is now.
    The rest of Vegas, out side a show, you can have it.
    Pilot Joe

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  91. Heather said on January 18, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve heard the Italian food is really good at the Venetian. Aside from warm weather, I’m not sure what else would really interest me in Vegas.

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  92. Sherri said on January 18, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Seattle lost a giant: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/obituaries/floyd-jones-the-seattle-multimillionaire-who-gave-much-of-his-money-away-dies-at-90/

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  93. Carter Cleland said on January 18, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Peter @ 72. I can vouch for the excellent furniture pickup process from the Habitat ReStore in Chicago since I was the guy doing the pickups! At least from Sept., 2015 till April of 2017. Subzeros, LazyBoy sectionals, granite countertops, 25-piece kitchen cabinet sets? We did it all, and they still do.

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  94. Deborah said on January 18, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    I had a couple of projects in Vegas and I had to go there to oversee the installations, these were design showrooms not anything exciting. I really don’t like anything about the place. My husband had a project there and he has stories about his client that would curl your hair. He basically quit the project about halfway through because it gave him the major creeps.

    We went to the symphony tonight and the first piece was spectacular, there was a guest conductor, a young Venezuelan guy who had movements like a dancer, he was mesmerizing. The piece was Bernstein’s West Side Story, it was smashing. The second piece was a Mozart bassoon piece, meh. We left at intermission because after that was Bartok and I’m not a Bartok fan. My husband was really tired from a day meeting with uncle J’s financial people. He hates those meetings because they’re all a bunch of tiresome Republicans who think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. My husband has to bite his tongue through the whole ordeal which is exhausting.,

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  95. LAMary said on January 18, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Gustavo Dudamel! Don’t steal him from LA, please. He’s wonderful.

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  96. Jakash said on January 19, 2018 at 2:11 am

    As long as Muti feels like continuing in Chicago, I doubt that the CSO will be interested in stealing anybody. : ) FWIW, though, the Venezuelan conductor last night was Rafael Payare.

    https://cso.org/about/performers/visiting-artists/rafael-payare/

    Symphonic Dances from West Side Story is swell, but it omits “America,” if I’m not mistaken. That’s my favorite piece from the whole musical, alas…

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  97. Dexter said on January 19, 2018 at 2:35 am

    Fuck Las Vegas. I never would have gone there 18 months ago but for daughter #1’s insistence…wife had been out fie times and it was my turn to go spend 2 weeks in a place I had avoided all my life.
    1) Summer is hell…every day the highs ranged from 113F to 117F.
    2)The air is filthy; every breath hurt my lungs, and people have to hire crews to come crawl all over their houses to blow the dirt away, off their roofs and windows. If your pool isn’t covered, after the neighbors get their filth off their house, you get an inch of dusty dirt on top of your pool.
    3) Common as it is in all USA cities and many towns, the homeless situation , visible constantly on the streets, is shocking for the immensity of it all.
    4) Gambling/gaming is the draw, but why play when the odds are factored so the house wins every damn day?
    5) If you like the big acts, go ahead…but for me, the admissions were out of my league, and Andrew Dice Clay wasn’t performing then anyway…I would have paid big bucks to see his act .
    Yeah, we toured Hoover Dam. I might have enjoyed it if I was a grade school kid. Fuck, I’m just too old to enjoy stuff like that, especially when it was 117F that day.
    Driving to the top of Mount Charleston (Charleston Peak) was a great day. 11,916 ft. elevation, The air was so clean and sweet I could have stayed uhp there like an eagle in a nest. We had a nice picnic, the temperature there was 71F…the rock faces reminded me of a little Yosemite, so cool.
    The Triple A NY Mets farm baseball team, The 51s, play at Cashman complex…I did have fun at the ball game, first row box seats. This was the same trip when the Blue Cut Fire in Cal was raging, but we did make it to Carlsbad and Encinita and San Diego unimpeded, so the Cal leg of the trip was great. I may never return to Las Vegas, but I might have to some day, God help me. Next time I’ll tell you about the Nevada giant rattlesnakes…
    I fuckin’ hate these bastards http://www.in-the-desert.com/snake/IMAG020.JPG

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  98. Connie said on January 19, 2018 at 9:16 am

    I have no desire to go to Vegas, and have never gone to a casino. Didn’t go when ALA was there a couple of years ago. I toured Hoover Dam as a kid and found it interesting. I was at ALA in Chicago when the conference was going to be in Vegas the following year and everyday in Chicago they announced the temp in Vegas. I remember 117, and it struck me as a good reason not to go.

    I was ten years old on that trip and when we drove through Reno I was astonished that they had what I thought of as babysitting stores. Pay us to take care of your kid while you go going.

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  99. alex said on January 19, 2018 at 9:17 am

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/01/18/i-just-dont-like-muslim-people-trump-appointee-resigns-after-racist-sexist-and-anti-gay-remarks/

    There’s a Fort Wayne angle to this story, although I bet the local press wouldn’t have the balls to follow up on it even if it had the brains to recognize it.

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  100. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Both my hubby and daughter have been to Vegas and from what they told me I have no desire to go. Dirty, hot, smelly, smoky, and on the day my daughter was there; filled with women handing out topless pictures of themselves. The idea of losing money as entertainment completely escapes me. We don’t play the lottery either.

    Geez, I sound like a Puritan. But if I’m gonna blow money for a fleeting experience I’d rather go to the theatre.

    Jackash, you’re correct that America isn’t included in the Symphonic Dances. Every song in that show is such a classic; it must have been hard to eliminate any.

    My favorite is Something’s Coming as sung by the original Tony, Larry Kert. The longing and anticipation he expresses are palpable. Like too many Broadway boys of his generation, he died from AIDS. But he’s glorious in West Side Story.

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  101. Suzanne said on January 19, 2018 at 9:21 am

    A friend of mine described Las Vegas this way: It’s a bunch of people wandering around, drinking, believing they are having a good time.

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  102. Suzanne said on January 19, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Alex, what is the Ft Wayne connection to that egregious story?

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  103. Connie said on January 19, 2018 at 9:44 am

    The last word of my post above should have been gambling.

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  104. Icarus said on January 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Alex @ 84: I’m more than moderately handy but for some reason I am intimidated by the idea of installing my own GD opener. How much do you charge?

    @Deborah @ 85: I’m in the AON building, I suspect you are in one of those buildings that overlooks the Mariano’s and the sunken park?

    Sherri @ 87: currently I have a Craftsman belt drive for the door facing the alley which is very quiet. The one that broke is a Genie Screw drive. My wife’s car is 2016 and my Element doesn’t have any fancy door openers so I think we are good.

    LAS VEGAS: been there twice. Once as a poor broke 20 something and had a terrible time. Went a few years ago mostly on my wife’s dime (she had a conference) and we saw Hoover Dam and got comp admission to Jersey Boys. Much better time.

    Still no interest in going back any time soon.

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  105. Judybusy said on January 19, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I’m on the “Vegas? Hell no.” train.

    And in my usual non-sequiter style: One podcast I’m really appreciating is Intelligence Matters. Mike Morell, the former acting director of the CIA interviews various intelligence folks. A recent one was the curator for the CIA museum, which is not open to the public. In their conversation, this book was mentioned, about one of the most effective spies, Virginia Hall, we had during WWII. I’m looking forward to reading it. One area I wish he’d delve into is all the awful things CIA has done over the years, which has resulted in increased security threats decades later. I’m thinking primarily here of Iran.

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  106. Scout said on January 19, 2018 at 11:24 am

    My daughter, her husband and two of my grands lived in Vegas for about 8 years but no longer do, so any reason I had to ever go to that literal shithole is gone. The strip at night is flashy the first time you see it, but during the day it is seedy and sad. The shows are overpriced and we don’t gamble. The kids lived out in the burbs and it was nothing but endless strip malls and chain restaurants. F’ing depressing as hell. The only fun activity was when we’d go to Mount Charleston to hike and picnic. That was nice. And of course getting to spend time with family was great, but Vegas as a destination location is a big no thanks for me. I feel the same way about Disneyland and Universal Studios, and every time we visit the son and son-in-law in LA people ask if we’re going to one of the tourist traps. It amazes me how so many Arizonans go there yearly, I don’t get the attraction. Give me the Getty and a show at the Hollywood Bowl plus some awesome restaurants. I don’t LOVE LA because of the traffic, but I do really like it!

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  107. Deborah said on January 19, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Off topic, I read on NPR that The Awl is shuttering, I’m sorry to hear that.

    Icarus, I love the Bertoia sculptures at the Aon building. There used to be more when it was the Standard Oil building. They put the sculptures in storage, and then when I worked on a design project for BP, they bought Standard (at least I think that’s how the acquired the sculptures) we recommended that they put some of the sculptures on end walls in the elevator lobbies on various floors of the renovated building for BP. I realize what I just wrote is confusing, the project we did for BP is in a different building than the Aon building. The Bertoia sculptures are long, tall rods that move and clink together in the wind https://m.soundcloud.com/nadacdr/harry-bertoia-sounding. My husband and I have a small Bertoia sculpture in our place in Chicago, my husband inherited it from his father who had been an art dealer later in his life. It makes a glorious sound when you wave your hand through the rods.

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  108. Deborah said on January 19, 2018 at 11:35 am

    More about Bertoia’s sound sculptures if you’re interested http://harrybertoia.org/about-bertoia-sonambient/

    Bertoia also designed furniture, we have a couple of Bertoia chairs in our Abiquiu cabin.

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  109. Deborah said on January 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Scout, my husband is making another trip to LA with his class next Thursday. I’m tagging along again. I used to not like LA so much but seeing it with his students was quite interesting, we went to some cool places. LA has changed a lot for the better in the last few years, it seems,

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  110. alex said on January 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Suzanne at 102, he’s related to a local Republican activist/socialite who shares his politics, albeit somewhat more circumspectly.

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  111. brian stouder said on January 20, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Re: Las Vegas – I’ve always heard if you show up, see the lights, eat some food, maybe take in a show, and then leave – YOU WON! – since, as the story goes, they lose money on everything except gambling*.

    Don’t know if that’s true, but I’d love to see the Grand Canyon/lights-of-Vegas at some future vacation.

    Aside from all that, Alex’s link at #99 about the hateful guy with Fort Wayne connections exactly encapsulates what many Trump supporters hold dear. Xenophobes at the top of the Trump administration? Who’d a’ thought it?

    Another semi-non-sequitur; attended a public meeting at a library today, put together by some local activists regarding changes by our state legislature regarding high school graduation requirements. Several legislators were there, along with many officials from various Fort Wayne and Allen County school systems, including our (altogther marvelous!) FWCS superintendent and school board. The room was packed, and people were respectful and had many questions answered…which was a welcome departure from our otherwise-depressing Indiana political oeuvre

    *Pam and I have been in one casino, in northwest Ohio, and wandered about. It was a very large space (think WalMart) with endless slot machines, and people (of all ages) running them. On one side of the space, there were dealers for black jack, and the minimum to belly up to them was more than (I thought) made sense….so I never did “play” anything, although I did have a free Diet Pepsi, so there was that. The one lasting impression the place made on me was the somewhat strange aural effects in there. Honestly, the background sound was just like the sound on the old Star Trek series, whenever they were on the surface of some strange new world (kind of an odd, swirling, almost violin-like musing)

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