Meatballs for lunch.

For those of you who own Aeron chairs, a tip: Those mesh seats allow dust to fall through, and one day you will drop a pencil, bend down to pick it up and be so consumed with shame at the sight of its undercarriage caked in dust that you must stop what you’re doing this instant and clean that shit up.

I hate finding long-hidden dirt. When we took down the framed artwork in the kitchen, there were dust bunnies behind the frames. But who the hell cleans behind pictures? And needless to say, when we pulled the fridge out, there were horrors lying in wait.

No dead mice or anything, though. We are told that we’ll have a functioning kitchen by the end of the week. I’ll settle for a stove and running water. Alan has a plan to refit two closets, so most of Saturday was consumed with a trip to Ikea.

“The best thing about a trip to Ikea?” I said as we got into the car. “Swedish meatballs for lunch.”

And that was, indeed, the best thing about driving 45 minutes each way to get to goddamn Ikea — bland meat orbs in a powder-based gravy. That’s because they were out of the shelving we wanted, even though the website said they had nine sets in stock. “Uh, I guess the website hasn’t caught up,” the apologetic warehouse worker offered. We also got some silverware trays for our new kitchen drawers, but once we got them home, found they didn’t quite fit. So really, the meatballs were the best part of the day.

But lunch for two only cost $18. And we even split a dessert.

Hope springs eternal, and today Alan cobbled together another configuration of shelving, Ikea promised it was in stock, and he headed back out to get it, ill-fitting silverware trays in tow. I stayed home and cleaned up construction dust to the best of my ability.

To better weekends, once this is over.

In the meantime, there was some bloggage:

I am shocked, shocked to learn that Australians were involved in this:

A violent brawl that broke out on a Carnival Cruise Lines ship bound for Melbourne, forcing the vessel to dock early in NSW, may have been sparked by a dispute over a thong.

(That’s a flip-flop to some of you. We called them thongs when I was a kid.)

(A fellow passenger) said she believed the violence had all been instigated by one large family group of at least 20 people who “came onto the boat wanting to fight people” and were using any excuse to start trouble.

Travelling with her partner and another couple, she said their group became targeted two days ago after one member accidentally brushed past a member of the “violent” family.

I’ve known people like that, but they usually confine themselves to local taverns. The captain of the ship was quoted in another publication saying to a passenger who wanted the group put off the ship, “What do you want me to do? Throw them overboard?” In this case, I think that would have been a splendid remedy. And quite entertaining to watch.

In public discussions of higher ed, the comments swing wildly from “every child should have the opportunity to attend” to “not every child is suited for college, you know.” Both can be true, you know. Sarah Vowell strikes the right balance with this nice ode to Montana State, her alma mater, and land-grant colleges everywhere.

We are not fashion bloggers here, but we like fashion, so here’s a great shot of Helen Mirren, looking amazing.

Finally, I know the man is uncoachable, but can no one persuade him to stop doing this? Maybe by telling him it makes his hands look even smaller?

Onward into the week. Hope yours is great.

Posted at 5:42 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

97 responses to “Meatballs for lunch.”

  1. Heather said on February 18, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Yet another reason to not go on a cruise.

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  2. David C. said on February 18, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Carnival never mentions norovirus or brawls in their ads. If I ever go on a cruise, It’ll be a river cruise. If either problem occurred, I could at least swim for it.

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  3. Deborah said on February 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Stay away from cruises, far far away.

    We outfitted our closet from the Container Store, even scheduled some guys to deliver and install, when we realized how simple the install was we were embarrassed.

    Helen Mirren is a treasure.

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  4. Dorothy said on February 18, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    In my next life I hope I will look like Dame Helen.

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  5. Colleen said on February 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    We are going on a cruise in about a month. We have been on several, and the “worst” experience, if you could call it that, was being on a ship full of Red Hat Ladies. We have always found it to be a very pleasant experience and a lovely get away.

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  6. Suzanne said on February 18, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Wow, Helen Mirren looks fabulous! Sigh. I think it’s too late for me to get the good genetics and way to late for me to start an exercise program that would get me looking that good at this age.

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  7. susan said on February 18, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Really? Helen Mirren in a square-dancing dress? Sheesh. Guess I have no fashion sense. Nope. Guess I don’t.

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  8. Dorothy said on February 18, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    In this life, my future lives, ahh hell ANY era when I’m drawing breath, I promise you I’d never be a Red Hat Lady. I can’t explain why I find them so repulsive. I almost can’t control myself if I’m at a social function and I see a bunch of them. I guess it’s the possibility that I could be jailed for saying something very nasty that keeps my mouth shut. The disdain on my face, though, is something I cannot control.

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  9. Jolene said on February 18, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    You know what about that brawl, though? No one got shot.

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  10. Heather said on February 18, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    So, some of us were discussing the Chicago Reader a few weeks ago. The new owners (fourth? fifth since the original owners sold in the early 2000s? I’ve lost count) hired an executive editor who promptly fired the editor-in-chief, who was coming back from his honeymoon. The exec editor himself lasted two weeks: The death knell was him OK-ing a cover that featured J.B. Pritzker (Dem candidate for IL governor) sitting on a lawn jockey. Apparently Konkol originally wanted a cover that used the N-word, I’m not kidding. The African-American writer of the cover story, who had no say or awareness of the cover image, quite rightly had a fit on social media.

    So that was bad enough, but after he got fired the staffers started dishing on what a toxic boss he was. There are plenty of good threads but this is one of the best ones:

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  11. brian stouder said on February 18, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Heather, the last time my jaw dropped – with regard to Illinois – was when I was at a farm equipment show some years ago in Bloomington, Illinois.

    The level of overt, proud, pronounced, and prevalent racism and invincible ignorance was a genuinely troubling eye-opener, to me. This was just before then-Senator Obama’s rise into national politics.

    Guys (always guys) were nonchalantly going on about how great it would be to break up the state, so that Chicago didn’t get to pick their senators (etc etc)

    I’m with David C; gimme a river cruise down the Mississippi, with stops at Vicksburg and New Orleans

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 18, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Our trip to Disney World, we were in All-Star Movies, and evenings in the amazing pool were delightful with our nine year old, but there were repeated brawls in the bushes, both the first two nights by members of an extended family.

    I told this story on a Scout campout to a couple that were Disney regulars, and they said “well, All-Star resorts gets the brawlers.” I could only reply no one had told me.

    What made me glad I experienced this was watching Disney Security at work. They were incredible. Again, you pay for what you get; it’s pricey, but they staff the heck out of that stuff. One punch is thrown, and suddenly there are two dark polo shirted burly gents with each of five or six erstwhile combatants, one talking calmly from three inches away, the other gently putting a hold on them appropriate to the level of agitation shown, and then they all just vanished into the shrubbery.

    And it happened again the second night, but not our third or fourth. Maybe they were leaving anyhow . . .

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  13. alex said on February 18, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Wow, Heather. The Reader used to have a very unique sensibility and mission and I hope they find someone who “gets” that. I used to love getting Calendar stories because they were short and lighthearted and often gave a little history that people didn’t know about. For instance, I covered Windy City Weedfest the first year it was moved from Montrose Harbor to the parking lot at Soldier Field, where it was heavily policed and people couldn’t light up and mostly didn’t show up. It was a subversive event coopted by the city as a way to make money off of paraphernalia and food vendors, although it was columnist Rich Byrne of the Sun-Times who “outed” the event and made the general public aware of it. He was fuming that for decades the city had turned a blind eye to public lawbreaking. It was just an old hippie weed-in and a harmless good time. I would not have even known about it if Pat Arden hadn’t asked me to write about it, and it was delightful fun! Plus, the folks from NORML got me stoned off my ass after our interview so I’m glad I took good notes and brought a recorder.

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  14. Joe Kobiela said on February 18, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Jeff at #12,
    Have been going to Disney for the last 30 years, in fact just got back Saturday from a weeks stay, don’t think I have ever seen a fight there, we stay at old key west resort, were vacation club members, and yes the security is top notch. Would have to say the worst is the high school age tour groups from South America though, large group, loud, pushy, we try and stay clear of them.
    Pilot Joe

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  15. Deborah said on February 18, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    We’ve talked about cruises here previously. I recommended reading David Foster Wallace’s piece, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never do Again. We went on a cruise once from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden. It started on an afternoon and ended in the morning, it was a casino boat. We only took the trip to see the archipelagos. It was horrible, we’ll never do any kind of a cruise again for any reason.

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  16. Joe Kobiela said on February 18, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    According to my brother in law the doctor, he calls cruise ships human Petri dishes.
    Pilot Joe

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  17. susan said on February 18, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    This guy! Rep. Ruben Gallego saying what all goddamned Dimocrats need to be saying, the TRUTH. With vigor and spice. AND, he’s from Arizona. More like this, please!

    Added: And the DNC will probably want to primary him.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on February 18, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    For many years I dreamed of taking a cruise, and eventually realized I just wanted to take a vacation where I only unpacked once. We never, ever took vacations like that. Now we have the house in Orlando and I don’t have to unpack because I have my own closet. It’s pretty wonderful. Bless that Fort Wayne Newspapers pension.

    And speaking of Orlando and Disney, our son sang there with one of his groups today. Three shows, got in free and had the rest of the day at the park. Sweet!

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  19. basset said on February 18, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Far as I’m concerned Disney and cruises both, as Bill Monroe used to say,”ain’t no part of nothin’.” Don’t understand the appeal of either.

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  20. Jolene said on February 19, 2018 at 12:55 am

    Meanwhile, administration officials and other political leaders are at an important conference in Europe telling EU national security types to ignore the president.

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  21. Sherri said on February 19, 2018 at 2:03 am

    My daughter has been excited about Hamilton ever since her high school history teacher showed her class the video from Lin Manuel Miranda’s performance of what would become the opening number at the White House years ago. Tonight, I took her to see Hamilton.

    I have a very happy daughter. (And I enjoyed the show, too!)

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  22. Dexter said on February 19, 2018 at 3:19 am

    I used to be a real bar hopper, and I usually preferred jovial joints, but anywhere…Chicago or New York or any tiny hamlet where I spotted a lighted beer sign. The only time I encountered an entire mean-ready-to-go family was in the town where I went to school from grades 5-12. Waterloo, Indiana. I was running my trap about how this country wasn’t handling some international dispute to my liking and I said something like a little communism would clear this up, and it was on. These hillbillies heard me, and there were 4 stout men and a table of their ladies watched. I was unjustly called a fuckin’ commie and I remember one said ‘lets get this bastard, he’s a commie!’, and one said ‘I’m with you, a commie’s a commie.’
    It was their mistake, because they must not have noticed or known I had seven of my drinkin’ pals from way-back in the bar and some playing pool. A hillbilly swung at my jaw but I ducked and landed a punch to his gut. My buddies then came and tried to talk sense to them, but then it turned into a shoving match, and out the door they all went standing, except for the drunkest, most stupid one, who turned to fisticuffs with the wrong guy, my friend who had a knack for landing punches square and accurate. boom boom boom and the guy landed on the floor after wiping out a table of bottles and glasses, then he really fucked up when he tried to grab and bite my buddy’s kicking leg. The end of this tale is not pretty. My friend kicked the bastard unconscious and the guys dragged him out to the sidewalk. We sort of waited for his pals to come get him , no…never came back, and we saw the last guy wake up and stagger off wherever. That was the last time I ever said a little communism was good for any damn thing. Fuck communism, I said after that night, especially in Midwest small town bars.

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  23. ROGirl said on February 19, 2018 at 4:58 am

    Those cruise ships on steroids look awful. I’m not a good sailor, anyway.

    For someone who is so obsessed with the size of his hands, he does flap them around and makes circles with his thumb and finger a lot when he speaks at a podium.

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  24. Suzanne said on February 19, 2018 at 9:02 am

    We went on a cruise once, to the Caribbean in January. Someone else paid. It was ok, but I don’t think I’d pay for one myself. I’ve read the David Foster Wallace piece referenced above and nodded my head the entire time. What really amazed me was all the people spending most of their cruise time in the casino area of the ship. It’s winter, there is sun and beautiful blue waters around us and people are spending their days in the smoke filled casino. I didn’t get that at all. The food was good, I will say that, and luckily, there was no viral outbreak. We stopped at St Thomas and some other island and I bought a lovely table cloth. We bought some island liquor, too, which I believe is still in the cupboard, unopened.
    So, pretty much, it was a supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again.

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  25. nancy said on February 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Maybe a microbiologist can explain this, but is there something about ships at sea that makes them uniquely more germy than, say, an office building? I get that there are a couple-three thousand people in a confined space, but the NYC subway moves thousands more every day, and I don’t think it’s known for being a petri dish.

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  26. Jeff Borden said on February 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I found the photo of medical professionals posing with the Orange King and his queen upsetting. In fact, it pissed me off. Who would’ve suggested this? If it was the hospital staff, I’m wondering WTF they were thinking. . .smiling cheesy smiles with the man so deeply in the pocket of the NRA he has lint in his hair. If it was the White House, I’m wondering WTF they were thinking. . .having fearless leader smiling broadly with his stupid fucking thumb up like he just closed a deal on a condo.

    It’s far too soon to predict what will happen in the wake of Parkland, but for the first time, this cynic who believes gun deaths will always be a part of life in ‘Murica has a smidgen of hope. The Parkland students are blowing me away. They are saying things no politician has the balls to say. They are defining themselves as the victims of the laissez-faire attitude toward guns Baby Boomers have long embraced. They are plotting real action to keep this issue in the spotlight. Is it possible the Millennials will lead us forward?

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  27. Julie Robinson said on February 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Sherri, I’m so glad you got to see Hamilton, and with your daughter. I relived it this weekend when I listened to the cast album for the 1000th time. Okay, maybe only the 300th time.

    This LA Times article suggests that superbugs are in hospital pipes: Now there’s a horror movie waiting to be made! I wonder if that’s the source on the cruisers, too?

    basset, we did the theme park thing plenty when our kids were younger, and I’m done with it too. If I’d been in Orlando, I’d have been content to watch the video our daughter took. Luckily she posted it on Facebook, so we got to see it anyway.

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  28. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 10:11 am

    My father and his wife (sorry, won’t ever call her stepmother, she was a bitch) took cruises every year and loved them. My dad had served during WW2 in the Caribbean so that’s where they always went. My dad had a pension and so did she, so they scraped up enough money to go. They raved about everything, food, people etc. Each to his own, I guess.

    I too am so impressed with the Parkland high school students. They can’t be criticized by the right wing because they’re survivors of a horrendous traumatic event. I’m sure there will be some right wingers who try but they’re going to come off looking even uglier and more evil than they have been, after opposing CHIP and DACA and exploiting it for political gain and all of the other crap they pull.

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  29. Peter said on February 19, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Happy President’s Day everybody!! Here’s hoping we’ll have a real President real soon!

    Don’t know if you caught the NBA All Star game last night but I thought this comment on the National Anthem was best of all: “Damn, Carol Channing looks good for 97!”

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  30. Dorothy said on February 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Cruise ships have food being served in containers that might not be completely clean, utensils or plates where there could be just specks of uncleaned surfaces, etc. Subways are not serving food or have standing water nearby where germs can proliferate (such as a swimming pool). Same goes for ice machines on a cruise ship – if they aren’t properly maintained bacteria can grow quickly.

    And this:

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  31. Icarus said on February 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

    They can’t be criticized by the right wing because they’re survivors of a horrendous traumatic event.

    apparently they can

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  32. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Can someone explain to me why Trump’s poll numbers are going up? Granted they’re still in the toilet, but they’re rising. Is it because they’re giving him credit for the economy? Are the former “neverTrump” Repubs digging in and giving up to try to keep a Dem take over from happening at all costs? I’m not finding any explanations for this in the press.

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  33. susan said on February 19, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Preznint’s Day, 2018

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  34. Jolene said on February 19, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Last night, I saw a tweet criticizing the Parkland kids for organizing protests while their friends’ bodies were barely cold and claiming that they were props being exploited by Democrats.

    There really is no limit to their awfulness.

    In another case, a gun rights advocate was criticized for acting as if his right to own a gun was more important than kids’ lives. He replied that, yes, indeed, the Second Amendment was more important than life itself.

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  35. James Moehrke said on February 19, 2018 at 11:23 am

    We cruised the Norwegian coat on the coastal ferry last October. 12 days, 11 nights, from Bergen to Kirkenes and back. Five nights of the northern lights, good food, a half-full ferry with stops all along the coast, and great service. We will go back, when we can afford it, and stop longer along the way. Fabulous experience. No interest in the bigger cruise ships, although a river cruise is appealing.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Joe, Jolene, anyone — tell me what wouldn’t make sense as a basic step towards rational gun policy, even in the light of the Second Amendment: to require a 30, 60, even a 90 waiting period to obtain a gun. I simply cannot believe, even on my most conservative day with my NRA hat on my head, that a 19 year old can buy, same day, a semi-automatic rifle. That’s just wrong. I get that many here think the simple ability to buy one at all is wrong, but as a reasonable step, how can anyone debate the idea that people with impulse and anger issues, that may not rise to the level of mental illness nor have yet offended to where they have a record or CPO, will be benefited themselves, let alone society, by a mandatory not-insignificant waiting period? And yes, I know the Florida young man didn’t use his AR-15 the same day, but it’s a question of anger and impulse, not mental illness, I suspect. Impulse one: buy a gun. Now you have it, waiting for impulse two to come along.

    A 90 day waiting period for semi-auto rifles? He might not even have come back in to get it, having moved on to a new impulsive pattern. It’s not a cure all, but it’s my contribution to the political scene.

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  37. Jolene said on February 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I have an online friend (as with all of you, we haven’t met) who took one of the European river cruises that are always being advertised on PBS—at least on my PBS station. They had a lovely time, with plenty of opportunities for stops along the way. And they are very active people—lots of hiking and such—so it wasn’t the sitting about that appealed to them.

    Have also had several friends of diverse ages and tastes who have really enjoyed cruises to Alaska.

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  38. Jolene said on February 19, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Re guns, Jeff, I think we would all be helped if we treated guns more like we treat cars, meaning skill requirements, licensing, and insurance with periodic renewals. And, yes, waiting periods.

    Also, no gun purchases without consent of a parent or guardian before age 21. In Florida, you must be 21 to purchase a handgun, but only 18 to purchase a rifle or shotgun. Anyone know why there would be that difference?

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  39. Sherri said on February 19, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I think most gun control advocates would be willing to support a waiting period, even though they would prefer a ban on weapons like the AR-15. I also think the NRA has framed the issue such that any restriction on buying guns is seen as “they’re going to take away my guns!” by their supporters, and their representatives in Congress and state legislatures have been reluctant to do anything to go against that.

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  40. Brandon said on February 19, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    “That’s a flip-flop to some of you.”

    We call them slippas (slippers).

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  41. Suzanne said on February 19, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    I truly believe that for the ardent 2nd Amendment/NRA crowd, dead children really is, to them, the price you pay for being able to have your guns.

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  42. Jakash said on February 19, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Dorothy @ 30,

    “Subways are not serving food or have standing water nearby where germs can proliferate” I’m sorry for the pointless nitpick, but perhaps you haven’t visited enough subways after a moderate rainfall event. There’s plenty of standing water to be found. For whatever that’s worth. As for “specks of uncleaned surfaces, etc.,” I think Subway *restaurants* may have more than a bit of that going on. ; )

    Also, hate to bring this up again, but I think you’d like it and don’t know if you saw it when I posted it before:

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  43. Joe Kobiela said on February 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Seems reasonable.
    Pilot Joe

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  44. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    We called them thongs when I was growing up in Miami, and everybody wore them while dressed casually at home or in the neighborhood, but wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them to school or anywhere like a restaurant. My parents wouldn’t even wear them to the grocery store or let us. Heaven forbid if you saw someone at the airport in shorts and thongs. By the time I was an older teen, that had all changed.

    Regarding guns: Waiting periods – yes, training requirements leading to license – yes, insurance requirement – yes, all out banning of AR15 – yes (or any other guns, bump stocks etc of that kind). I don’t know what you do about the AR15s already in possession, require reregistration (or just plain registration if that wasn’t previously required). I believe there should be a restriction on how many guns you are allowed to have. The second amendment has been misinterpreted on purpose to encourage gun sales in my opinion. It isn’t what they are cracking it up to be.

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  45. Jakash said on February 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Once again, I’ve been beset by the “last comment on the old thread” curse. This stupid NYT piece has gotten a lot of play elsewhere — kinda surprised that nobody here cares to chime in:

    My favorite take is a reply to the Twitter post about this. A modified Nancy Drew book cover: “The Mysterious Night We Buried Our Last Fuck.”

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  46. Mark P said on February 19, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    My wife and I took a cruise in 2005 for our honeymoon. We flew to Anchorage, then took a train to the Denali area. I can’t remember whether we stayed one or two days around there, then went by train back to the cruise ship. From there it went south, sailing at night and docking in the day at various little tourist towns along the coast. One place we saw that you can’t see unless you’re on a ship was Glacier Bay NP. We enjoyed the trip. Probably the most enjoyable part of actually being on the ship was watching the scenery go by on the inside passage. I think an actual ocean cruise would be very boring. Everyone told us the food would be great, but we found it just barely OK.

    As to Trump, the photograph of him smiling and giving a thumbs-up at the hospital where the kids were be treated after the shooting was a turning point for me. I finally realized that Trump is not a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, a liar or a shady businessman. All of those things are just aspects of what he is. He is a psychopath. I know, everyone is saying, “Well, duh!” But this is not just name calling, I think he is an actual psychopath. He knew that he was expected to do something at the hospital, but he had no idea what, so he just did what came to him: give a big smile and a thumbs-up. He lives alone in his own world; all the other people in the world are objects to him. He has no genuine human feelings and no understanding of what genuine feelings might be. Other people have value only to the extent that they have value for him.
    Even the creepy thing he said about his daughter is consistent with his being a psychopath. He was reported to have said he would date his daughter if she were not his daughter. Of course, what he meant was that he would have sex with her. Maybe he had actually been molesting her, but I don’t think that would make him a child molester, as such. He would simply have been treating his daughter the way he thinks of all women, either as objects that can provide sexual pleasure, or objects that cannot.
    To me, psychopathy explains everything about Donald Trump.

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  47. Dexter said on February 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Just because I used to give money to support the U of Michigan football program, I am considered an alumnus, or at least a mark, because I get fancy brochures sent to me regularly, inviting me to go on trips with my fellow M supporters. Many cruises, lots of fly-then-cruise options, lots of exploring world historical venues like The Acropolis, the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, really, all over the planet, from The Great Pyramid to the South Seas.
    The trips are based on double occupancy plans, and the prices usually start at something $14,999 per person, on up.
    Well, I believe I have mentioned I DO occasionally play Mega Millions Lotto games…just once in a while.

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  48. Dorothy said on February 19, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Sorry Jakash – yes I saw the posts about Chicago/Pittsburgh and jagoff. Then I saw your reminder in the next post’s comments. I’m just getting older than dirt and forgot to thank you for those informative posts!! And yes, I am rarely in a subway but I’m pretty sure you can’t float a boat in the water around a subway system with correctly operating vehicles. I was trying to pick out some details from the Huffington Post article I linked to about why cruise ships are so much worse for catching an illness of some type, in case someone didn’t want to click on the link.

    I was wearing thongs on my feet when we lived in Eighty Four PA while driving in McMurray, PA, and the thong on my right foot broke, causing me to nearly lose control of braking the vehicle. I took it off after I got the car to a safe stop, and then drove barefooted until I got home. I never wear them to drive in anymore. That was too scary.

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  49. LAMary said on February 19, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve occasionally had the urge to take the state ferries up the coast from Washington to Alaska. I have never had the urge to take a cruise ship or go to any Disney theme park or resort. I’ve probably said it before but I worked across the street from the big Disney studios in Burbank and we referred to that area as Mauschwitz.

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  50. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Mark P, yes, Trump must be a psychopath, he hasn’t got a clue how to behave normally. You can’t shame him, he’s incapable of it. He’s a liar and a cheat, a braggart and a bully. It’s hard for me to comprehend that this man is our president.

    I think my biggest issue with cruises is the amount of people they cram into them. I’m an introvert, not very social, it’s hard to be secluded on a cruise ship. On our one and only overnight cruise we got up at 4am to watch the ship glide through the archipelagos as the sun rose on our way from Helsinki to Stockholm and while we were standing on deck a large group of Japanese Christians came out and started singing hymns off key, accompanied by a blaring saxophone. It ruined our peace and solitude.

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  51. LAMary said on February 19, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    A rendition of the national anthem that is the musical equivalent to Trump’s thumbs up. Both are inappropriate but considered a wonderful gift by the performer.

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  52. Dexter said on February 19, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I just remembered, closest to a cruise I was ever on were Great Lakes ferries…as a little boy across Straits of Mackinac, before The Mighty Mac Bridge, and 32 years ago across from Charlevoix to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. If I had an AMEX Black Card, unlimited upper limit, I still would never board a fucking cruise ship as a vacation. I still remember when a couple dozen couples from work went on an infamous norovirus-infected cruise…my friend said he started the second day on the can and rarely left it but to turn and up-chuck into the bowl. He was so weak he couldn’t walk into the plane when it was time to get homeward…he had to go to a hospital for IVs for two days…and that sounds like hell to me, not fun in any sense. Sheee-eee-itt!

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  53. susan said on February 19, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    The national anthem is a fucked-up piece of tripe, anyway. Hard to mess it up more than any other way people sing it. It’s all ugly.

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  54. alex said on February 19, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Jakash, I enjoyed the Lumpen Times piece about “jagoff,” if I forgot to mention it. And yoga pants too.

    … is there something about ships at sea that makes them uniquely more germy than, say, an office building?

    Remember about 10 or 15 years ago there were news stories about cruise ships dumping and uptaking water? That’s right. They just dump their waste in the vast ocean like it’s fish food. Fish eat shit anyway. And then they take up water and desalinate it, only that process doesn’t really purify it of bacteria. So if your ship happens to suck up some other ship’s poopoo water, you’re fucked, and it does happen occasionally.

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  55. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    This is so sad and disgusting I can hardly think about it. I read on Twitter, that hunting with an AR15 is frowned upon because animals suffer so much as they die. Now, just think what those 17 students had to endure, and the ones who were injured too. Honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach. Why, why, why, do we let this continue?

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  56. David C. said on February 19, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    I’d say for gun laws lean hard on a well regulated militia. Join the National Guard and get proper training or no gun for you.

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  57. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 6:34 pm here’s the link about the suffering.

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  58. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    I mean we hope that those children died quickly and painlessly, but when you stop to think how horrendously frightening and painfully they must have died, I can’t even think of words to express how that must have been for them. Imagine kindergarteners and first graders having to endure that too.

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  59. Jakash said on February 19, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Dorothy and Alex,

    Thanks for the replies. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I was just wondering…

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    This story reminds me how easy I have it in exurban Ohio trying to find solutions for homelessness:

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  61. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    People need to know this

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  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    They tell you ALL about cavitation in boot. Which is why I both get and don’t get the fact that people who’ve served like the AR-15 because it’s familiar and easy to operate and maintain due to that experience. But you also know, in detail, what it does.

    There are 1,000 private tank owners I learned over the weekend. 20,000 big cat (lions, tigers, cougars) owners in the US. And a quarter of Americans own guns. But 8 million of ’em. It’s just wrong. I think there are only 6 million espresso machines in this country, but a couple million more high velocity semi-automatic anti-personnel rifles.

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  63. Deborah said on February 19, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    After knowing that about the AR-15, and what it does to the human body, you’re ok with it Jeff tmmo?

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 19, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    What on earth have I said to make you think I’m okay with it in private hands? I’m not sure I want cops to have them.

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  65. Judybusy said on February 20, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Tuning in quite late to say thank you for Helen Mirren.

    Busy weekend, getting ready to go to Guadeloupe on Thursday. It’s weird, but individual days have sped by, but collectively, the last week seems like a month. Maybe it’s got to do with the news. I took about a 3-week break from my analytical podcasts, but getting back in to them now.

    Guadeloupe is a French departement (state? territory?) and unlike Europe, not a lot of English going on. I’ve been doing the Pimsleur CD course. I recorded myself yesterday. French is really hard for me, so I speak slowly. I sounded like a very drunk person over-articulating to sound sober. I’m sure that will get better will all the ti punch and wine I’ll be tasting!

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  66. Deborah said on February 20, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Sorry, Jeff, I guess I misunderstood your comment #62.

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  67. Connie said on February 20, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Judybusy my BIL and SIL have just started their annual mission month in Guadelupe, where they work at an orphanage/home for a couple of weeks, then do a week’s vacation lake side there. So have fun on your trip.

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  68. Sherri said on February 20, 2018 at 10:08 am

    I’ve had a pretty surreal experience this past year, where work I did a long time ago gets recognized, first with the ACM award last summer, now with an article about me in The Ringer:

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  69. Heather said on February 20, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Judybusy, I look forward to your report on Guadeloupe! I have also watched Death in Paradise and now am interested in visiting. For French, may I suggest the Duolingo app? I’ve been using it to brush up on my Spanish–headed to Sevilla in about 10 days.

    And congrats on the article, Sherri! Very cool.

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  70. Judybusy said on February 20, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Connie, I wonder if the mission is in Mexico? The island I’m going to is part of France.

    Heather, I will give a report when we get back! We’ve been re-watching Death in Paradise to whet our appetites. I do have the google translate app on the phone, but I really love learning languages. With French being so hard, I’m just more determined. Have a wonderful time in Seville. That made me think of Michael G., who gave us such wonderful travelogues.

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  71. Suzanne said on February 20, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Wow, Sherri! That is impressive!

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  72. Connie said on February 20, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Sherri, yup Mexico. Not where you are going after all.

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  73. Julie Robinson said on February 20, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Sherri, I am bowing down. Everyone, run and read the article. We have a star here!

    Seriously, I could only skim the article because abstract math and stats both escape me. But I understood enough to be mightily impressed.

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  74. Deborah said on February 20, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Sherri, wow, I’m impressed. This is probably a stupid question but are there people doing metrics in politics, sort of in a similar way?

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  75. Sherri said on February 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Well, Nate Silver is the most obvious; he did sabrmetric stuff before he did politics. What I would really be interested in seeing more of is what works and doesn’t work in campaigns. There’s some analytical work out there around that, but not a lot, and what work campaigns do in that area tends to be kept secret. We know the Obama campaign did a lot of A/B testing on ads, but what was the impact in the big picture?

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  76. Jakash said on February 20, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    “Nichols’s affinity for math, coupled with her literate and irreverent but no-nonsense communication style, made her a perfect fit for the r.s.b. board.” The same elements of that communication style have certainly fit in well on the nn.c board, as well…

    “If you’ve ever browsed the stats pages at Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, or Baseball Prospectus, or read a sabermetric study that relied on historical data, you have Retrosheet—and Nichols—to thank.” I *have* browsed the pages at Baseball-Reference, though not nearly to the extent of ardent baseball fans, so thanks, Nichols!

    Very cool and impressive, indeed, Sherri!

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  77. Brandon said on February 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    If this hasn’t been posted here before.

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  78. basset said on February 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Lost interest in baseball years ago, math will always be scary, but that is indeed an impressive article and an even more impressive set of accomplishments.

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  79. Heather said on February 20, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Duolingo is a language-learning app, not a translation tool. I’m finding it very helpful for reacquainting myself with the finer points of Spanish, and it’s free (although there is a premium version of course). I don’t know what it would be like to learn the language from scratch, although supposedly it’s for total beginners too. When I come back from Spain I’m going to use it to keep up with my Italian or maybe try to add Portuguese to my repertoire.

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  80. Judybusy said on February 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Oh, thanks, Heather–Once I work my way through all the free Pimsleur CDs from the library, I will have to check it out! We just decided this weekend to go to Provence in the fall, so I’ve got my motivation.

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  81. Connie said on February 20, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Your local public library probably has a language learning app. My library uses one called Mango, popular and well used. The long list of languages available includes Pirate.

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  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Connie, the last town I lived in would let you sign out firearms from the public library. I guess they had a seed bank, and thought “hunting AND gathering”?

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  83. basset said on February 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    JeffTMMO, where was that?

    Meanwhile, just now saw a true sign of spring… the first shirtless homeless guy on the street downtown.

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  84. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 20, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Hebron, Ohio.

    Sherri, that is a lovely story, and a glorious stack of accomplishments. Congratulations and my admiration for the wonky work I know goes into creating that kind of material!

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  85. Deborah said on February 20, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    There’s an outside chance that we’ll be returning to London with uncle J in early October. If so I’m taking a side trip to Paris. My husband can’t join me on the Paris leg because of his teaching duties. I have a dear friend who lives in Paris and may stay for a couple of days with them. We’ll see. If it happens it happens but things change quickly because of uncle J’s condition. He loves visiting London and it’s good for him to travel and be stimulated. I don’t speak French at all, have been there many times but always with my husband who has a good command of the language. My friend speaks fluent French and his husband is French so they will be helpful but I need to find a way to be more conversant. It may not happen anyway, too early to count on it.

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  86. Sherri said on February 20, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. The day has been beyond surreal. I knew the article was dropping this morning, but before I had even seen it, I had an email from a local school board member saying he had read it and slowly realized that he knew the person it was about! Ben contacted me this afternoon and said a publisher wanted to talk to us, that she thought the story would make an interesting book. I don’t expect anything to come of it, but I didn’t expect anything to come of my initial interview with Ben. We talked for about 30 minutes, I figured he’d decide there was no story there, and that would be it.

    This was all just something I did for fun.

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  87. Jolene said on February 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Chiming in late, Sherri. Great story, indeed. Quite a set of accomplishments and a very well-told portrayal of them. I foresee a screenplay.

    How did the story come about? Is the author someone you knew from the past?

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  88. brian stouder said on February 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Coming in even later – that was indeed a marvelous story regarding Sherri and her pioneering anyalytical work; and includes many photos which were also quite pleasant!

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  89. Sherri said on February 20, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Jolene, I didn’t know the author, though we know people in common. He worked at Baseball Prospectus at one point, and I know the founders of BP. He contacted me out of the blue a few months ago and asked if I’d be willing to talk to him about that period, and I agreed.

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  90. Dexter said on February 21, 2018 at 12:05 am

    I only had time to skim your story, Sherri…did you ever consult with Steve Boros, the first manager who made his lineups and pitching selections heavily influenced by data cards he shoved into ancient computers while he managed the Oakland Athletics? Here is a blurb from his NYT obit. “…(the computer) cost nearly $100,000 a year…” ~~
    << "Boros did march to his own drumbeat. He had studied literature at Michigan and had an educated demeanor somewhat at odds with baseball at the time. He and the A’s were forerunners in introducing computers into the clubhouse in an effort to gain a competitive edge. This was in 1983, long before “Moneyball,” but some things were the same in Oakland even then; when the A’s concluded they were not getting their money’s worth from the computer, which was reported to cost nearly $100,000 a year, they scrapped it.~END blurb….— Boros died of cancer in late 2010 at age 74.

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  91. Sherri said on February 21, 2018 at 1:00 am

    No, Dexter, I never consulted with any team. The closest I came was the story told in the article about meeting with the Pirates, but we knew going in that we were unlikely to actually do anything with them. The GM Had some pet idea, I can’t even remember what it was, that’s how uninteresting it was, and he just wanted someone to validate it so he could convince his manager, who wasn’t very smart,according to the GM. I’ll concede that Jim Leyland is not the most analytically inclined manager, but he has a World Series ring and the GM doesn’t.

    A better story involving the Pirates comes later, when I was involved with Retrosheet. Retrosheet was trying to collect old scoresheets from the teams and other sources, and we had a meeting with a PR guy with the Pirates. We’re sitting in his office, which had been his for about 10 minutes; he was a type that was a dime a dozen in baseball offices, bright young boys who took any job they could in a baseball office looking to move up to baseball operations. He’s telling us that the pre-1970 scoresheets probably got lost in the move from Forbes Field, and the only person who might know anything had retired. I’m bored by him, and am looking around his office. On the bottom shelf of a bookcase, I see some odd-shaped binders, ones that suspiciously look scoresheet-size. I ask about them, he doesn’t know, so he goes over and pulls them out. Yep, they are the supposedly lost pre-1970 scoresheets!

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  92. Dexter said on February 21, 2018 at 3:29 am

    Maybe there was a treasure trove of old scoresheets down at old McKechnie Field in Bradenton. Before the Pirates made it modern, I saw that place and I felt 10,000 ghosts all around. All I know is rain-delay banter and MLB Network experts’ stories, and I sort of can understand how some old-school guys resisted your science. I’m from the old days and I have to think, every spring, how to calculate WAR , and for many decades I could figure averages and slugging percentages in a flash. Sabermetrics is valuable , I am sure , to players and all levels of management, but not so much for Joe Lunch Bucket fans like me. Am I wrong? Seriously, I don’t know. All I know is my friends, my age, will discuss BA’s , SA’s, SB’s, RBI, errors, but never sabermetrics. This spring, I keep wondering just where Bryce Harper will end up as a free agent in 2019. I am sure the computers are buzzing at this late hour just figuring how much Harper would be worth, right down to the last $100.

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  93. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 21, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Dexter clearly doesn’t play fantasy baseball. 😉

    (Nor do I.)

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  94. Peter said on February 21, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Sherri, wow, just wow.

    I’m convinced that Billy Graham died because of Trump.

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  95. Peter said on February 21, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Oh, and big shout out to the lady Democrat who won back her state house seat last night in Kentucky – in a district that Trump won by 47 points, she won by 36!

    And her name – Linda Belcher! ALLRIGGGGGHHHHTT!

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  96. Suzanne said on February 21, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Billy Graham has died at age 99.

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  97. Diane said on February 22, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Sherri-that is awesome and impressive!!! Congratulations!! (And worth using up my entire allotment of exclamation points.)

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