Warming up.

My new stove has a warming drawer. It’s genius. The drawer under the oven? Where you probably throw your pot lids and broiler pan and other hard-to-store items? The new thing now is to put a heating element on the bottom and lo, a warming drawer. I can find another place to store my pot lids, but I will give up this warming drawer when you pry it from my perfectly warm fingers.

Last night I was making dinner when Alan texted to say he wouldn’t be leaving the office until 8. That means he won’t be home until 8:40. I have to eat by 8 or I sleep badly.

That’s why we have a warming drawer, I replied. And I plated Alan’s chicken, rice and asparagus, put foil over it and stuck it in the warming drawer, on low, where it stayed for nearly an hour. Alan reports everything was delicious, and even the asparagus failed to shrivel.

People talk about when they felt they were truly an adult, or rich, or whatever. I always say that nothing made me feel that I was movin’ on up in the world like my first washer/dryer. Farewell, Solar Sudser laundromat, eater of one evening out of 10. Although I will say, it was the best people-watching in Fort Wayne. The clerk had trichotillomania (a compulsive disorder that caused her to pull out her hair) and a life that was a continuing series of disasters. I know because she discussed each one on the phone, loudly, while I sat eight feet away trying to read my new Spy or Vanity Fair.

I have a feeling my warming drawer will be another big lifestyle upgrade. I’m a simple woman, easy to please.

Friday: An ode to my incredibly quiet dishwasher, which shines a light on the floor to tell you it’s running, because you can barely hear it.

Not really.

Back when I was an equestrian, I boarded my horse at a barn with a fox hunter, a lawyer who basically lived for the sport — he didn’t work Tuesdays, because his hunt rode out twice a week, Saturdays and Tuesdays, and he didn’t miss. One day he debriefed me on their practices, and later on, when animal-rights groups made fox hunting a focus, and successfully banned it in England, of all places, I knew how much shit they were talking. Among the things I learned from my co-boarder:

The fox almost always “wins” the hunt, by going to ground (its burrow) before the hounds catch it. In the olden days, when fox were hunted because they were decimating the neighborhood henhouses, that’s when the terrier handlers would send in the Jack Russells, but no one does that anymore, because in the tradition of intelligent modern hunting, the hunter husbands the prey. Trout Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited, with memberships primarily comprised of anglers and hunters, do more for habitat preservation than many environmental groups, because no habitat? No trout or ducks. There is no Fox Unlimited, but fox hunters go to great lengths to make sure they have fox to hunt. They lose far more hounds in the course of a season — to cars, of course — than fox; one or two (fox) a year was a typical casualty list. They only hunt in winter, because spring and summer is when the prey are raising kits. And so on.

Have I bored you to death yet? No? Well then, you might enjoy this lavishly illustrated Washington Post feature on modern fox hunting in the D.C. area, which is probably the center of the sport in the U.S. It’s such a beautiful sport, and every piece of that fancy clothing has a specific purpose. Especially the flask, ha ha.

What else? Hmm. Are self-driving cars on your local radar the way they are in Michigan? Perhaps not, but the technology is galloping ahead like a field of fox hunters, and as a lot of the research and testing is being done by the domestic auto industry, we’re seeing a certain amount of it here. There’s a driverless van shuttling around the University of Michigan north campus, and a big proving ground out that way. A lot of people — including the organization I work for — is trying to see into the future, because man, when self-driving reaches critical mass, there is going to be a revolution in the economy. Job loss, job creation, winners and losers and things we haven’t even thought about. Bloomberg hazards a scan of just a few things that will change as a result.

I like driving, except when I hate it.

Of course, there are a few bugs to be worked out. Contains shriek-worthy dash cam video of the crash in question.

Time to put the nose to the old grindstone. Happy Wednesday.

Posted at 9:58 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

69 responses to “Warming up.”

  1. Peter said on February 28, 2018 at 10:55 am

    That Bloomberg article was very interesting, but I have a couple of quibbles with it:

    1. Domestic air travel does have a lot of drawbacks, but I don’t care how spacious the driverless car is, you’d take flying for two hours over driving for 24.

    2. Maybe I read it wrong, but the graph of lower oil consumption with higher electric cars seems to be a bit misleading – yes, oil consumption goes down, but it doesn’t come close to zero – awe still would use a lot of oil. I bet solar energy panels will reduce oil consumption much more than electric cars.

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  2. susan said on February 28, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I just don’t get the goo-goo over “self-driving” cars. They aren’t, and they have a a LOT of obstacles to resolve before they ever will be. What are they supposed to replace? Real public transport? Buses and cabs and trains? Very expensive silliness.

    People with Money have too much money to burn.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on February 28, 2018 at 11:18 am

    It’s not silliness to me. My eyes can’t be corrected to 20/20 anymore, and I’ve already had to stop driving at night. Long trips and places where I’d have to read road signs are also out. Considering I’m the transportation for my elderly mother, this is not a good situation.

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  4. Dorothy said on February 28, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Julie I don’t mean to pry, but what do you mean when you say your eyes can’t be corrected to 20/20 anymore? I have glaucoma and use eye drops every night. Just last week the eye doc told me my condition is ‘holding steady.’ But there is no cure for glaucoma and eventually I’ll possibly go blind (hopefully not for a long time – my mom had it and her eyes were awful the last several years. She died at 95 in September). I have noticed that even wearing my glasses I don’t feel like I”m seeing things as sharply as I used to. I want to get new glasses pretty soon but they have told me my eyesight with my glasses is good. (last time I got them was November 2015.) I don’t feel like it’s good – I feel like it’s blurry a good bit! But then I wonder if this is a new normal for me because of the glaucoma.

    So that’s why I’m curious – I didn’t really realize it was possible to NOT see 20/20 with good eyeglasses.

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  5. Snarkworth said on February 28, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Julie, I imagine you’ve discussed implants with your eye doctor. They don’t work for everything. But when my doctor could no longer improve my vision with glasses, he suggested cataract surgery/lens implants. Distance vision is now perfect, but I have to keep reading glasses in every room of the house.

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  6. Sherri said on February 28, 2018 at 11:32 am

    There’s a lot of hand-waving in that Bloomberg article. Implying that the belief that full Level 5 autonomy will be everywhere in six years is widespread is the norm and everybody else are sceptics is quite a reach. (Level 5 is basically, stick your kid in and send her off somewhere without you.)

    It is probably true that autonomous vehicles will reduce the current types of accidents. It is also probably true that AVs will introduce new, unanticipated failures. And the idea that software is going to eliminate traffic jams in the face of a new technology that makes it easier for more people to take individual rides than ever before is ludicrous: no matter how smart the roads and the cars, you can only physically put so many of them on a given road.

    The techno hype wouldn’t bother me nearly so much if it weren’t being used as justification for not investing in transit. Why waste tax dollars on last century technology like light rail, the argument goes, when self driving cars are going to change everything? Uber is going to invent a thing where they pick people up at preassigned times and places; yeah, it’s called a bus, and ours would work a lot better if tech companies would pay their taxes instead of running their own bus systems!

    When the AV heads talk about building the infrastructure to support AV cars, with special signals, just remember, that money is coming at the cost of supporting current infrastructure. Driverless technology has made tremendous strides, but the last 10% is always the hardest and longest.

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  7. Deborah said on February 28, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I just had it explained to me at the eye dr a few weeks ago that we can’t expect our eyes to be corrected to 20/20 forever. And my eyes are deteriorating at different rates, left eye was worse than the right eye but now it’s reversed. I have had to get new glasses each year for the last 3 years, they are changing rapidly.

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  8. FDChief said on February 28, 2018 at 11:38 am

    One caveat on the hunting and fishing groups; yes, they DO create habitat…for ducks and trout. Other critters? Not so much. I’ve worked w DU. They’re better than they used to be – our wetland people used to joke about the “DU duck donut”, the ring-shaped pond they wanted – but their bottom line wasn’t “habitat”. It was “duck habitat”…

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  9. Deborah said on February 28, 2018 at 11:40 am

    The people who will get the most out of AVs are the elderly who live remotely. Uncle J, with Alzheimer’s, wishes they existed now for anybody who wanted one. He misses being able to hop in a car and go anywhere he wants. He has an assistant who drives for him but he idoesn’t have the feeling of autonomy. He lives in a suburban area, lots of houses around but no stores or such that he could walk to. He loves being in Chicago at his condo there, because he can walk a few hundred feet to everything.

    We wonder how we’ll get to Abiquiu when we’re in our 90s.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on February 28, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Dorothy, I didn’t realize there isn’t a cure for glaucoma. I don’t have that one. There are four different things going on with my eyes and I’ve been to fancy retinologists and had the painful needles poking your eyes tests and no one can figure out how to fix them.

    I do have early cataracts, but they aren’t ready for surgery, and it won’t help with the other stuff. Coming to acceptance of a changed way of life has been really hard. I’m very thankful for music and audiobooks, and computer screens that can be enlarged, and a church secretary who provides me with large print hymns every week.

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  11. Icarus said on February 28, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I wonder if the negativity against self-driving is the assumption that driving is supplanted instead of augmented by driverless cars?

    When we make the long drive to Grosse Pointe or Memphis to see family, there is no reason a self-driving car couldn’t do the bulk of that trip with us just handling getting on and off the expressway. The time could be better used to read a book or engage with my bratty kids.

    also looks like I was last comment victim of last thread-new thread.

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  12. Dorothy said on February 28, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    I could get a boatload of knitting done in a self-driving car, that’s for sure. Not sure it’s worth the investment just so I could get more knitting time in, though.

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  13. Sherri said on February 28, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I get why self-driving cars are appealing. What bothers me is the uncritical coverage. This article both talks about self-driving cars solving traffic jams and about them patrolling the streets waiting for rides, without the slightest sense that those might be in conflict.

    Self-driving cars will continue to take up physical space, and roads will still have only so much physical space to hold them. Even when you can pack them closer together, will the increased density make up for the increased number of single passenger/vehicle rides?

    There’s also the environmental cost. Even assuming that all AVs are electric, where does that electricity come from? We’re talking about a massive increase in demand for electricity; solar is improving rapidly, but I don’t think it’s ready to make the leap to cover that kind of demand.

    The idea that we are able to get in a vehicle whenever we want to take us wherever we want at our convenience is deeply seductive, and also responsible for a number of negative externalities in our culture. I see AVs exacerbating that.

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  14. Deborah said on February 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Just like the internet, there’s a dark side to everything. AVs have a lot on the pro side and the con side. But the truth of the matter is they are coming so we better spend the time we have before they’re here to figure out how to cancel out as much of the bad side as we can.

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  15. beb said on February 28, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I grew up with an electric range but my wife grew up using gas and she always called that drawer under the oven the broiler. The place where you cook your steaks. So now I’m confused. It is a warming oven, a salamander, or a broiler?

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  16. basset said on February 28, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Been gone for a few days on that Las Vegas trip I was asking about awhile back, so I am just now posting my movie score: 7, including none at all in the 60s or 80s.

    Short version on the trip: Beatles show good, Zion National Park good, first In & Out burger good, Las Vegas we don’t need to see a second time, never flying Frontier again.

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  17. Suzanne said on February 28, 2018 at 1:02 pm


    I can’t even tell you how often I’ve heard this same idea from family and acquaintances in my area.

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  18. alex said on February 28, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Those drawers used to be broilers. And my ginormous old electric range had a warming oven on the side.

    Driverless cars can’t get here soon enough for my parents, who have been talking about snapping one up as soon as they become available. They’re 89 and 90 and still take long cross-country drives, although they should probably give it up soon judging by how banged up their vehicles have become recently just navigating in parking lots.

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  19. nancy said on February 28, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Last year I wrote about a public-transit tax in SE Mich, and heard expert after expert intone in my ear that the reasons downtowns were flourishing is that millennials wanted to live close in, not necessarily own a car and use PT and bikes a lot. Also, their parents/grandparents wanted to do the same, as they came to the end of their driving years — they want to be close to doctors/shopping/entertainment, etc. (I guess not enough, though — the tax went down pretty hard.)

    No one says AVs are going to entirely replace traditional cars or driving, only that they’ll be another part of the big picture we generally call “mobility.” As Sherri correctly points out, we are way more than six years from jumping in, saying, “Take me to Kroger” and getting out at the end of the trip. But as Icarus says, autopilot modes will be useful on long-haul freeway trips. My friend who wrote the Jalopnik story linked above texted me from behind the wheel of an autopilot-running Tesla last summer, which he took on vacation for a week, as he was rolling south on US 131, a limited-access four-lane route. The report: It was very good on highways with clearly marked lanes, less so on rural back roads. As we rebuild/repair roads to add sensors, etc., they’ll get better.

    Bottom line: We’ll all be dead by the time AV reaches its fullest flowering. But I expect to ride in one well before that, and maybe own one, too.

    The future never arrives precisely how you think it will. But it always arrives.

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  20. Connie said on February 28, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Grandma Davis’ woodburning stove had a nice warming drawer. She lived in the UP and kept the woodburner when she got a newer stove. She had one of those old houses that had obvious two story additions in the back where the owners had added an indoor bathroom on each floor.

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  21. susang said on February 28, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Congrats on your warming drawer, Nancy. Every renovation deserves an upgrade for the aggravation caused by cleaning and change.
    The last decade of my work life, I worked as a professional cook (second career). About the ninth year, my employer sprung for Rational combi-ovens and ditched the fryers. After the culture shock, those ovens were like god, they could do anything.
    If I designed my very own kitchen, it would be induction stovetop and combi’s. Everything else low tech, thank you.

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  22. susang said on February 28, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Oh, oh. I forgot. I would have a commercial walk in refrigerator AND freezer (damn the cost).
    I toured the Miller House in Columbus IN (Irwin Miller, CEO of Cummins). Although the house was relatively small for rich people (7000 sq ft) they had a commercial frig and freezer. The kitchen area was small and sparse, clearly set up for professionals.
    Xenia did not cook, she hired help. Smart woman. I’d kill for that kitchen.

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  23. Jakash said on February 28, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I love the photo of the dogs’ snouts sticking out of holes in the trailer from that WaPo fox hunting story. That’s my in-depth analysis of the hotly-contested issue.

    Here’s an article indicating that Uber, et. al. are making traffic *worse* in cities. Surprise! The reason people like me never take cabs, despite their convenience, is the cost. Fortunately, in a city like Chicago, you have a good public transportation option. (Not that it doesn’t have its problems, needless to say.) Enter a whole shitload of cheaper versions of cabs that are just driving around waiting for their next fares and are obviously more convenient for people who used to take the El, or walk for a short trip, perhaps, and the number of cars on the street goes up, not down, despite the fact that many of these Uber-using folks don’t own cars. And public transportation is one of the losers in the equation, when society ought to be encouraging its use, not discouraging it. And, of course, there’s the worsening air-quality / carbon footprint component. D’oh! Of course, I’m an old fogey, and mainly hope that the Ubers will be able to stay off my lawn…


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  24. ROGirl said on February 28, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    When I had my bathroom redone in 2016 I had an underfloor heating mat installed. It’s divine, highly recommend it for anyone putting in a new bathroom floor. No heated towel racks, however.

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  25. Deborah said on February 28, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I use Lyft sometimes but only when cabs aren’t available. I had Uber for a while until I read about their business practices. I often ask my Lyft drivers if the service works for them and they almost always say no, that they feel the pay doesn’t come near what they were hoping. Mostly in Chicago I walk, I rarely even use public transportation there because most everything I need is within walking distance (which in my book is about a 2.5 – 3 mile radius. In NM it’s different, when I’m in Santa Fe I can walk most everywhere I need to go but it’s not always a pleasant walk. In Abiquiu there is virtually no way to do anything without a car. Santa Fe recently discontinued their only cab service, so you’re stuck with Lyft or Uber. The bus system in Santa Fe is pretty good but about the only people who use it are down and out in one form or another so you need to be prepared for that. It’s not unpleasant, just different from what you might have been expecting. They have improved bike access a lot since we have had a presence in Santa Fe, but biking isn’t nearly as popular here than it is in Chicago, surprisingly. There’s a heck of a lot more topography which could explain it.

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  26. Deborah said on February 28, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Hope Hicks is resigning. Interesting.

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  27. Sherri said on February 28, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    I believe that various assistive technologies from self-driving cars will continue to make their way into the mainstream, but I think we’re a lot further from everyday Level 5 than the stories you read suggest. There are still very hard problems that aren’t solved yet; AVs are not good at detecting bicycles, for example. Progress on these things isn’t linear.

    I think it’s coming, but I think it’s more likely to look like delivery vehicles in restricted areas and times for quite a while than it is that we’ll actually own fully autonomous vehicles privately. Given the lack of security in current automotive software systems, if we did own AV cars, their CPUs would probably be hijacked to mine Bitcoin before we got off our own block.

    The Internet may seem like it sprang up overnight, but the genesis of it was almost 50 years ago. We’re only about 15 years into driverless cars.

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  28. David C. said on February 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    As part of our (Wisconsin’s) $4.5 billion prezzy to Foxconn, they want the state to build a special lane on I-94 for driverless cars. If they need special lanes because they can’t manage to integrate with traffic and sensors embedded in the roads (who pays for that?) they don’t have too much right to call themselves self-driving. Another problem I’ve read about is they have a hard time recognizing cyclists and pedestrians. Their proposed solution is to have every pedestrian or cyclist wear a transponder. If they can’t reliably read the unchipped meat on the road they’re not going to work. What happens when there is road work being done (assume a place other than Michigan or Wisconsin where road work is a rarity) and there is a flag person and how do they deal with that? True driverless cars will probably 5 years away for the next 25 years at least. If we last that long. Until then, it will be incrementally better cruise control.

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  29. Joe Kobiela said on February 28, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Sheri@ 13,
    Where will the electricity come from? Great question, how about coal fired electrical plants? oh wait forget that. Automation is great in aviation up to a point, I fly one of the newest automated system there is, but guess what? last Wednesday going into Dallas on a ILS approach everything set and showing correctly,Localizer was alive tracking inbound to the runway and at glidslope intercept, when the plane should start to go down, not only doesn’t it go down it starts to turn toward the parallel runway, so auto pilot off, flap to approach gear up power up and missed approach come around and it works perfectly, what caused it? who knows, but if I was a passenger I should would like to have a human there to correct the problem, same with a car.
    Bassett-what happened on Frontier?
    Pilot Joe

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  30. David C. said on February 28, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I think that’s what Sherri was saying, Joe. An all electric car fleet is a pipe dream too. Our power grid is terribly outdated and barely up to the current demand let alone a huge extra demand to power electric cars.

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  31. Colleen said on February 28, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    When we redid our bathroom in our former home, we put in a heated floor. It was wonderful. We do have a heated towel rack. It was a wedding present. And it is nice.

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  32. Joe Kobiela said on February 28, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    David c,
    Agreed and I understand the need to find renewable energy, I just wonder where the electric car fans think electricity comes from, I guess its magic, you just plug in and its there.
    Pilot Joe

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  33. Sherri said on February 28, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -Arthur C. Clarke

    If you want to read a long and wonky planning document on AVs and what the potential impact is for cities, here’s the report from the APA symposium: https://planning-org-uploaded-media.s3.amazonaws.com/document/Autonomous-Vehicles-Symposium-Report.pdf

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  34. susan said on February 28, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    What david c said @28…including: True driverless cars will probably 5 years away for the next 25 years at least. If we last that long. Until then, it will be incrementally better cruise control.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 28, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Basset — delighted that you got to Zion. Hope you got a modest hike or two in! Haven’t been there since 2012, and I’m dreaming of The Narrows already.

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  36. devtob said on February 28, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Spy magazine was a hoot, mocking celebrities mercilessly, way before the Internet got into the act.

    A certain short-fingered vulgarian was a particular target. This 2015 Vanity Fair story has a good summary, plus links to some of Spy’s best work exposing the real Trump — https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/08/spy-vs-trump

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  37. Charlotte said on February 28, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    I grew up at the Mill Creek Hunt on the IL/WI border, largely in the household of Bud Murphy, Master of Foxhounds (RIP). Watching Bud work 100 couple of hounds was astonishing (even when it was somewhat terrifying to find oneself as a small child awash in a sea of large hounds — we’d take shelter on the mounting blocks). Mill Creek was not nearly as fancy as the Virginia hunts, but it was a real community of people, and I’m deeply grateful to all of them for getting my brother and I through our parents divorce, our friend Peter through the death of his mother (he was 10) and all the other disasters of life. And in the 10 years or so I was hanging around while my dad hunted, they killed 2 foxes, both old.

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  38. Jerry said on March 1, 2018 at 2:56 am

    RE fox hunting: a major concern over here was not the number of kills but the cruelty. Difficult to imagine the terror of being chased literally for your life. And I suspect the number of kills is higher here than you guys are reporting from the USA.

    My mother hated fox hunting. Back in the 1950s my mother worked for a while in an Estate Agents and the owner popped in one morning to greet the staff. He was all dresse up for the hunt and before going he wished everyone a good day. Unfortunately he heard my mother’s response of :and I hope you break your bloody neck.” Luckily there were plenty of jobs then.

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    • nancy said on March 1, 2018 at 8:46 am

      Jerry, the way it was described to me is this: The hounds aren’t following the fox itself — sightings are uncommon — but its urine trail. The animal is nocturnal, and spends the night hunting and, like dogs, peeing here and there. That’s what the hounds are trained to pick up. The hunt goes out at first light, as the fox are returning to their burrows. Like I said, sometimes they’ll get caught out in the open and there will be an actual chase, but not often.

      Many hunts in country where the prey population has been decimated just have a guy go out and sprinkle fox pee around a few acres. I think they call that dragline or drag hunting, because that’s how the scent is spread — by someone pulling a bag along the ground.

      My fox-hunting confederate said they let the hounds get one or two a year “so they know why they’re out there.” Otherwise it’s hard to keep them keen.

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  39. Dexter said on March 1, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Driverless cars are not going to be for me until I get too worn out to drive in a few short years I suppose. Right now I drive as well as I ever have, and Wednesday I had the most pleasant drive to a large city as possible. Ohio Turnpike traffic apparently now is 90% commercial traffic since the tolls are so high (I hadn’t been on it much at all in the past 10 years or so, since US 24 was turned into a free super slab) and just north and also south are free roads that take you to the same places, only slower. I got on at Montpelier-Bryan entrance and set the cruise for 79 mph and stayed in the left lane most of the way to Toledo and then at exit 59 the road expands to 3 lanes. Traffic was so incredibly light even in Cleveland I was amazed. No white-knuckling, no rapid heart pounds, just easy. Then with one turn to make at a light, the light turns green, my brain says “go now” my foot steps on the gas…but not quickly enough! beep beep beep…and after a perfectly serene trip, road rage in my head, but I just turned into the Independence Cleveland Clinic and Carla Lee saw her surgeon and got a great report. No more fucking sponge baths! Into the shower she goes in the morning. She’s still in pain, but really happy she can now get in that hot water cascade. Here’s an eye-catcher: Cleveland Clinic is opening a hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Republics. Oh, the new/old van runs like a new car, and well…the crate-motor under the hood only has 30,000 miles on it.

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  40. basset said on March 1, 2018 at 8:07 am

    JeffTMMO, we did indeed get a couple of the easy, old-folks hikes in at Zion – to the Emerald Pools and the Riverside trail, didn’t make it to the Narrows. We started up the Canyon Overlook trail east of the big tunnel but Mrs. B. couldn’t make the climb very far and I didn’t like the heights. Took lots of pictures – I was surprised at how crowded the park was even in February, need to get into the backcountry to avoid that. If we go back we’ll fly to Salt Lake City and see Bryce Canyon along the way, one visit to Las Vegas was enough.

    And on that topic… we didn’t care for Las Vegas at all, it’s loud and coarse and grasping and we felt like marks the whole time we were there. Got in Saturday afternoon, stayed at the Mirage, saw the Cirque du Soleil Beatles show and walked around a little afterward, went through the shopping area at Caesar’s Palace and covered maybe another block of the Strip before we decided that was not for us and went back to the room. Didn’t gamble at all, barely drank the whole trip and didn’t touch the legal weed, had the breakfast buffet the next morning and got out of there.

    Zion was much more our speed, heard wild turkey behind our room in the morning, no neon, no casino. Don’t think it’d be much fun in the summer, though, would have to ride the shuttle around and get dumped out into the crowd at this sight or that. Took many pictures of rocks and dirt, tough to do something new and different when everyone from Ansel Adams on down has been shooting the western mountains for many years but at least I have a visual record of the trip.

    And we did go to Hoover Dam, which didn’t impress me. Much smaller than I expected, I have seen the TVA dams around here and some of them seem just as large, they don’t charge $10 to park either. The “Hoover Dam Lodge” is not a lodge, it’s a 60s motel on top of a casino with a truck fueling point across the street.

    Joe, the problem with Frontier was that we bought our tickets and got onto the plane. $40 to check a bag, anywhere from $9 to $35 to pick your seat depending on where it is, they charged for peanuts and water during the flight, there was always another fee for something and the aircraft, a full-sized Airbus, was absolutely stuffed with the maximum number of seats. I mean, the seat backs are hollowed out so you feel like you have another couple inches of room… the fold-down tray is small enough that I could span the width of it with one hand, no matter though because there’s no room to use it.

    I am not an unusually large person, six-one and short-legged, and when I sat in my seat with my butt pushed against the seat back my knees touched the seat in front of me. Had to twist around to one side a little and sit that way, couldn’t lean back because obviously the seats don’t move (flight attendant said they were “pre-reclined,” that’s a new one), couldn’t sit up straight because I couldn’t face directly forward and essentially was in a stress position the whole 4 1/2 hour flight. If I hadn’t been on the aisle I probably would not have been able to stand it. Went home on American, they charge for checked bags too but not as much and there was just no comparison. I’ll take the Megabus before I go anywhere on Frontier again.

    Now for an unrelated example of what happens when you really love Amurcah:


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  41. basset said on March 1, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Trout Unlimited… they do some valuable conservation work, but in my experience if you don’t fly-fish (and I don’t), they don’t want to know you.

    The National Wild Turkey Federation is actively involved in conservation projects involving other species – they say they achieved their turkey conservation goals a few years ago but habitat preservation is still important so they’re staying on it.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on March 1, 2018 at 9:37 am

    basset, Frontier sounds a lot like Allegiant but we have learned to work around the restrictions. It’s less to check a bag ahead of time from home, we sit wherever they put us, and schlep our own food and drinks. And it’s only two hours from the Fort to Orlando, and the alternative is flying from Indy or Chicago. Also, I paid $134 round trip for the trip I’m on now. I can put up with a lot for that.

    Your evaluation of Vegas sounds like that of both family members who’ve been there.

    Dexter, I hope by now Carla Lee has reveled in her shower!

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  43. Deborah said on March 1, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Dexter, wonderful that Carla Lee had a good report on her knee. A hot shower can be a marvelous thing.

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  44. Deborah said on March 1, 2018 at 10:05 am

    In this TPM piece it mentions that there are 764 gun manufacturers in the state of Florida https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/rick-scott-sanctions-and-a-shady-gun-maker-with-russian-ties.

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  45. Mark P said on March 1, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I have wished for an autonomous vehicle on many of my cross-country trips (I-70), where there is, as they say, miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. But I never use cruise control. I try to maximize my fuel mileage, so I anticipate hills and let my speed drop somewhat as I climb (not blocking traffic). Our current car has “intelligent” cruise, which allows you to set a distance to the leading car and can keep you in your lane. I haven’t used it either. I have my doubts that AV’s will ever been exactly what everyone seems to think they will. Technology has a way of advancing in ways you just don’t expect it to go.

    I put heated bathroom floors in our new house. I love them. I did in our old house, but in those days they didn’t know anything about a membrane to separate the tiles from the subfloor, so the constant heating and cooling cracked tiles.

    I went to Zion and Bryce about 30 years ago. Also Arches. There were essentially no crowds. I was able to camp in the Arches campground with no notice, even coming late in the afternoon. Same with Grand Canyon about 40 years ago. We were planning a trip to Arches last fall so I started watching the gate webcam at Arches. Long, long lines almost all day every day during peak season. They advise not coming then, because all the parking is taken all day. Their web site has a plot that shows available parking through the year, and you might as well forget it from spring to mid-fall.

    We went to Lake Tahoe about five years ago and stayed at Harrah’s. What a dump. I lived at Lake Tahoe for about a year and a half in 1976-77, and things were nice then. We only went to the casinos when someone came to visit, although one of the other slackers in the group occasionally came around with a new cowboy hat saying that Bill had bought it for him. I doubt he counted all the money he lost on the way to winning enough to buy a cowboy hat. I also drove through Vegas one night on my way to Tahoe in 1976 and, unfortunately, decided not to stop for gas. That was a mistake. I kept on driving into the wilderness and ended up spending the night in a field across the road from the only gas station I was able to find, waiting for it to open the next morning.

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  46. ROGirl said on March 1, 2018 at 10:55 am

    The automotive industry has a lot of tools in place for evaluating risk and mitigating or eliminating it where possible. In the design phase of a part, assembly or system you have to identify potential failure modes, their causes and effects, based on experience with similar products, materials, processes (but there can always be a new failure mode that hadn’t been anticipated). If the severity of the failure is too high (could result in death), the only way to reduce it would be to change the design, but some parts/systems are inherently more risky than others, so if you make airbags you accept the risk that a supplier of another part wouldn’t. And if you circumvent the processes, you end up with exploding airbags and failing ignition switches.

    I would be surprised if there haven’t been FMEAs (Failure Mode Effects and Analysis) for driverless vehicles.


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  47. basset said on March 1, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Geese, not turkey. What was I thinking…

    About Frontier… closest thing I’ve heard to a positive response from anyone was a lot like yours, Julie, something along the lines of “I can stand it for two hours.”

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  48. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I still enjoy driving and using a manual transmission, even though it’s a pain in the butt when driving in Chicago’s stop-n-go traffic. I tend to be a late adapter to new technologies –I was the last in my circle of friends to buy a CD player– so I expect to be in the rear echelon of self-driving cars, assuming I’m still upright. But I will miss driving. Perhaps something similar to what happened to vinyl will happen to cars. The demise of vinyl LP’s broke my heart, but while buying a new, flatscreen TV at Best Buy, I was heartened to see a large display of albums on vinyl, just as the store has announced it will no longer sell CDs. Several of my students are experimenting with turntables and discs, too. Maybe in the day of self-driving vehicles, there will be a hue and cry for cars we can actually control ourselves. I’d like to put my Fiat in mothballs for those days, lol.

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  49. Joe Kobiela said on March 1, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I try to steer people away from the cut rate and fly the legacy airlines, usually after you add on the cost, it will come out about the same price wise, Allegiant out of Fwa can be ok except you fly into Sanaford not Orlando and thats ok depending on where you are going in Orlando, my problem with Allegiant is Maintenance, it meets the standard, but thats it, they farm out a lot of there heavy maintenance overseas where standards are not quiet the same, how do you feel riding on a plane that was maintained by the lowest bidder?
    Pilot Joe

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  50. Scout said on March 1, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Well, in a *way* she’s a genius, because she’s become FLOTUS on being nothing more than an average decent looking model. /sarcasm

    And don’t get me started on the chain migration rants her idiot husband tweets. Irony was DOA when Trump’s brain was hatched.

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  51. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    I agree with Pilot Joe. Horrible experiences on Spirit and Frontier led me to stick with the major carriers. I cannot say enough terrible things about Spirit. I’d rather walk than fly that piece of shit airline again.

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  52. Heather said on March 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Yeah, I’d rather pay a bit more for airfare and have a decent flying experience. I really loved Virgin and am incredibly disappointed Alaska Airlines discontinued the brand after buying it. I fly United and American a lot out of O’Hare simply because they usually have the most flight options, but since trying JetBlue I often go with them even if it’s slightly more expensive because it was a much nicer experience.

    I’m flying to Spain on Sunday on an AA flight operated by Iberia–to fly all the way through to Sevilla round-trip was just $700! Hopefully it will be an OK experience. I don’t think I’ve flown Iberia before, but the European airlines are usually more enjoyable.

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  53. Suzanne said on March 1, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I love Southwest, but they don’t always have the routes I want and I have to drive to Indy or another place to use them. But always a great experience! I’ve had good luck with Delta, too.

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  54. Snarkworth said on March 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Heather, lucky you! Have you been to Sevilla?

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  55. basset said on March 1, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Discontinued? the website is still up and I saw several Virgin aircraft at LAS over the weekend.
    Joe, I agree with you on the maintenance – not the first time I have heard that in connection with Allegiant. I don’t think they come to BNA… Southwest is our largest carrier here, never had a problem with them.

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  56. Deborah said on March 1, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    We fly Southwest mostly. They’re an OK airlines, except when the flight attendants start singing, hate that. I like the way you can pick your seat if you get your boarding pass check in exactly 24 hours before the flight is scheduled to leave. Although they do have something new that costs about $15 extra (I think) where they will get you checked in automatically. I’m not exactly sure how that works yet, I need to do more research.

    I used to love having small convertible sports cars, but since we moved to Chicago I don’t care about them one bit. It was weird how quickly that desire left me. My husband loved his BMW that sat in the garage below the building 99% of the time, but as soon as he decided to get rid of it, he doesn’t miss it at all, doesn’t even think about it, ever. As I’ve said here before (a million times) we keep a Jeep in NM, that has no frills and is a manual transmission. We hope to keep it 5 more years (yeah probably wishful thinking) and then buy something electric or partly so, that we hope will be the last car we ever own.

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  57. Heather said on March 1, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Snarkworth–I was there about 16 years ago. I’ve seen all the major sites, which is great because I can just focus on hanging out and anything I missed last time. Also hoping to go to Cadiz and Ronda. Wish I had time to go to Portugal too, my latest travel crush, but at least I can speak Spanish.

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  58. Snarkworth said on March 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Sounds great, Heather. I was there in 2016 and would love to go back. The way the buildings are decorated, with beautiful tiles, is dazzling. I loved the tower next to the cathedral, which used to be the mosque’s minaret. And the Santa Cruz neighborhood nearby.

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  59. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Iberia is an excellent airline. No complaints whatsoever. Flew it to and from Madrid last year.

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  60. David C. said on March 1, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    So Pooty-poot has an invincible weapon. My guess is it’s bullshit and he’s trying to throw tRump a lifeline. My next guess is that tRump is too fucking stupid to take it.


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  61. beb said on March 2, 2018 at 1:15 am

    Is nobody commenting because they’re afraid they’ll be the comment in this thread?

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  62. Jerry said on March 2, 2018 at 2:41 am

    Beb, I’ve only just woken up so don’t blame me!

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  63. Dexter said on March 2, 2018 at 3:57 am

    SWA for me if I must fly. I can walk with a cane but not fast enough to traverse airport concourses so they set me in a wheelchair and I get to bypass all TSA lines and get screened ahead of everybody else, then wheeled to the #1 boarding slot, where I immediately grab the first row. All I have to do is tip the chairpusher $10.

    Joe, HOLEEE SHIT! I am hooked on NatGeo’s “Airline Disasters” and TWC’s “Why Planes Crash” , and your scenario sounds like a real problem. Systems certainly shouldn’t grab your plane and point you to a parallel runway, jeeeez! Glad your go-around wasn’t impeded and your landing systems worked on approach 2.

    A few years ago Joe warned us about Allegiant’s shaky maintenance procedures, and I told my daughter and her family to please stop flying Allegiant out of LCK (Rickenbacker-Columbus, Ohio), which they do frequently for convenience and pricing. Kids just won’t listen…even kids that just turned 40.

    After being out in Las Vegas for I think 11 years now, 24 year old single mother, our granddaughter, bought a 2017 Mitsubishi SUV and is packing up her shit and her little boy and moving back to Ohio, and going to decide which job market is best for her in her field of cosmetology. It’s going to be either Cleveland or Columbus. Her mom is driving with her and helping with the little boy, who’s 4. The grandparents out there love that little boy so much they may sell their house in Las Vegas and pile the motorhome full and move back here too. Who knows?

    Man, being a caretaker wears me out. Carla Lee can at least walk now using a rollator, but now very far. We were both really tired today because of the long-haul round-trip to Cleveland. I cook twice a day and assemble lunch from the fridge, but today for dinner it was a frozen Marie Callender entree and deli sides. Breakfast was tasty though—maple flavored bacon and a great cheese omelette were the main items. I found some new off-shoot of Keurig Green Mountain Brand, “Laughing Man” brand Arabica joe, with Hugh Jackman’s face and signature on the sample pack of 3 K-cups. It’s queued up for first cuppa….

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 2, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Marie’s not half bad . . .

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  65. Deborah said on March 2, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I like her chicken pot pies.

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  66. Sherri said on March 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    What neural nets “see”:


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  67. Mark P said on March 2, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Putin’s new nuclear threats are a big so-what. The US has never had a missile defense system that could protect the country from a serious Russian missile attack. Reagan’s Star Wars of the 1980’s was a joke and a miserable failure as a “strategic” defense system. Everyone in the defense world knew it would never work, even if occasionally some bozo would announce that “we’ve solved that problem.” If such a system could be built, it would be gigantically expensive even in the defense world; there just isn’t enough money in the world to do it. I’m not convinced it is even technologically feasible. So, we’ll rely on the same defense that we have had since the first ICBM’s were deployed — deterrence, or, as we used to say, mutually-assured destruction. That’s assuming the idiot in the White House can be controlled.

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  68. beb said on March 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Rawstory has this report about a terrible traffic accident and the cruel follow-on.
    Then Slate had a piece on how cruel it was to charge the mother because she had already suffered a loss. That’s when it came to me that this wasn’t just some officious oaf piling on a poor woman. This was a SLAPP –a strategic lawsuit against public participation. The facts in the case are that an off-duty cop driving his corvette 94 mph in a 50 mph zone hit a car, injuring all passengers, one of which later died. Now I am not a lawyer but I served as a juror on a similar case. In my case two men were fighting. The victim fled the house, tripped on the sidewalk and fell against a parked car. Later he died from his injuries. The prosecutor was asked Second Degree Murder, because the defendant has chased the victim downstairs and was responsible for the victim to trip and fall. In this traffic accident case the off-duty cop would appear to be directly responsible for the child’s death and thus ought to face a murder rap. But by charging the mother with not properly securing her child in a car seat the DA is saying the cop is only partially responsible for the child’s death and thus he ought to be charged with something like accidental manslaughter. A crime so much more minor that he might well be allowed to continue to be a cop. The victim is black, the cop is brown but this like a case where Justice is turning a blind eye in order to let a cop off easy.

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