Terrible people, terrible enablers.

Guys, I had this mostly written and thisclose to being ready to post on Friday, then Friday slithered out of my grasp. Yeah, I know. Excuses, excuses.

Remember when we all first discovered the internet? Whether you came aboard in the Compuserve era, or with America Online, or after that, or before, we probably all had our aha moment, when we realized this vast network of souls connected by keyboards meant we are not alone.

For years, I felt like the only Warren Zevon fan in the world. Of course I wasn’t the only one at the shows, but the fellow Warren fans I actually knew were few, far between, and could mainly be counted on one or two hands. Then I went on AOL and found…a community! Warren Himself sometimes came into the chat room, or the bulletin board, or whatever it was, and would say a few words. It was thrilling. It was amazing. The world felt smaller, and in an entirely good way.

Of course, sooner or later I realized that not everyone looking for a community wanted to celebrate the work of an underappreciated singer-songwriter. I recall a letter to Dan Savage, a guy confessing a terrible secret lust for pornography featuring women in snow-white Keds sneakers. Where can I find my tribe, he asked. Savage’s reply: Duh. The internet. When I turned 40, I told Alan he was permitted to buy me an Hermes scarf for the next significant gift-giving occasion, and went online to see what I might find under the tree. It turns out Hermes-scarf bondage porn is a thing, too, and I’m sorry to say that I am so bougie about these expensive accessories that the thought of some dude ruining one forever made me shut down my browser in horror. Shudder.

We all know how it went from there. The internet makes social movements easier to organize. It helped spread the early word about Barack Obama. It’s given us YouTube stars, and journalism stars, and generally freshened things up by elevating and amplifying new, interesting voices.

But because there is literally nothing we can’t fuck up, things took a turn. We once thought television would bring a university into every living room, and we got “The Apprentice” instead. And so the same internet that brought me together with new nursing mothers and Zevon fans also now provides you-are-not-alone cover to pedophiles, anti-vaccine lunatics and, we now know, so-called incels, or “involuntary celibates,” colloquially known as guys who can’t get laid.

You know all this, but here’s what bugs me: You know how newspapers are always on about their ethics, which invariably leads someone to roll their eyes and say, whoa, there’s an oxymoron? Well, it’s not. Journalists — traditional-source journalists, anyway, and most of the others — do have certain ethical standards, and most of them are based on a single principle: You are responsible for what you publish.

This is another idea that the internet’s creative destruction has done away with. Facebook isn’t responsible for allowing Russians to sow lies and confusion. Google isn’t responsible for its blogging platforms. Hey, don’t look at us! To them, they’re Goss, the company that makes printing presses, not publishers. Meanwhile, it’s hard to get them to even shut down websites that turn a mass murderer into a hero. What? You don’t like free speech?

A former state representative I once wrote about now spends significant chunks of time online, posting tinfoil-hat stories about crisis actors and chemtrails and government schools. He believes the UK’s National Health Service killed that sick little kid in cold blood. He is carrying on. He is nuts.

Here’s an article about the founder of 4chan, one of the most notorious sites for the sort of content that seeks to wound, to spread lies, to foment violence. The reporter describes it as “controversial.” The story is about this guy joining Google, where presumably he isn’t regularly pelted with rotten fruit, as he deserves.

The world is an awful place sometimes, and the worst among us are celebrated.

While you can read about incels at dozens and dozens of places, this skimmable piece from a fashion site does offer a helpful graphic. This more serious piece — HT to Sherri — is good, too.

On to the White House correspondents dinner, of which I have only this to say: If people don’t want a comedian to make jokes, don’t hire one. I actually saw one tweet that claimed this evening is about showcasing “decency and purpose.” O rly? Coulda fooled me. I thought it was a mutual-congratulation schmoozefest with a comedy routine thrown in. I watched Michelle Wolf’s set, and I dunno, maybe I watch too many comedy specials on Netflix, but it didn’t seem that bad to me. From the advance whining, I thought she’d called Sarah Sanders something horrible. She called her “Aunt Lydia,” a Handmaids Tale joke, and said something about her eye shadow. BFD.

OK, enough.

How Trump trickles down to the local level, in Michigan. Both the candidate featured here and the opponent he’s attacking are polling way, way below other candidates in their respective primaries, making this fight something else entirely, i.e., a sort of far-right virtue signaling to the base.

And with that, I’m wrapping and getting outside, because it’s a beautiful day. A bit chilly, but nothing terrible. A fine week ahead to all.

Posted at 12:39 pm in Current events, Media |

81 responses to “Terrible people, terrible enablers.”

  1. basset said on April 29, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Beautiful day here, too… slept late, leisurely breakfast, about to go continue tearing up the yard with my new toy:


    Didn’t watch the dinner last night, but from the excerpts I’ve seen it seems to me the worst thing about the jokes is that they weren’t all that funny.

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  2. Jeff Borden said on April 29, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    It is easy to drown in all the horribleness around us, which sometimes seems so overwhelming since the elevation of our Orange King to the presidency. The race baiting, the Islamophobia, the phony culture wars, the attacks on science, reason and logic, the slurs directed at “the others”. . .it wears you down.

    But on Friday afternoon I received an unexpected lift. An elementary school drama teacher who’s become a friend through our dog group presented a musical based on the children’s books of Kathryn Otoshi. Me and another dog owner with some money to spare helped fund her project through choose donor.org, so we were invited. What a treat. Her school is home to students from some 60 countries speaking almost 40 languages. . .the very kinds of kids who give so many right-wingers the heebie-jeebies. . .and is located on the border of Edgewater and Uptown, so many of the kids are from some pretty poor families. You’d have never known it. Every race, every ethnicity, every size and shape a child can come in was up on the stage. . .belting out songs, dancing, narrating the action. My wife sobbed through the whole thing. (Yeah, she was moved, but in fairness, she also cries at car wash openings.)

    Folks, if we can hold on for a few more years, this genuine rainbow coalition may help erase the stain and the stench of our twisted public discourse. I’d defy even a racist goon like Rep. Steve King of Iowa to be unmoved by this collection of youngsters. There is hope out there, if you can overlook the charlatan in the Oval Office –who played all his favorite foul hits to a fawning crowd of sycophants in Michigan– and the ugliness he has increased geometrically. I’m deeply cynical, but I believe MLK was right. The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. Those kids reinforced that belief.

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  3. Suzanne said on April 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    How wonderful, Jeff! Inspiring as well. Why can’t we all just get along?

    I did not watch the correspondence dinner but have read enough about it to get the drift of what was said. I read that Michelle Wolf is a comedian (although I have never heard of her but I am not up on that sort of thing)and comedy does tend towards the shocking and raunchy and jarring and I know that Trump says worse things every day, but still. I think take the high road so when Trump and his angry band of idiots go after you, no one can say that you got down in the mucky basket with the deplorables and fought dirty like they do. When they go low, you go high.
    Just my 2 cents.

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  4. Deborah said on April 29, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Jeff B, wow did I need to hear that, thanks.

    I usually don’t read Brooks in the NYT but he had a good one about how every negative thing we’ve said about Trump hasn’t made one iota of difference to his base and even the Republicans who started out as never Trumps are now rallying around him. I tell you, I have lost so much respect for anyone who calls himself a Republican, I’m sorry to say that, but it’s how I feel right now.

    As for the WHCD, I agree with you Suzanne, when they go low we should go high. But the folks who set up the dinner knew what they were doing when they got Ms. Wolf so what did anyone expect? She didn’t pull any punches. There are no apologies needed until Trump starts apologizing for his nasty remarks and his making fun of people, like the disabled guy that he mocked. If the right wing is fine with that, then they shouldn’t complain when it comes back at them.

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  5. beb said on April 29, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    One of the stories floating just under the radar is Joy Reid’s 15 year old homophobic comments. Reid is a delight as a fill-in host for Rachel, Chris Hayes, etc. plus she has an hour show on Saturday and Sunday. I suspect that a lot of people would love to see her have her own weekly evening show, say, replacing the tedious Chris Matthews. Then someone found this old blog posts…. MSNBC expressed support for her but her first response was to claim that her old blog-site had been backed and defaced. But the screen captures were coming from the Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine — real-time captures from 2005. She has finally owned up to her comments and apologized but the damage has been done. I think she should have said the obvious that 15 years ago she was naive and unthinking but her views have evolved, as has the country and she now appalled by the things she once said.

    Meanwhile Tom Brokow’s response to allegations that he sexually harassed a reporter years ago was a text piece on how not to address such things. Here’s a line by line critique

    There’s a rule for what Nancy mentions as the Hermes scarf bondage — it’s Rule 34 — if anything exist, there’s porn about it.

    The DNC has a history of backing local candidates that just aren’t that popular in their districts which is happening in Michigan for the governor race. The DNC pick is running well behind Shri Tanadar and only slightly ahead of the Muslim being attacked. WE need more and better Democrats … especially in leadership positions.

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  6. Mark P said on April 29, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    I’m pretty sure that incel is an anagram of loser, but I just can’t quite seem to make it work.

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  7. Sherri said on April 29, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    We’re supposed to feel sorry for Sarah Huckabee Sanders because someone made fun of her the same week that Paul Ryan fired the House chaplin because he prayed a little too much for the poor.

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders is not some innocent victim. She chose to take the job she holds, and she chooses to regularly lie and distort and work to destroy norms in our government. From what I’ve read, the jokes were not about things out of her control, but about what she has done.

    Don’t treat everybody else like shit and expect to be loved for it.

    BTW, can somebody tell the Atlantic to hire and fire me? I’d like to be silenced with articles in the WSJ and WashPo.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    Jeff B, thanks for telling us about that, and for being one of the heroes that made it happen. I thought about the arc of history bending when Cosby was convicted too.

    Suzanne, I’m with you on the WHCD too. I’ve never enjoyed crude humor or personal attacks, and I think you can be funny without them. Worse, it plays into the right wingers who say the media is out to get them. We don’t need that.

    But Lordy, it was a beautiful day here and I’m just gonna focus on that for now.

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  9. alex said on April 29, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Basset, we love our PullerBear and it saw plenty of use this lovely weekend. No shortage of sprouting acorns and redbud pods in all of our flowerbeds and this is the one time of year you can pop the saplings without destroying the flowers.

    “Far right virtue signaling.” I get the drift, but because virtue is so lacking in conservative politics, I think their signaling needs to have its own name. “Dog-whistling” doesn’t cut it anymore, and besides it’s quite an insult to dogs.

    In the Indiana GOP primary, we have three contemptible phonies trying to ride Trumpism to victory and making even bigger clowns of themselves than POTUS himself. Watching this mudfest is rather entertaining even if the signaling, whatever you might call it, is just apocalyptic fucking scary.

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  10. Suzanne said on April 29, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Ah, yes. Rokita, Braun, and I can’t even remember the other guy’s name here in NE Indiana. It would be funny except that one of these idiots is very likely to be elected.

    Also, I heard part of a story this afternoon about Pompeo, and the Iran deal, and Kim Jong Un and Pompeo kept talking about all the world wide terrorism Iran sponsors. Am I missing something? Any attacks that have happened here were not Iranians and their economy is in the doldrums so I found it very confusing. Can any of you smart people enlighten me?

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  11. Julie Robinson said on April 29, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Messer. Who couldn’t be bothered to be interviewed by the JG for their endorsement, even though they gave him a month’s notice. And Rokita said it’s fine to be mean and nasty in the primary, because it’s a “cleansing”. Yes he really did use that word.

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  12. beb said on April 29, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Incel means iin</b<voluntary celebrite. Yes, they can’t
    get laid but really their so misogynistic that women can’t stand to be around then.

    sherri @7: don’t we all. (want to be hired and fired like that)

    alex@9 speak for yourself re Indiana politics… Oh wait you were. I just visit my dad there from time to time and the political ads are relentless and unbearable.

    suzanne @10 — It’s Lesser as in ‘he’s the Lesser of three evils.’

    Finally, I question for the more connected among you. The few times I’ve been forced to watch il Douche speech he’s always making a circle with his thumb and forefinger. Now this article from RawStory
    says the “OK” sign is a secret white power gesture. Is this true? Doesn’t seem likely but it would explain why Trump is always making that gesture.

    Can’t wait till Tuesday when it’s supposed to get up to 80. Let the complaining about the heat begin!

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  13. brian stouder said on April 29, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Yes – I enjoyed the WH correspondent’s dinner, but all the F-bombs from the comedian guaranteed that the Donald would look all the wiser in having skipped it.

    Earlier in the weekend, I had a conversation with a fellow who derided “fake news” – and I asked him whether he thought such a thing was new…or as traditional as apple pie.

    Further to Nancy’s point about the (rapid!) evolution of the internet over the past few decades – my point to the fellow was that there is nothing substantially ‘new’ about this concept of “fake news”.

    Think about going to the super market (back when people shopped at “supermarkets”!) and you could see all the various “scandal sheets” for sale in the check-out lanes.

    National Enquirer/Weekly World News/Star (etc etc) – publications that my mom and dad referred to as “scandal sheets” – and which, in my memory, usually featured some “new” article on widowed American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (“Jackie O”), or martians, or Elvis – etc etc…. the only “new” thing is all the same crap is available for free, across myriad different web-sites.

    The medium (and therefore the availability) has changed, but the impulses are exactly the same.

    And indeed – what does the term “fake news” actually mean? Would “official news” be a good thing?

    Has the burden ever NOT been on the news consumer (all of us) to read/watch news, and then evaluate it? Cannot “real” news make us a mad/cause us to question what we thought we knew/seek out further information?

    Truly, I recall my high school World History teacher (40 years ago, give-or-take a year!) spend a class period or two on ‘how to evaluate news’.

    One had to be aware of a particular publication’s biases, and take that into account; as well as seeking out news (on the same subject or story) from sources with different biases. She (non-judgmentally) discussed what Time Magazine’s biases might be, as well as Newsweek’s, and we discussed our local news papers (Nance’s then-future News-Sentinel, which my dad loved, and Fort Wayne’s Journal-Gazette, which my mom loved! We subscribed to both).

    There were no wrong answers; it was just a matter of accounting for how various news sources tended, the better to judge what we (ourselves) believed. (to paraphrase good ol’ #16)

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  14. basset said on April 29, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    (Resolutely avoiding the usual political round and round)
    What Alex@9 and I are talking about is a heavy steel clamp and lever meant for prying unwanted/nuisance bushes and such out of the ground… it’s made in Canada and painted white so they call it a PullerBear.

    Well, I thought that was clever, anyway.

    Alex, I don’t know what all I’ve taken out this weekend, not good at identifying trees and shrubs but the largest one I’ve pulled yet had a stem/trunk as thick as two fingers. pullerbear is, as the young people at work say, badass.

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  15. susan said on April 29, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    bassett and alex – decades ago, in the early/mid ’90s, at the dawn of the internet, before there was google, and there were a dozen or more popular search engines (remember Magellan? Lycos? Dogpile? Alta Vista?), I found a similar tool via Alta Vista, for my brother, who had gobs o’ weedy saplings springing up all over his yard. It was called a Weed Wrench. It worked great! About four years ago or so, I bought one for a friend who has been so helpful, but by then, the fellow who had invented and manufactured the Weed Wrench©®™ had become an out and proud whacko. He still had a few for sale, they went fast, but he was no longer making them.

    That PullerBear™®© looks quite simular.

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  16. Sherri said on April 30, 2018 at 1:39 am

    Young girls are getting into powerlifting!


    (Hey, NYTimes, next time out this in sports, not style, and the point of the article is not whether it’s safe for kids to powerlift.)

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  17. alex said on April 30, 2018 at 6:38 am

    Lest we forget, Stephen Colbert and Wanda Sykes were past WHCD comedians who were praised by few and panned by many. People got up and walked out on Colbert in 2006, and once the set was over he said that no one in the room could even look him in the eye. There was one exception, though. Antonin Scalia was genuinely impressed and congratulated him for a job well done.

    Wanda Sykes gave such a caustic delivery that Obama had to do damage control — defending himself against allegations that he enjoyed her performance, which was abundantly evident throughout the entire thing.

    In a way, we have the WHCD to thank for Trump’s presidency. He went on his birtherism campaign and threatened to run for president largely in response to a mild roasting by President Obama at the event one year and he’s still avenging the slight.

    For what it’s worth, the WaPo deems this year’s performance a resounding success:

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  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 30, 2018 at 6:45 am

    For today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgRfxTG1Rg8

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  19. Suzanne said on April 30, 2018 at 8:07 am

    The hair on that video from Jeff! Oh my!

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  20. Peter said on April 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

    OK, I hadn’t heard of her either before the dinner, but the line: “HOW BROKE IS HE??? He’s so broke that when he travels he has to fly in failed business class”, c’mon, that’s gold Jerry, gold!!

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  21. Dorothy said on April 30, 2018 at 9:32 am

    David Sanborn had a show in 1989?! Who knew! Thanks for that Jeff.

    So guess who is going to the Peabody Awards in NYC on May 19? Not me but I know someone who is, thanks to her excellent copy editing work on the 60 Minutes/WAPO work on the opiod crisis. She is over the MOON excited about this invitation. She’s not even worked there a year and gets to do this. Damn. We are so proud!

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  22. Deborah said on April 30, 2018 at 9:35 am

    That is excellent, Dorothy!

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  23. Suzanne said on April 30, 2018 at 9:39 am

    So exciting Dorothy!

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  24. Julie Robinson said on April 30, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Dorothy, what a thrill! Congratulations to your daughter and your family!

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  25. Sherri said on April 30, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Your daily reminder that it’s all about race in America.

    “Bring that stuff to light, and let it be there, but don’t dwell on it,” said Tommy Rhodes, a member of the Alabama Sons of Confederate Veterans. “We have moved past it … You don’t want to entice them and feed any fuel to the fire.”


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  26. Judybusy said on April 30, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Dorothy, that is beyond wonderful!

    I’m listening to Coates’ book, Between the World and Me. He reads it, as well. I find him so illuminating. We were eight years in Power is also on my list.

    And now, an amazing surfing video. Goals, Nancy, goals.

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  27. beb said on April 30, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Who started calling the Civil War the “Treason in Defense of Slavery.” I love the term. It’s used a lot at Lawyers Guns and Money so maybe one of them first came up with it. Sherri’s post about the Sons of Confederate Veterans got me thinking about it. Saying that it’s time to move on is pretty rich coming from a guy who still hasn’t moved on from the civil war.

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  28. Jolene said on April 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    ”For what it’s worth, the WaPo deems this year’s performance a resounding success. . .”

    More precisely, this writer, Molly Roberts, deems it a success. Plenty of other opinions on the Post’s web site.

    I’m with Nancy in thinking this is a big flap about not very much. I read comments on Twitter before watching Wolf’s performance and, based on the comments I’d seen, expected something much harsher and cruder. I don’t think it was a great comedy act, but it also didn’t seem beyond reasonable limits.

    I am slightly less annoyed with journalists complaining because they thought her act might have damaged their standing in the public eye than I am with Trump staffers and supporters who are offended by Wolf’s treatment of them and the president. They are working for and/or supporting an ignorant, cruel man who works overtime insulting individual people, groups, and whole countries, and now they are offended by a few jokes at their expense? Spare me.

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  29. Scout said on April 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Comedy is just another way to look at the truth. Notice nobody is saying Michelle Wolfe lied about anything. Just that she was ‘mean’. Oh PUH-LEEZE. Fuck the high road. All that ever does is apply the left, because we’re too politically correct to call a spade a spade, while the conservatives are allowing the country to devolve into celebrating tRump, his fanatic idiot followers and the press who cannot go a week without publishing some new mansplainer article about why we should give a shit about racists, Nazis and creeps. The press is all butt hurt because she pointed out how they are responsible for putting ratings over rights, how THEY aided and abetted this horror. Fuck’em all and hooray for Michelle Wolfe. She was brave.

    Meanwhile, as anyone with even HALF a brain predicted, THIS is regular life now. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/pinal-breaking/2018/04/27/electronic-road-sign-queen-creek-displays-anti-semitic-message/560039002/

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  30. Jolene said on April 30, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Some entertainment news: I finished watching Seven Seconds on Netflix this past weekend. A ten-episode miniseries, it seems like something a lot of people here might like. It’s got a sort of David Simon-ish feel. Gritty, serious, mostly good writing, and some fine performances. Here is Hank Stuever’s WaPo review. Netflix didn’t seem to promote it much, either through advertising or appearances by the actors or creators on talk shows, or maybe I just missed their PR efforts. Anyway, I was glad to learn about it in Hank’s online chat.

    Tonight, I’m planning to watch Dancing with the Stars. I don’t think I’ve watched more than five minutes of that show in the past, but they’re starting a new series tonight, and all of the contestants are athletes or, more likely, former athletes. I can’t wait to see how Kareem Abdul Jabbar performs.

    Finally, the NYT published a useful list of some of the movies leaving Netflix in May. See ‘em while you can.

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  31. Deborah said on April 30, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Jolene that link to the Netflix movies leaving in May didn’t work for me.

    My husband comes back from Charlotte tonight where he went to celebrate his mother’s 99th birthday. I leave for NM on Thursday morning, in the meantime I’m enjoying the spring weather we’re finally having in Chicago. Daffodils are out and some of the tulip trees are blooming (I think that’s what they’re called, some people call them magnolias?). It was lovely yesterday, barely out of the 40s but sunny and today’s high was supposed to be 72, tomorrow 79.

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  32. Jolene said on April 30, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Another try: Movies leaving Netflix in May.


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  33. Dexter said on April 30, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    I used computers at work for years before I got a pc, but at work is was drudgery and at home my world changed immediately. In 2005, Facebook emerged and chatrooms became obsolete. What I love about the internet is the fact that I’ll always have an ocean of facts seeping into my little backwater bay. Always, always finding new stuff: I didn’t know what in-cels were until a week ago, I didn’t know the big division among peoples were if you were “woke” or not, until a few months ago. Then , without even paying an extra cent, finding an old friend: A book I read years ago, this time read quickly for me, all the better and easier to absorb . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iXgtLqpJmE

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  34. Sherri said on April 30, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    Jolene, I’m more annoyed by the journalists than I am by the trump supporters. This is the normal reaction from conservatives: you were mean to me! Journalists going along with and defending that narrative is deeply problematic. Mika Brzezinski defending SHS as a “wife and mother.” Andrea “Mrs Alan Greenspan” Mitchell calling for an apology. Maggie Haberman digging a hole and continuing to dig, insisting that the jokes were about SHS’s appearance. The WHCA throwing Wolf under the bus.

    This is our liberal press?

    If they’re so worried about their standing with the public, maybe they ought to take trump’s attacks on the media more seriously, instead of seeing them as all part of the usual political game, no different than the past. Nattering nabobs, this isn’t.


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  35. basset said on April 30, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    In the local business paper: “Bob Dylan launches line of Nashville-based whiskeys.”

    Once again, you could not make this shit up.


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  36. beb said on May 1, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Bob Dylan — doesn’t he have enough money already? Does he really need to do this shit?

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  37. Dexter said on May 1, 2018 at 1:30 am

    beb…how much did George Clooney make when he sold his tequila brand? I guess if the money’s there, take it. Besides, apparently Dylan does not even have a home. He’s been on tour living in his tour bus for something like 39 years…maybe he wants to settle down. 🙂

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  38. alex said on May 1, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Susan at 15 —

    Just for shits and giggles I typed dogpile into my browser and was amazed to find it still exists!

    As for that Weed Wrench guy, he’s doubtless much happier on the road to fascism under Trump than he was on the road to fascism under Obama. Maybe he’ll come out of retirement.

    We’re happy with our PullerBear. Still waiting, though, for someone to invent a tool for Hoovering up acorns. Our property is simply carpeted with them.

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  39. basset said on May 1, 2018 at 7:13 am

    He’s probably out there in the shadow economy somewhere, trading weed wrenches for live chickens and ammunition.

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  40. Jeff said on May 1, 2018 at 9:59 am

    This is, in my opinion, a hoot.


    Apparently now if I want my old gravatar associated with my WordPress account to show up, I have to be “Jeff” because the User Name cannot be changed. Or, I can be the quilt pattern generic and get through as a non-logged-in Jeff (the mild-mannered one). So it may vary, depending on my log in status, which I don’t tend to track closely, plus I check in on about five different computers. Just thought I’d explain I’m not trying to be cutesy or confusion about it, just a WordPress thing. It’s both me.

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  41. Suzanne said on May 1, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Oh my goodness, Jeff! I only got 17 correct! Better go read some more scripture (although, to be honest, I don’t know which translation they used and I think that made a difference).

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  42. Deborah said on May 1, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Omg, never using one of those again https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/13/hand-dryers-suck-in-fecal-bacteria-and-blow-it-all-over-your-hands-study-finds.html?__source=twitter%7Cmain

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  43. susan said on May 1, 2018 at 11:07 am

    alex @38 – Oh my! dogpile still works??! That’s really surprising since the search-engine and search-verb takeover by Google (and minimally, duckduckgo, which is what I use). And it’s pretty good, too. So after your comment I opened up a dogpile page (that still amazes me), searched for “WeedWrench,” one of the entries was for “TheUprooter,” the successor to the WW, with the WW’s inventor’s blessings. It’s even made in Grant’s Pass, where WW was manufactured.

    Now, for AltaVista and Magellan…

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  44. susan said on May 1, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Looks like Magellan search is a dead parrot; and Altavista was subsumed by yahoo. But, damn, Lycos is still alive, too! Wow, the old web.

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  45. Suzanne said on May 1, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Lycos and Dogpile are still around?? I loved AltaVista back in the day.
    Also, I have found that a good way to freak out young people is to tell them that I am old enough to remember using the internet before there were search engines. It leaves them speechless.

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  46. susan said on May 1, 2018 at 11:56 am

    suzanne, yeah, and before there were ads. That freaks ’em out, too.

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  47. alex said on May 1, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Grant’s Pass! My mom’s sister, who now has Alzheimer’s, moved to Grant’s Pass back in the ’70s when it was a hippie enclave. Some beautiful country there, what I remember of it.

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  48. susan said on May 1, 2018 at 11:59 am

    The internet was so pure, for such a short time, before Capitalism lodged itself firmly into its roots. Gah.

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  49. Jolene said on May 1, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Also, I have found that a good way to freak out young people is to tell them that I am old enough to remember using the internet before there were search engines. It leaves them speechless.

    I have achieved this effect by telling people that I shopped at Starbucks when it was one little store at the Pike Place Market in Seattle.

    Computer punch cards seem to be beyond the understanding of the younger set. My explanations seem to provoke wordless nods, but little evidence of comprehension.

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  50. Icarus said on May 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Jeff @ 40: I scored a 16. Not bad since I haven’t seen all the Avenger movies and have never read the bible cover to cover.

    I use to go to Alta Vista to use Babelfish, it was the only translation game in town though a poor one at that.

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  51. Deborah said on May 1, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    One of my college suite mates used to carry around armloads of punch cards. And I remember when we had a computer room at work that housed the main frames or whatever they called them. It had a raised floor, it was dark but had lots of eerie blinking lights, also special cooling. When Apple came out with the Macintosh we were in heaven. Remember when you heard all those bee-boops when you logged on to the Internet?

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  52. Suzanne said on May 1, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Oh, the punch cards! I had one class in college for which we had to write a letter using punch cards which also, as many of you know, involved taking the punch cards to the computer center, feeding them in, waiting, waiting some more, finding out you had made a typing error on the card so it wouldn’t work. At the time, I assumed this computer thing would never work because it was too time consuming.

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  53. Jolene said on May 1, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Exactly, Suzanne, though, for me, those experiences mainly occurred in grad school. I had a close friend who had a difficult relationship with her father, and, during one marathon session at the computer center, she described the experience of trying to get some simple program to run as being like trying to communicate with her dad. Whatever information she tried to put into the system, she would get back a message that said, “You screwed up. You are wrong.”

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  54. Sherri said on May 1, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I learned to program on punch cards. I also drive through Grant’s Pass every year on my way to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

    I started the long process of getting a tooth implant today. My front tooth is now gone. To add a little extra excitement, the dentist decided today that a gum graft was also needed, so in addition to the extraction and bone graft, I had a gum graft today. I just love dental work.

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  55. Jolene said on May 1, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Sherri: I’ll be joining you in that process. I had two teeth—both molars in my lower jaw, on which I’d gotten crowns years ago. The crowns came off some time ago, and I’d been procrastinating about getting replacements (or whatever). But, a couple weeks ago, I developed an excruciatingly painful infection, and the dentist that I saw determined that there wasn’t enough left of either tooth to repair. So, I got antibiotics for the infection, and the teeth were extracted—am awful experience.

    I am generally pretty stoic about pain or other medical indignities, but I spontaneously burst into tears when the oral surgeon began excavating those teeth from my jaw. It wasn’t so much that it was painful as, of course, I had been given Novocain, but it was brutal to hear my teeth cracking as they were broken and wrestled out of my mouth.

    Now, I’m set for an appointment with a general dentist and then on to the implant process. Fun, fun, fun!

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  56. Jolene said on May 1, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Another Netflix recommendation: I’m pasting here the FB comments of Michael Gerson, who is a former GWB speechwriter and now a WaPo columnist. He’s a religious conservative who is totally grossed out by Trump and the turn of evangelicals toward him. An excellent writer, so it’s worth checking out his work. Here are his comments on a new documentary re RFK.

    Those of you with Netflix need to retire to your most handy screen and watch “Bobby Kennedy for President,” a new documentary on the life and death of RFK. I have always found Robert Kennedy a fascinating and admirable political figure. He possessed a Cold War toughness, a keen, religiously-informed social conscience and an unusual empiricism about the nature of social problems. The documentary captures him well. Here was a man who flew to the side of Cesar Chavez, brought national attention to horrible conditions on Indian reservations and in the Mississippi Delta, and still saw the internal problems and contradictions of the Great Society at a very early stage. But there was something more at work in RFK — a tragic sense of life, combined with a restless ambition, combined with moral outrage at outrageous things — that made him a figure who still inspires across the decades.

    It is a tribute to the documentary that by the time RFK is shot and killed, I felt angry and outraged and could not suppress tears thinking of the injustice and horrible waste of that senseless act. Spending a few hours with RFK brought me a strange sense of relief — a reminder that politics can be better and deeper and greater.

    I only wish “Bobby Kennedy for President” had put a little more emphasis on RFK’s extraordinary speeches. A thought for this day from Kennedy’s “Ripples of Hope” speech in South Africa: “Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. Aristotle tells us that ‘At the Olympic Games it is not the finest and strongest men who are crowned, but they who enter the lists… So too in the life of the honorable and the good it is they who act rightly who win the prize.’ I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world.”

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  57. Julie Robinson said on May 1, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Oh I remember that fun stuff from when my wisdom teeth were removed. A couple of them took a LOT of yanking. But I have to say, childbirth was a piece of cake compared to the breast biopsy I had a couple of months ago. They hit an area the Lidocaine didn’t cover, and yeeouch. I let them know and they gave me another shot.

    I really was not prepared for how much that was going to hurt or how wiped out I’d be for a week afterwards. They told me about the procedure and I did a lot of research, but somehow those parts weren’t covered. They don’t really want you to know, do they?

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  58. Connie said on May 1, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    I have also just done the first step of an implant. My dad was a dentist. I can handle dental stuff, it was the having to start paying for it when he retired that gets me.

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  59. Jolene said on May 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Wiped out was how I felt after the tooth extraction. It took a couple of weeks for the infection to resolve and the swelling and tenderness associated with the extractions to go away. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to these next steps, but I have had a couple of people tell me the implant process is not too bad. Am hoping they are right.

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  60. Deborah said on May 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    You guys talking about your dental exploits is giving me the heebie jeebies. Dental work is the thing I can put off and put off as long as possible. No one likes it, why does it have to be so miserable? My regular doctor at my last physical gave me a lecture about going to the dentist regularly because it can effect your basic health.

    I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything squared away before I leave Chicago for the summer. Plus it’s 85 degrees, so I’m sweaty and uncomfortable. It’s going to cool off a bit tomorrow and Thursday when I leave so thank goodness.

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  61. Sherri said on May 1, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I started wearing headphones for dental procedures several years back after a panic attack in the dental chair during a filling, so the noise wasn’t much of an issue. The injections for the anesthetic in my mouth are always really painful though, and it’s not been unusual for them not to get enough in and have to stop the procedure and inject more. Fortunately, that didn’t happen today, though I was beginning to wish I had opted for general anesthesia after about an hour and we weren’t done. I did have nitrous, but I couldn’t tell that it did anything for me.

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  62. basset said on May 1, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I have to be drugged stupid before a dentist can do anything to me. Awhile back a dentist ran for IU trustee, which I could give a shit about but the ballots keep showing up for some reason, and it turned out he was related to one of the keep-still-that-doesn’t-hurt dentists who seemed to be the only kind there were around our town.

    Sent him a note saying that his uncle or whoever was at least partly responsible for my dental fear. No answer. The dentist Mrs. B and I go to now is a little better, mainly he just mutters “can’t you get him to calm down?” to the techs as he’s coming in to work on me.

    And… no more Skynyrd channel on Sirius 30, it is now the Fleetwood Mac channel.

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  63. Jolene said on May 1, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Oddly enough, this ranking of the best jobs in the U.S. puts dentists at #2. Pretty good for an occupation most people don’t like to think about.


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  64. Scout said on May 1, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    One of today’s crazy stories. Aren’t HIPAA violations criminal? Or, as has become the new normal, only for everyone except the Orange Overlord?

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  65. Suzanne said on May 1, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    The best tweet on the situation Scout refers to:


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  66. Julie Robinson said on May 1, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    The people at the breast center advised me to get an anti-anxiety scrip if I was feeling a “little anxious” about the procedure. Well, I was feeling anxious, more than just a little, and I thought it was a good idea. When I was waiting for my foot surgery my blood pressure spiked, I guess I was a “little anxious” then too.

    So they gave me 20 Xanax, and I took two. And they definitely helped me feel calm through the procedure. I’ve been told it can be addictive, so maybe it wouldn’t be the best for everyone, but might be worth a try if panic is an issue with getting you into the dental chair.

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  67. A. Riley said on May 1, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Dental stuff. I hear ya. The dentist who treated all the kids in my neighborhood was one of those no-novocain guys and I believe he left a trail of dentophobes.

    Anyway. I put it off, put it off, put it off and finally screwed up my courage to go for a checkup (I’m not even going to tell you how long it’s been) and I was amazed and relieved to be told I didn’t need anything done, everything’s healthy, just a little cleaning here and there, see you in six months. Wow! I have no idea how that happened.

    I asked the nice lady at the dentist’s office about straightening the crooked front tooth that’s annoyed me for my entire life (spending thousands on a mere annoyance wasn’t an option when I was a kid) and she gave me a referral to the orthodontist. The orthodontist said they can do it with the invisible plastic braces that look like customized athletes’ mouthguards. Hmm. It’s still a lot of money, though. There are several people at my office who have braces in their 50s or 60s — maybe I will. I don’t know yet. Have you ever considered orthodontia in late middle age?

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  68. Suzanne said on May 1, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    I have crooked teeth, too, that bother me, but at my age, I simply do not want to spend the money. I’ve lived with it this long and retirement is looming…

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  69. basset said on May 1, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Thought I’d posted this awhile earlier tonight, must have hit the wrong button or something. Anyway, the transit plan got killed in Nashville tonight, vote was about 2 to 1 against last time I looked.

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  70. Deborah said on May 2, 2018 at 2:02 am

    I would have benefitted from orthodontia as a kid but there was no money for that. My parents both had lousy teeth and ended up with dentures that they took out at night. You see polygrip advertised on tv so I guess they still do that. I never wanted to spend the money on braces for myself as an adult, or go through the hassle. LB had braces as a kid and then later in her early adulthood she got veneers on her top front teeth. Both were expensive.

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  71. jerry said on May 2, 2018 at 2:25 am

    My second job was as a programmer for a company that was putting in a new mainframe computer – a Honeywell 120. It was replacing an older computer, I think it was a Gamma Bull. That was all punched card, no tape drives or disk drives. All the master files were held on boxes of punched cards. I once saw one dropped; it was, to say the least, spectacular.

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  72. David C. said on May 2, 2018 at 6:46 am

    I’ve had anesthetics of all kinds, and nothing made me sick like nitrous oxide during a tooth extraction did. If it’s needed again, I’ll either soldier on with just Novocain or opt for conscious sedation.

    The worst part of dental care is dental insurance. It works the opposite of how it should work. It pays very well for the mundane cleanings and fillings. If you need a crown, bridge, or implant, though, you end up paying half or more out of pocket. My dental has a $1500 annual limit and it isn’t hard to blow right past that limit.

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  73. alex said on May 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

    I have a dental night guard that’s probably exactly like the new invisible orthodontia. I got it for the purpose of protecting all of my expensive dental work from bruxing in my sleep. It’s also designed to hold my airway open as a snore guard, and because I never learned to tolerate my CPAP machine I figured it would be a perfect replacement.

    Then my partner told me I was snoring with it. And it fucking hurt like hell half the time and I’d take it out in the middle of the night.

    So I looked over my old CPAP machine and decided to set it up again and give it one more try and after dialing through the bazillions of settings on it I noted that the humidifier portion had never been activated. So I tried it with the humidifier on and just had a great night’s sleep. No wonder I couldn’t tolerate the thing before. It was blowing dry air up my nose and making it painful. I had even mentioned it to the pulmonology people I was seeing (this was several years ago) and it didn’t occur to any of them to tell me to turn on the humidifier.

    Friends with CPAP machines swear by them. Glad I finally figured out how to operate it properly.

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  74. Deborah said on May 2, 2018 at 7:42 am

    I used to grind my teeth at night something fierce when I was married to my ex. My jaws ached in the mornings. My dentist gave me one of those guards that always made me gag. He remade it over and over to no avail. When I left my marriage I never ground my teeth ever after.

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  75. Connie said on May 2, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Good for you with the cpap Alex. I couldn’t get by without mine. For new users I think it helps to have a nasal pillow set up like the Swift FX rather than a full face mask.

    My dentist invests in all the new technology. His latest is a water-laser drill which in certain instances means no novocaine. He also has a 3D printing style machine in the back room and can create your new crown in about 45 minutes while you wait.

    David C, your dental insurance limit is higher than mine.

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  76. Connie said on May 2, 2018 at 8:00 am

    In other news….after driving since January with my new hand controls, this Friday I am commanded to appear for my driving test. I will either end up with a handicapped license or no license at all. Doing well, can’t imagine not passing. I have not taken a driving test since my 16th birthday.

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  77. Dave said on May 2, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I daresay a lot of us haven’t taken a driver’s test since our first one at 16. Good luck, Connie, I’m sure you’ll pass.

    I’ve never had a fear of the dentist, I’ve read all of your accounts and think myself fortunate. I’ve always gone to dentists that must have been very good dentists. However, after nearly a lifetime of going every six months, we’ve not gone since we moved to Florida, that’s 2 1/2 years now. We keep saying we need to find one, just for a simple checkup.

    I could have used braces to straighten my teeth but it wasn’t a priority for the oldest child. The younger sibs got them, though, when things were more prosperous. My brother next to me did it as an adult in his 30’s but I thought, why bother now. It’s not THAT terrible.

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  78. Suzanne said on May 2, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I am pretty sure I’ve never taken a driver’s test. When I took driver’s ed back in the early 70s, if you got a high enough grade, you only had to take the written test. So that is what I did.
    When my kids were learning to drive and had to take the driving test, I told them I could give them no advice.

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  79. Icarus said on May 2, 2018 at 10:24 am

    My teeth were actually very good until I got my wisdom teeth removed in 2008. I did one side at a time and this allowed my teeth to shift. I also had a little nerve damage and developed a double chin.

    I’m also lucky that I haven’t had to have my appendix or tonsils removed. My daughter snores and SIL is recommending doing that. I refuse.

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  80. David C. said on May 2, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Connie, $1000 is standard at the company I work for. I pay extra for $1500. The cost difference is pathetically small. It’s something like $12 a month higher. I’d pay even more to reduce the 50% copay on major work to something more reasonable like $20%.

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  81. Connie said on May 2, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I am also $1,000 standard on my dental plan. Several co-workers swear by the AFLAC dental plan, but there are waiting periods for several things. That plan just pays a chunk of cash after you are done with the dentist and any dental insurance.

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