This weekend seems to be all about luxury for me. I’m house-sitting/nannying at my friends’ house two miles away from my own. They’re in London, but their 15-year-old twins are here, and the dogs need to be fed. So this is really a pretty sweet gig — the girls are self-sufficient and look after themselves, the dogs just need to be let into the yard from time to time, and the house is very pleasant. I basically just sit around and wait to do practically nothing, ensuring there is an Adult Presence on call and no teen ragers take place, because the midcentury modern furniture is too nice for that.
This must be what it’s like to be in a harem, only I don’t have to screw anyone. I never realized how much I do on a typical Saturday until I didn’t do anything. It felt pretty good.
(Of course, this means I’ll have to do the laundry Tuesday, when I get home, but eh, no biggie. There’s something to be said for watching the rabbits play on the front lawn as the sun comes up, listening to the coffeemaker burble away in the kitchen. Also, the bed I’m sleeping in is vast and has a firm mattress. After all this exertion, I took a siesta yesterday afternoon that was the best nap of my life.)
Here’s my buddy Leo. We’re reading the Times together.
And besides lounging, that’s what this weekend has been about, for me: Reading the Times. Reading the Post. Reading reading reading reading, because I don’t want to miss a nuance of the news breaking this weekend, which, like so many things, has been right in front of us all along. I’ve been checking Deplorable Twitter for reaction, and — this house having cable TV — an occasional Fox News fly-by, but there’s nothing there you wouldn’t expect. Just crickets or BFD. I expect we’ll have to wait for another round of pulse-taking out in Red America to find out what they’re thinking.
A few days or weeks ago — who can say — I saw a story about a farmer who was starting to suffer from the agricultural tariffs. He was feeling the pain, he said, but he just had to keep believing the president knew exactly what he was doing, and all would be revealed soon. I’ve seen less childish belief from first-graders talking about Santa Claus. I expect that’s what’s going on out there now.
So! How was your weekend? Leave links in the comments, if you wish. There are so many stories about what’s going on out there, I feel like I can’t pick just two or three, especially when so much of what I read is behind paywalls. But there’s this, from Politico, on what’s going on in North Carolina, and it’s free:
In the two weeks since Thanksgiving, Bladen County has been the focus of investigations into irregularities in the race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district. Specifically, how did the Republican, Mark Harris, win 61 percent of the absentee-by-mail votes when Republican voters only requested 19 percent of all absentee ballots? How did he manage to win the county at all, given the fact that it has three times as many registered Democrats as Republicans?
The numbers are close enough to jeopardize Harris’s apparent 905-vote victory over Dan McCready and might even force a redo of the election. That a small-scale fraud in a rural county of only 35,000 people could have fudged the result of one of the most watched Congressional races in the country is a reminder once again of the outside influence of economically left behind places like Bladen County, where the poverty rate is 20 percent and the median household income of $32,396 is about half the national median.
Local and national news outlets have done a fairly convincing job assigning blame for this fraud to a man named Leslie McCrae Dowless. A lifelong county resident, Dowless took money from an organization that took money from Harris’s campaign and, in turn, handed that money out to anyone willing to go door-to-door and persuade people to request and then hand over absentee ballots. A few of the foot soldiers have confirmed their parts, and several voters signed affidavits saying someone took their unsealed and incomplete ballots, which is illegal.
A fruitcake true-crime story for fruitcake season, via Laura Lippman. I’m only halfway through, but it’s wonderful, and so far, there haven’t been any murders.
With that, I find that I grow weary of this back-breaking labor, and need to relax some more. Happy Sunday, all.