The homestretch.

The holidays are bearing down on us like a tsunami, but all things considered? It could be worse. Today the phony-baloney Trump Foundation began its final death spiral, and that is good news:

The attorney general’s investigation turned up evidence that Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — all listed as officers of the charity — had never held a board meeting. The board hadn’t met since 1999. The charity’s official treasurer, Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, told investigators that he wasn’t aware that he was on the board.

I know it’s foolish to believe that one day we might see all the Trumps disgraced and in bracelets, but we can always hope. This made my day, anyway.

I’m not sure how much more I’ll be here this week. Just too much to get done between now and then. I don’t have much to offer today, other than this good wish for the weekend and the holiday to come: May you relax, and smile, and enjoy yourselves. Friday will be the longest night of the year, and then we start our six-month trip back into the sun’s good graces. That noted Capricorn, Jesus Christ, has his birthday party on Tuesday, and maybe we’ll be back by then. Or maybe not.

In the meantime, know that the Trump family will have a thoroughly miserable holiday. The needed to be careful what they wished for, because hey, they got it.

Posted at 8:40 pm in Current events |
 

85 responses to “The homestretch.”

  1. beb said on December 18, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Replying to Sherri from the end of the last thread….
    I didn’t think my proposal was simple since it amounted to treating agricultural irrigation as if it were a giant open air water production system with the kinds of built-in testing that involves. Among other things it would mean a 24 delay in releasing water to fields while the e. coli tests incubate. The other point is that migrant workers are at any farm for a week or two. They have no inherent, invested interest in the farm, how the crops were grown or what water was used. Only in whether they will have latrines and potable water for themselves, The only people with an inherent interest in the well-being of farm are the year-round staff, management and so on. The case is similar to working conditions on an assembly line. The line workers have little control of what they do except to quit. The ones who can make meaningful changes is management. And since management isn;t interesting in anything that increases costs (lie safety gear) then it is up to givernment to mandate those actions.

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  2. Sherri said on December 19, 2018 at 12:57 am

    We agree, beb, that government is required to regulate things. Where we differ is in what problem we’re attacking. What I’m saying is that testing the water doesn’t solve the problem of a safe food supply, because all th parts are interrelated. It’s important, it’s necessary, but the labor situation matters too, as do a number of factors.

    What Taber is pointing out is that *no one* has an inherent interest in the well-being of the farm, because agriculture is primarily about real estate. All our policy, all our subsidies, insurance, the benefit primarily flows to the landowners, not the farmers, not the management.

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  3. Deborah said on December 19, 2018 at 6:41 am

    We’re at St Pancras station killing time before boarding the Chunnel train to Paris. We’re kind of fumbling our way around, the signage is not great, we haven’t done anything stupid yet, hopefully we’ll get through it efficiently.

    We have noticed on this trip that many people from many different countries and cultures block passageways like sidewalks and corridors while they socialize and have discussions with each other. They seem oblivious to people trying to get around them. This happens in Chicago too, all of the time. I chalk it up to tourists or people unfamiliar with city life. Being empathetic to those around you is foreign to some people sometimes. It’s weird.

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  4. Deborah said on December 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

    The Chunnel train is pretty cool. We’re about 30 mins from Paris now. The whole trip from London is 2 hrs 20 mins. The tunnel under the channel takes about 20 mins to get through. They said the deepest part under the channel is 75 m down from the surface. Let’s see if this sends, the train has WiFi.

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  5. jcburns said on December 19, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Give my regards to the Gare du Nord. Remember me to Place Dauphine. Tell all the gang at the 5me arrondissement that I will soon be there. (Lyrics by George M. Cohan wearing a beret.)

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  6. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Hoo boy, just reading about the Chunnel triggers my claustrophobia, I will never be taking it no matter how much time it saves.

    Deborah, I think all those clusters of oblivious people are here in Fort Wayne at every single grocery store I go to.

    A little tidbit about the Trump Foundation I heard yesterday on the radio: the prosecutors are also seeking to have the entire family banned from ever serving on the board of directors for a non-profit. The interviewer asked, does that mean the President of the United States has been judged morally unfit to be on the board for a Little League? Yup.

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  7. Sherri said on December 19, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Ah, remember when the Clinton Foundation was being torched because the Secretary of State had met with people it would be perfectly reasonable for a SoS to meet with and somebody from the Foundation had asked for favors that hadn’t been granted from the SoS? That was all deemed scandalous enough to warrant shutting down a foundation actually doing things if Hillary became President, because, well, Clinton Rules.

    You’re damn right I’m bitter.

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  8. JodiP said on December 19, 2018 at 11:32 am

    I love reading all the travel updates, Deborah.

    It’s fun to read books about places you’ve been. May I recommend David Lebovitz’s L’appart, about his purchase and subsequent nightmare reno of a Paris apartment. Strangely, I’d never heard of him prior to reading about him on a cooking newsletter I get. He’s a former chef at Chez Panisse who has authored numerous cookbooks, writes for the NYT, etc. Anyway, the book is a page-turner; I kept cringing about how much worse things could get. Also: recipes! And collquial French phrases. It hit all my happy spots.

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  9. Deborah said on December 19, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    We arrived in Paris at Gare du Nord, we were going to take the metro to our hotel but my husband went to find a restroom and I immediately had an encounter with some Roma people (used to be called Gypsies) they were very aggressive about wanting me to give them some money, it wasn’t scary just annoying. Then when my husband got back we decided to take a cab and not have to deal with the underground with our luggage etc.

    Our hotel is on the Boulevard San Michel just down from the Luxembourg gardens. Our room is tiny but we’re experts at tiny, with our cabin in Abiquiu and our place in Chicago. We had it whipped into shape in no time.

    We’re going to take a walk up to Notre Dame and then my friend that I worked with in Chicago who lives in Paris now is meeting us for dinner at a place of his choice which I’m anxious to go to.

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  10. Jakash said on December 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Neil Steinberg, with an interesting perspective on “white culture.”

    “If only people put half the effort into enjoying their own culture as they do lashing out at those from other cultures. But we don’t live in that world.”

    With this zinger added for good measure: “Every time I hear that chant from Charlottesville, ‘Jews will not replace us,’ I can’t help mutter, ‘Yeah, like we want to live in your mother’s basement and work at the Dollar Store.'”

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/steinberg-music-baroque-christmas-concert-trump-obama-presidency-racism-mueller-russia-probe/

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  11. Suzanne said on December 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Oh, Jakash, that white culture that the Trumpers cling to but know nothing about! Most Trumpers that I know wouldn’t think of attending a Bach concert, visiting an art gallery, or reading any of the classics of Western Lit. I love telling them that a number of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were not born in America (8 to be exact). Throws them every time.
    It reminds me of the author of Hillbilly Elegy discussing his people railing against the war on Christianity even though most of them never darkened the doors of a Christian church.

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  12. ROGirl said on December 19, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    David Lebovitz has had a website for a long time with recipes and content about his Paris life and adventures. It’s a not-annoying cooking blog/website.

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  13. Deborah said on December 19, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    I had to pop in to make a correction: above I said the Boulevard San Michel, of course I should have said Saint Michel. You pronounce it like San though.

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  14. David C. said on December 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Yurp has Eurostar, the US has this. WASF.

    https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/visionary-brain-genius-elon-musk-has-invented-the-world-1831210269

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  15. Jakash said on December 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks to the comments following the delightful piece that David C. posted, I discovered this handy Elon-dissing meme:

    https://goo.gl/images/pXQUEs

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  16. JodiP said on December 20, 2018 at 9:51 am

    If Amtrak weren’t already in enough trouble: parts of the northeast corridor are likely going to be under water by 2050.

    David C., that Tesla tunnel sounds NUTS.

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  17. Mark P said on December 20, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Elon Musk’s tesla tunnel was such an absurd idea from its inception that it’s hard to fathom why he did it. If he’s anywhere near as smart as everyone seems to thing, himself included, it makes no sense unless he has an ulterior motive. Maybe he knows of a buried treasure big enough to back up his car company.

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  18. Deborah said on December 20, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    We walked 6.9 miles so far today in Paris, all over the place. Last night we met my friend who lives here, for dinner at a little cafe near our hotel, I had blood sausage and potatoes which sounds gross but was divine (I really like blood sausage). This morning we went to Cafe de Flore and had fried eggs and ham with coffee creme. Then we walked our patooties off. Bought some bread, wine and cheese, each at a cute little shop which is our dinner in our hotel room now. Then we go to a viola and cello Bach concert at a cathedral nearby, so we’ll walk 2 more miles before we’re done tonight. This place is heaven on earth.

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  19. beb said on December 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Musk got the idea for his Boring Company one day while stuck in traffic while commuting to work. Basically he wanted a private route to work. As near as I can tell he just bought a used boring machine, has not made improvement to it and has been signing deals for them toy-size subways.

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  20. Sherri said on December 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Musk is a product of our too low tax system. He has way too much money and nobody to tell him no.

    PayPal making Elon Musk and Peter Thiel insanely rich did much harm to our world.

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  21. Dexter Friend said on December 20, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    A coffin-like MRI set off a deep claustrophobia in me, back in 1989, that lasted many years and made flying a white-knuckle heart-racing horrorshow for me. I tried tapping, controlled breathing exercises, projecting, therapy…nothing got to the root of it all. And then I began watching YouTubes. Video of driving through tunnels, videos of flying in all sorts of aircraft, videos of being confined in dentist’s chairs, MRIs and different scanning machines. Everyone in the videos did OK, no panic, no complaints. Somehow these videos cured my claustrophobia. Amazing. Or, maybe I just aged out of the fear, I do not know. Today I can board an airplane and not panic in the jetway bridge at all, and I enjoy the scenery from 37,000 feet.

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  22. alex said on December 20, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Deborah, I despair that I may never have the blood sausage again that I crave. It’s Hungarian and had rice in it. My parents used to get it as part of a barter with a guy who went to my dad to get his taxes and legal work done. It was so good I would request it as a last meal if I were about to face the electric chair.

    My vacation starts right now. Five days off work to vegetate and feast sumptuously and recalibrate mentally. Oh, what I’d do for some of that Hungarian blood sausage.

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  23. Peter said on December 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

    What really gets me about Muskie boy is that he has suckered the City of Chicago into building one of them tunnels for a direct line from O’Hare to downtown, although there already is a rail line from O’Hare to downtown that partially runs in a tunnel….although given what’s happened this week in DC maybe it’s a good idea to have another tunnel to hide in when the big one drops.

    And with that cheery message I hope you all have a happy holiday!!

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  24. Suzanne said on December 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

    It appears we have no functioning government right now. Have a Merry Christmas

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  25. basset said on December 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Had some “German bologna” made from one of my deer this season, more like salami or summer sausage than bologna but still good. In the field right now trying for another, weather makes it a low percentage day but it’s good just to be out.

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  26. annie said on December 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    my grandmother used to tell us how on their farm, her brother held down the squealing pig, her father slit its throat, and she and her sister held bowls under its neck to get the warm blood for blood sausage. I guess people were less squeamish then.

    on a happier note: the ‘President Barack H. Obama Highway’ signs went up yesterday on a portion of the freeway near Pasadena, CA.

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  27. Deborah said on December 21, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    So today in Paris was a 6.7 mile day, I should probably list that in kilometers. Anyhoo, we had breakfast at Les Deux Magots, which is next to Cafe de Flore where we went yesterday, on Blvd St. Germain. Then we walked around some shopping streets. We found ourselves at the Rodin museum so decided to go in. Well ’ve been there before but it has been a while. After that we went over to the Eiffel Tower. Then we made a big mistake and decided to walk to the big department store, Bon Marche. Boy howdy that was crowded, stupid thing to do on the Friday afternoon before Christmas. We hoofed it back to our hotel with the goodies we bought on the lower level of Bon Marche which is the food hall. That will be our dinner tonight, no more outings tonight.

    My cold lingers and has turned into a hacking cough, sleeping is hard. I haven’t found any European cold/cough over the counter medicine that does any good. Tea and honey are about the only thing that soothes.

    We called off visiting my friend’s house tomorrow, they have two kids and I’d hate to pass my malady along to any of them.

    The weather in Paris has been damp and cold but nothing like Chicago. It actually got up to 57 today.

    I’ll tell you about our concert last night but this comment is way too long already. Another time.

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  28. Icarus said on December 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    It appears we have no functioning government right now.

    that has been the case since January 20, 2017

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  29. LAMary said on December 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Alex, if you ever get to NYC there is a Hungarian Butcher or two over in Yorkville. I’m sure they’ve got several sorts of blood sausage you’d like. They all make their own.

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  30. LAMary said on December 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    https://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/07/arts/on-the-upper-east-side-memories-fueled-by-strudel.html

    Hmmm, I hope some Hungarian butcher shops are still there. It was a great neighborhood. My favorite day of sales calls was my Yorkville run. German bakeries, Paprikas Weiss and Schaller and Weber all within a few blocks of each other.

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  31. David C. said on December 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    I wish the signs would have said Barack HUSSEIN Obama Highway. Just to annoy the Republicans who are left in CA.

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  32. Colleen said on December 21, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Alex, I know you can get Hurka in Cleveland. We used to have it at Christmas when the family got together. Now we are too spread out to gather. There was some at the Sarasota Hungarian festival I went to this fall, but I chose the kolbasz. My husband, who fears most ethnic food, enjoyed his langos. To him it was an elephant ear….

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  33. Deborah said on December 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Alex, the last time I ever had blood sausage (besides the other night here in Paris) was at the Breslin restaurant in Chelsea, NYC, connected to the Ace Hotel, about 5 years ago. It’s not impossible to find on a menu, but rare.

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  34. Dexter Friend said on December 22, 2018 at 3:41 am

    LA-M mentioned Yorkville. Also known as Germantown, yeah, you can get a sausage there for sure. It caught my eye as my friend of 48 years, Greg in Connecticut, told me his father was born and reared there in the mid 1910s. I grabbed this from Google, “6sqrft.com” : 86th Street, still the main artery of the Upper East Side today, was the heart of Germantown in Yorkville. It was home to many Vereines, the word for social clubs and singing societies. In fact, the thoroughfare was often called Sauerkraut Boulevard, the German Broadway, or the German Boulevard…” Sauerkraut Boulevard…not as catchy as “Electric Avenue”, but possibilities? Right.~Also, last night I finished House of Cards, Netflix, final season. My gawd, what a bore. I kept falling asleep so I made strong coffee and then could not sleep after the last episode. I was up all night . Finally I dozed off at 7:30 AM. Hey, I realize that shit ain’t right.

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  35. basset said on December 22, 2018 at 6:03 am

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/carve-the-turnip-tiny-tim-needs-his-vegan-lunch-jw7x7kjqp

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  36. Dorothy said on December 22, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Alex there is an establishment I follow on Instagram called The Butcher and Grocer. They’re in Columbus, which is much closer than NYC. It might be worth contacting them to see if they carry blood sausage. Their photos of their sausages are mouth watering. Or what about Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati? Have you ever asked them if they make it?

    We had a stellar trip to New York. We managed to navigate pretty well and only got a little turned around twice. It rained miserably the day we went to ground zero but that only enriched the sad experience. We saw three Broadway shows and each was outstanding. Can’t wait to plan the next trip!

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  37. Suzanne said on December 22, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Oooh, Dorothy, what shows did you see? Do tell!

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  38. Suzanne said on December 22, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Too bad you missed this, Dorothy!
    https://twitter.com/nina_willner/status/1075851444459356161?s=21

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  39. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

    We want the dates, Dorothy.

    Orlando has been cold, gray, and stormy so far and my mom has not been a happy camper. Comparisons to temps at home have not adjusted her attitude. This morning the sun is shining brightly, so here’s hoping for smoother sailing ahead. The rest of us are just super happy to be together.

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  40. Julie Robinson said on December 22, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Uh, that’s deets not dates. Darn autocorrect.

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  41. Deborah said on December 22, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I’m currently sitting at the bar of the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by Frank Gerhy, recently built at the Bois de Boulogne, it’s a pretty spectacular building for contemporary architecture in Paris. My husband is wandering around looking at everything, I needed to sit. Today is about architecture, we went to a library this morning across from the Pantheon, bibliotheque Saint-Genevieve. I had never heard of it before but my husband knew everything about it. We will walk back to our hotel (about 4 1/2 miles, we took a cab here) on the way we’ll get food for our dinner.

    As far as protests go, we have seen nothing today, although the taxi passed the Arc de Triomphe which was cordoned off and it appeared that the Champs Elysees was closed to traffic.

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  42. alex said on December 22, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions on blood sausage. Colleen knows it well. Hurka is what it’s called, and I’ll have to check out the Hungarian food emporia in Cleveland. We usually order Hungarian foods from Bende in Chicago, but they don’t have hurka.

    For a small family gathering on Christmas Day, I’ve been drafted to do the cooking, so I’m preparing the NYT roasted chicken provencal that Nancy posted here a couple of years ago, having honed it to perfection. My dad was particularly impressed with it one time and said it reminded him of the kind of European cooking he grew up with. This was the version with vermouth, lemon, garlic and shallots. And it’s easy and allows for prepping the salad and sides while it’s doing its own thing.

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  43. Heather said on December 22, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I’m living for Deborah’s Paris updates!

    I’m actually going to be alone on Christmas for the first time and kind of looking forward to it. We had a “pre-Christmas” celebration with various cousins and aunts last Sunday, and then there was going to be a smaller group on actual Christmas, but there was some miscommunication and it’s not happening. Last year I remember two family celebrations in 10 days being a bit much, so I was actually relieved. I’m looking forward to cooking myself some fabulous meals, going on some walks in the forest preserve, and doing some reading.

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  44. Deborah said on December 22, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    9.334 kilometers walked in Paris today (5.8 miles). It rained a bit today so we took some taxis.

    Tomorrow is our last full day here and it’s supposed to rain a lot. The big plan is the Musee D’Orsay. Monday, Christmas Eve, we leave Paris on the Chunnel train back to London then a cab to Heathrow for our flight back to Chicago. It’s been fun but I will be happy to sleep in my own bed in Chicago. We’re probably going to sleep most of Christmas Day. We leave for NM on the 28th where we’ll be until Jan 15. Whew.

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  45. Dorothy said on December 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Lol Suzanne’s twitter link. We took the subway up to Central Park on Friday and as we turned in all directions, I was a little stunned to see we were across the street from the trump hotel. The police hustled us along pretty quickly while I was snapping a picture, which I only snapped for future denigration in whatever manner I could dream up.

    On Friday evening we saw Come From Away. Google it if you don’t know the plot, please. It moved along at a wonderful pace and it was delightful and heartwarming and we loved it. Saturday evening we wanted to see a jazz show downtown but we waited too long to buy tickets and there would be standing room only. Two 61 year olds who’d been hoofing it all over NYC can’t stand for long at 8 pm.

    So – darling hubby bought tix to The Lifespan of a Fact with Cherry Jones, Bobby Cannavale and Daniel Radcliffe. It was smart and funny and very entertaining. I know our daughter the copy editor would love it so I have told her to be sure to see it if she gets a chance. Anyone who loves words would love it.

    Sunday’s matinee was the best. ‘The Ferryman’. Set in 1980 or so in a big Irish farmhouse. The IRA features prominently. Mostly serious and sometimes funny and a large, talented cast with several kids in it. Plus the bonus of a real baby which brought gasps of delight from the audience. We were in the third row which was a little too close but it was mesmerizing. Don’t miss it if you get a chance to see it.

    The only celebrity I spied was the lead male actor from The Ferryman, but that was outside the theater an hour before the play started so maybe that doesn’t count?? I knew who he was – had seen him in the movie Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe.

    Someday I might tell you all the story of the jerk who was on our flight from Dayton to LaGuardia on Thursday. A bigger asshole there might not have been in all of Dayton that day. We got to listen to him yammering starting at 1:00 when we got to our gate. Then the plane was delayed for two hours. I’ll leave you with one tidbit: he sat two rows behind us on the plane and twice (!) we heard him telling his seat mate how suppositories work!

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  46. Deborah said on December 22, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Dorothy, from thousands of miles away your last bit had me laughing out loud.

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  47. Deborah said on December 22, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Just a thought as I get ready to turn in for the night: the two countries I’ve been in, the U.K. and France are having their issues too. The UK of course with Theresa May and Brexit and France with Macron and the yellow vests. Last year in London we got some ribbing about Trump, this year we saw protests outside of the Houses of Parliament about stopping Brexit. We didn’t see protests in Paris but we read that today 2,000 protestors were here. The world is in turmoil and that’s troubling to say the least. It’s hard to imagine that there are soooo many people who see things so differently than I do, yet I still believe people who see things as I do are the majority. That’s why democracy is in peril. People who disagree want to hold on to power no matter what the cost. IMHO.

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  48. Suzanne said on December 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    “The nations that have the freest markets also generally have the most generous welfare states. The two are not in opposition. In the real world they go together.”
    David Brooks just now discovering how the world works: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/opinion/centrism-moderate-capitalism-welfare.html

    I am, honestly, speechless. Did he just wake up from a coma?

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  49. Deborah said on December 23, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Suzanne, read the Brooks link and his link to the org of disgruntled former libertarians named after the Reagan economics guy. Weird that lots of us have been saying that for a long time, different words maybe and not exactly point for point. They can’t let themselves accept it until it comes from their own tribe. They brought a lot of the chaos on and now they want absolution.

    We’re at the Musee D’Orsay, I keep having coughing fits, having to find places to sit as quietly as possible until it passes. Miserable rainy day outside.

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  50. David C. said on December 23, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Not to worry, Suzanne. As soon as the Democrats control the government Brooks will forget he ever wrote that. If you put the column right under his nose he’ll claim he never wrote that or at most that we didn’t see the bigger idea behind what he wrote. So we’ll get the reduced economic regulation they really want and dust off the St. Ronnie’s stupid line that the best welfare program is a job. All that stuff about Sweden, Denmark, and Canada were just examples and we’ll re-imagine it in a uniquely American way. It’ll come down to this always and forever.

    https://pics.me.me/eaker-gov-more-money-for-us-fuck-you-15994817.png

    Driftglass says it better.

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2018/12/david-brooks-discovers-center-again.html

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  51. David C. said on December 23, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Suzanne, DFB will forget he ever wrote that column as soon as the Democrats get control of the government. Driftglass says it better than I ever could.

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2018/12/david-brooks-discovers-center-again.html

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  52. Deborah said on December 23, 2018 at 11:47 am

    We are back at the hotel packing. We made one last tourist stop, Saint Chapelle which would have been much more spectacular if it had been a sunny day outside. It’s lined with soaring stained glass windows, lots of them, built for Louis the 13th. In the same complex of the Palace of Justice we could have also visited the prison where Marie Antoinette was held, we decided to pass on that.

    Tomorrow morning begins a grueling travel day. Ugh.

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  53. susan said on December 23, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Deborah, that’s why it’s called travail, er, travel. Same.

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  54. beb said on December 23, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    This Vox articles says we could save thousands of lives if we just raised the tax on alcohol.
    https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/12/13/18130843/alcohol-taxes
    Reading this reminds me of all the discussion about taxing cigarettes out of existence. The current price for a pack of cigarettes is really high. I don’t know how high because I never had an interest in smoking so it’s something I only vaguely know. Google says $8/pack. For a 2 pack a day smoker that’s nearly $6000 a year but has such steep prices curbed smoking? Not nearly much as you would think. Raising the tax on alcohol isn’t going to curb drinking nearly as much as the policy institutes mentioned in the article seem to think. The truth is that people smoke, drink, do drugs to self-medicate. Life for them is a horrible existence and getting high is their way of coping. Raising taxes on alcohol, tobacco and drugs to increase the general revenue but don’t imagine that causing pain primarily to the poor is going to save lives.

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  55. Sherri said on December 24, 2018 at 1:57 am

    This weekend I watched Panic, the HBO documentary about the financial crisis. I didn’t really learn much I didn’t already know, but a few things were striking. One was how incredibly annoyed and disgusted everybody was at McCain’s stunt of suspending his campaign to come back to DC to solve the crisis. The other is how Bush, Paulson, Bernanke, et al seem unhappy that no one gives them any credit for having prevented another Great Depression, while they also seem to take no responsibility for having contributed in anyway to the conditions that brought us to the panic.

    Look, I think that bailing out Wall Street was a terrible and necessary thing to do, but I also think the Bush administration economic policies were irresponsible and wrong-headed. In the interviews in the documentary, Bush does not come across as someone with a strong grasp of what happened.

    Anyway, an interesting look back from 10 years later.

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  56. Deborah said on December 24, 2018 at 6:03 am

    We’re in the Chunnel this very minute, have been on the train over an hour. I was looking out the window at the lovely French countryside but nothing to see now so I’m taking advantage of the WiFi. For this return trip we got a better class of seats for not very much more money. We knew it would be a grueling travel day and we’d need a respite.

    If any of you take the Chunnel train from Paris to London allow plenty of time to make sure you know where you’re going, at Gare Du Nord in the dark early morning the signage is dim, hard to see and since the helpers speak French it’s harder to get the info. They directed us to the wrong line to stand in assuming we were European and we ended up having to get at the end of a long correct line for nonEuropeans. We made it in plenty of time but I always stress out. It’s somewhat easier going from London to Paris, but it obviously pays to be vigilant.

    Most all of the places we went to in Paris they spoke English, as soon as my husband would try to speak French. They were very gracious about speaking English but it didn’t used to be that way. I remember when the waiters would only speak French and there’d get very huffy about anybody being confused about the money. Times have changed.

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  57. Julie Robinson said on December 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Dorothy I know those were all fabulous shows, and I hope to take a similar trip sometime next year. Deborah, I also hope to take a similar trip but it’s a little further out.

    It’s the calm before the storm here in Orlando; one of the biggest days in a pastor’s life. As usual, Sarah has roped us all into singing and playing for tonight’s service, so I’ll be off to rehearsal in a bit. Had to learn a new song that is a little more contemporary than I’m accustomed to, but thankfully I also get to sing an old favorite, What Child is This.

    Blessings for whatever you celebrate!

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 25, 2018 at 12:39 am

    Blessings of the season to one and all. We served a few hundred hungry, worked to comfort the mourning, and delighted some children, plus got wax all over the sanctuary furniture, as God intended. Opened with a “recreation” of the Apollo 8 broadcast 50 years ago from lunar orbit, and closed with a guitar and young woman singing “Stille Nacht” auf Deutsch, in honor of 200 years ago this night in Oberndorf. Mentioned a baby a few times, too. May your December 25th be a rest and a renewal wherever you are, whomever you’re celebrating it with.

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  59. Deborah said on December 25, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Merry Christmas from Chicago where my body thinks it’s afternoon but it’s really early in the morning here. Our big celebration today will be doing laundry and trying to scrounge up some groceries from someplace that might be open on Christmas. It’s good to be home for a few days then off to New Mexico.

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  60. Suzanne said on December 25, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Merry Christmas to you all out there!

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  61. Deborah said on December 25, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    This is heartbreaking, an 8 year old Guatemalan boy dies in US custody on Christmas Day. Probably alone with no family around to comfort him. So so so sad.

    Meanwhile clueless Trump asks a 7 year old if he still believes in Santa Clause cause at that age Trump says belief is marginal. Can you believe he actually said that to a kid? What a complete and total ignorant asshole. This just gets worse every single day.

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  62. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I read this morning that the boy’s (don’t know his name) father was with him when he died while being transported back to the hospital,

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  63. JodiP said on December 26, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I have been thinking so much about the children in the camps, and feel utterly powerless to do anything about it in the near term. Long-term vote the asshats out of office. It makes me wonder what people of conscience did re: the Japanese internment camps and of course the concentration camps in Germany. Yes, join the underground resistence during the war, but before then, as reports were leaking out? Ideas welcome!

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  64. Suzanne said on December 26, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I managed to get through the holidays without incident, although in my family, I was the lone voice who thought “Baby It’s Cold Outside” IS a creepy song. But I let it go after the usual chorus of “You just can’t say anything anymore without someone being offended.” Gah. Some things are offensive and shouldn’t be said.

    This border mess is making me madder and madder. It’s such a symptom of an old white man being in charge. If we took 10% of the money Trump wants for the wall and put it into cyber security, we’d all be safer, but no. Trumpy wouldn’t understand that. He’s to focused on the scary brown people.

    Also, if I see one more photo of a family in matching pajamas on social media I will have to dip into the Christmas bourbon even though it’s morning.

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  65. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Maybe you all already knew this stuff but it was news to me https://mobile.twitter.com/MarkthePieGuy/status/1077039726274572289
    I’m typing this on my iPod so not all of the advice in the original tweet and in the comments works but it does on my iPhone. Wow, helpful to know.

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  66. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I meant iPad.

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  67. Sherri said on December 26, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Just before Thanksgiving I learned about the holding the space bar to move the cursor around on iOS, Deborah, and it’s amazing! My friends at Thanksgiving, most of whom are techies and own iPhones, didn’t know either and were delighted when I showed them.

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  68. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    OMG Trump and Melania went to Iraq.

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  69. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 4:28 pm

    Sherri, can you explain the space bar thing? I don’t know how to make it work.

    Josh Marshal linked to this article through the TPM site https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/21/how-russian-money-helped-save-trumps-business/
    Follow the money. Wow.

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  70. alex said on December 26, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Holding down the ampersand on my iPhone doesn’t give me a sec symbol.

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  71. Sherri said on December 26, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Deborah, just press and hold the space bar, and then while holding, you can drag the cursor anywhere in the text space. When you release the space bar, the cursor will be where you are when you release it. That makes editing so much easier, when you notice a typo, rather than trying to use your finger to out the cursor in the right place.

    Alex, when I press and hold the & key, a key pops up above it with the § key.

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  72. susan said on December 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    I’m curious: For what do you use the “§”? I’ve never, ever had the need for it. And what is it called?

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  73. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Susan, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about legislation and the constitution and that’s where I’ve been seeing the § symbol for the word “section” as it describes the exact or particular law or description of a law. I will try to find a more accurate way to answer your question.

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  74. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Susan, this explains it https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_sign

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  75. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Cool Sherri, I got it to work. You get a kind of bubble when you do it that magnifies the text within it and shows you where you are moving the cursor. Now I won’t have to waste time back spacing or using my inelegant fingers to try to click on where I want to insert something or correct something. Now if only I can remember how to do this when I need it.

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  76. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Alex, it took me a few tries before I could get any of these to work. My favorite one now is the symbol for degrees. You hold your finger down on the 0 and there it is. You have to click on the little window to get it to type. It’s 43° in Chicago right now. Yay!

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  77. Dexter Friend said on December 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I just saw a headline, Trump’s doctor’s daughter said the bone spur thing that got Trump a 4-F for military service was nothing but a little payback-favor. That’s one thing I don’t hold against Trump, as the game was to pull out any goddam stunt you could think of to avoid the Vietnam meat grinder. However, as Commander in Chief of the USA military, it makes him look like a damn fool and a phony and a liar. Again with the liar…Christ, a broken record, eh? I am sick of that bastard. So, what happened was those of us who did not have any safety net nor powerful control of the local draft board , yeah, we working class kids and some patriots like Al Gore and John Kerry went to Vietnam. It gives me the creeps that Trump is Commander in Chief though.

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  78. Deborah said on December 26, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    And my God the symbol for cents is so easy, all you do is hold down on the $ sign and there it is ¢.

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  79. Suzanne said on December 26, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Wow! I never knew all this stuff about my iPad keyboard! The cent sign! Who knew? And now I can type that it’s 36°!

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  80. alex said on December 26, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Susan, when I worked in proofreading it was known as the sec symbol (plenty of juvenile tittering over that one to be sure). It kinda reminds me of the spooky coda symbol in music. It looks like the National Weather Service symbol for a hurricane, and kinda reminds me of a song I had to learn in falsetto boy choir in military school (“Now the tempest still is high § sings the paschal lamb today. We all sing glory ha-le-la-le-la-le-luuuuu-yaaaah!)

    That was some sick and twisted shit back in those days. Me and my choir sister gulls would be walking back to the barracks after exercising our vocal chords and we’d be doing the Stylistics and Earth, Wind & Fire and rattling the fucking windows and the butch boy officers would come out and write us up for disturbing the peace. Despite the demerits it was so fucking worth it. The Howe Military School boys choir of 1978 could have landed a Motown contract if we’d have set our minds to it (or had any power over our lives at that moment in time).

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  81. susan said on December 26, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Ah, right, I have seen that in State regulations pages. But I’ve never had occasion to use it, not being a legal sort. And never paid attention to it enough to think about it.

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  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    Noted on Twitter: Trump leaves the country secretly, and the stock market rallies 1,000 points. Can you imagine what might happen if we changed the locks?

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  83. basset said on December 27, 2018 at 7:32 am

    The idea that some foods might be “over” and others might “get a shot” is just foreign to me…

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/dining/food-trends-predictions-2019.html?emc=edit_ck_20181226&nl=cooking&nlid=7332978920181226&te=1

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  84. Deborah said on December 27, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Everybody must be busy with family and guests or else exhausted after the holidays. The last couple of days for us in Chicago have been relaxing and conducive to jet lag recovery. It’s been rainy here, not so cold. Tomorrow morning we head out to NM where it’s been snowy and the nights will be in the single digits. We stay one night in Santa Fe with LB tomorrow night where we celebrate Christmas and her birthday, which is actually Jan 2nd. Then on Saturday, the 29th we head out for Abiquiu, then back and forth until Jan 15th. LB is spending her actual birthday with her good friends, which she loves to do. It’s 49° in Chicago now (looking for every opportunity to use the degree symbol now that I know how to do it so easily).

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  85. LAMary said on December 27, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    I’m not busy with family. I’m stuck working. There’s always time to snark Melania, though. She has the right costume for whatever situation. Bomber jacket and Army green pants at Ramstein, military jacket and Timberland boots in Iraq. I would like to know if the Ramstein bomber jacket was the same one she wore to rescue people in Texas after hurricane Maria.

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