Blustery day, eh?

I can feel the wind coming in gusts that seem to have lost at least some of their earlier fury, but we’re by no means done with this bluster yet. And with a computer that no longer has a functional battery, it seems I better get moving on this thing unless I want to be

::zzt. blink::

Kidding. We’re now at 20K without power in southeast Michigan, and we could easily be the next. Alan already pushed a limb off a line in the back yard, and the big oak back there had a bad year. For now? Soldier on!

I’m looking forward to the week, the last of the month and — I devoutly hope — a fairly quiet one. I spent much of last week house/dogsitting for vacationing friends, and I’m happy to be back in my own bed, where there are only three pillows — one for the two heads that lay there, and one for me to hug, because I’m a pillow-hugger and have been for years.

By contrast, the bed in my friend’s house — king-sized, excellent firm mattress and otherwise a very nice place to sleep — has 10 pillows. Ten! I counted them. There’s a base layer of three, three more on top of that, another three, and then a smaller decorative one that sits in front of the whole crew, like a drum major.

“I’m the pillow queen,” my friend said when I mentioned this. We were in the company of other affluent women of the same demographic, and I learned that over-pillowing is definitely a Thing among them. I knew it was with hotels; whenever we stay in one, Alan bats them away like a peevish bear, growling too many fuckin’ pillows. I select my hugger from the pile on the floor, and we go to bed.

I wonder if over-pillowing is a way to build a bulwark against your spouse, even in a loving relationship. Even in a big bed, some people will always claim your part of it, but it’s way harder to do when there’s a dyke of pillows keeping you in your lane, so to speak.

I really don’t know. But three suits our queen-size just fine.

And with that, I need to go start a pot of chili. Back in a minute.

I’m back! Yes, that was fast. I’ve found that chili goes better in our house if I handle the initial meat-browning, onion-chopping, can-opening assembly chores, etc., and then leave the seasoning to Alan, who, like many men, has complicated opinions on various chili seasonings that I do not share.

So, anyway. Been thinking about the Robert Kraft case this weekend, and what I said earlier about trafficking stories. If the facts the police have presented so far hold up, this is about as clear-cut a case as you could find — young women from another country compelled to sexually service an endless line of men. I was struck by the detail that did them in: A health inspector noted suitcases and bedding, an unusual amount of food for a workplace that its employees would leave behind at the end of the day.

It so happens that was one thing that a trafficking expert — a real trafficking expert, not the self-elevated ones you hear so much from these days — said should be a tipoff when I wrote about this subject a while back. She mentioned it in the context of nail salons, not storefront rub parlors, but one thing you learn when you start investigating human trafficking is this: For many people, even advocates, all they want to talk about is sex trafficking, mainly because that’s what the media, especially the electronic media, talks about. But labor trafficking is very real, too. It’s much harder to illustrate during a sweeps-month “investigation.” You can’t use shadowy silhouettes of a young woman leaning into a car, or perhaps weeping into her hands while rolls of money pile up on the bed behind her.

That’s one reason I regard so much of this issue with suspicion. So little data, so much tape over mouths. Cheesy titillation rubs me the wrong way.

Human trafficking has only been part of UCR data — that’s Uniform Crime Reporting, for your civilians — since 2013. We are still groping in the dark toward a fuller understanding of it.

As for why a billionaire would patronize a storefront rub parlor in Florida, when he could presumably order up a Miss America runner-up in a thong to come directly to his hotel suite? You’d have to ask him. But it’s been my experience that the richer a man is, the more likely he is to be cheap in truly cringeworthy ways:

In the case of the Orchids of Asia parlor in Jupiter, where services were listed for $59 for half an hour or $79 for an hour, an arrest affidavit for the women managing the spa detailed a similar investigative approach. Police watched men going into the spa for 30 to 45 minutes at a time.

OK, a little bloggage:

My friends had a copy of Michelle Obama’s book, “Becoming,” in the house, and I read a little of it. It was pretty great and amazingly well-written. No ghost is credited, and Obama does acknowledge collaborators, so I can’t say how much of it is her own prose style. But it’s a much more pleasant read than I expected. Neil Steinberg agrees:

“Becoming” is perfect for our perilous national moment, reminding us of when our country had a thoughtful, decent man as president. Donald Trump emerges like a monster in a horror movie, glimpsed first in flashes far off, then rearing up behind us. Obama casts him as the latest in a line of bullies she’s battled.

“Bullies were scared people hiding inside scary people,” she writes.

Have you ever heard it put so well?

Speaking of reading books, this was a sobering read. I think I’m going to take a certain amount of it to heart. I still love Twitter, like/loathe aspects of Facebook and enjoy being up on things, but I really need to get a handle on my book reading again. It starts with breaking up with one’s phone, or at least renegotiating the terms of the relationship.

We’re having wind downstate, but upstate — as in, northern Michigan and the UP — they’re having a goddamn blizzard. The photos piling up in my social media feeds are one reason I can’t quite quit Twitter just yet.

Have a good week, all.

Posted at 5:29 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

86 responses to “Blustery day, eh?”

  1. Ann said on February 24, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Sitting here in the U.P. blizzard, also waiting for the power to go off. We’re really screwed if it does since everything–furnace, water, stove–relies on it and we don’t even have a working fireplace. I was thinking it was warm enough that at least our pipes probably wouldn’t freeze but then I checked and it’s supposed to go down to 0 tonight. But so far our power company only reports about 900 outages. Crossing my fingers since there’s not much else I can do. I did roast a hunk of beef earlier, so we won’t starve.

    Hotel housekeepers hate the pillow explosion–more work to to do in the same amount of time. And they’re not happy about the “green initiatives” where you don’t get your linens changed on a two day stay either because that’s really designed for the hotels to reduce housekeeping staff. Tip generously, that’s my only recommendation.

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  2. David C. said on February 24, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Mary has six pillows on our queen-size bed. I could do with three fewer. Mary sleeps with a pillow between her knees. The extras usually end up piled on the clock so I have to dig to find the time.

    The Rs don’t even try to hide their contempt for democracy anymore.

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  3. Suzanne said on February 24, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Cronyn is already trying to walk that one back, you know, “I am just trying to warn against an overly powerful central government.” type of thing. Sure, sure.

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  4. beb said on February 24, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I once heard that men pay woman, not for sex but to go away afterwards. That may well explain Kraft’s preference for massage parlor hookers. Then again, as Nancy says, the rich can be incredibly cheap.

    I suspect one reason labor trafficking isn’t more widely reporting is be everybody does it. Not necessarily keeping people locked at night but in stealing tips, failing to pay overtime or simply underpaying workers. If the government started going after labor trafficking they would end up nicking all the employers who hate hate HATE! paying workers.

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  5. basset said on February 24, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Four on our king-size… no idea what someone might do with ten.

    Wrote a few TripAdvisor comments today, I am now a master super commenter with gold and diamond trim or something. On the way back from our Florida vacation trip I was angry because so much of it went wrong, now I’m just sad. Been sorting out pictures, I usually do a restricted Flickr page for friends and family but this time I just can’t make myself start on it.

    You may have noticed news video of a hillside falling onto Interstate 24 outside Nashville… just got too wet and slumped right down onto the road, one side of it’s gonna be blocked for a week. That’s on the northwest side of the city and we’re on the southwest, river out back came out of its banks but stayed some distance downhill of the house.

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  6. Deborah said on February 24, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Watched the Oscars, didn’t miss a host. Loved the speech by the woman who won Best Actress, don’t know her name.

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  7. Sherri said on February 25, 2019 at 12:02 am

    Basset, that’s going to be pretty ugly, quite a few people commute from Clarksville to Nashville. I drive that section of 24 anytime I come out there to visit my folks.

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  8. Jakash said on February 25, 2019 at 1:39 am

    “…there’s a dyke of pillows keeping you in your lane” Hmmm… As Pope Francis said, “Who am I to judge?” Or is that spelling for your British readers’ benefit? ; )

    I truly despise the ridiculous amount of hotel pillows. Realizing that many of them spend most of their time on the floor doesn’t make them any more appealing, that’s for sure. Somehow, I soldier on using only one…

    Folks don’t seem too happy about “Green Book” winning Best Picture. Haven’t seen it, nor “Roma” or “The Favourite,” so I wouldn’t know.

    My favorite moment at the Oscars was Paul Rudd’s line, while presenting the award for the category, speaking of the magic of Visual Effects, calling it “The same kind of magic that allows audiences to believe that I am an actor.”

    Yeah, Deborah, the Best Actress speech by Olivia Colman was charming, indeed.

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  9. Dexter Friend said on February 25, 2019 at 4:21 am

    This blog entry has the enthusiasm of the best “Telling Tales” columns of olden days, kudos.
    I have hung around here all day waiting for the power to go out, but not a flicker.
    I enjoyed the crisp moving-along of The Oscars, watching straight through. When John Lewis came onstage and spoke a while in conjunction with the Greenbook theme, that old man got me again, a tear welled up. When I see him my brain goes into super overdrive as a montage of all the racial hatred that I saw on film , that occured in my lifetime flashed by. I was stunned when it got Best Picture and so happy.
    The massage parlor scandal is just another blow-up of the age-old story. One solution seems to have lost support, that being legal prostitution, like what goes on in Pahrump, Nevada. Oddly, a radio show host named Sterling on ultra-conservative WLW-AM 700 , Cincinnati brought this up for discussion 2 days ago. He claimed if sex-for-sale was legal, it would be clean, free of STDs. Right…how many tricks would a whore service in between these VD inspections? Clean. Uh-huh.
    And then a sad note: the hated Spartans men’s basketball team beat the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, pretty handily at the end. This is not good.
    And this Larry Charles 4-part show on Netflix about the dangerous world of comedy is a human interest story about how diverse groups find humour. It is quite mind-blowing and I warn you…it will give you nightmares…parts are shocking as you have never seen before.

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  10. ROGirl said on February 25, 2019 at 5:04 am

    I was half expecting the power to go out, the wind was roaring like a train for hours — luckily it stayed on. Last March my power went out for 3 days in an ice and wind storm.

    It seems like there used to be a lot more of those Asian “spas” in random strip malls. They have been forced out of certain communities, but you can still see them discreetly tucked into storefronts in odd places.

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  11. Connie said on February 25, 2019 at 8:50 am

    I keep wondering about the Asian spa next exit billboards on the freeway. Are those places for me or the truck drivers?

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  12. Peter said on February 25, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Connie at #11: They can be both!

    The best comment I saw regarding 45’s tweet about this upcoming July 4, where he says there will be a big fireworks show in Washington and a speech from “your favorite President, me”: “A speech from my favorite President? Obama’s going to give a speech? Sweeeeeet!”

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  13. beb said on February 25, 2019 at 10:11 am

    So Trump is going to ruin the 4th of July for everyone. I can only hope that everyone in the DC area decides to stay home.

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  14. JodiP said on February 25, 2019 at 10:16 am

    I am glad everyone’s power stayed on for now–that is a pain when it goes out.

    Our weekend was spent anticipating the arrival of a kitten we met in Puerto Rico. She arrived Saturday night! She wandered into the guesthouse the morning we were leaving, so there was no time to make arrangements. Our guesthouse owners went way above and beyond to find someone who could bring her to Minneapolis. She is (of course) absolutely adorable, playful, snuggling, everything. We will gradually introduce her to our dog (who is very eager to meet her) and our elderly cat (who may or may not be aware there is another cat in the house. If he is, he is showing zero interest.)

    Speaking of forced labor, Fresh Air had an interview with the author of a book about American Imperialism. I really recommend giving it a listen. The book is called How to Hide an Empire.

    Since all things can be brought back to the kitten, we found out about a wee part of how imperialism still plays out in PR: two weeks ago, different people were lined up to bring her, but Sun Country wouldn’t allow the cat to be brought on board because “Puerto Rico isn’t part of the United States.” This also affects their check-in process; you can’t check in online because “it’s part of the Caribbean.”

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  15. Kaye said on February 25, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Jodi-A new kitten, what fun! Was uncomfortable w explanation that PR isn’t part of the US. (realizing the info was conveyed to you) Learned Sun Country’s pet policy permits pets only within the 48 contiguous states. I feel better about that. In a similar vein a coworker says “New Mexico is the only part of Mexico you do not need a passport to visit” in all seriousness.

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  16. Dorothy said on February 25, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Ugh. I was going to say don’t get me started on excessive pillows but too late – I’m starting! It’s a concept that has always bugged me. Nothing says “please don’t sit down here” like a sofa with an array of pillows that completely blocks the seats. You get invited to someone’s house, they gesture for you to take a seat, and all you an do is try to get comfortable sitting on multiple lumps. Maybe that’s their way of saying “don’t stay long.” And on beds….what do you do with them when you’re sleeping? The only recourse it to toss them on the floor. Where there is dirt from your shoes, hair from the dog (and you), and just in general, a floor is not pillow-friendly. So now I’ve expressed my feelings about too many pillows.

    Olivia Colman did a great Golden Globes speech as well, and I find her absolutely delightful. I did not care for Green Book. I can’t put my finger on it, but it seemed like it struck false notes to me. It seemed predictable and cliche’ ridden. Roma was gorgeously photographed and sweetly sad but I didn’t see it as a Best Picture possibility. The Favourite was well acted but bizarre and also didn’t seem like a Best Picture to me. I saw five of the eight films nominated and I am glad I’m not a judge as I would be unable to pick just one movie.

    Re cell phone breakup. I think everyone should do some form of what that writer did, myself included. I do make a point never to have it in my hands when I’m walking, on the elevator, eating dinner, etc. And you can’t hold a phone while you’re knitting. But my reading does suffer due to my inability to stay focused on it without taking breaks to check my social media. Lately I’ve been leaving it in my purse when I come home and I’ve found I actually forget about it if it’s out of my sight. I like to keep my iPad handy in case our granddaughter wants to FaceTime. She doesn’t know how to initiate it, so her parents do. But give her a few months and I bet she figures it out.

    Our phones get charged in the kitchen – the only time I make exceptions was two years ago when our Olivia was due, and when Mike was in the hospital last September. For those occasions I charged the phone in the bathroom, not next to my side of the bed.

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  17. Deborah said on February 25, 2019 at 11:20 am

    On Thursday I leave for that part of Mexico where you don’t need a passport, lol. It is amazing how many people think NM is part of Mexico not the US. Maybe now that NM has a colorful governor, the state might be in the news more and people will figure it out, but I doubt it.

    Too many pillows is also a pet peeve of mine, although adding pillows is an easy way to get color in an environment without spending a lot of money on new furniture when your color tastes change. LB had a friend (the one who died recently) who when she spent the night at her Mom’s house had to consult a pillow map to get them placed just right on the bed in the morning when the bed was made. The place we stayed in London, a ritzy hotel had bunches and bunches of pillows on the bed. We found them handy to stuff on the drafty window sills because there was a cold snap while we were there and the lovely but old building wasn’t up to keeping it warm enough.

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  18. Jeff Borden said on February 25, 2019 at 11:46 am

    As my father used to say about penny-pinching wealthy people, “How do you think they got rich?” Even so, a multi-billionaire visiting a strip mall “rub ‘n’ tug” salon is a bit much. But if the stupidity of old Bob Kraft leads to a more muscular approach to human trafficking –whether for sex or labor or whatever– he’ll have done us a favor.

    If the administration of the Orange King has proven anything, it’s the rank hypocrisy of so many folks who wrap themselves in the mantle of public morality while ignoring their own. It’s bad enough the P.O.S. who is our Secretary of Labor played a large role in giving billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein a super light sentence. Now, Charlie Pierce is noting that among Epstein’s high-powered, high-cost legal team (including Alan Dershowitz) was panty-sniffing Ken Starr, the public scold who probed the Clinton-Lewinsky affair and made public all those salacious details. So, he went from pursuing the stained blue dress to defending a rich asshole who fucked girls as young as 13 and who passed them around to his equally rich asshole pals. (There are more than a few photos of Epstein posing with a smiling Orange King.) Here’s the link to the Pierce column:

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  19. Joe Kobiela said on February 25, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Giant fireworks display on the 4th? The use by date on those barges of fireworks Mrs Clinton was going to shoot off celebrating her victory must be about to expire.
    Pilot Joe

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  20. Julie Robinson said on February 25, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Only saw two best picture nominees, Black Panther, which I liked as much as I could like yet another comic book movie, and The Favourite, which I didn’t find charming, just weird and depressing. But my black cousins say that Green Book is yet another black story filtered through white eyes, so I will respect their opinions.

    Olivia Colman is well known in England for all the TV shows she’s been in, and hers was the showy kind of performance the Academy likes to reward. I like her but was disappointed for Glenn Close. Oh, she’s going to be QEII in the next season on The Crown, too.

    I battle with the phone too, and it is on my bedside table because of the need to be available for family emergencies. But I’ve resisted joining Twitter or Instagram; obviously that’s not an option for many professionally. This year, in the interests of self-care, I’m listening to less news and more audio books. I’m also keeping a list for the first time ever, and yesterday I completed #20. Two have been picture books (Shade by Pete Souza) but I spent many, many hours on them. And six have been shorter YA books, which is also part of my self-care. No dystopias this year.

    Edited to add: panty-sniffing Ken Starr–dying over here!

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  21. Dorothy said on February 25, 2019 at 11:54 am

    As I mentioned earlier, I’m behind with my reading. I still subscribe to TIME (this link is from an issue that is, I think, three weeks old) and read this article in the truck yesterday as we drove to have lunch in Yellow Springs. It horrified me and I can’t stop thinking about it. I wonder if any of the medical staff mentioned in the article recognize themselves?

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  22. Scout said on February 25, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Joe, I just cannot figure you out. You come here often pretending to want to be civil and friendly and then you post incendiary shit like post #19. Why?

    Olivia Colman is up there with Meryl Streep as an icon of her craft as far as I’m concerned. She is a breath of fresh air with an incredible range. I just love her.

    I was hoping for A Star Is Born to win Best Picture.

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  23. JodiP said on February 25, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Kaye @ 15, thanks for looking into the Sun Country thing a little more. Still mystifying.

    Scout, you gave Joe K. the present he was asking for: attention. It’s hard, but just roll your eyes and scroll on down!

    Does anyone else make this mistake? I often read pretty quickly because, uh, I’m at work. I can’t tell you how many times I start reading something I think is Jeff (TMMO) and I get surprised by what he’s writing, and then realize it’s Borden. I find this amusing, and Jeff B, love your contribution today! We all have such unique voices.

    I began to get worried about my phone usage, so when reading, I keep it in another room. I find myself wanting to look up related stuff. I was listening to Marcus Sammuelsson’s memoir, “Yes, Chef” and HAD to see what his wife looked like because of how he described her. Happily, I then just put the phone back down and went back to cooking, but it takes a conscious effort.

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  24. Sherri said on February 25, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Don’t forget Ken Starr’s stop at Baylor, the Baptist school where he helped cover up rapes. Nobody should ever forget that. The man should not be accepted in polite company, but there he was, a character witness for Brett Kavanaugh. What a surprise.

    I think someone coined a phrase for these people, though she took a lot of criticism for it: deplorable.

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  25. Scout said on February 25, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    JodiP, you’re absolutely right. I do know better. Onward to happier topics: Ami’s adoption story gave me the major feels. I am a sucker for happy endings like hers. One of our new Netflix favorites is Kitten Rescuers. The compassion of the humans involved on that show is simply lovely.

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  26. Dorothy said on February 25, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    We binged Vanity Fair via Amazon prime this weekend. Has anyone else seen it? I really liked it. It’s 7 episodes, each one about 48-50 minutes long. Visually it was absolutely stunning. The actress playing Becky is new to me – I hope to see her in more film in the future.

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  27. Mark P said on February 25, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    I’m not really on board with the ditch-the-phone group. What did people do before the iPhone? What did I do? I read. Books, magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, anything I could get that had printing on it. I didn’t read at the dinner table, but I did at breakfast, and I do today — on my phone. My wife doesn’t like it, but she’s almost never at the table with me, so I don’t see the problem.

    Another blog I read (at least I think it was another one) once had a photo of people on a commuter train back in the 1950’s or 60’s. Almost every person was holding a newspaper up in front of their faces, absorbed in whatever they were reading. Today, it would be phones. So what?

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  28. Joe Kobiela said on February 25, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Scout, you really think that’s incindiery? It’s a joke, bless your little old heart, go back and read some of the shit that gets posted here against the right, she had a barge full of fireworks ready to go but got beat.
    Just admitted it, anything I say will never be right in your eyes, am I wrong?
    Pilot Joe

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  29. Jakash said on February 25, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Haven’t seen that, Dorothy @ 26, but something like that has become my “just right” video option. Though I love movies, 2 hours is just not long enough for a full treatment of many stories. But then, I’m very careful about what series of 7 or 8 seasons with dozens of episodes I want to commit to. 7 50-minute episodes and out sounds about right.

    Your seeing 5 of 8 of the nominated films is excellent. We only saw 4, in what was an off year for us. Oddly, the one I most was looking forward to was “Vice,” which we haven’t seen yet. But now, we’ll need to add the other 3 we missed in, too, at some point, since they all won major awards last night… Uh, we won’t be seeing “Roma” any time soon, though, as we don’t have Netflix. I’m more out of the loop than I imagined, as I just read about the controversy about Netfix’s handling of that film and other movies they own that you can only watch on Netflix, as opposed to DVD. Bastards!

    Mark P, “So what?” Well, they didn’t read newspapers on elevators, in the midst of their transactions in check-out lines, while walking down the street or driving their cars, oblivious to anything else going on, etc. Just for the sake of argument. : )

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  30. Dorothy said on February 25, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I don’t think that article, or any of us, are advocating to ditch our phones, Mark, but instead we suggest being more mindful of how often it’s being used when the possibility exists to interact with others around you. Or better yet, allow yourself quiet time for observing the world instead of reading about the world on a small screen.

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  31. Scout said on February 25, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    It is annoying as hell when people you’re hanging out with keep getting distracted by and answering texts while you’re trying to have a conversation with them. Normally I keep my phone on silent and in my purse, especially when I am visiting with friends and family. Currently I keep my sound on because both of my granddaughters are due to deliver any day now, and my friends are quite understanding of why I am breaking my own rule!

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  32. Deborah said on February 25, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I’ve only seen Black Panther and Roma. I’ll see the others when they are on Netflix or Amazon Prime or maybe On Demand.

    I find it harder and harder to spend big chunks of time reading books like I used to. I find myself wondering what’s going on in the world, and I have very little discipline these days in stopping myself from checking out the Internet constantly. The only thing I look forward to when flying to NM or anywhere else, is that I’m forced to give up the Internet and lose myself in a good book. My choice for my flight Thursday is The Overstory by Richard Powers. My friend who lives in Paris recommended it to me, I started it already and am enjoying it.

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  33. Suzanne said on February 25, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Of best picture nominees, I had only seen A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. I did not like A Star is Born very much and did not think it Oscar worthy. Everyone I know who saw The Favourite said it was very strange but entertaining.
    We just got Netflix recently. I tried to watch American Crime Story: Murder of Gianni Versace which is well done, but I am going to have to spread it out. It’s creepy as heck and I was home alone and had to switch to something else. I saw that Roma was there but I didn’t feel like reading subtitles and spending a couple of hours. Another time.

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  34. Dorothy said on February 25, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Suzanne I’ve tried to access The Versace story on Netflix but it’s not showing the first season – only seasons 2 and 3 I think (is there a season 3 yet?) All I know is I can’t find Season 1 and that irritates me. If you subscribe to Netflix shouldn’t all of their offerings be available anytime you want to see them?

    OOOH WAIT Maybe it means American Crime Story is in multiple seasons, but the Versace story is actually there from the beginning. I just checked – my bad!!

    I really liked Michelle Obama’s book but I did find it a bit tiresome towards the end, which made me sad. But most of it I really loved. Deborah that would be a good book to read when flying to New Mexico. I started the Obama book when we flew to NYC in December. I didn’t read much while there but it was good plane reading.

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  35. Deborah said on February 25, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Michelle Obama’s book is on my list.

    We’re celebrating 2 things today, we closed on our place in Chicago 3 years ago today, and we moved to Chicago 16 years ago on March 1st. Since I’ll be in NM after Thursday for 2 months we decided to have a special meal tonight. My husband is making Risotto with scallops and asparagus and he’s getting a good bottle of wine right now to go with it. Risotto is his specialty, can’t wait.

    Our building is in the process of relining all of the interiors of the plumbing pipes and our unit is scheduled to start March 1st. It’s a relatively new fangled way to make the plumbing last without replacing pipes. They roto out the pipes first and then pour in some special non toxic epoxy that coats the insides. It was developed in the 80s for redoing plumbing on aircraft carriers and has evolved into being used on plumbing pipes in old buildings. They will start with pipes leading to our bathroom first, then the kitchen. All the units in our tier (a tier is made up of units stacked vertically) are being done at the same time, they’ve already done another tier in the building. It is all told a 3 year project for all of the units in the two buildings that comprise our cooperative. I don’t want to be around when it’s happening in our unit, and thankfully because we have places to stay in NM, I don’t have to be here. There will be times when the water is shut off and guys working in the unit, so no thanks on the disruption that will cause to daily life. It’s supposed to be done in our unit by the end of April.

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  36. Dexter Friend said on February 25, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Off to watch Roma now on Netflix. I recorded a movie (“Sid and Nancy”) on Epix but was commanded to upgrade. I have gotten the Epix channels for years…my bill is way over $200 per month now for internet and cable TV from Spectrum. Still, I can’t cut the cord. I’ll have to curtail the lotto tix.

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  37. LAMary said on February 25, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    I haven’t see Star is Born, but I may be the only person on earth who does not find “Shallow” a good song. I’ve given it several chances. Nope.
    On the other hand I found the Gillian Welch song about trading in spurs for wings from the most recent Coen brothers movie really good. But I love Coen brothers movies and I love Gillian Welch so I’m prejudiced going in. I loved the Terry Gross interview with the brothers about the most recent movie which is a western. She asked them if after making this movie they thought they could have survived living in the old west. One of them said, “we barely survived living in the Midwest.”

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  38. COLLEEN said on February 25, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I did the audio version of Michelle Obama’s book, read by the author. I really enjoyed it. I really miss the class the Obamas brought to the White House.

    I have no attention span for reading anymore, and it bums me out. I am trying audiobooks this year, as I can listen while I work. I have several unread and partially read books on my Kindle.

    Pillows. Three on our king size. I am also a pillow hugger. I do wake up many mornings and find that I have built myself a fort.

    Dorothy, that article was awful. I think the medical community needs to work on taking patients seriously and treating them as, well, competent. I have seen medical records in which the patients have been convinced something was wrong, and the physician blamed a hernia, or excess weight, for the problem. Lo and behold, the patients had cancer.

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    “Madge? Madge? I’m at Harry’s funeral. I can’t talk right now. No, the minister’s praying. I’ll call back after the stuff at the cemetery, okay? What? No, I’ll have already eaten. Gotta go now.”

    Yes, third row, right behind family, during opening invocation . . .

    [Insert three more stories about phones going off during funerals or gravesides that no one really wants to hear and can well imagine, anyhow, right here!]

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  40. Julie Robinson said on February 25, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    None of the songs were any good this year, but at least they were actually sung live. We could tell because everyone was off-key. Jennifer Hudson wailed away on a long note and never made it there. Listening was painful.

    In all fairness, this can happen when people get nervous and forget to take deep breaths. I noticed several singers running out of air before their phrases ended. (People like me are why Emily Blunt was afraid to sing live in front of huge audiences.)

    Elahe Izadi at Washington Post did a hilarious moment by moment takedown of the Shallow duet. Sorry, can’t make tinu url work:

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  41. Suzanne said on February 25, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Oh, Jeff(tmmo) that brings back memories of a funeral I attended years ago! It was for a young man that was in one of my kids’ high school class and died of a brain tumor. Just as the service was beginning, a cell phone rang and I hear a woman whispering very, very loudly “I can’t talk now!! I am at a funeral. I’ll call you back!” Oh my, oh my.
    I have had to tell my husband more than once to not read his texts or respond to them when we are at a movie.

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  42. LAMary said on February 26, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Julie, that note that Jennifer Hudson missed… I felt so sorry for her. I kept waiting for her to go up and hit it.

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  43. Dorothy said on February 26, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Oh Jeff – I bet that happens regularly at your church. Sheesh. I belong to a couple of guilds (quilting and knitting) that have a few elderly ladies. It’s one thing for their phones to go off and then watch them struggle to find the phone to either answer it or shut it off. It’s another thing when it’s ringing and ringing and they DO NOT HEAR IT. I was sitting right beside someone once and this happened. Dirty looks were being directed towards me but my phone was muted. I had to nudge the dear soul and tell her about the ringing phone.

    Mary I haven’t seen A Star is Born, nor have I heard the entire song “Shallow.” What I did hear of it left me unimpressed. So maybe you and I are the only two people on earth who don’t appreciate it.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on February 26, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Mary, I too kept hoping Jennifer would hit that note–she’s better than that. And Dorothy, I’ve never even heard the full version of Shallow, and don’t find myself seeking it out.

    Sunday at the theatre a dear old thing in the row in front of us didn’t seem to hear her phone either, nor had she apparently heard when the director told everyone to turn off their phones before the whole thing started. The guy next to me kept glancing at his, which of course lit up like a Christmas tree each time. He also didn’t seem to think it necessary to clap for the performers. Hmpf.

    While I’m griping, may I also mention the people at movies, plays, and concerts who forget they aren’t at home watching on TV and therefore SHOULD NOT BE TALKING?

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  45. ROGirl said on February 26, 2019 at 9:46 am

    I thought the song that Jennifer had to sing was just awful. How did it get nominated for an academy award?

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  46. Suzanne said on February 26, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Is anybody else out there hoping that Michael Cohen’s testimony is so damaging to Trump that he decides to stay with his new BFF Kim and not come home?

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  47. LAMary said on February 26, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Definitely a better song.

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  48. Deborah said on February 26, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    We started watching the Buster Scruggs movie on Netflix last night. We didn’t watch the whole thing yet because we’d had a big dinner with wine and we couldn’t keep our eyes open. It’s really good, a typical Coen brothers affair. We’ll watch the rest of it tonight.

    Edit: some of the movie was filmed in northern NM, it’s fun trying to figure out where the scenes were shot.

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  49. Colleen said on February 26, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Oh Julie, I am with you on the talking. I believe in silence from the time you walk into the darkened movie theater until closing credits. I know that’s a little strict for most people. But sometimes at movies it seems like the quiet parts of dialogue are an invitation for people to start talking.

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  50. Heather said on February 26, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Apparently voter turnout in Chicago for the mayoral election is extremely low, on track to be one of the lowest turnouts ever. How depressing. Maybe people are waiting for the inevitable runoff, but you gotta help decide who’s in the runoff!

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  51. David C. said on February 26, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Suzanne, I’d be willing to let him keep the fucking plane if he would go to NK and stay.

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  52. LAMary said on February 27, 2019 at 12:09 am

    They’re reading Michael Cohen’s prepared testimony on CNN. It’s pretty interesting.

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  53. Jakash said on February 27, 2019 at 12:27 am

    It turned out fine, IMHO, Heather. This ridiculous 14-candidate election in Chicago was, well, ridiculous on one hand. On the other hand, it allowed for an underfunded, unelected progressive to come out on top with 17% of the vote. That was extremely unlikely a few months ago — and is awesome. More awesome, the next mayor of Chicago will be a black woman, because of the top two finishers. The cherry on top of that sundae? Freaking Bill Daley is out, as of now — a result I didn’t even imagine was possible. Best mayoral vote around here since 1987… (Uh, my wife and I voted for Lightfoot, the woman with the 17%, can you tell?)

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  54. Dexter Friend said on February 27, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Deborah, I have watched “…Buster Scruggs” many times by now. The song performed at The Oscars, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”, has me tuning in to that part several times a week. I love that movie, except for the creepy finale. And, being in the top 1% of all Tom Waits fans, I watch that segment every week as well.

    Spectrum is killing me. I am not talking about the frequent $$ increases now; I watch The Dan Patrick Show on nbcsn every day. Spectrum hard-balled them for more dough, so Patrick told them to fuck off. If I want to see the show, I have to get Audience Network, an AT&T thing, or rip out Spectrum and switch back to DirecTv, which I am not doing, ever. They ripped me off years ago and I will never patronize them again. I can access the audio on my XM in-house radio, but much of the show , billed as a radio program, is visual. The older I get, it’s reinforced: you cannot count on anything.

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  55. Deborah said on February 27, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Crazy mayoral election in Chicago, as Jakash said. I voted for Preckwinckle because I didn’t think Lightfoot had a chance and I wanted a black woman to have a go against Daley. Surprise, surprise. In the final I’ll vote for Lightfoot. I will be in NM then, so I’ll have to vote absentee.

    We watched the rest of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t seen it yet. I will definitely watch it again.

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  56. Heather said on February 27, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Wow, I am extremely chuffed by the election results! I voted for Preckwinkle because I am not thrilled by Lightfoot’s history with the cops (a LOT of progressive activists were a HELL NO on her) but would be happy with either.

    I am tickled that Daley thought he probably had the runoff in the bag and he had to concede pretty early.

    And now I’m not going to get any work done today because of the Cohen testimony. His opening statement is a doozy, although not surprising. Except for maybe the part where Trump threatens his high school, his university, and the College Board not to release his grades or SAT results.

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  57. Julie Robinson said on February 27, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Chicago is my favorite city, but I fear it’s become ungovernable, and now that it has the voters are finally ready to hand it over to a minority. You see this all the time in churches. The white men royally screw the pooch, then when the congregation is on its last legs they decide to try a woman or person of color.

    Speaking of screwing the pooch, anyone here a Methodist? Our daughter’s church is also tightening its policies, and she feels restricted in her ability to minister to her members.

    Re: phones, lack of focus, and reading less; my librarian friend says circulation is way down.

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  58. Deborah said on February 27, 2019 at 10:43 am

    I tried to watch the Cohen testimony on the teevee, but right off the bat the Republicans tried to postpone or cancel it on a technicality. Those guys will do anything no matter how craven to stop the spectacle of the scandal of Trump from getting to a tipping point in the American psyche. Cohen is no saint, by any stretch, but most of the stuff he is saying is what we’ve suspected all along. I can’t watch it in real time though, it makes me sick.

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  59. Connie said on February 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I did not expect the Methodist general conference to do anything other than what it just did. Not the church I would have expect to ban and keep banning gays, and I would put that decision on the international churches not the American churches.

    Circulation is down, but people in the library is way way up. Everywhere. And hard copy circ is down, but ebook and eaudio circ continue to skyrocket.

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  60. Dorothy said on February 27, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Deborah I have it on ‘in the background’ while I”m working and can only occasionally listen in. But I brought my iPad to work today and I plan to escape to another floor to watch and listen uninterrupted for an hour. All I can think when I hear the Republicans who are questioning him is “Asshole number 1, asshole number 2…” There are at least 17 of the in that room, right?

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  61. Scout said on February 27, 2019 at 11:58 am

    This hearing only underscores how all-in the GOP is in covering up for the biggest conman criminal ever to squat in the Oval Office. They are sickeningly shameless. Yesterday on Twitter Matt Goetz actually publicly threatened Cohen. Which is illegal… but apparently not if you’re a Republican. We can only hope that justice and karma will eventually prevail at the end of this very dark tunnel.

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  62. 4dbirds said on February 27, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I keep a surplus of pillows so I can dream of smothering asshole pilots.

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  63. Jakash said on February 27, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    So, evidently it’s pretty important to the Republicans that Cohen is a liar and a criminal. Uh, yeah, that’s been established. Evidently, it’s significant that he worked for Trump for ten years while claiming to have realized that he was a scoundrel. Hmmm… what about the flip side of that — a Stable Genius making a guy like this his personal lawyer? But, if they’re so concerned about lying, they might wanna take a closer look at the president they’re so cravenly attempting to cover for. Oddly, a rare instance of Hair Furor getting something right is when he called Cohen a rat. He *does* seem to be a rat — mobsters don’t hate rats because they’re gonna lie, though, but because they’re finally gonna tell the truth.

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  64. Dorothy said on February 27, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    4dbirds…. thanks for that. Wish I’d said that!

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  65. Suzanne said on February 27, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    Wasn’t Cohen the RNC treasurer or something like that for a while? If he’s such a scum, why did they give him a position of authority in the party?
    I listened for about 5 minutes while in the car sipping out for lunch. I’ll tell you what, no wonder the GOP questioners are starting to scream! Cohen, used to dealing with high levels of mobsterism as he is, is not the least bit intimidated by them and it’s clearly making them very angry.

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  66. Heather said on February 27, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Suzanne, I REALLY wish one of the Dem reps would point that out. He was indeed the deputy chair of the RNC’s finance committee until about eight months ago.

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  67. Deborah said on February 27, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    This screaming business worked for the Republicans with Kavanaugh, so they seem to be trying it again, hoping to make it a circus so that’s what we take away from it instead of what Cohen is actually saying. I’m still not watching it live but reading Twitter about it like mad. These are some of the best Twitter comments I’ve ever seen.

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  68. Scout said on February 27, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    4dbirds – Highest of fives.

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  69. Scout said on February 27, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I have never seen this before on a Twitter sidebar.

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  70. Jakash said on February 27, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I know it’s just par for the course these days, but it really is remarkable how aggressively these R Congresscritters are attacking this guy’s ethics and credibility, given the way they’ve rolled over for all of Il Douche’s lies, crimes, sexcapades and bullshit.

    Rep. Jamie Raskin: “Our colleagues aren’t upset because you lied to Congress for the president. They’re upset because you’ve stopped lying to Congress for the president.”

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  71. Jolene said on February 27, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    Smothering pilots? Did I miss something?

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  72. Deborah said on February 27, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    It took me a while too, Jolene.

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  73. Joe Kobiela said on February 27, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Why bless your little old heart 4 birds.
    Sucks to have record unemployment, especially for minority’s,hard to tell them their oppressed if they have a job, wages are going up, gas prices are fairly steady, trying to negotiate with a rouge nation to keep the nukes from flying,bringing troops home from the desert, and trying to protect the border not just talking about it like no no Nancy, mr Obama, Chucky Schumer,and the rest, next you’ll try and tell me how good it is to drive away 25,000 jobs from New York. I really feel sorry for you all that you wake up everyday and are never happy, I lived thru 8 years of Obama, didn’t agree with him but never let it get me down like you all do. Keep up the attitude for 2 more years like you did in the run up to this election, calling conservatives deplorable homophobic racist uneducated bible clinging gun owners, and there is a darn good chance you will get another 4 years of Mr Trump.
    Waking up cheerful and happy everyday since 1957, and there is nothing you can do about it.
    Pilot Joe

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  74. Heather said on February 27, 2019 at 4:18 pm


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  75. Little Bird said on February 27, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Joe, there are fifth graders that understand the current problems in politics better than you seem to. And not very bright fifth graders at that.

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  76. Julie Robinson said on February 27, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    And have a better understanding of grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules.

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  77. Suzanne said on February 27, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Oh Joe, most of those things would have happened with or without Trump in Office. Everything Trump touches dies, his businesses bankrupt, his marriages failed. His tariffs have led to record farm bankruptcies. We will pay the piper at some point for his corruption and ineptitude. The chickens do come home to roost eventually.

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  78. Jakash said on February 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    “I lived thru 8 years of Obama, didn’t agree with him” That’s odd, because the turnaround in unemployment numbers, including those for minorities, began years ago, under Obama. Wages going up is partly due to increasing minimum wages in many places, a Democratic idea, and the bettering of the economy that began under Obama. Gas prices vary for many reasons; as much as I appreciate them being lower, the trade-off of more greenhouse gases being emitted because of them is not a long-term benefit for the world. No nukes were flying under Obama, and he was castigated by folks like you for using diplomacy rather than threats of force to try to make the world safer. Obama brought troops home from the desert, well before the current guy. What was disagreeable about all that? If building a 2000-mile wall is the best way to “protect the border,” why was it not pursued aggressively with the Republican legislative majorities of the first two years of this administration? Because even Republicans know the idea is an ineffectual waste of money, that’s why. Still expecting Mexico to pay for it — or have you just erased that part of the charade from memory?

    We all have lives aside from this comment forum, you know. Just ’cause we gripe about the dangerously incompetent, draft-dodging, national-debt-exploding charlatan-in-chief doesn’t mean we’re not happy. Yes, we take some measure of satisfaction from sharing our frustrations here with like-minded people who actually care about things in the country outside of their own pocketbook. “Keep up the attitude for 2 more years” and maybe we’ll flip the Senate and the presidency the way we flipped the House last year, eh? The question is why you find that reveling in hypocrisy and taunting strangers makes you “cheerful and happy.” “Bless your little old heart,” indeed.

    Apologies to everybody else for feeding the troll, but letting his hackneyed talking-points go unrebutted is no fun! : )

    That being said, Heather and Little Bird both did it better…

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  79. LAMary said on February 27, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    What Jakash said.
    Also, Elijah Cummings is great.

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  80. Scout said on February 27, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Before Donald got really rolling on the total destruction of democracy leading to all of the points Jakash made, and more, someone made this very astute observation:

    “We hate Donald Trump like you hated President Obama.
    However, we hate Trump because he is racist;
    you hated Obama because you are racist.”

    This is still the bottom line.

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  81. LAMary said on February 27, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    It’s not the most important thing Cohen said but I really liked hearing that Trump threatened his high school, colleges and the College Board with lawsuits if they shared his grades or scores. I sensed Trump was not very smart without knowing that information but learning that he threatened anyone with quantifiable proof that he’s dim is satisfying in a sad way.

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  82. susan said on February 27, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    The way I respond to trolls on other sites is by posting a new recipe. That’s really all you need to do. Everything else is a waste of breath, energy, and time. There are lots of really wonderful recipes out there!

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  83. susan said on February 27, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    That being said, vegetarian mapo tofu.

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  84. LAMary said on February 27, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Dessert to go with the mapo tofu

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  85. susan said on February 27, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Can’t read that, LAMary, without a Faceplant account.

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  86. LAMary said on February 27, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    Sorry, Susan. It’s nice coconut cake decorated with a tiny corgi figurine on top of one of the little table things they put on take out pizzas.

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