Clean and sober.

I’m now approaching two weeks without alcohol, and the results so far are dispiriting.

I’m sleeping better, feeling better, and have lost a couple of pounds.

Every year I do this, my body edges closer to the all-out declaration that I should really quit drinking. And let me remind you: I am not a heavy drinker, or even a moderate one. I’ll have a glass of wine as I make dinner, and another one with the meal. When I go out, I generally stop at two if I’m driving, and rarely go over three. A friend’s son describes himself as a “three-beer queer,” apologies for the slur, but that describes me perfectly.

But there’s also this: I like to drink. Not to get drunk, mercy no, but for the feeling when a shitty day just ended and you schlep your tired ass to the bar and order something, it doesn’t matter what, and just realizing, as the glass is halfway down, that things have improved. The tension begins to drain away, your shoulders loosen and your mood lifts, even incrementally. You still have all your problems, of course, but they don’t seem so daunting. Everything will work out, like it always does. Noisy children are no longer a DRILL THROUGH YOUR SKULL, but just small people who are legit members of the human family. You have, dare I say it? Perspective.

Of course it doesn’t last. Everyone knows this. A couple years ago I had a long sit in a bar during Dry January, and a party came in for the bloody mary brunch — about six or eight young people doing what young people do on the weekends, i.e., not clean their houses or drive kids around or whatever. They were loud and happy, a condition that seemed to peak at the second round. After that, one or two got louder, one or two got quieter, the laughs were harsher, the conversation more repetitious. That’s booze for you.

Oh, well. Enjoy dry January if you’re doing it. After the first week it isn’t even all that hard. Lately I’ve been treating myself to a LaCroix with a shot of Pom Wonderful and maybe a squeeze of lime. Feels special without being sinful.

On to the bloggage, then.

Just one piece today, a story of how one Facebook group dedicated to trashing Michigan’s governor went off the rails. I hope you’re not feeling optimistic about the human race — I hope you’re not halfway through your drink — because I have some bummer juice to offer here:

The public group, “People vs Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,” was rapidly growing, attracting nearly 9,000 conservatives of all kinds – elected officials, veterans, firefighters, law enforcement officers, educators, pastors, business owners, political candidates, militia members, blue-collar workers, and your garden variety trolls.

Metro Times identified dozens of recent posts promoting or threatening violence, primarily against Whitmer, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Elissa Slotkin, American Muslims, and Dearborn. Hundreds of comments were posted each day, and many included vulgar insults against women, Muslims, Democrats, and LGTBQ+ communities.

Tlaib, who is a Muslim American from Detroit, was a common target of the vitriol.

“She needs a bullet between her eyes,” Spencer Hayward wrote.

Note that the Metro Times actually named names of people posting such things, which led to one being fired on Friday. Here’s his response to the writer:

I’d disagree that this is about “indoctrination.” It’s about pig-ignorance, pure and simple. But may God bless America, cuz we sure do need it.

OK, gotta make dinner. No cocktail hour. And prep for the week ahead.

Posted at 5:26 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

58 responses to “Clean and sober.”

  1. brian stouder said on January 12, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    My lovely wife will say – I drink too much. I’m a major Diet Pepsi on-the-rocks guy, and two of my rationales are: every 5th one is free at Speedway*, and this has rubbed off on our daughters and son; and really, once you have a taste for soda pop, beer just tastes…..bleccchh!!!

    Truly though, I think the soda pop habit I’ve handed to our young folks has attenuated (at least) their propensity to drink other stuff (or at least, that’s my rationale!)

    Back in the day, beer and euchre (or beer in the boobie bar*) seemed like a cool thing for my buddies and I – even though I thought it tasted awful. But I always got very sick if I got drunk, and that era lasted only about one year before it simply ended.

    *my boobie bar period was about one summer long. We weren’t 21, and dives like the one that used to be right by the FWCS main office never carded us….which was Clue #1. Once, one of the dancers sat at our table and gabbed with us, and I don’t think she was any older than we were. She went on about her plan to save her money and move to Florida, and then….whatever. You could just see the derailment coming, and listening to that young lady took the shine right off such “exotic” places for me, from then on

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  2. David C said on January 12, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    I’ve never been much of a drinker either. I’m fine with one beer. The second always gives me a splitting headache. So I have one three or four times a year.

    So will the fired dude get his fifteen minutes on Hannity?

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  3. Heather said on January 12, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Ugh, that IS dispiriting. I probably have a drink almost every day–I like wine with dinner and sometimes have a small martini instead. I might have a few more on the weekend. But I’m thinking about cutting down, mainly because I’ve been having some weird reactions to food lately and it seems like alcohol might be part of the reason, along with other types of food and drink that instigate histamine production. Basically, everything I like might be a problem.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 12, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    I do dry stretches from time to time for the health of my body and soul, but I will admit that a little Jamesons at the end of the day is a lubricant that washes away a lot of the grit and friction built up since morning’s coffee.

    And I learned a long time ago that I can’t keep Woodford Reserve around because it’s just too easy to drink and expensive as an indulgence.

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  5. Deborah said on January 12, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Mongolia? I had no idea.

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  6. Colleen said on January 12, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Freedom of speech means THE GOVERNMENT cannot mete out consequences for what you say. It doesn’t give one the right to say whatever and not face repercussions. And especially in a right to work state, where they can fire one for pretty much any reason, an expression of opinions as ugly as the ones I saw might put a person at risk of job loss.
    IMO, the more of these hateful clowns who face negative consequences for their expressed opinions, the better. We have to make this kind of hatred not OK.

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  7. alex said on January 12, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    These imbeciles watch their president spewing hate speech at rallies and getting applauded and cheered for it. You could almost forgive them for thinking it’s now acceptable.

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  8. LAMary said on January 12, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    I know I’ve mentioned more than once I come from a tribe of alcoholics. Not all of my relatives; just enough to be scary. My grandfather, father, two uncles, one brother and maybe one aunt. She lived far away and I seldom saw her but she had the bloat and rheumy eyes her alky sibs had. I used to drink too much and I could drink people under the table. It was not good. Then I got sick with some sort of infection and had to go on a prescription that disallowed alcohol and I stopped and never started again.
    I’m glad my kids don’t have an drunk parent. I’m glad I don’t go on repetitious tirades at the dinner table. I’m glad I’m not always disappointed by the people around me, something my family drunks all had in common.

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  9. Ann said on January 12, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Good article in the Metro Times, but reading it was dispiriting enough and then I had to go read the comments. Ugh. We’re seeing a bit of that up here because our school board is actually considering dropping “Redmen” as our team name. They last tried to drop in c. 1998 and all got voted out of office and the name got restored. But they’re trying again, bless their hearts. I went to a school board meeting so big it had to be moved to an auditorium. One very rich guy got up and ranted about how the Native American high school senior who helped prompt the move was being manipulated by the liberal elite college professors just like ISIS trains suicide bombers. Now he’s starting a PAC determined to oust any board member who votes for a change.

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  10. Connie said on January 12, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    I am just a very occasional drinker. I don’t even order Margaritas whenI am out for Mexican. I have never learned to appreciate wine. But my husband and daughter came back from last week’s ski trip having visited an up north distillery. They brought me a bottle of Mackinac Island fudge liquor. Oh my, that is good stuff. And 45 proof.

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  11. Connie said on January 12, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    I saw a little of the discussion when Goshen IN high school considered changing from the Redskins. I would not have thought all those Mennonites would get so upset and vocal about it. They are now the Redhawks.

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  12. David C said on January 13, 2020 at 5:54 am

    When I was in high school, another school changed from Red Devils to Red Arrows because the fundies got their knickers in a twist. Being offended is a great American pastime, but only one side gets any shit about it.

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  13. Suzanne said on January 13, 2020 at 6:36 am

    Read this thread and the comments. It’s what I have been trying to tell people about the evangelicals

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  14. Deborah said on January 13, 2020 at 9:04 am

    Someone may have already linked to this video ad by the Lincoln Project about evangelical false prophets for Trump
    The Lincoln Project was started by former Republican Never Trumpers who recognize how vile the Republicans have come to be.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on January 13, 2020 at 9:22 am

    I’m having no problems with Dry January by substituting bubble water for beer and bourbon. The only bad thing about not drinking, my dear departed friend Doug Robarchek used to say, is that when you wake up in the morning, you realize that’s the best you’re gonna feel all day. It is kind of funny. I awoke yesterday with a terrible headache, which I’d ordinarily blame on one too many beers, but fact is, my last beer (A Great Lakes Brewing Co. seasonal called Christmas Ale) was on New Year’s Eve. Must’ve been a stress headache related to the ongoing trauma of our criminal *president.

    Not sure how I’d handle a second term if this fuckweasel is reelected. Not sure our democratic institutions would survive another four years of Republican misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance. Reading in yesterday’s NYT how a white supremacist TV twit like Tucker Carlson may have talked our loony leader down from all-out war with Iran made my stomach hurt. Guess if Sean Hannity had prevailed, mushroom clouds might be blooming over Iran.

    MAGA must really mean Morons Are Governing America.

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  16. JodiP said on January 13, 2020 at 9:57 am

    I am pretty much a daily drinker–1 to 2 glasses of red wine. I just really like the taste.

    Coincidentally, not a New Year resolution, we decided to track our spending much better so that we truly live within our budget–sorry if I’ve mentioned this. So far, so good.

    I am thinking about getting a subscription to the NYT; I already have one to WaPo. But it seems that the Times does so much good reporting, such as the article Jeff B mentioned. But I already spend so much time reading the news, etc.

    I had a gloriously chill weekend: tore through Kate Atkinson’s latest Jackson Brodie novel, we binged on the 2 seasons of Fleabag, and we ate leftovers all weekend. (I did throw a pork roast in the crock pot with some mole I’d made a few weeks ago, and froze. There are going to be delicious tacos tonight!) There is crap for snow, so I am not XC skiing.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on January 13, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Like Mary, I stopped drinking because of a medicine and never went back. It seems I lost all interest since then. Unlike Mary there weren’t many drinkers in the family. Dad would be given a bottle of some fancy whiskey at Christmas and would take it, unopened, to the next party he attended. My grandparents would make cocktails when they had friends over, or so I’m told. Other set were teetotal Methodist.

    Like Brian, I love my diet pop but after hearing how bad that stuff is for you I’m working on giving it up. With the craziness of the house sale and moving, I’ve fallen off that wagon along with the exercise wagon. But there’s a Y half a mile down the road–it’s huge and has all the amenities, including a climbing wall. And a hot tub in the pool area, which I’m looking forward to using for my many sore muscles. Our new place has a walk in shower with built in seats and grab bars. This will be nice for shaving my legs but leaves no options for a good long soak.

    So, unlike Jodi, there was nothing chill about my weekend. We are now somewhat functional in the new place but need to do even more purging. I gave myself the morning off and am enjoying catching up here. Happy belated New Year, cyber friends!

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  18. LAMary said on January 13, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Julie, I’ve been off soda for a few years and when I tasted some recently it tasted awful to me. I think you get used to the chemical taste of diet soda. Now I mix fruit juice fizzy water and my current favorite is sour cherry juice.Cranberry is good too, and mango. I used to give my kids orange juice and fizzy water when they were wee boys and they thought it was soda. It’s not zero calories like diet Coke, but it tastes a lot better and you can control how much juice to add.

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  19. jcburns said on January 13, 2020 at 11:39 am

    I’ve said it before: Tab and Root Beer, mixed 50-50. Ahhhh.

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  20. ROGirl said on January 13, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    I mostly switched from diet pop to soda. The flavored sodas are OK. I took a bottle of wine to a Christmas party and there’s still about half a glass left.

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  21. Scout said on January 13, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    The only fizzy thing I will drink is sparkling water or soda water. I gave up Diet Coke decades ago. As for alcohol, I’m pretty much a weekend warrior with the occasional glass of wine with a meal during the week. Even on the weekends, it’s no more than two drinks of any kind. My relaxation aid of choice is the lovely edibles I consume about an hour before bedtime. If I had to choose between alcohol and MJ, MJ would be the clear winner.

    Last year I got very ill with Diverticulitis and gallstones. I could not drink coffee for several weeks and the withdrawal made me feel even worse than the Cipro and Flagyl on a clear liquid diet did. Once I was feeling better, I decided to stay off the coffee. No regrets. I still have a latte out once in a while, but the daily grind is no longer.

    The worst part of this farce of a presidency is that it brought all the ugly, hateful jerks out from under their slimy rocks. There will always be low vibration assholes in this world, but we need to go back to making their public nastiness unacceptable again.

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  22. Julie Robinson said on January 13, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    My pop consumption is all about caffeine delivery. I don’t like coffee and can’t drink tea on an empty stomach.

    Cory Booker is out of the Presidential race, and Oscar noms are notably pale.

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  23. Jakash said on January 13, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    “I am not a heavy drinker, or even a moderate one.”

    I don’t like being a wet blanket, but the CDC defines moderate drinking as “up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. … This is not intended as an average over several days, but rather the amount consumed on any single day.”

    Believe me, I have a lot of trouble with that definition, but there you have it. I just think there are families where drinking is the norm, and those where it isn’t. In my family, it’s always been the norm and to suggest that 1 or 2 drinks on any given day is the limit is seen as preposterous. I’ve cut back over the years, because I take hangovers very poorly. My drinking is relatively similar to the Proprietress’, but there are still many days that I consume more than 2 drinks. I’d say that nobody in my family has had their life ruined by alcohol, but there are surely some who drink more than they should, even given a more lax definition of moderate.

    But I feel like folks who are teetotalers have little conception of what a “drinking family” is like, compared to a dry one. What it’s like to go to an all-day holiday get-together, for example. As I said, the idea that you’d be watching bowl games all day and night and have 2 beers over the course of the entire time is, uh, preposterous. But, and you may doubt this if you wish, it’s all in good fun. Nobody’s getting into any fights, or anything like that.

    “After the first week it isn’t even all that hard.” This is what I’ve discovered, many times. Extending a dry spell is actually pretty easy. The first few days of deciding “I’m not gonna have a drink today,” particularly if it’s just a personal choice, not if you’re taking an antibiotic, or whatever — that can be more problematic. It seems that the key is taking the option out of the equation. Once you decide that you won’t even consider the option, there you go. Obviously, this isn’t true for everybody, alas.

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  24. Suzanne said on January 13, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    I almost never drink soda, diet or regular. Coffee in the morning, water or tea the rest of the day. In the evening, usually a small glass of wine or sometimes a beer before bed. I do like a good cocktail, too, but don’t make them at home very often.

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  25. 4dbirds said on January 13, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Scout may I ask what type of edibles you take and the amount of THC? I was in Vegas this weekend and someone I know had a very horrible reaction to 10mg of supposedly calm/rest/sleep kind.

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  26. 4dbirds said on January 13, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    I drink one of those cans of wine (they say they are equal to two glasses of wine) a day. According to Jakash, I am over drinking. I’ll keep that in mind, get a bottle that I can recap and have only one.

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  27. 4dbirds said on January 13, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    Just saw this.

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  28. Scout said on January 13, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    4dbirds @25 – I buy a brand called Uncle Herb’s. They are 10mg gummy bears, indica dominant, and I only eat half at a time. I am small, and don’t want to feel high, just relaxed and sleepy.

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  29. Jakash said on January 13, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    4dbirds @26,

    Hey, I wanna be the fun commenter asked about edibles, not the scold blamed for policing a friendly stranger’s wine consumption! 😉

    Unfortunately, I know little about Mary Jane, and 1-drink-for-women, 2-for-men is a pretty common standard, from what I’ve read. I thought it was clear that I don’t stick to it myself. Messenger: Shot!

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  30. Jeff Borden said on January 13, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    I’m with Jakash. The consumption considered “moderate” drinking is absurd. It’s kind of like those BMI readings, which favor the tall and skinny. One of my buddies hits the gym 4 to 5 times per week, where he does ellipticals and lifts weights. He also plays handball twice a week. Yet because he is relatively short and muscular –and muscle weighs more than fat– he has a BMI that reads “obese.” It’s horseshit.

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  31. alex said on January 13, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    I came from a drinking family and I’m finding, much like my parents did, that I have a lower tolerance as I’m getting older and have cut down accordingly. I also have fatty liver disease from overindulging when I was younger and the sudden onset of type II diabetes, so I have a bit of an incentive to clean up my act lest I have to stop enjoying casual drinking altogether.

    My folks are in their 90s and still enjoy daily wine or beer. They probably gave up the hard stuff 30 or more years ago.

    One thing I notice is that whiskey definitely causes me to have upper respiratory inflammation and congestion. I had long thought it was cigarettes, but it turns out they’re not the culprit.

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  32. Colleen said on January 13, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    The Irish Catholic side of my family is a drinking family, and there have been many who have been problem drinkers. I once joked that there wasn’t a funny family story that didn’t start with the phrase “…and he was half in the bag…”
    I don’t drink much, mainly because I don’t care for the way most booze tastes. Plus I know my genetic predisposition. And I am on some serious anti depressants, so mixing alcohol with them isn’t the brightest idea.
    I think the US is all weird when it comes to alcohol. It’s a very all or nothing mentality.

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  33. Sherri said on January 13, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    I’m just two months shy of 18 years since my last drink. My life without alcohol is a whole lot better than my life with alcohol, but that being said, nothing works to take the edge off like a drink. I don’t feel deprived without alcohol, but I do have to work harder to deal with the “grit and friction,” as Jeff put it. Creating a ritual around tea is how I handle it. I generally drink sparkling water when out “having drinks” with friends. I try to limit my sugar intake, so soda is not an option usually, and I don’t care much for the taste of diet sodas.

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  34. Sherri said on January 13, 2020 at 8:42 pm

    Striking difference in the coverage of Kate and Meghan:

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  35. LAMary said on January 13, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    My brother, who had a serious drinking problem for at least 25 years, developed esophageal cancer. Heavy alcohol consumption is considered a cause of that cancer. He’s been dry for about 30 years, he says. I think he’s fallen off the wagon a few times. He’s lucky the radiation and chemo shrank the tumor or he would be on a feeding tube the rest of his life. My dad
    likely would have had a similar fate but he took a dive down a flight of concrete stairs. Twice. The first time didn’t kill him. Second time did. ICU nurses tell me that most hard core alcoholics don’t die from liver issues or some other disease. They die from falling off something or falling down something.

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  36. Bitter Scribe said on January 13, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    Binge-drinking on the weekends used to be the norm for me. Then I got older and my body couldn’t metabolize alcohol as easily, so I quit bingeing. I took it back up when I was thrown out of work, but stopped again when I got another full-time job. Now I just binge on the occasional three-day weekend. I do feel noticeably better, physically and mentally, when I’m not bingeing.

    My big problem now is cannabis. I just bought my first legal pot last Friday (and what an ordeal that was — more than an hour in line with a full bladder and no bathroom), so I’ll have to fight to keep from smoking every night.

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  37. Deborah said on January 13, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    Diet root beer is the only soda I drink, and then it’s only on road trips. We drink sparkling water (plain) or just cold tap water. As for alcohol, my husband and I used to have a bottle of red wine between us nearly every night with dinner. When we got to be in our mid fifties we figured that wasn’t such a good idea anymore so we switched to half bottles. Then we got off of wine except for when we’re at a restaurant or have a dinner party etc. Now we only have a martini nearly every late afternoon (before dinner) in Chicago. And when we’re in NM we sip a shot of bourbon in the late afternoon before dinner and occasionally another one before bed depending on how demanding the day has been. Last summer in Abiquiu we started a ritual of having a cocktail that’s like a Negroni but with bourbon instead of gin, it’s called a boulevardier, but it’s a warm weather drink we don’t do it in winter. When I’m in Santa Fe, with LB I tend to drink more, because she likes beer and I’ve lost my taste for it, so I get wine for myself, I’ve found these cans called Simpler Wines at Trader Joe’s that I buy only in Santa Fe, they make a sparkling sort of Prosecco, a sparkling Rose and a sparkling Peach that are pretty tasty and you can have one or two without opening a whole bottle. Each can is equal to one glass (I think), they come in packs of four, very cost effective.

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  38. 4dbirds said on January 14, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Thanks Scout, “my friend” will have to stick to 2.5 I think.

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  39. Paul Woodford said on January 14, 2020 at 9:49 am

    I said it too: “But damnit, I like to drink.” And that I really didn’t drink that much. But in my case … not yours! … I was lying to myself and others about how much I actually did drink. When I faced up to it and quit drinking for good, I quickly realized I liked not drinking much more than I ever liked it. Sleeping better, feeling better, looking forward to what each new day might bring … 13 years later, I still wake up feeling good, and I’ve realized that is its own reward.

    It’s different for everyone, but that’s how it is for me.

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  40. Suzanne said on January 14, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    I am watching Frontline which is generally stellar journalism but is incredibly disappointing. Interviews on the rise of Trump include the likes of Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, and Megyn Kelley, like they are simply a different opinion. Really PBS? Really?
    The press has learned nothing.

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  41. Deborah said on January 14, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    LB, my husband and I went to see Little Women this evening, I highly recommend it, but bring a hanky. Even if you’ve read the book or have seen earlier adaptations, it’s still a very emotional experience. All of us were blubbering. Florence Pugh was excellent as Amy, I can see why she’s up for best supporting actress.

    And speaking of the Oscar nominations, I was so happy to see that Joe Pesci is up for best supporting actor. But then I see that Al Pacino is also up for one of those for the same movie. I honestly don’t think Pacino was that good compared to Pesci.

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  42. alex said on January 14, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Watched the debate. Only one I’ve seen in this campaign.

    Biden seemed to stumble like the senescent fart that he is. Number one? You’re kidding. The rest had their strengths and weaknesses and I didn’t come away with any one favorite tonight. Steyer struck me as smarter than anything I would have believed from his ads. Klobuchar had a well scripted message and stumbled over it more than a few times, but the heart was there even if the spirit wasn’t.

    Warren somehow remains my logical choice but I don’t know where it’s going.

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  43. beb said on January 15, 2020 at 2:09 am

    I read about the Metro Times article on Deadline Detroit, then read the comments posted there. “Hive of Scum and Villainy” best sums it. up. The chutzpah of the man fired for advocating for the murder of an American Congresswoman is appalling. I disagree with our hostess that these posters are just “pig-ignorant.” Yes, they are stupid but to hate so casually someone they don’t know about, that takes indoctrination. Someone taught them to hate Democrats, liberals, muslims and women.

    One of my favorite blogs, Lawyers, Guns and Money, perhaps to response to recent whining by That Guy that he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, nominated the vultures that have taken to roosting on a Customs and Border Patrol radio tower and incidentally damaging it with all their highly acidic guano and vomit for that award. Anything that disrupts the assault on political refugees is deserving of the Peace Medal in my book.

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  44. Dexter Friend said on January 15, 2020 at 3:34 am

    Wild Turkey 101 was my staple and I loved any beer, any style, domestic or imported, black, tan, or black & tan in a bar that had Guinness and lager both on draught. Kelly’s, under the el tracks by DePaul was a great place for black and tan drinking. Early November I’d shoot down I-69 to Fort Wayne for Nouveau Beaujolais, and back for Thanksgiving German Riesling. I loved beer, wine, rum and and good scotch as well as, of course, bourbon, sometimes Old Forrester, or Maker’s Mark. The only cheapo bourbon I liked was Bond & Lillard…stick that Jack Daniels and Echo Springs and Heaven Hill and the worst, Jim Beam, back on the shelf. Then , after trying every brand and concoction I wanted, I got sick of being terrified of a DUI…was I over the limit? I didn’t think I was, then the states lowered it again. I might be drunk according to the law after one boilermaker. I quit distilled spirits, then 11 months later quit it altogether 27 years ago. Two weeks later I strolled into an AA meeting—empty church basement room. One filthy bum staggered in scratching his ass…nobody else. The next day it got real, the talk, the books, the coffee, the speaker/lead meetings, and the years rolled by. In 2000 I attended the International Conference in Minneapolis. This year, guess where it is? (It’s every 5 years.) Detroit, Michigan. Nance could go to Ford Field and interview some of the characters. They come from all over the world…I have friends in Germany, many in England, Australia, Canada, and all over the USA. Only a miniscule percentage of drunks enter an AA room and stay sober from then on. Perhaps it is because I was 43 when I first walked down that church basement’s steps that I apparently had had my fill or quota of drinks , but ya never know in AA…one drink and you are back to square one. Years: 27
    Days: 9,878
    Hours: 237,074
    Minutes: 14,224,472
    Seconds: 853,606,991

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  45. alex said on January 15, 2020 at 7:24 am

    It might be 20 years and tens of thousands of subscribers too late, but…

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  46. Kath said on January 15, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Am I the only one surprised by Nancy’s description of herself as a “three beer queer?” My understanding of that term is that it’s a straight person who’s amenable to gay sex after three beers. Is there something you haven’t been telling us, Nancy?

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  47. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, the 2020 campaign will be conducted in the rankest, foulest sewers of America. The volume of lies, misrepresentations, vitriol and hate will be almost impossible to calculate. And I fear the fix already is in within Republican controlled states, where hundreds of thousands of voters are being “purged.” A court just prevented Wisconsin from negating more than 100,000 from the voting rolls, primarily in Milwaukee (too many black voters) and Madison (too many liberal voters), but the Republican-controlled legislature will keep trying. Georgia has purged more than 300,000 voters in an action that passed court muster.

    This is the modern Republican Party: a white nationalist party willing to cheat through any means necessary if it cannot win in the marketplace of ideas. And it make very well work to reinstall our kleptocrat preznit for another four years of looting.

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  48. LAMary said on January 15, 2020 at 10:08 am

    I’m with you about the vultures, beb. If it’s between Trump and vomiting vultures it’s no contest.

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  49. Heather said on January 15, 2020 at 11:19 am

    I liked Little Women too and thought Florence Pugh was great, except that I still had a hard time accepting her as a 12-year-old, or even a 14-year-old. But I guess it’s a testament to her acting skills that I was able to mostly set that aside.

    If you are ever near Concord, MA, and are a fan of the book, I highly recommend a visit to the Orchard House, where Alcott and her sisters grew up. It’s amazing. There are drawings on the wall by the youngest daughter, who inspired Amy, and a trunk in the attic full of the costumes described in the book–all actual artifacts from the family.

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  50. Sherri said on January 15, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Beb@43: “Someone taught them to hate Democrats, liberals, Muslims, and women.”

    He wasn’t the first nor the only, but Newt stopped dog whistling and just used the words.

    Often we search hard for words to define our opponents. Sometimes we are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and their party.


    decay, failure (fail) collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, “compassion” is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocricy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs; pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing) shame, disgrace, punish (poor…) bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, patronage.

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  51. Suzanne said on January 15, 2020 at 11:40 am

    So Putin effectively shut down his own government and put in a new one. Doesn’t need the old one. He’s got ours.

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  52. Jakash said on January 15, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    The new Little Women is excellent. No surprise, of course, as the reviews are extremely positive. I’ve seen the 1994 movie more than once, plus read the book. And I’m glad I did, because otherwise I think I’d have had a pretty hard time keeping up with the various time-skips in this version. I didn’t require a hanky, though. 😉 For whatever reason, I found this go-round less moving than 1994’s.

    Emma Watson is 29. Her playing the “little” version of Meg seems like quite a stretch, but it didn’t bother me much.

    We also saw Knives Out, which was big fun. I was pretty impressed with Daniel Craig and I was pleased that I’m far enough out-of-the-loop and/or so forgetful that I didn’t realize that that one guy was Captain America until the credits came on. Re: the credits. They showed photos along with the names of all the main characters. I love when they do that, and wish more movies did. An unexpected treat was when the venerable M. Emmet Walsh showed up for a minute or two. Haven’t thought about him in quite a while, but what a great character-actor.

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  53. Jeff Borden said on January 15, 2020 at 1:44 pm


    You’re absolutely correct. It was that arrogant little popinjay, Newt Gingrich, who introduced and reveled in this kind of ugliness while setting a new standard for hypocrisy. He was pursuing Bill Clinton for sex outside marriage while he was cheating on wife No. 2 with the hideous Calista, who is now wife No. 3 and our ambassador to the Vatican. WTF? She was his fucking mistress! For years.

    Newtie also is now on his third religion, having joined the One True apparently for the convenience of confession, generally viewed by smartasses like me as a car wash for the soul. He’s also become a major tRump defender, of course.

    BTW, Newtie’s gay sister, Candace Gingrich, is married to an Illinois state representative named Kelly Cassidy. I believe they live quietly in Chicago.

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  54. Sherri said on January 15, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    I always assumed that Newtie became a Catholic so that Antonin Scalia would think he was cool. It was either that or start going to opera.

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  55. Sherri said on January 15, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    This is a better analysis of the Dem race than most of what the pundits say:

    I don’t like it, because I don’t like Biden. But it’s simply reality that no one is winning the nomination without the support of African Americans, and Biden still has that.

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  56. Deborah said on January 15, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Sherri, that was an excellent link. I don’t like Biden but that makes sense. I will vote for anybody who gets the Democratic nomination.

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  57. Jakash said on January 15, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Charles Pierce, a few days ago:

    “I’m starting to come around on a paraphrase of the @JohnFugelsang quote about Jesus — I like Bernie fine but I’m not fond of his fan club.”

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  58. David C. said on January 15, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Newtie became Catholic because living with Plasticine Patty wasn’t enough punishment, so he wanted to wear a cilice too.

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