Stems and seeds and census: We’re down to the dregs these days, the houses where the case notes are likely to have four versions of subject said he wouldn’t participate or subject said he doesn’t care who gets counted or subject slammed the door in my face. All of these are, obviously, proxy cases. But even these proxy cases are long shots, in neighborhoods where all the nearby properties are vacant or boarded or have That Look that says, eh, you’re not going to luck out here.

Kate had a couple drug houses in one day last week. There was a sign on the door that read I DO NOT ACCEPT COINS OR SHORTS and she took that for a turn-around-and-head-back-to-the-car. Can’t say I blame her.

Yes, Kate is also working as an enumerator. Good money while she waits for her world to reopen. We’re all still waiting.

Two pieces of bloggage today. First, a thoughtful piece in Slate on why women, especially young women, are the new QAnon evangelists, gathered mostly via Instagram:

These accounts are growing quickly, even as Instagram tries to shut down some of the bigger players. The appeal is morally unambiguous, simultaneously frightening and reassuring, and perfectly crafted to draw in a certain slice of suburban women. There’s the psychology of the approach: Leftist discourse on these platforms can have a preacherly aspect that asserts moral truths without giving the listener the option of disagreeing. This can strike the not-yet-persuaded as condescending, bossy, or dismissive of their right to form independent judgments. Q-proselytizing folks err in the opposite direction: They tell tantalizing stories about their heartfelt conversions that are extremely light on detail and almost invariably conclude by saying, “Do your own research.” Of course this has power. It has the frisson of secrecy—find out what they’re not telling you. Most of all, it’s flattering: It expresses full faith in the reader’s abilities to discover the truth, promises a light at the end of the tunnel, and appears to invite independent verification and free inquiry. In practice, searching those hashtags tends to lead people into closed information ecosystems (and, yes, lectures) that are every bit as didactic as any “woke” explainer. The key is this: The new recruits feel that they have discovered these things.

Interesting theory. But this is dwarfed, of course, by the Barton Gellman doomscroll scare-a-thon in the Atlantic, i.e. What if Trump refuses to concede? It’s terrifying and infuriating and I can’t take out a few paragraphs to summarize. It’s all in the URL.

For a palate-cleanser, enjoy the video with this clip.

Into the weekend, the last of September. How’d that happen?

Posted at 8:49 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

36 responses to “Dregs.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 24, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Fun on Twitter for OU fans, especially the journalistic ones, and JC has already commented aptly there:


    168 chars

  2. Dexter Friend said on September 25, 2020 at 4:37 am

    Trump getting booed as he stood beside the casket of RBG was perfect, even though “…we couldn’t hear them, somebody said they were chanting?” was pure Trumpian.
    “Get rid of the ballots” had all the media-connected lawyers and pundits in full combat mode. The New York Daily News : 16 hours ago
    “Say it plainly: Trump is a psychopath – ”
    So, should we fear a dystopian future, or are we trapped in a real, not imagined, dystopian existence?

    Vanessa (youngest kid) had a smooth ovarian removal and is home, Lori is going to be in the hospital until her heart is functioning correctly again. And a new one, as my step-granddaughter, age 26, was briefly admitted for bleeding, and now must be scoped up and down. Possible stress about her mom (Lori), plus her cigarette addiction, may have contributed to this case.

    Searching Prime and Netflix for a one-off movie ( didn’t want to start a binge) , I found an Ashley Judd film. Now we all know she makes pretty awful movies, but I love her and will watch anything she is in. This one was “Big Stone Gap”. Mentioned in the dialog was Pennington Gap. These are little communities in the arrowhead of Virginia. Now here’s the odd thing: in 1974, this is the place my ex “ran off to”, with some man she met while bartending, and which was the event which took me to a lawyer and the divorce court. Anyway, the movie is a rom-com and was pathetic, but Ashley made it worthwhile. 🙂 A couple years later, the ex came north and looked me up, wanting a chair and a table she left behind and I had stored in a garage, and I gave it to her. I was civil and I asked her how her experience was in that rural part of Virgina. She said the women there resented her because they all wore sweatpants and she wore stylish jeans, and always wore makeup and blouses, and they wore plain old clothes and flip-flops. Since, she has gone through so many men and even a few husbands that I lost track about 30 years ago. Last I heard she was in Cal’s Bay Area, married to a Silicon Valley tech guy. Hope she’s happy.

    2072 chars

  3. Peter said on September 25, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Some months ago, I started to compare the COVID 19 mortality count to a similar sized suburb. I thought the Biden campaign could run a great commercial during an NFL game showing the empty streets of, say, Green Bay, and just end the commercial by saying as many people have died from Trump’s lying than the entire town of Green Bay.

    The only problem with that idea is we passed Green Bay a long time ago. Skip the mega suburbs in the US top 200 cities – today’s death toll is just a few dozen short of Huntsville, AL (202,910); at the current rate, tomorrow we’ll hit Rochester, NY (203,792), and perhaps by Monday we’ll pass Grand Rapids, MI (205,289). If the projections turn out to be on target, by mid month we’ll pass Salt Lake City (213,367), and Baton Rouge (216,701).

    779 chars

  4. Deborah said on September 25, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Peter, I had that exact same thought. I was in Santa Fe where the population of that city is about 85,000, we surpassed that long ago. When you think about the numbers by comparing them to people in stadiums or those who’ve died in wars, or plane crashes it’s mind boggling. Every three days the number of deaths is equivalent to those that died in the towers on 9/11 etc etc. And the number of people struggling with illness like Dexter’s daughter is way beyond mind boggling.

    477 chars

  5. Deborah said on September 25, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Here’s another comparison that is staggering: if a church bell tolled once every second it would take nearly two and a half days to ring out for each death. And that’s solid ringing, every second day and night. I wonder if it has been done anywhere? That would be quite moving.

    277 chars

  6. susan said on September 25, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Peter, Deborah— WaPo has tool that does what you are talking about: “Find out what would happen if your
    neighborhood was the epicenter of the
    coronavirus pandemic in the United States.”

    913 chars

  7. Scout said on September 25, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Peter @3 – may I quote on social media the statistics you cited in your post? And can I ask the source of these numbers, because I will be asked.

    145 chars

  8. Scout said on September 25, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I waited a bit and posted this on facebook. Peter, if you would like further attribution, please let me know.

    178 chars

  9. Deborah said on September 25, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Scout, I shared your excellent FB post on my timeline.

    54 chars

  10. susan said on September 25, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    I break down every time I watch this. They must have had such a special connection with one another.

    186 chars

  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 26, 2020 at 9:53 am

    I don’t do this too often here, but my column this week is about some stuff we’ve discussed here a number of times in the last couple of years, so it seemed right to share it. With the caution that if you are not wanting to think about your stuff or a relative’s belongings that you have to sort out soon, you might want to skip it:


    446 chars

  12. basset said on September 26, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Just finished some stories from a long-haul moving van driver who says much the same, that he has filled many a dumpster with furniture & personal belongings that someone was sure would be valuable.

    In the last few weeks I’ve turned 65 and my Medicare and Social Security have both started up, which will get you thinking about mortality and what’ll happen to our “stuff” when we’re gone… when we thought we were gonna move a few months ago we took enough clutter out of the house to fill a storage locker, there’s a lot we need to unload.

    548 chars

  13. Julie Robinson said on September 26, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Jeff, what I think you were saying, but in a nice way, is: get rid of your crap now. No one else wants it. We made huge inroads on that when we sold the house and moved to this 700 sf apartment, but still have a few rounds to go. Progress with my mom is glacial, and we’ve privately conceded she’ll have a semi and another storage unit for the Orlando move. She has the money but what a waste, because I’m sure there’s not one full bin of anything I want.

    So, in other useless news to avoid the real news I can’t stand to look at anymore, I stopped coloring my hair. At first I just didn’t bother, since I wasn’t going anywhere, then I thought I’d try growing it out. Yesterday I tore off the bandage and had everything but the gray cut off. It’s shorter than I like right now, but the color isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, still more iron than silver and more black around my temples, oddly enough. I think I won’t go back; I am almost 64 after all.

    I hear there is some magical shampoo that will make it look more silver, in fact the stylist mentioned it but didn’t try to sell me any. Anyone use this?

    Back to more important stuff.

    1152 chars

  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 26, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    My sister in Bloomington IN who has Mom living with her now (and who is working through paperwork this weekend to sell the Valparaiso house), usually reads my columns to her . . . Mom has macular degeneration, which has oddly been a blessing for this whole process so far. “Yes Mom, we got the dishes you asked me to save, right here in the cabinet . . .”

    In that same vein of well-intended non-truthfulness, she read it and messaged me “I think I’m telling Mom they didn’t run your column this week, or I might hunt back for an old one she won’t remember from this time last year.” There’s four of us kids, none of us live in a home with as many square feet as the Valpo house ended up at, and at a certain point, you just can’t fit another needlepoint seated mahogany chair into a house. But she just can’t bear the idea of any of this stuff “leaving the family.” For most of us, even if we threw out our current dining room set, we couldn’t fit the great-aunts’ one which had come to reside in Mom’s dining room into our space. Let alone two pie safes each. Et cetera, et cetera . . . sic transit gloria mundi.

    1114 chars

  15. Minnie Fleming said on September 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    For those tasked with explaining our government to children and other innocents.


    166 chars

  16. Jeff Borden said on September 26, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Assuming Amy Barrett is rushed into the still warm seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, SCOTUS will have six Catholics among the nine judges. A seventh, Neil Gorsuch, was raised Catholic but now worships at an Episcopalian Church. The other judges are Jewish.

    Catholics, who make up 22 percent of the U.S. population, dominate SCOTUS. Protestants, who make up 49 percent of the population, get just one judge.

    Does anyone in the NN.C community have any theories as to how and/or why this happened? It just strikes me as very odd.

    I’m dreading Barrett’s ascension because she has been highly critical in her writings of Roe and the ACA dictum to cover contraceptives –she’s also very out about challenging stare decisis– but am hoping for the best. Roberts, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have occasionally surprised me. Maybe Barrett will, too.

    846 chars

  17. David C said on September 26, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    My great-grandmother said give the family what they wanted and burn the rest. She didn’t want anyone outside the family saying her stuff that was in her family for generations was their stuff that had been in their family for generations. It was probably easier for her because it was a multi-generation household. She lived with my grandparents until she became too frail to climb the stairs to her bedroom. She then lived with my great-aunt and uncle. So her furnishings were already all the furnishing that the house needed. The only thing that really needed cleaning was the attic. There was an old boot in the attic. One boot, not a pair. Great-grandma wouldn’t let them throw it out because there may be a one-legged veteran who might need that boot. About five years after great-grandma died, my grandma, great-aunt, and I were cleaning out the attic and the boot was found under a pile of stuff. Aunt Bet said to grandma “Do you think that veteran has died?” The both agreed that he had and threw out the boot. I’m sure my nieces and nephews will have a lot of crap to throw out when we’re gone, but I sure wish I could leave them a neat story like this. I’ll be disappointed in myself if I can’t come up with one.

    1222 chars

  18. Mark P said on September 26, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    We attach value to things because of the memories they hold. I had a hard time trashing some heavy, high-quality folding chairs that my parent used with their RV camping. I had a hard time trashing the thousands of 35mm slides my father took. But I did. But I’m keeping my father’s old Army uniforms, his medals, and his dress hat. I’ll let my nephews take care of that.

    377 chars

  19. Sherri said on September 26, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    I’d say that on the conservative end of SCOTUS, evangelicals haven’t been producing lawyers long enough to develop candidates yet, so that leaves conservative Catholics. You’re less likely to find a reliably dogmatic conservative among Jews and mainline Protestants, though they exist.

    Plus, it’s about who you know and the connections. The justices mostly come from a pretty narrow world – all graduated from either Harvard or Yale Law. (RBG, of course, graduated from Columbia after doing her first two years at Harvard.)

    I’m concerned more generally about what happens when the government fails to represent the people, which is what we’re teetering on the edge of. Presidents elected despite losing the popular vote, a Senate majority that represents well below half of the people, and now potentially a Supreme Court where 5 justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote.

    A majority of the country believe that abortion should be legal, that gun control should be enacted, that climate change is real, the systemic racism exists, that lgbtq people deserve rights, that people deserve health care, and that markets need regulation. That majority is also paying the bills for the minority who disagrees with all of that and has disproportionate power. That seems very destabilizing to me.

    1331 chars

  20. Jim said on September 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Jeff: some possible reasons for the number of Catholics on the SC ( from a Jesuit journal): https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/07/18/why-do-catholics-make-majority-supreme-court

    196 chars

  21. Jim said on September 26, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    And this: https://scroll.in/article/897641/why-catholic-intellectuals-are-overrepresented-in-the-us-conservative-movement

    121 chars

  22. Jeff Borden said on September 26, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks, Jim.

    12 chars

  23. Sherri said on September 26, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    I see now that my question about Woodward’s ethics was misguided. He was too stupid and/or blind to have an ethical dilemma.


    185 chars

  24. susan said on September 26, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Woodward is a very unpleasant man. In addition to being stupid and oblivious.

    77 chars

  25. Deborah said on September 26, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Great story David C. Made me chuckle.

    My husband and I have asked ourselves who’s going to want our stuff ad nauseum lately? And we have waaayyy less stuff than most people. I just reorganized a bunch of stuff in our 1 closet in Chicago. Threw away more stuff and sending some items down to our (also small) storage unit on the second floor. We are not savers but we think our books, furniture and art are fabulous and we know our families don’t necessarily have the interest or the space for what we like. Who is gonna want our stuff who might appreciate it?

    566 chars

  26. beb said on September 26, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    I thought Catholicism was a basic requirement for joining the Federalist Society and since most conservative nominees have come from the Federalist Society it follows that they would be Catholics.

    I find it a little cringeworthy when people speak of the Supreme Court as having a Black Chair, a Jewish Chair or a Woman’s Chair. It makes the court seem less like a slice of America than someone’s idea of tokenism. I’d like to see the court naturally reflect Amercia but the way things stand now, if it weren’t for Black, Jewish, Female chairs the court would be lily white.

    577 chars

  27. Dexter Friend said on September 27, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Jeff, don’t count on it…Barrett surprising us. She is very much a train on an airline path…straight ahead, no detours. I will hope I am wrong. I was disgusted when Joe Biden selected Harris ( I was for any of the others), but now I am 100% for Harris to help Joe’s election build-up.

    Lori rallied and is home in Las Vegas, sleeping and taking it easy. She just got home a few hours ago. Thanks for the helpful thoughts and prayers.

    446 chars

  28. Connie said on September 27, 2020 at 7:36 am

    I have also just received medicare and grown in my gray.

    56 chars

  29. Connie said on September 27, 2020 at 7:53 am

    And am awaiting another month to start social security to in order first finish census pay. I am sick and feverish and confused this weekend as well. So.

    153 chars

  30. alex said on September 27, 2020 at 10:06 am

    I suspect that the conservative movement prizes Catholic “intellectuals” for their rigor in circular reasoning so well-honed by their education. It’s like Antonin Scalia, who starts with the premise that LGBT people are morally defective and that society’s right to show disapprobation of “perversion” is more important than individuals’ rights to be “perverts.”

    I’ve known more than a few archconservative Catholic closet cases and I wouldn’t trade places with them for anything. But they see the world through the lens of their own social and familial circles where they face a choice between conformity and disownment and take the path of no resistance.


    Jeff, that’s a timely article for me as well, as both my parents are in their 90s and I’m going to be faced one day with handling their estate. They have so many belongings that I find valuable but that may not hold much intrinsic value otherwise. Lots of family papers, furniture/furnishings, artworks, photos. I’m coming to realize as I approach old age that I’m only going to be a steward of these things for a short time and I have no idea whether there will be anyone interested in taking them once I am gone.

    I’m considering some possibilities. I have a friend who is both an antiques appraiser and a liquidator of estates and I’m likely to engage her services.

    The family home is situated in one of the hottest areas for real estate in these parts and while it’s beautiful, for me it would also be an albatross with high property taxes and need for major repairs and renovations, having been neglected a lot in the last few decades. I had wanted to live there, and my father arranged his will to permit this, but I’m back and forth on whether it would make more sense to sell. On the other hand, I would hate to see someone with extravagant means and no taste restyling it as an ersatz farmhouse or Craftsman bungalow or some other Hoosierfied vulgarity when it’s a beautifully preserved example of California contemporary. I was just there yesterday and reminded again of the sheer quality of the place, how well it was sited and designed, first-rate construction. It’s a pure joy to be there.

    2180 chars

  31. LAMary said on September 27, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    A high school friend whom I always assumed was gay is on a school board in a small NJ town trying to ban LGBTQ teachers from working there. She even writes editorials for the local paper saying this and she keeps getting reelected to the school board. According to another friend who lives near her, this woman went to her priest to talk about feeling attraction to women and asked what she should do about it. The priest told her to fight that temptation and devote her life to saving the unborn. This is a woman who was a really talented singer, had a great sense of humor, now she will not even speak to a her high school friends who are gay and barely communicates with anyone who knew her back then.

    704 chars

  32. Indiana Jack said on September 27, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    That’s a thoughtful and heartfelt column, Jeff. I look forward to the next installment.
    I was executor of my mother’s estate and was faced with all the Stuff from my parents’ lives: Artwork, furniture, and the usual.
    This is how we worked through the process:
    First, I had a good appraiser put a value on everything, and I mean everything, in the house. That list was distributed to all my siblings. They all consulted with kids and spouses about their interest in the objects.
    Then we gathered, just the four of us, one afternoon and went room by room. We drew straws and I got the last pick.
    In each room, we’d take turns saying what objects meant something to us and we’d like to keep. Sometimes, after a few turns, there was nothing else anybody wanted. That stuff was slated for an auction block.
    To our surprise, we all kept more things than we expected. (It helped to know in advance what our kids were interested in.) It actually was fun, finding out which different bits and bobs held a personal connection for my sisters and brother.
    Because the stuff had been appraised in advance, each item’s value was counted toward that sibling’s share of the estate.
    Oh, and before we started, at my older brother’s suggestion, we all held hands and reminded ourselves of our love for one another.

    1304 chars

  33. basset said on September 27, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Front page of the NY Times site just now:


    Records Obtained by The Times After Years of Secrecy
    The Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump extending over more than two decades. It tells a story fundamentally different from the one he’s sold to the public.
    Mr. Trump’s finances are under stress, beset by hundreds of millions in debt coming due and an I.R.S. audit that could cost him over $100 million.
    He paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and nothing at all in 10 of the prior 15 years — largely because he lost so much money.”

    And there is more, much more.

    675 chars

  34. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 27, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Indiana Jack, God bless your older brother. There are stories I’d like to tell, but are from post-funeral events of just the last few years here, and it feels unethical . . . even though I consider some of the sibling shenanigans about homes & cars & furniture to be borderline illegal. My next thoughts are still focused on stuff, and less on when you’ve got actual objective value in hand, but the process you described is excellent for when you’re talking about estate issues with real fiscal implications on the table.

    530 chars

  35. Deborah said on September 27, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    I’ve been waiting for them to be able to follow the money on Trump. Maybe now it will all come out.

    When my father died in 1990, he was married to my step mother, who I never thought of as a mother in any way shape or form, they married after I was married myself and LB was about 2. So I didn’t even give any inheritance a thought, but I was pissed that she gave my dad’s car to one of her grandkids when my sister had 3 daughters of driving age that could have very much benefitted from having that car. The next time I visited my sister’s place after my dad died I noticed she had some of his (and our mom’s) furniture. Nothing was offered to me, but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t really need anything but to be honest I would have appreciated being at least asked.

    780 chars

  36. Connie said on September 27, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    My 98 yr old mother in law died three weeks ago. She was quite the pack rat, though not much of value. Her five kids have put a lot of effort cleaning out junk and personal stuff. Our take: a barrister bookcase and the table to the Singer featherweight she gave me years ago. The oldest niece who was helping with care will be living there until the end of her sons school year, so no rush to sell the house. Bought in 1962.

    424 chars