Doing one’s part for democracy.

The phone rang Thursday night, close to 9 p.m. It was the Detroit Board of Elections, wondering if I could commit, right now, to spending the next three Saturdays at the TCF Center (the former Cobo), doing election work for a reasonable hourly wage.

“What sort of election work?” I asked. “I’m only trained to work the election.”

“All I have is a list of names to call,” she said. “And I need a commitment tonight.”

What the hell, I figure I could use the money, now that the census is petering out. OK, I’ll be there. If the work was intolerable, I could always boot the two additional Saturdays.

As it turned out – and we didn’t learn this until we arrived – our job would be to process 40,000 absentee ballot requests. It also wouldn’t be over three Saturdays, but Saturday, Sunday, and as much of the upcoming week as we could manage. It all has to be done by Thursday. Whoa. So after some training and the inevitable technical difficulties, that’s how my weekend went – 16 hours of spelunking in the Michigan Qualified Voter File, checking signatures and assigning absentee ballots to those who asked for them. And I committed to five hours each evening this week, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Gotta get this job done, and I could use the Christmas money.

On the way in, after the temperature checks, they led us through the basement where the absentee counting board will be working. It’s already set up for it:

That is a big, big space. During the auto show, that’s where they put the exhibits where cars are actually driven. And it’s full, wall-to-wall. I figured my job would be done after we deliver the ballots to the receiving board on election night, and that it would be late – I already told my Deadline boss not to expect me before noon on Nov. 4. But it occurs to me this absentee counting could go on for several days. I might put my name in for that job, too; make hay while the sun shines.

All of which is to say, you might not see me much this week, evenings being my blogging time. Maybe we can arrange some photo posts, perhaps a gallery entitled, Nance uses a Windows computer for the first time since 1997. I believe that’s how long it’s been. I checked to see if the shutdown command was still Start, and it is; ah, good times. Don’t even get me started on the no-button PC trackpad, on which the left side of the thing functions as the left mouse button, but the line of demarcation isn’t clear, and not intuitive at all, and grrr. I lack the muscle memory for this OS, and I’m too old to learn.

In my time spent rattling around the QVF, I had spells when I could think about the governor and the kidnap plot. Fallout continues to rain from the skies on that, and will for some time. However, I’m grateful for the state ACLU spokesman for putting together this Twitter thread, which gives you an idea what it’s been like here since the pandemic restrictions started:

Lee Chatfield is the House speaker, who wrote an “open letter” to the governor over the weekend whining that she didn’t tell the legislature about the threats to the Capitol. The obvious reason: That’s the FBI’s job, not hers. The unspoken reason: Because it’s a fair bet they would leak that news to their lunatic networks, and the gang, dumb though they may be, would scatter. That takes some gall, when you think about it.

I’ve always said the open letter is the lowest form of column-writing, and also in communications in general. Isn’t this just right-wing virtue signaling, as they like to say? Seems that way to me.

If you’re not on Twitter, here it all is in one place.

So I’m off to consider dinner, and try to plan some chores around this overstuffed week. Be good to one another, and remember – voting absentee or by mail is your right.

Posted at 6:18 pm in Current events |

140 responses to “Doing one’s part for democracy.”

  1. alex said on October 11, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    It isn’t called virtue signaling when Republicans do it because Republicans don’t do it in the service of any virtue. What they do is called ratfucking.

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  2. LAMary said on October 11, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve been laying very low for months and I was hitting the wall before everything got really crazy in the last two weeks. There’s all the Trump/Proud Boys/GOP dog whistles to the gun nut crazies out there and here in LA, home of the largest Armenian population outside of Yerevan, there are demonstrations and street scuffles between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. My son saw a BMW SUV with an Armenian flag and a sign reading “fight for Armenia” and a picture of an AR 15. There have been several demonstrations that closed down freeways. The Trump connection to Turkey, the American and Russian military equipment the Turks have and the Turks inviting the Syrians to join them in assisting the Azerbaijanis make the possibilities of this conflict getting much more complicated and horrible are strong. Iran is next door, too. It’s all getting way too crazy.

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  3. Dorothy said on October 11, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Deborah I just got caught up on the previous NN.C entry and saw what you said about Uncle J. I’m so sorry – I know he’s a beloved family member. What a bummer of a birthday. But I hope you can enjoy it later when life settles down.

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  4. Julie Robinson said on October 11, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    Deborah, not the way you wanted to spend your birthday, especially a milestone like that. It’s still always sad even when it’s a release, isn’t it?

    I’m glad to know this effed up election is providing employment opportunities for Nance and her new coworkers. Our son is also picking up weekend hours at early voting locations. He’s been volunteering at the local polling place for three or four years so he didn’t need any extra training. I don’t remember the name of the position, but he’s the one who walks around and maintains order, making sure no one is holding signs or passing out election materials within the proscribed distance. He’s a big guy with a big voice but also friendly and helpful, so he’s good at it. He’s also passionate about election security, and who doesn’t need a few extra bucks?

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  5. basset said on October 11, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    I worked the last few elections, checking voters in, but not the recent primary and not the big one; I’m high risk and Mrs. B is really high risk, just can’t do it.

    Julie, your son’s doing important work but I couldn’t handle that job, not patient enough. All it’d take would be one knucklehead with an AR strutting around outside exercising his right to bear arms and we’d both be in trouble.

    Last election I worked someone slapped his Tennessee carry permit down on the table in front of me when I asked for ID, then stood there smirking like he was daring me to say something. It’s legal, though, so I just gave him his piece of paper and went on, life’s too short.

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  6. beb said on October 11, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks to susan for explaining the difference between champing and chomping at the bit. So people who chomp swallow and people who champ don’t. That sounds like a dirty joke but it’s not.

    I’ve gone to a couple car shows back when I could tolerate huge crowds better than I can now. Went down into the basement and it was huge. It looks even larger without all the show booths. I’m kind of disturbed that the election commission waited until now to organize mail-in ballot delivery, reception and counting. They should have had people lined up to work there long before this. I would be interested in seeing some pictures of how the work is done.

    Deborah, you are in my thoughts as well.

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  7. Dexter Friend said on October 12, 2020 at 1:32 am

    IDing is selective, I believe. For example, last time I flew out of John Glenn-Port Columbus, the protocol was to show ID at curb check-in. It was dark-thirty AM and I pulled out my Veteran’s Administration card instead of my enhanced driver license, which was an honest mistake in the dim light there. One glance, good to proceed to security check-in.
    Jeez, LA Mary, all I have here to drive me crazy is the insane man-child who flies a cheap drone around and sometimes against my house and runs remote cars with noisemakers attached up and down the street, like an 8 year old boy, always around 1:00 to 5:00 AM. He appears to be about 48 years old , yells “fuck” constantly, and threatened to “knock your fucking teeth out…” to me. You have warring factions all around you. Be safe.
    The Pinkerton security guard who shot and killed the protester who was macing him is to be charged with first degree murder today. Denver

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  8. David C said on October 12, 2020 at 6:09 am

    I volunteered to be a poll watcher for the Democratic Party. I had two online training sessions but they asked me if I’d work in the Milwaukee area so I bowed out. I was told I would be staying within our county. I wouldn’t mind being in the city, but I would dread being sent to Waukesha, also knows as Walkersha, County. I don’t want to be away that evening in case the tRumpies crack up.

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  9. Peter said on October 12, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Deborah, I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. It’s a relief to know that he was able to die at home with his loved ones nearby – one that these days is so rare.

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  10. Deborah said on October 12, 2020 at 7:53 am

    So uncle J is still with us this morning. It was a rough night. I’ve never been this adjacent to someone in the process of dying. It has been moving and informative when I think of my own eventual demise. I know mine will be much more private. I will return to Chicago today after my husband drives me back, he’ll return to uncle J’s. It certainly will be a birthday I will never forget.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 12, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Blessings along your way, Deborah.

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  12. 4dbirds said on October 12, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Deborah, wishing your uncle a peaceful end.

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  13. JodiP said on October 12, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Deborah, my heart goes out to you and your husband.

    I did my election judge training online yesterday. Minneapolis actually did a pretty good job with it. I did the in-person version in ’18, but the review was helpful. I am working in my own precinct so will see lots of people I know.

    I am starting to get a little hopeful that Biden will win, and by such a large margin that the the election will get certified. But the ratfucking (thanks, Alex!) by the R’s also gives me a lot of pause. Plus, now that they have filled the courts with young, conservative judges we’re screwed for at least a generation. More so if Comey Barrett gets in, which of course she will.

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  14. Dave said on October 12, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Deborah, my sympathies. Also, welcome to the 7-0 group. My brother-in-law, who also turned 70 this year, as did I, told me it didn’t really hit him until he had to fill out a form at a doctor’s office and it asked his age. He wrote down 70 and then he said it hit him, oh, I’m 70!

    I’ve been present for the decline and passing of two people, my father and my mother-in-law. It’s difficult but both were elderly and it was expected, much easier than my father-in-law’s stroke and demise within a few hours at only 55.

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  15. Jakash said on October 12, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    And poor Hair Furor probably thought that his “nomination” had given him a real shot. Sad.

    “Hunter Biden was Chairman of the World Food Program,… which just won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Eric Trump, Donald J Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump are banned from ever operating a charity again because they stole donations to children with cancer.

    Any questions?”

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  16. Julie Robinson said on October 12, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    We’re on highway 80 in Illinois, on our way to Iowa, where apparently they’ve conquered Covid 19. I mean,
    they let precautions expire, so that must be the case, right?

    Mom wants to see her sister, and given both their ages and her sister’s breast cancer, we needed to make it happen this fall. There is no other reason I would travel right now. I’ve had a few nightmares.

    My husband loves to travel and is excited to make a road trip again. Since I can’t see well enough for highway driving we’ll count this as an early retirement blessing.

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  17. LAMary said on October 12, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Peace and grace wishes to you and your husband, Deborah.

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on October 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    An open letter is what you write when you know it wouldn’t be opened otherwise.

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  19. Suzanne said on October 12, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    My heartfelt sympathy Deborah. It’s hard to watch someone dear decline and go to the other side and yet, it can be oddly peaceful. The finality of it always hurts.
    Peace be to all of you.

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  20. 4dbirds said on October 12, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Is anyone who is 70 still working and not receiving SS?

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  21. 4dbirds said on October 12, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    So my question probably didn’t make sense. I will turn 66 and two months in May, my retirement age. I am not retiring then but will probably opt to receive my social security. Just wondering what others think if that is a good deal or not.

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  22. Diane said on October 12, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Happy Frances Cabrini Day from Colorado. Yes, Cabrini Day is now an official state holiday here. Our dear governor was obviously trying to tick the Italian and female boxes and came up with a Catholic saint. The good news is that she is a patron saint of immigrants and the first woman to be honored with a state holiday. But I’m not sure about the Catholic and saint thing and really would have preferred Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But it is Colorado and we tend to be a little funky and edgy and it usually works out. ‍♀️

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  23. diane said on October 12, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Happy Frances Cabrini Day. What can I say, I’m in Colorado and yes Cabrini Day is an official state holiday here. Our dear governor was obviously trying to tick the Italian and female boxes and came up with a Catholic saint. The good news is that she is a patron saint of immigrants and the first woman to be honored with a state holiday. But I’m not sure about the Catholic thing and really would have preferred Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But it is Colorado and we tend to be a little funky and edgy and it usually works out.

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  24. Mark P said on October 12, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    When to start drawing Social Security is basically making a bet. They at least try to make it so that you draw the same amount by the time you die, no matter when you start drawing it. If you think you might not live to your statistical life expectancy, then start early. If you are from a long-lived family, you might bet on outliving your expected span. Then it might make sense to start drawing later, because the monthly check will be larger. It does take a while to make up for what you would have drawn if you started earlier. There is no one, best answer. Unless you happen to know exactly when you will die. I started at 65. My mother died at 90, my father at 82, and my brother at 70, my current age, so there wasn’t much I could learn from family age at death.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on October 12, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    4dbirds, you’ll want to do some careful figuring. Once you are taking social security, if you earn above a certain threshold your social security benefits will be reduced. Poke around on the website and there may be calculators for that.

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  26. Colleen said on October 12, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    My husband is 67 and works full time and gets SS. ETA: I just checked, and once you reach full retirement age, there is no restriction on what you can earn.

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  27. Deggjr said on October 12, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Social Security benefits are also taxed at a progressive level, which can look like a reduction.

    I did not know until recently the amount of interest the Social Security trust fund receives. So much for the George Bush line about IOUs in a drawer.

    I also didn’t know until recently that the Social Security trust fund receives the taxes paid on Social Security benefits. How about that?

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  28. Little Bird said on October 12, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    The obelisk on the plaza in Santa Fe has been torn down. It’s a momentous day here in Santa Fe! I hope it’s replaced with something that represents the people indigenous to this area.

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  29. Deborah said on October 12, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    I don’t think there’s a restriction on SS based on what you earn if you are 65 or older. Am I right about that?

    I am back in Chicago and my husband, after dropping me off, is heading back to uncle J’s. When we left uncle J was still hanging on. He has not been a textbook case in the immediate dying process. His organs are mostly shut down but he has a strong heart.

    It was quite uplifting to be around uncle J as his caregivers attended to him. They are all there, all the time even though they worked in shifts before the dying process started, they are devoted to him. It was amazing to see.

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  30. 4dbirds said on October 12, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    I currently work at a job where I love working there and people respect and will have interest in what I say. I will continue working until I feel I no longer belong.

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  31. LAMary said on October 12, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    I thought there was a limit on how much you can earn and not mess up you SS benefits. I looked it up a while ago and it seemed like I could not earn more than 42k. I’m 67, nearly 68 and hoping to not fully retire until I’m 70. I applied last week for some cut of the ex’s SS. Apparently I can take some of his and he can’t stop me, even though in the divorce papers it says I can’t. I check with SS and they said he can’t prevent me from getting paid spousal benefits just by saying I can’t. It’s the law. I haven’t got my approval yet, so we’ll see what happens.

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  32. Julie Robinson said on October 12, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Stick it to him, Mary!

    My mom worked with a woman who was taking social security and she had to limit her hours. She said her ss would be cut if she worked more, but from what everyone else is saying, maybe that’s not true. Sorry if I led anyone wrong.

    We just visited Muscatine, Iowa, and saw the little house where we lived from 1958-1960, the now-closed candy store two houses down, the now-closed school, and the now-closed zoo.

    Muscatine is right along the Mississippi river and its claim to fame was its button factories, which stamped “pearl” buttons from freshwater oysters.

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  33. Peter said on October 12, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Julie, is Allsteel still in Muscatine?

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  34. Julie Robinson said on October 12, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Just looked it up and it is. We only saw a small part of the town, just my mom’s hangouts. In five days we’re traveling over most of the state, visiting every place she lived, so we have to stay focused.

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  35. Deborah said on October 12, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    I worked on a project for Allsteel shortly before I retired. We had a business trip from Chicago to their office somewhere in Iowa. I remember we drove because flying there was complicated, it was so out of the way.

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  36. Sherri said on October 13, 2020 at 1:28 am

    So, the pro-lifers say there’s no problem with trump being treated with drugs developed using fetal embryonic tissue from abortions, because he wasn’t responsible for that abortion.

    How do they know?

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  37. Dexter Friend said on October 13, 2020 at 1:51 am

    39 years ago this book was published: OLD GLORY An American Voyage. By Jonathan Raban.
    Sep 6, 1981 — ”Old Glory” remains more successful than 99 percent of the books about America since de Tocqueville’s ”Democracy in America. ” Back in his pedagogue period, writing technical criticism about ”Huckleberry Finn,” Mr. Raban put his finger on what gives that book its special vividness….(NY Times excerpt)
    I hold it dearly as the best travel book I ever read, much more compelling than “Blue Highways” by Wm. Least Heat Moon. Raban captains a 14 foot motorboat from Minnesota to the Gulf, encountering many characters along the way. I refer to this book because he stopped at Muscatine and stayed at an old hotel there, sort of a time-travel few days in that old town. My dad read the book and on one of my parents’ driving vacations headed to Muscatine and stayed at that old hotel. No AC, hot as hell, Mom hated it, but Dad gave me a full report, and said it reminded him of his salesman days when he stayed in many hotels like that.
    One thing about paychecks and retirement deposits and VA disability compensation: in all my years of working full-time until now, only one time was my pay delayed, and only by a few days. The comptroller was confused by a new OS and fucked up the payroll. The SS Admins and the VA paymasters have never missed a payday, yet. Taking SS at 62 was my deal, as I had to, as I retired early on the 30 year-and-out deal, no longer available in my format. No problems. I admire anyone who can still work approaching 70; jeezuss, I was all done physically at age 53. Fucking Agent Orange might have contributed to some of that, heavy hard factory work finished me off for factory labor.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on October 13, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Haha, Sherri. I think I read it was from Scandanavia, from the early 60s, or was it 50s, but point well taken.

    The last time we came here we flew, but it took longer than driving, what with the four hour layover at O’Hare That’s what you face going from one small town airport to another.

    We didn’t even look for a motel in Muscatine, just drove on to Cedar Rapids.

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  39. Suzanne said on October 13, 2020 at 9:20 am

    “So, the pro-lifers say there’s no problem with trump being treated with drugs developed using fetal embryonic tissue from abortions, because he wasn’t responsible for that abortion.”

    Yeah, when I know people who refuse to get their kids vaccinated for measles because the vaccine was developed using fetal tissue. Not a word from them now, though. Not a word from the National Right to Life or any other prolife organization that I have seen.
    Only pro-life depending on who is dying.

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  40. Suzanne said on October 13, 2020 at 10:15 am

    “The packing of the Supreme Court may be one of history’s worst political ideas — precisely because it would mow down the reputation of another essential institution — but the idea has gained traction only because of Republican ­provocation.”

    “They will get a Supreme Court majority that is committed to judicial restraint and the rule of law — but only if they support a king who despises restraint and cares nothing for the rule of law.”

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  41. Bill said on October 13, 2020 at 10:48 am

    My first after college job was at the Muscatine Journal in 1960. I stayed for a year before marriage and a better job and salary called me back to Champaign. I had an apartment over the local movie theater which was less than a block from the newspaper office. Haven’t been back since.

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  42. St Bitch said on October 13, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Shout out to Julie – as I type, perched in Davenport with a view across to the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, I can see a paddlewheel boat lazily heading downriver toward Muscatine. You have to admit, the weather is brisk and fine; the apples are crisp, sweet and tart; and Iowa has donned her most flattering, if fleeting, autumn garments. Here’s hoping this trip along memory lane turns out to be a refreshing one.

    Deborah, I’m glad you shared your big, generous heart with Uncle J on your birthday, as he transitions to the vast unknown.

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  43. Mark P said on October 13, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Packing the court is one of history’s worst political ideas? Really? Worse than slavery? Worse than Jim Crow laws? Worse than “miscegenation” laws? Worse than Plessy v Ferguson? I call bullshit on that.

    Packing the court is a bad idea only if you think one side should play by the rules when the other side doesn’t. Besides, increasing the number of justices is perfectly constitutional. Of course we shouldn’t count our eggs just yet.

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  44. Deborah said on October 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

    I can hardly watch the news anymore, and it’s hard to stay focused online. I’m so ready for this election to be over with a new president elect.

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  45. David C said on October 13, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Even though FDR’s court packing proposal is looked at as a failure, it worked. After letting the court know that if they kept saying all the New Deal was unconstitutional they would get new roomies the court moderated. So probably the first course of action is to let Roberts know that if he doesn’t want less elbow room on the bench they’d better not make any crackpot rulings. If they do, pack it and don’t look back.

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  46. Jeff Borden said on October 13, 2020 at 12:53 pm


    I’m not sure if this will work for you because I don’t know your situation, but when I turned 66.5 three years ago, I applied for a spousal benefit of Social Security. Every month I receive a check for one-half the amount my wife gets without touching my own S.S., which means when I must claim it next year, the monthly payments will be a bit larger. I was utterly unaware of this until a friend in similar circumstances told me to investigate.

    Judge Handmaiden already disgusts me by refusing to recuse herself from any legal actions relating to the election next month. She already proved herself a complete hypocrite. She argued in 2016 that President Obama had no right to name a SCOTUS justice in an election year. Now, of course, she’s riding that train to a lifetime appointment. Her refusal to take herself out of a case that would involve the corrupt piece of shit who nominated her underscores her immorality.

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  47. Julie Robinson said on October 13, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    St.B, we drove right past you! It rained through Illinois but Iowa has had perfect weather.

    Bill, my dad worked for the Muscatine Journal until some time in 1960, when I think he got himself fired. Russ Pigott, with one arm, if you remember from a remove of 60 years.

    Cedar Rapids is still a mess from the derecho two months ago. There are big piles of branches everywhere and 1 in 10 roofs with visible damage. It’s sobering.

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  48. Bill said on October 13, 2020 at 2:39 pm


    The name rings a tiny bell; the one-armed man does not. Sorry. I rarely think of my Muscatine year and only remember a few names: Luke N. (publisher), Bill F. (display ad mgr.) and a few younger guys from the composing room. I also joined the Elks Club, largely because they had a singing group, The Chanters, which was fun.

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  49. Deborah said on October 13, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Uncle J died at 1:43pm today. He hung on way longer at the end than anyone thought he would. We will miss him.

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  50. brian stouder said on October 13, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Deborah – I bet every NN.c’er just exhaled; and knit their brows. I guess this is all part of life, but that doesn’t make it less painful (or perplexing)

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  51. LAMary said on October 13, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    The FBI reports that those guys who wanted to kidnap or something worse Gov. Whitmer had plans for the governor of Virginia too. Both states had been mentioned in tweets by the tweeter in chief saying “liberate Michigan” and “liberate Virginia.” When it was observed that trump was inciting people to violence, the current liar in chief said:
    “President Trump has continually condemned white supremacists and all forms of hate. Governor Whitmer, and now Governor Northam, are sowing division by making these outlandish allegations,” she said. “America stands united against hate and in support of our federal law enforcement who stopped this plot.” So I guess Whitmer and Northam are responsible for some mouthbreather wannabe Rambos planning to overthrow state governments.

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  52. Suzanne said on October 13, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    LAMary, blame the victim. It’s the Republican way, isn’t it?

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  53. Jeff Borden said on October 13, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    Politico says Gary Peters is in trouble in Michigan and his defeat could help the GOP retain the Senate. Is this correct?

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  54. Julie Robinson said on October 13, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Rest in peace Uncle J.

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  55. Andrea said on October 13, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Peace and Blessings to Uncle J.

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  56. Dexter Friend said on October 13, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Jeff B. I keep seeing words pop up on the Michigan news feed I receive that Gary Peters is actually trailing as of yesterday. NY Times/Sienna College poll today has Peters at 43% over James at 42%. Trump and that goddam McConnell are trying to buy that Senate seat. I hope Michigan voters get their asses involved and stop this bullshit!

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  57. Dexter Friend said on October 13, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Deborah, my late Uncle Stanley lived to age 92 and witnessed all his 3 siblings and all his friends pass before him. Once he said of a close friend, “he had a helluva hard time dying.” I suppose you can relate today what that means. Sorry for your loss. 🙁

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 13, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Deborah, exhaling with you.

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  59. LAMary said on October 13, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Deborah, it was a gift that he had people who cared for him around him and it was a gift to you that you were able to see his peaceful transition to the next place.

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  60. Scout said on October 13, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Peace and grace to Uncle J and to all who will miss him.

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  61. Mouse said on October 13, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    My Mother died at age 89 from the effects of Alzheimer’s.It was a blessing.Had the disease for 5 years or so and the last 2 were miserable.She was still living at home as my Father refused to institutionalize her.She had fallen and broken her hip and the anesthesia from the operation really pushed her over the edge.She was one of those skinny,tough midwestern girls that worked hard at her yard,flowers, rock garden,taught herself to sail when she was 60,volunteered for everything in order to help others,cleaned animal cages at the shelter,even had a fling at acting at the community playhouse.That one really surprised
    Dad and I,just one of those people that would never get up in front of a theater full of people and act.She was one of those people that would have lived to be well over a hundred if the A hadn’t gotten her.So Deborah sorry for your loss,hang on to all those wonderful memories you have of him.Uncle J, RIP and if you run in to Dolores Doctor in your travels say Hi for me and tell her I’ll se her on down the road.

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  62. Sherri said on October 14, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Deborah, I’m glad you got to travel with Uncle J his last few years.

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  63. Dorothy said on October 14, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Deborah I’ve been thinking of all of you the last few days and sending love and sympathy to everyone. You mentioned you had never been near someone who was so close to death before. I’ve only been in that situation once, in 1987 when my husband’s cousin was dying from leukemia. It’s moving, and humbling and even spiritual to be with someone that way.

    Mouse – I got involved with community theater when I was in my late 40’s. Eventually I wanted to direct, and I did. The first one was a play about elderly people living in a retirement community so the cast was nearly all senior citizens. I was working with people my parents’ ages or older. It was wonderful, and they all had so much experience so I feel like I didn’t have a very hard job to do. The hardest thing was encouraging them to get off book, to learn their lines. Walking out of rehearsal one night Bill Zaeh (pure white hair, in his 70’s then) told me I was going to have to start raising my voice and laying down the law to get people to memorize their lines. At the next rehearsal I didn’t give away Bill’s name but I did tell them that someone told me I needed to do that. Then I said that I could not bring myself to yell at people older than I – but I DID say “If you see me turn around and have my back to the room for several minutes, please recognize that I’m probably stepping on my tongue and trying NOT to yell very hard at that moment…and in time I’ll be back to my cheerful self!” They all laughed and did MUCH better on their lines after that. Opening night they gave me a statue they bought at the Mall at one of those video stores – it looked kind of like an Oscar. And they got a label on it saying Best Director. Well of course I cried like a baby! It was one of my very favorite experiences in theater. My kids and I still imitate Joan Blank who had a line “Oh Mr. Beebe!!!” And she said it with this trill in her voice just so perfectly and made me laugh every single time.

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  64. Deborah said on October 14, 2020 at 7:29 am

    Thank you all for your kind words. My husband is still there, won’t be back until Friday. As the power of attorney he has a few more tasks. Uncle J passed away with all of his affairs in order.

    When the funeral home picked up uncle J’s body for the cremation the caregivers and family had prepared a burn bag of items to go with him in the furnace. I had never heard of that before but I think it’s a wonderful sentiment.

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  65. Julie Robinson said on October 14, 2020 at 8:44 am

    In a similar vein, we tramped around two cemeteries in Monticello, Iowa, yesterday, visiting the ancestors. There are so many sad stories, reminding me how tenuous life can be. My grandpa’s bio father, dead of a burst appendix when grandpa was two. He had come from Germany to begib his new life only 10 years earlier.

    Grandpa’s mom remarried, and they lost their first child at five months. Grandma and grandpa had a son who didn’t come home from the hospital. On and on and on.

    But Mom is having a blast, and it did her a world of good to be with her sister. Unfortunately that includes the hateful uncle, and we did our best to deflect and change the subject every time he started getting political.

    Best of all was when Dennis asked him for the WiFi code, and he trotted off to get it. I’ve been there multiple times without Dennis, and he would never give me the code, saying he didn’t have WiFi or he couldn’t remember the code.

    But let a fellow male ask, and boom, WiFi code. So clearly, all you need for the WiFi code is a penis. How regrettable I’d forgotten to bring one previously.

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  66. brian stouder said on October 14, 2020 at 9:36 am

    THREAD-WIN for Julie!!

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  67. alex said on October 14, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Dorothy I couldn’t resist…

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  68. Julie Robinson said on October 14, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Just one more hateful uncle story, then I’m moving on. At lunch, Mom picked up the $55 bill and he insisted on leaving the tip…$7. I found our server, told her I was embarrassed, and gave her $10 more. Now I’m thinking it should have been $20.

    Off to Ames and Boone.

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  69. 4dbirds said on October 14, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Social Security actually called me! So I can take my SS in May as that is my full retirement age and still work without a reduction no matter how much I make. It will be reduced by taxes on 85% of it but my state does not tax SS. I also found out that I can get my daughter (it’s a process and probably takes time) a benefit as a disabled child before the age of 22. The woman at SS said that since she has cancer, they work on those applications first. So I think I’m going to take it in May and also do Medicare Part B even though my healthcare carries over in retirement. The cost of Medicare Part B will be less than the max for our out of pocket costs and we met that in March of this year. Thanks everyone for you input.

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  70. Mark P said on October 14, 2020 at 11:09 am

    4dbirds, I assume your current health insurance covers prescriptions. Just make sure it does, because if you don’t have it and don’t sign up for it when you’re eligible, and you eventually sign up for the Medicare sorry-excuse-for-Rx insurance, you’ll pay a penalty forever.

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  71. Dorothy said on October 14, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    That was great, Alex! Thanks! Joan was a very good actress but she did have this annoying habit of not making eye contact on stage. I played Myrtle Mae to her Vita Louise in “Harvey” one time and she was so, so good as the wacky Vita. If I ever get to do that part I know what I saw Joan do will creep into my performance. Joan also made a cake for a cast party one time with something called daffodil icing. We all loved it and I asked her for the recipe. “Oh no, sorry – that’s an old family recipe and I don’t share it!” That was the only time in my 63 years of life that anyone refused to share a recipe when I asked for it. I mean I wasn’t going to be competing with her – taking a cake with daffodil icing to another party and the guests would choose whose cake was better…! I thought that was pretty damn petty. I’ve heard of people like that (or they give you a recipe but leave out an ingredient or two) but I just don’t have it in me to be that petty.

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  72. Maria said on October 14, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Dorothy, my mother gave her cheese cake recipe to a cousin, who then refused to share it with a neighbor, saying it was “a family recipe” and couldn’t be shared. When my mother found out she was so furious she tracked down the neighbor and gave her the recipe.

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  73. LAMary said on October 14, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    A million years ago when I lived in Colorado there was a Cabrini shrine on the highway south of Golden. Never a holiday though. I know there were a lot of Italians who went to the far southern part of the state, sort of around Trinidad, to work in the mines. I actually knew someone in NJ whose grandfather did that but came back east after retiring from the mine. I recall there was a sort of Italian neighborhood in north Denver? I say sort of because as someone originally from the NY area I’m accustomed to Italian neighborhoods being seriously, intensely Italian.

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  74. Mouse said on October 14, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Dorothy,I’m glad you had such a positive experience with community theatre.My mother had the lead in a play, I think the title was Everybody Loves Opal.She had to learn a ton of lines.The director was my gay sophomore English teacher and he really got the best out of her.Funny that nobody ever said a thing about him being gay,it just wasn’t a topic of polite conversation back in the early 60’s.The man was a hell of teacher too, got me interested in reading Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. Everybody that was in the theater group loved the guy.He probably should have gotten an oscar like you did!

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  75. LAMary said on October 14, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    I’m trying to get my head around the motivation to not share a recipe. I give people unsolicited recipes, especially a vegan friend. I sent him the very popular NYT red lentil soup with lemon recipe and he was grateful. Please feel free to tell all your anti recipe sharing relatives that I said they are jerks.

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  76. Julie Robinson said on October 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Isn’t hummingbird cake one of those southern sickly sweet things? I’ve seen recipes for it, and it looked too gooey for me, and I like my sweets.

    I always thought proprietary recipes were a small town thing with women who wanting a claim to fame. My aunt would offer to bring her blonde brownies in an important voice, as if we were very very lucky that she would deign to make them for us.

    Blonde brownies were nothing more than chocolate chip cookies baked in a pan.

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  77. Dorothy said on October 14, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Why do I get the sense that someone who won’t share a recipe also would not wear a mask? Also – a friend’s post on Facebook elicited someone to ask about why, if masks are so great, they sent so many prisoners home. My response was “Well, I am going to hazard a guess that there are just as many obstinate and ill-informed people in prison as there are walking among us, so they could not rely on them to wear them. They sent them home to self-care and physically distance and wear masks if they want to.”

    Mary you really made me laugh with that comment about we should tell our non-recipe sharing friends that they’re jerks. I appreciate the laugh today. Just found out someone in my office has Covid. I haven’t seen her in 3-4 weeks – thank goodness for our working from home 80% of the time. But now I’m going to worry and worry about her. She’s half my age – maybe younger.

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  78. Colleen said on October 14, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    I’m always flattered when someone asks for a recipe, and am more than happy to share. People are weird.

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  79. David C said on October 14, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    In addition to obstinate and ill-informed people in prison they’re packed in like sardines. Our local state prison was designed for 1500 and has 2000 prisoners. Our local state prison also seems to not be a contributor to our horrendous local outbreak and has Covid cases far below the number for other prisons. Probably because the warden is a woman. How many thousands are dead because “but her emails”.

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  80. Dorothy said on October 14, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Indeed, David – I made the same point. I said it was impossible for them to stay distant from each other in prison.

    I’ve actually been thinking about the mask attitudes for a few days. It dawned on me that I know of no one who likes to wear them. Who would? Everyone is really not a fan of them, but if you think about it as being just temporary until the virus stops transmitting, then you can live with the idea. If only we’d all worn them right from the beginning, everything would be different. It’s not that hard to comprehend.

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  81. Dexter Friend said on October 14, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    Covid19 comes and you think it goes, and then you find it was just on a scouting mission through your body and boom, it’s back. Lori returned to work 8 days ago, lasted 4 shifts and was struck by horrific stomach pain. She had Covid-related inflammation in her intestines, including her appendix, which the surgeon did his best at removing, along with a section of bowel which was damaged by the inflammation. She currently is having pain, necessitating pain meds, awaiting further testing which will indicate a long healing process as-is, or removal of her colon, and permanent colostomy bag usage. She can’t take calls now, for the pain she is in. Las Vegas is too far away right now. And, my wife’s sister’s son, a special needs man who lives in a South Carolina facility for similarly challenged men, has come down with Covid19. He is 51 years of age.

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  82. Scout said on October 14, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Barron Trump tested positive for Covid too.

    This is what Heather Cox Richardson posted yesterday. She usually covers several major news events with each post. This is serious. I will not willingly be a throw away life in the pursuit of the theory of ‘herd immunity’.

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  83. Deborah said on October 14, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Oh my god Dexter, how awful that your daughter is experiencing such a horrible set back, and now your wife’s nephew. This isn’t getting better, that’s obvious. I’m sending hopeful thoughts your way.

    Makes me wonder if Trump could have complications in his future. And today we find out that Barron had it too.

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  84. LAMary said on October 14, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    That’s a nightmare, Dexter. I can’t wait to wake up from this slow motion apocalypse. It’s wearing me down.

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  85. Dorothy said on October 14, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Oh no, no Dexter! I’m so sorry! I’ll be thinking of your Lori and praying she’ll recover very soon.

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  86. susan said on October 14, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Ohmygosh, Dexter. How awful. What a lot of horrors you and your family has endured. Enough! Please let it all resolve.

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  87. Dexter said on October 15, 2020 at 3:01 am

    Thanks for the support. My wife Carla Lee , already depressed as she doesn’t know what the surgeon will decide regarding her knee, is taking all this resolutely, but sad. She has been confined to a bed since June. So we wait to see what the sunrise brings today.

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  88. alex said on October 15, 2020 at 7:54 am

    I’m always eager to share recipes, especially with those who’ve been raised with the mistaken impression that goulash is a homespun version of Hamburger Helper. They don’t know what they’ve been missing.

    The recipe handed down to me gives you a fairly free hand in terms of the proportions of ingredients but it’s very simple. Brown some cubed chuck roast in bacon fat in a Dutch oven. Saute onions and Hungarian wax peppers in the fond. Add back the meat with broth and add a small pinch of caraway and a shit ton of paprika, a good six or so heaping tablespoons, and let it simmer for hours until it’s beyond fork tender. Add cubed potatoes about a half hour before you take it off the stove.

    It’s great comfort food, but I’m having labs drawn in a week or two so I’ll probably wait until November to do it again. Wish me luck on my A1C this time. It was 9.7 in April before I went on Trulicity.

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  89. Deborah said on October 15, 2020 at 8:55 am

    Alex, thanks for the goulash tutorial, and thanks for clarifying what a “shit ton” amounts to.

    I’m usually on the receiving end of recipes, I’ve not been into cooking until I retired, I’ve learned a lot from LB.

    I made a pot of chili a few days ago and since my husband is still at uncle J’s place, I’ve had it every day and now I’m sick of it. My cholesterol is up so I need to come up with some appropriate things to eat. If anyone has any good recipes that are low in cholesterol, I’d appreciate it.

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  90. Suzanne said on October 15, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Dexter, that’s awful. You have had enough and it’s time for things to swing up for you. Sending you and your family healing thoughts, prayers, and whatever else it takes.

    I have high cholesterol and am on a statin. My last check-up, a few weeks ago, my bad cholesterol had gone down and my doc wanted to know what I had done differently. I have no idea. I have been baking more during the pandemic and, well, let’s just say that my alcohol intake has not diminished due to the pandemic and politics while my exercise routine had absolutely not increased.
    So, maybe that’s the secret. With that in mind, I think I will write the COVID Baking & Wine Drinking Cookbook. It’s sure to be a best seller.

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  91. LAMary said on October 15, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Deborah, I’ve been making chili with lean, ground turkey for years and it’s really good. I do ground turkey, black beans, garlic, onions, a chopped jalapeno, a red bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, chopped tomatoes. It’s not like NM chili, but it’s damn good. I’ve been making it in the instant pot lately but that’s just because I work late sometimes. If you like cheese on top use part skim mozzarella. Another thing I’ve been using on stuff lately is a Chinese condiment called chili crisp. Try it. I use it on toast with avocado, poached egg and a little cheese. I makes everything more interesting. Amazon has chili crisp.

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  92. basset said on October 15, 2020 at 10:54 am

    I make chili with venison, which is really lean and healthy… if you cut up the deer yourself, which I do sometimes, there are lots of odd bits and trimmings which work well for chili or stew. Brown it, put it in the slow cooker with a big can of tomatoes, another of beans, some chili powder, some peppers if your spouse allows, go do something else for the rest of the day and dinner is ready when you are.

    Alex, hope the A1C improves… Trulicity works for me, in conjunction with several other meds.

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  93. JodiP said on October 15, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Oh, Dexter, I am so sorry to hear about Lori. What godawful news. I had not heard of this complication before. This virus is just beginning to show what it can do. You are far, far overdue for some good news.

    I also feel bad for Barron. He didn’t get to choose his parents.

    I also love sharing recipes. I post a fair amount of food I’ve made on FB, and I feel bad when peoople ask for recipes because most of the time I cook from books or magazines with paywalls. Alex, I’ve been making that stew since February 13, 1991. I know this because I make notes on everything I make. In Hungarian, the name is gulyasleves, with an accent over the “a”. I have a book called The Whole Chile Pepper Cookbook that covers spicy world cuisine. There used to be a magazine devoted to all things chile pepper, too!

    Deborah, belated condolences on the passing of Uncle J. As others have said, being present during the end of life is pretty humbling. My his memory comfort you.

    Regarding low cholesterol options, I love all kinds of salad. If you make your own vinaigrette, you can control what goes in it and it is 1000% better than anything in a bottle. One of my favorite fall salads is one with pears, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese. You could flake cooked/smoked salmon over it to make it more filling. A little good cheese goes a long way.

    My vinaigrette:
    3 T. vinegar of your choice
    1-2 t. Dijon mustard
    Salt and pepper
    1-2 cloves crushed garlic
    6 T. olive oil
    Minced shallot to taste

    Bon appetit!

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  94. Dave said on October 15, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Dexter, 2020 is an endlessly awful year but you’ve been dealt more than your share. I know we all are pulling for your daughter and your wife.

    Deborah, you’ve been telling us about Uncle J for a good bit of time and his slow decline. It turns into sadness and relief and I think many of us here have experienced that.

    Alex, hope you have good health reports.

    Meanwhile, the Orange Plague continues traveling around the country. I wonder, seeing those crowds, how many people get infected and how hush, hush, they keep it. Oh, and I’ve often thought I feel sorry for Barron, too. I hope that he doesn’t grow up into the kind of person his older half sibs are. What are the odds?

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  95. Jeff Borden said on October 15, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Tough news, Dexter. You and your family are certainly traveling through a rough patch. Good luck and keep your hopes up.

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  96. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 15, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    This blog community has a fair number of cat people, and history fans, so this thread is a delight for many of us:

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  97. Heather said on October 15, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    My cholesterol has gone down 30 points since 2018–the only thing I have been doing differently is that I added strength training to my exercise regimen. So I suggest trying that. Mine is still high but since it’s a good downward trend, I’m not going to go on the statins just yet, especially since I take so many meds already for allergies and athsma. High cholesterol and heart issues run on my dad’s side of the family, so it is a concern, but I also eat much healthier and exercise more than the people who have had problems, and I never smoked either.

    I’ve also been reading “When the Body Says No” by Gabor Maté and he makes a good case for a lot of health issues being caused by chronic stress and early trauma–not a new idea but he brings a lot of research to the table. It’s a littler sobering.

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  98. Julie Robinson said on October 15, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Dexter, adding my good wishes for your family. How truly awful.

    I’ve been having connectivity problems here in rural Iowa. I’m gonna sound like a Karen here, but there was no cell coverage at all in Monticello. Even our hotel last night in DesMoines was terrible. Whine whine.

    So we saw Mother’s timber, where she lived at Iowa State, house in Boone along with the hospital where I was born. In DesMoines we found our house by wandering around through town and her memory, as well as the insurance company where she worked. Now we’re driving through endless cornfields on our way to Oelwein.

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  99. Sherri said on October 15, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    I second Heather’s recommendation for strength training, especially for women. Helps with bone density and balance as well, both critical as we age.

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  100. Jenine said on October 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    @Julie R: Oelwein?! My mother was born there and grew up there and Des Moines. Know any Bausermans?

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  101. beb said on October 15, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Deborah might try my wife’s “Skinny Soup” otherwise known as cabbage soup. There’s a small amount of ground beef, some dice tomatoes and a whole head of cabbage shredded. I’m not sure what spices she adds. There is a whole lot of soup with little cholesterol. Of course having to eat a whole kettle of anything by yourself gets a bit much.

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  102. Julie Robinson said on October 15, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Oelwein and DesMoines were before I joined the family. As my parents moved around Iowa, they only had one car, and Mom was mostly stuck at home. In DesMoines she got a job with Bankers Life and loved it, but then Dad either got itchy feet or was fired. She still gets dividends from the stock she earned there, many times more than what her wages were. Bankers Life is now the Principal.

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  103. jcburns said on October 15, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    We just had four minutes of very very light Upper Peninsula snowflakes. Not even a cameo appearance, and yet, somehow delightful.

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  104. Deborah said on October 15, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    How many of you will be watching the town halls tonight and which one? I don’t know if I’ll actually watch all of Biden’s but I will have it streaming on my 3 devices, iPhone, iPad and Laptop so Biden gets better ratings, to piss off Trump. I’m sure Trump will make an ass of himself, won’t watch that one for sure. I have a feeling many people will skip both.

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  105. jcburns said on October 15, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    But Deborah, if your device’s hidden cameras don’t record you watching the town hall intently, it won’t count in the ratings.

    Yes, kidding.

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  106. LAMary said on October 15, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    A long time ago I was a Nielsen householder. I had a thing on the television that Nielsen could read and I had to send in a diary every week of what I watched who else was watching, all that stuff. I have no idea why I was picked. A guy just showed up at my door and asked if I’d do it. Before that I did the same sort of thing for radio, so maybe that was why I got picked for Nielsen. Reliable diary filler outer I have no idea how they measure how many eyeballs are watching stuff now. I will say that The Apprentice never got any rating from me. I watched once, when Omarosa had a small piece of drywall fall on her head and she claimed she had a concussion.

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  107. Deborah said on October 15, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    If I watch it on my TV nobody knows, or at least that’s how I understand it. Unless there’s somehow our provider (RCN) keeps track? But streaming sites keep track, again as I understand it.

    I have ABC streaming right now on my 3 devices but I can only have the sound on one device because they all have a bit different timing.

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  108. LAMary said on October 15, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    TV ratings measurment methods have changed but not as much as I thought.

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  109. Dexter Friend said on October 16, 2020 at 1:17 am

    A couple things changed. Lori is being monitored and evaluated and no decisions made yet regarding further surgeries. Carla Lee had a telemedicine appointment with her surgeon and her infectious disease doctor and a rough estimate of November 4 was stated as a possible knee replacement.
    Vanity Fair has an article damning Rudy Giuliani. The author is her daughter. She said she is not an insider, as she lives in Los Angeles, but she knows Trump must be brought down and kicked out. This is on the heels of the new NY Times story about Rudy being targeted by Russian intel to feed false information directly to Trump. This is real dirt with lots of sources and facts to back it all up.

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  110. Suzanne said on October 16, 2020 at 8:14 am

    The best tweet of dueling town hall night goes to Lincoln Project’s Tom Nichols

    “The only good thing about these two competing town hall events is that they show how much Biden is held to a different standard as an actual rational human being while Trump just has to get through an hour without lighting a bucket of mice on fire”

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  111. LAMary said on October 16, 2020 at 10:01 am

    I think this is the best tweet of the night:

    12hMary L Trump@MaryLTrump·Actually . . .Quote Tweet 12h Need to take issue with @SavannahGuthrie for saying to trump “it’s not like you’re someone’s crazy uncle.” @MaryLTrump rebuttal?

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  112. Peter said on October 16, 2020 at 10:09 am

    First off, Dexter, I am so sorry to hear about what’s happening to your family. I hope it will get better for you soon.

    I admit – I’m the guy who slows down by a roadside accident, I’m the guy who watches ice skating competitions just to see the falls, and I got to tell you, last night’s Trump town hall was a several car pileup that closed down the Interstate. Chris Wallace, Chuck Todd: watch Savannah Guthrie and TAKE NOTES.

    And could it get better? It did! GOP sycophants praising Trump’s performance and comparing Joe Biden to Mr. Rogers? I HATED Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood but even I know that you don’t talk bad about Mr. Rogers, Ron Howard, Oprah, or Jesus.

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  113. Deborah said on October 16, 2020 at 10:28 am

    A bucket of mice is a horrendous visual image for me.

    I watched most of Biden’s townhall, had my 3 devices streaming it as I said. It was so refreshing to hear someone who might (will) be president speaking in full rational sentences and saying things I actually agree with. I missed what he said about fracking, but assume he didn’t say anything negative because he was in PA. Fracking is reprehensible in NM, because of the water use alone, not to mention the chemicals etc. Really it needs to stop everywhere. Renewables folks.

    My husband comes back from Uncle J’s today, we are going back next Thursday for a large dinner in his memory at his house. The official memorial will be in northern Wisconsin in the spring at his lake compound. There are still some exciting projects coming up through his charitable trust, so that will be fun and interesting to work on.

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  114. Dorothy said on October 16, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Peter I promise I’m not trying to start any trouble but I want to ask you something. When’s the last time you watched an episode of Mister Rogers? I’ve been taping episodes on our PBS station to have on the DVR for my granddaughter when she visits. I thought it was pretty sappy when I was growing up but now – I swear to you I get teary eyed while viewing many of the episodes! He is talking to children, of course, not adults. But of course adults would be the ones who chose to turn on the t.v. for the children. He is so kind and intelligent and talks to kids on a level not many people do. The Land of Make Believe is still not my favorite, but if you are paying attention, lessons are being taught. Each puppet has their own personality and behaviors and for kids, to see even pretend characters being kind or loving or thoughtless or a little mean spirited, and the reaction to those behaviors by the others, teaches children so very much. And Fred’s obvious delight in visiting with guests (like the one last week with Yo Yo Ma!!) – he is an excellent role model for children. Especially for kids who might be growing up in a household where there is a severe shortage of those kinds of attitudes and behaviors. I know Fred Rogers is not everyone’s cup of tea. But he sure as hell knew what he was doing when it came to how to talk to children and teach them important life lessons.

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  115. LAMary said on October 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    One of my less enlightend brothers wouldn’t let his kids watch Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street. He said Mr. Rogers was gay (but he used a lot nastier word for gay men) and that Sesame Street taught kids to speak Puerto Rican (again, a lot nastier word for Puerto Ricans.) It’s shocking that he daughter turned out ok. One of his sons is a racist plumber and former meth addict and another is very nasty racist cop.

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  116. Peter said on October 16, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Dorothy, don’t get me wrong, I agree with everything you said. It’s just when I was growing up, I’d be lucky to see more than 30 minutes of TV a day (my mom kept track, and if I helped with the dishes I got 15 more minutes), and no way was I going to choose Mr. Rogers over Warner Brothers cartoons or a Three Stooges short, unless it was a ’50’s short with Joe Besser – Mr. Rogers is way better than that.

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  117. Dorothy said on October 16, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    I understand completely, Peter! I have three older brothers and one younger than me. They are all about the Three Stooges (and still are, sadly). I would like to think that show would be something you’d grow out of but apparently not, not in my family anyway. Their appeal escapes me. If you had to choose something to watch in the 60’s and you were a teen or pre-teen guy, you definitely would NOT watch Mister Rogers!

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  118. dexter said on October 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I worked many hours and never paid attention to Mister Rogers so if my kids loved him, I am clueless. Personally, when I was a wee lad and Dad brought home a heavy Motorola black and white TV, I immediately became enamored with Captain Kangaroo and Tom Terrific. Tom who? Watch a YouTube. Animated stick figures. Wonderful writing, and The Mighty Manfred, a big dog.

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  119. Deborah said on October 16, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    When LB was a little kid she loved Mr. Rogers, I didn’t get it but I was usually multitasking so I admit I didn’t pay attention. It wasn’t until later that I learned what he was teaching children (and adults). I saw both of the movies and cried and cried. One of those movies I watched on a flight back from London and I tried really hard to conceal my blubbering.

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  120. Julie Robinson said on October 16, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Was Mister Rogers around when I was a kid? I don’t remember ever seeing it, but I watched with my kids and it taught me how to be a parent.

    My parents were young and caught up in their own struggles. Neither of them had a clue how to guide us through life, especially dealing with emotions. I watched, learned and healed. I read his books and saturated myself in his philosophy. Everyone is worthy of love. Nothing is too big to be talked about and dealt with. Being different is beautiful.

    I bless the day Fred Rogers was born.

    We spent the night in Rockford and wandered around my hometown area of DeKalb and Sycamore. We’re about three hours from home now. I’m so grateful we were able to make this trip happen.

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  121. Sherri said on October 16, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Dorothy, Fred Rogers used to live in Squirrel Hill, and my husband once encountered him on the sidewalk. He said Mr. Rogers was as pleasant as you would expect.

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  122. LAMary said on October 16, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    No Mister Rogers until the sixties, Julie. Around 1966 maybe? I remember a friend of mine had an afterschool babysitting job and she used to watch Mister Rogers with the kids.

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  123. David C said on October 16, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t think we had a PBS station in Grand Rapids until I was a teen. So I know I never saw Mr. Rogers as a kid. I probably first saw it as a teen when I was at peak scoffing age. As I grew older I started to see his genius.

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  124. Jim said on October 16, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood started airing nationally in 1968.

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  125. Suzanne said on October 16, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    Mr Rogers first aired in 1968. My kids watched it in the early 90s.

    On the road today after a visit to the grocery, I followed pick-up truck with black Duct tape on the back and side that spelled out Trump 2020. On the back was “Suicide solves everything” in stick on letters.
    Nice people those Trumpsters, aren’t they?

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  126. Julie Robinson said on October 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    So I was 12.

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  127. Colleen said on October 16, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    I liked Mr Rogers when I was little, and now can respect his work from an adult perspective.

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  128. alex said on October 16, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Mr. Rogers was always just on the periphery of my consciousness. I was aging out of it by the time it became popular and I was always more drawn to the higher production values of the razzle-dazzle kids’ programming on the networks versus PBS. And the cereal and candy and toy commercials which were even better than the programming.

    Another exhausting week and here I am at the start of another too-short weekend. This one will be spent figuring out what to do with an abundant harvest of tomatoes and peppers picked in a frenzy last night in anticipation of the season’s first freezing temperatures.

    I’ve spent the last two days in utter shock and disbelief. I learned that some old friends — a married couple with whom I worked at a publishing house many years ago — died in a gruesome and violent murder/suicide. They were such lovely and easygoing people and it just doesn’t square with my memory of them at all.

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  129. LAMary said on October 17, 2020 at 12:20 am

    DHS and ICE are picking up people and deporting them from sanctuary cities. The announcement was made by the acting head of DHS. Acting. As in an appointment that was never approved. Like the acting BLM guy who just got booted.

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  130. Dave said on October 17, 2020 at 8:55 am

    I remember my youngest sister watching Mr. Rogers on WOSU, the Columbus station, when she was five or six, 1969-70. It was in glorious black and white and we’d recently got our first color TV, which also could receive UHF. I think the government had mandated that all TV’s sold in the U. S. would require UHF reception and a quick look at Wiki confirms that went into effect in 1964.

    Wasn’t Muscatine Walt Disney’s childhood home for at least a part of his growing-up years? I believe it was also a onetime railroad town on the Santa Fe but now a place where trains whistle as they pass on by.

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  131. Deborah said on October 17, 2020 at 9:24 am

    I should google this but I’m too lazy right now, I thought being a sanctuary city only meant that the authorities in that city wouldn’t assist ICE or whomever in apprehending undocumented people. Not just in the seizing of the undocumented but also in investigations etc. ICE can still go in and arrest people as I understand it but they’re on their own. I could be wrong about that. Both Chicago and Santa Fe are sanctuary cities.

    In LAMary’s link to that sanctuary city article, I scrolled down and found this headline “Woman wakes up during red-eye flight to find pastor peeing on her”.

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  132. Julie Robinson said on October 17, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Dave, a cursory date with Uncle G doesn’t bring up an mention of Walt living in Muscatine, but who knows. Mark Twain did live there briefly, and his brother was a part owner of the Muscatine Journal, where Dad worked almost 100 years later. Amazingly, they still publish Monday through Saturday.

    Twain was rhapsodic about Muscatine’s sunsets, calling them the prettiest he’d ever seen. Of the sunrises, he said he’d heard they were pretty too, but he would not know. As a night owl, I resemble this comment.

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  133. Dave said on October 17, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Julie, I’ve mistaken Muscatine for Marceline. Sorry, Marceline is also the Santa Fe railroad town. Whoops. Making it even worse, Marceline is in Missouri. I’m bound for the penalty box.

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  134. basset said on October 17, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Some pretty pictures to distract us from the madness for a few minutes:

    They plan to put up photos from all fifty states. Indiana’s entry, of course, includes basketball, cornfields, and the 500.

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  135. Julie Robinson said on October 17, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Seems like a minor penalty to me, Dave.

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  136. Dexter Friend said on October 18, 2020 at 1:05 am

    The Tampa Bay Rays are going to the Dallas bubble for the World Series. One player to watch: Randy Arozarena, from a hopeful to a superstar in a few weeks. Pedro Martinez said it: when they play, we can forgt our troubles for a while….

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  137. Dorothy said on October 18, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Alex I’m very sorry about your friends.

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  138. alex said on October 18, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Thanks Dorothy. I think you would have liked them. They were thespians. In fact they were so into it they used to host a party every year for the Tonys and those get-togethers are what I remember best. They also used to host fundraisers for the Broadway Cares AIDS charity back in the ’80s and ’90s. They had a nice condo in Lincoln Park in Chicago and it appears they were still living there. Still utterly gobsmacked by the whole thing. The news said he stabbed and bludgeoned her to death and then stabbed himself to death.

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  139. Dorothy said on October 18, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Dear God that is just unbelievably sad!! Guessing perhaps there was some form of mental illness involved – I mean who stabs themself to death!?

    Topic switch: I’ve been having a really relaxing weekend attending a virtual quilt retreat with about 20 ladies who are in the same Modern Quilt Guild as me. I did not think it would be possible to have fun joining a Zoom meeting off and on over 43 hours but it really has been fun. I’m getting lots of sewing done. I listen a lot, I chime in when I have something to contribute, and we are all laughing and talking and it’s delightful.

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  140. 4dbirds said on October 18, 2020 at 5:51 pm


    Marceline, Missouri is my mother’s hometown.

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