Tapping out.

If anything, today was worse, in terms of news. After the horrifying charade of multiple states signing on to this ridiculous Texas lawsuit, today we had Michigan legislators seeking to invalidate their own state’s vote because they are terrible people Republicans.

I have to dip out of this madness and into something, anything that is sweet, frivolous and/or makes me believe people are good. So I suggest you start with Hank’s review of the new Bee Gees documentary. Anyone who remembers the Bee Gees from that mining-disaster single through disco era will enjoy it, he promises. OK, I’ll be there, too. Glad this detail made it in:

It is here that “The Bee Gees” makes an enlightening argument for the kind of musicianship that happens at the studio control board. It’s not so much about manipulation as it is a startling degree of precision and perfectionism. “Jive Talkin’,” a revelatory new Bee Gees hit in 1975, was divined from the rhythm produced by car tires speeding across a Miami bridge.

I have a friend who tells Uber drivers this when he visits Miami.

Also, here’s a sweet remembrance of a recently departed mother by the Freep’s long-departed religion writer. (He took the buyout years ago.) I was particularly impressed by the mother’s experience with depression, at a time when depression wasn’t nearly as well-understood as it is now, and her lifelong management of it. I read it in bed this morning. It’s worth your time.

Hello, weekend. Hope yours is good.

Posted at 8:42 pm in Uncategorized |

89 responses to “Tapping out.”

  1. alex said on December 10, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Crumm’s mum was from Howe, where I went to military school. I wasn’t even aware of Methodists there particularly. The school was Episcopalian and the other big church in town was Presbyterian. And everyone was very provincial. Puritanical really. Maiden name was Yunker and her dad was born in Switzerland, so I’m guessing they came over as Mennonites who became Methodists.

    A good read, and timely for those of us who’ve known depression and felt it keenly as the days grow shorter under the cold gray skies of this godforsaken part of the country.

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  2. Dexter Friend said on December 11, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Bee Gees were unavoidable on late 60’s car radios. I liked their tunes, then abandoned when disco hit.

    I was very impressed by “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” , Dave Letterman’s Netflix program. Dave traveled to Yellow Springs, Ohio to interview David Chappelle and get a feel for the area, and even drink from the yellow springs. One of Dave’s best efforts, and a must for Chappelle fans.

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  3. beb said on December 11, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Bee Gee’s mining disaster song…? Would that be “Timothy”? It’s the only mining disaster song I still remember.

    This Texas law suit keeps getting worse and worse. I’n beginning ti feel like I’m trapped in the walking dead — everywhere I look there are brain-dead Republicans staggering around chanting “Trump! Trump! Trump!” Legal scholars are saying this case has no Standing, was filed too late and calls for the Supreme Court to violate sacred state’s rights issue having to do with how they conduct an election. But it’s like every Republican is buying into this. Why should assume that the Supreme Court won’t say “Sure, why not?”

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  4. LinGin said on December 11, 2020 at 5:05 am

    Beb – It’s the Supreme Court I’m counting on, strangely enough. Or, I should say, John Roberts. It’s his name, his Court. I think he will assert his authority and throw everything out unless he wants to join Roger Taney in notoriety.

    Interestingly, the brief that led to the opinion was addressed to Samuel Alito who is now the most conservative (and IMO dangerous) justice. Either Roberts asserted himself or this was too far even for a reactionary like Alito.

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  5. alex said on December 11, 2020 at 6:02 am

    To me this suit looks like political theater for the benefit of really stupid people who don’t know the first thing about law. And representatives signing on who don’t want pitchforks shoved up their asses.

    What it really amounts to is a tacit admission by states that they practice voter suppression and that they find it intolerable to lose a national election because of a few states that don’t.

    It reminds me a bit of Monicagate. I remember idiots spewing talking points they’d picked up on Fox loaded with legal jargon they didn’t understand, but they came prepared to debate and primed for a fight wherever they went. An army of wind-up toy soldiers.

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  6. Dorothy said on December 11, 2020 at 6:24 am

    In the last three days two of my sisters let us know that they both had brothers-in-law very sick due to Covid. In my youngest sister’s case it’s her former brother-in-law. Well he died last night. He was 62. The other man is not doing well, and I’m bracing to hear more bad news this weekend. I was just with this second guy a little over a year ago when we drove to Poughkeepsie to celebrate my sister and her husband’s 35th anniversary. He was my partner in their wedding 36 years ago, 1984 when I was pregnant with my son. It was the day Prince Harry was born (the wedding day). It seems like every day now I hear about someone sick with the virus, or someone I know who knows someone who died from it. EVERY DAY.

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  7. nancy said on December 11, 2020 at 6:38 am

    New York Mining Disaster 1941, beb.

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  8. alex said on December 11, 2020 at 7:19 am

    The BeeGees were a big part of the soundtrack of my youth and inspired at least one off-color ditty that made the rounds at school:

    They cut my balls, now I sing this way

    Sung by jealous boys taunting girls who collected their music and posters.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2020 at 8:00 am

    My wife and I were enjoying the riffs played between sets on last night’s Broadway special, which was wonderful in terms of the music in general, but we weren’t expecting the Bee Gees:


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  10. Suzanne said on December 11, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Political theater from the GOP? For some, maybe, but I think many of them, including NE Indiana’s Jim Banks, really believe what they are doing is right and ordained by God. Never forget that people like Banks see this as good v evil, God v Satanic forces and they, and only they, have been appointed by the almighty to keep the USA under God’s good graces and on the narrow path that leads to salvation. Think Iran & the Mullahs only with the Bible as the guide rather than the Koran.
    That’s where we are.
    Do I trust Roberts to put a stop to it? No.

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  11. Mark P said on December 11, 2020 at 8:41 am

    States like Georgia do practice voter suppression, it just turns out they weren’t efficient enough. The Republican general assembly is going to try to remedy that by requiring a reason for voting by mail instead of allowing it for any or no reason.

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  12. alex said on December 11, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Suzanne, I’ll grant that Banks is more likely a stupid true believer than a cynical one. But the lawsuit is so laughably meritless that it’s inconceivable that the Supremes would even indulge it, much less find in its favor. Fortunately for them, they can escape the political heat simply by refusing to hear it just as they did with the last one.

    So I wouldn’t go applying for my New Zealand citizenship just yet.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Gene Weingarten had this on Twitter: an epic newspaper correction story, 47 years in the making.


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  14. basset said on December 11, 2020 at 10:31 am

    “A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”

    — Robert A. Heinlein

    Heinlein also said that “an armed society is a polite society,” so take all this with as many grains of salt as you deem appropriate.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on December 11, 2020 at 10:35 am

    I wouldn’t count on John Roberts. The addition of Justice Handmaiden took away his power as the swing vote. She will be making terrible mischief for the next three or four decades.

    The phrase “loyal opposition” used to describe the interplay between political parties. Conservatives would put more faith in the marketplace and liberals would champion more government intervention, but it was generally accepted both views had the good of the nation at heart. This started to change when Newt Gingrich was infesting Congress, but it was turbocharged by tRumpism. Today, Republicans are the party of stuff and nonsense. Watch them strangle the coronavirus relief efforts, then unleash a torrent of criticism against President Biden and the Dems as our nation staggers under the enormous weight of this crisis.

    Republicans are not patriots. They’re barely citizens.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on December 11, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Oh geez. I come here from reading Giuliani’s latest, accusing black election workers of passing around thumb drives like they were heroin or cocaine, the New Hampshire legislator who exposed droves of his fellows to Covid 19 before dying of it, and the supposed names of illegal voters, who simply seem to be drawn from the legal voter list, but have been proven to be legal by another legislator in Georgia.

    And now you tell me there’s a Bee Gee’s documentary? Will the horrors of 2020 never cease? Someone in this house adores the Bee Gees, someone else abhors them. Someone agrees with Alex’s summation of them. Eww, eww, eww.

    That was a lovely remembrance by David Crumm. Depression runs rampant on both sides of our family, with varying degrees of successful treatment, so it spoke to me. I love that she encouraged his storytelling about the bears.

    Dorothy, I’m so sorry about your relative, even if he was an ex. It won’t be long before we all know someone who died of Covid. Hands? Mine’s in the air.

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  17. Heather said on December 11, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Montana’s governor points out that state did the same things in the election that Texas says were illegal in Michigan, but because Trump won, it’s not an issue. Imagine that.


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  18. susan said on December 11, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Two of Warshington State’s congresspeople joined 100+ other Republican insurgents in their Texas Voter Nullification and Sedition Law Soot. This $h!† makes me so angry and I’m so sick of it. Even though, thankfully, I am not in either district, I sent each a note:

    Regarding the Texas Voter Nullification

    Dear —,

    Well, aren’t you special, trying to overthrow a legitimate election through an act of sedition. Since you think (on no bases of fact) that the electoral process is SO obviously corrupt in this country, I’m sure you are willing to give up your seat in Congress until we can straighten out this parlous situation. Is that right?

    You know what? You don’t represent me or your district or the State of Washington. You represent the obscenity that is the Republican Party. Go to hell. And shame on you.

    Piss on them and their graves. They are all just horrible people.

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  19. Dave said on December 11, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Our local congressman, Gus Bilirakis, in a very safe seat here, 12th Florida District, signed on. I wrote him a e-mail expressing my dismay last night but I expect no answer. I wrote him about two weeks ago expressing my concern that he and others could not say that Biden won. I received no answer for that one, either

    Actually, I was surprised that he signed on, he has spent most of the last four years trying to ignore Trump. He’s very strong on veteran affairs and I understand he does respond and try to help people. Also, he’s Greek, from Tarpon Springs, and his father was in Congress for 24 years before him. Of course, he won the most recent election hands down. Two years ago, a strong candidate ran against him and was soundly defeated, this time it was a person who was thrown to the wolves, so to speak.

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  20. Suzanne said on December 11, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    “…attorneys claiming to be representing the “states” of “New California” and “New Nevada” just filled an amicus brief in support of the Texas-led lawsuit…”


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  21. David C said on December 11, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    I’m the attorney representing Napoleon Bonaparte. I’d like to submit an amicus brief too.

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  22. LAMary said on December 11, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    I remember I was at a sleepover at my friend Janet’s house when I first NY Mining Disaster. It was on WABC, the station we thought was cool, then. We both thought the song was weird. Not these exact words but the sentiment was definitely, “what the hell was that?” I think we were maybe 13 or 14 and liked the Temptations, Four Tops, Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and The Chiffons. He’s So Fine was the fave. Do lang do lang do lang…

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  23. Dave said on December 11, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    I remember hearing New York Mining Disaster 1941 on WCOL, the Columbus, OH, AM rocker. I think it was summertime and I was driving my parents 1967 Ford Galaxy. I think they said the group was Australian and I was wondering, what mining disaster in New York? What an odd choice for a song. Why is this a hit? I’m still thinking now, what made this song a hit?

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  24. Dorothy said on December 11, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Well technically the person who died is not my relative – he used to be my youngest sister’s brother-in-law. My sister is divorced from a guy; that guy’s sister was married to the man who died last night. I guess we’re sort of but not really related.

    Also full disclosure – I like The Bee Gees. Don’t judge me! Their music is (was) very dance-able.

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  25. Suzanne said on December 11, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Supreme Court turned down the Texas lawsuit.
    What will happen to New California & New Nevada??


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  26. Sherri said on December 11, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    The Texas lawsuit was too stupid for SCOTUS to ever touch, but the problem is that 18 state AGs and over 100 House members saw no problem with putting their name on a blatant effort to dismantle democracy, because it is their calculation that they will suffer no political cost by doing so. That they are probably right is the biggest problem we face, that a significant minority of this country simply does not believe that the rest of us deserve a voice in our government.

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 11, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    The question is now, as they say, moot.

    A lovely word, not often enough used.

    Maggie Haberman noted on Twitter that last night Trump noted at a Hanukkah party in the White House the Texas appeal to SCOTUS was his best hope. And that he’s got a Christmas party there tonight about now. One of the Dukakis kids in a tweet reply said “What a festive night.”

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  28. Dorothy said on December 11, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Jeff when we moved to South Carolina I got a job in the executive level of Jacobs Engineering. My boss was a great gal named Jane Taylor (who died a few years ago). She was the assistant to big boss, Pat something or other. Jane was whip smart and ran the place capably. But she used to say something was a “mute” point instead of moot and I just kept biting my tongue hard enough that it nearly bled.

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  29. Joe Kobiela said on December 11, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Hanging kinda close to you tonight spending the night in beautiful and busy Dickson Tennessee.
    Pilot Joe

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  30. basset said on December 11, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    The BBQ place right off the main street is good… what’s going on in Dickson?

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  31. Joe Kobiela said on December 11, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    We had a plane get a engine fire light so they landed here, it was a false alarm it’s been fixed it has to be test flown, so here I am.
    Pilot Joe

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  32. Deborah said on December 11, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    I got a text from Move-on today that put me over the edge of an already stressful day. They wanted to know what I thought of Biden’s selection of Vilsack, they said that after Vilsack left the Obama admin he went to work for big ag that was harmful to small farmers and black farmers. All I could think of is we have bigger fish to fry right now, I mean come on man, we haven’t even gotten through the big shit show Trump is pulling now. We’ve got an out of control pandemic going on, etc etc etc. the last thing I care about right now is who Biden picks for secretary of agriculture. While I feel for small farmers and black farmers, that just isn’t a priority in my mind right now. I let Move-on know it too.

    Our day started in Abiquiu where it had snowed 2 inches during the night, the stairs to our sleeping loft are partially outside and it was perilous this morning. With my vision problems right now I was terrified walking down slick steps with poor depth perception. Then when we got back to Santa Fe we had an emergency plumbing problem to deal with, had to find a plumber quickly to take care of it. All is ok now but I’ve had it.

    I was glad to hear about what SCOTUS did but the right wing reaction has been depressing. Hoping for a better day tomorrow.

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  33. Dave said on December 11, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Basset, I see that the covid is taking a toll on Dave Ramsey headquarters. He’s portrayed in the story as a strong anti-masker, complaining about government controls and now roughly 100 of 800 employees are covid-positive.

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  34. Sherri said on December 11, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    I’ve always been reluctant to say what I think about Dave Ramsey, because I know quite a few people who think he’s great, and my church has run Financial Peace courses. I’ve always thought he was just the wrong side of a grifter, and so, of course, he’s an anti-masker, most of his marks are as well.

    The lawsuit may be moot, but I fail to see what is moot about so many elected officials signing on to a blatant attempt to throw out democracy.

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  35. susan said on December 11, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Here is a sobering video of the exhalation of vapors, and how the virus spreads so easily in unventilated places (bars, churches) by un-masked people. Gads. Even wearing an ill-fitting mask is hinky. Wonder how one knows if one’s mask is correctly aligned? And how to correct it?

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  36. Dexter Friend said on December 12, 2020 at 2:43 am

    Jeff Borden: They’re traitors whose antics, which if by some horrid chance would have been given credence by SCOTUS on Friday, would have converted this great democracy into a fucking dictatorship. For real. I give full credit to all 9 for realizing what the nation was up against. The people who wanted Trump at 1600 Penna Ave and voted as such, and approve of Trump’s antics, must be sorely dissed. Fuck all of them. I ain’t no sort of blind-look patriot by any means, but fucking Trump has gone too far. Well, I believe he’s been rendered harmless on this issue. Now we have to endure reading about the pardons.

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  37. beb said on December 12, 2020 at 5:02 am

    Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) argued on Friday that the 126 Republicans seeking to overturn election results should not be seated in Congress.

    as reported on Raw Story. He’s arguing that the 14 amendment bars people participating in government who have waged war against the government. Nancy Pelosi is too nice a person and too old to give it any consideration but calling for the Supreme Court to over-turn an election because a Democrat won is unforgivable.

    And Trump needs to be locked up in a rubber room. The man’s continued efforts to overthrow the election is waging war against Amemrica: so treason.

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  38. David C said on December 12, 2020 at 6:03 am

    My mother-in-law went to the hospital Thursday with chest pains. She’s fine. It was just heartburn. One nurse told her that she usually managed two patients per shift but that lately it has been five. Almost all of the regular intensive care beds were full and many of the cases that would normally go to intensive care were being shifted to cardiac care beds. They’re probably just beginning to climb the post-Thanksgiving curve too. We’re in for a scary couple of months I’m afraid.

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  39. basset said on December 12, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Dave, do you mean this story?


    That sure sounds like him. I used to listen to Dave pretty regularly – OK, don’t get into debt, pay cash, live within your means, I get it – bought the Financial Peace book, even went to one of the arena events, and I liked hearing the stories of how callers had run up crushing debt and gotten through it, but I just got tired of the self-righteousness and the growing commercial load, don’t even know what station he’s on here any more.

    Joe, good to hear everyone’s safe, didn’t know that airport even had repair service.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Ramsey & Eric Metaxas are the tip of a weird iceberg; say what you will about who they were and how you felt about them five or ten years ago, but their turn under Trump is still incongruent for me with all they’ve stood for and said in the fairly recent past. Is it all for show and support and cynical profiteering? Perhaps, but their tone & shrill insistence on the rightness of their Trumpification isn’t matched by plenty I would have assumed, not the least for fiscal reasons, would have gone down Trump’s rabbit hole with the crowd. Why the ones who have, have, I am still trying to understand.

    On a parallel but slightly separate track, the whole vaccine thing has opened up a lot of conversations with my progressive/liberal friends who I learn did not know before just how deep and wide the divide has been for MANY decades between 10-15% of the overall population and the rest of us who get our shots, get our kids inoculated, and who don’t wonder what strange government plot is behind the BCG & DTaP injections. It’s never been huge, and I’m not convinced it’s much bigger now, but they’ve always been there in meaningful numbers, forcing all kinds of workarounds and challenges to public health & policy. Minority communities have both the reality of Tuskegee and the strange rumors of various experiments swirling in larger numbers in their midst, Amish are their own sort of challenge, and then there’s the particular weirdness of highly educated, deeply anxious parents who are smaller in number but very well schooled in how to put maximum pressure on school districts and the medical system.

    Anyhow, they’re back in front of cameras and top of the news, and it’s not a reaction that’s cut from whole cloth. It’s anti-vaxxing with a turbocharge assist, and it’s revving something fierce.

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  41. alex said on December 12, 2020 at 11:13 am

    The “tires on a bridge” thing in “Jive Talkin'” is quite the revelation, and I totally get it. The flop flop flop. It’s timed just like acceleration.

    For me the sound in that particular song always conjured the rooting of a pig (think Arnold on “Green Acres”) and also the fart/shart lower abdominal rumbling sound that was prevalent in ’70s funk music. But tires on a bridge (or on rumble strips for that matter) puts it in a whole new light.

    I work with an anti-vaxxer woman who also fervently believes that Donald Trump is being silenced and distorted by the media. She’s otherwise not stupid, but I find her political beliefs utterly beyond comprehension. Somehow we manage to put that stuff aside for the sake of a harmonious working relationship but it has made me realize that shared beliefs and values should never be assumed based on such markers as levels of education. I think it’s an intergenerational and cultural thing where distrust of government is just baked into the whole essence of one’s being and is immutable.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2020 at 11:25 am

    Susan, I’ve seen a couple of other similar videos and they’re why we’re staying home. You’re breathing the air of everyone who has been in that space, somewhat like unprotected sex.

    Sherri, Dave Ramsey is definitely a grifter. We were encouraged to take the class, but when I researched him I learned his website is full of affiliate listings for overpriced insurance and the like. I guess the program did help a couple of people at our church who had maxed out their credit cards. But his dictum against using credit cards at all is ridiculous for people with the discipline to pay them off in full every month.

    It was rather amusing to watch everyone carrying around 15 envelopes of cash in their purses. They had to be easy targets for purse snatchers.

    Some groveling from Kathleen Parker: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-was-wrong-about-trump-he-won-and-he-broke-us/2020/12/11/9bd2ecf0-3bf4-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html

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  43. Jeff Borden said on December 12, 2020 at 11:52 am


    I hear you. I always thought smoking reefer was a cultural marker. . .that the redder among us favored alcohol or, maybe, speed. But everyone smokes dope these days. Same with hair. When I was in college, having long hair in the wrong place could lead to some violence, but now many of the tRumpanzees favor flowing locks and big beards. Yet the worst of the rightwingers favor shaved heads. You just can’t tell.

    Regarding your otherwise intelligent coworker, I’d just note that conservatives have lambasted government, particularly the federal government, as inherently bad, wasteful, stupid, corrupt, ineffective. It was a way to differentiate themselves from liberals, but the message is now deep within the DNA of the true believers.

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  44. Dave said on December 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    As I’ve said before, our oldest son and his wife are anti-vaccers, a belief that we find ourselves tiptoeing around. They have three children and I think our son, especially, eats up anything that Robert Kennedy, Jr. writes or posts. He doesn’t really believe in the covid pandemic, either, and sends us e-mails with links to people presenting their opinions on the pandemic, such as a man named Michael Yeadon, who once worked for Pfizer but left nine years ago. We find it all upsetting but there’s no convincing him or her. He told me that I might spend five minutes searching for something to refute his arguments but he’s STUDIED this and knows he’s right. They also are acquainted with a family who blame their son’s autism on vaccinations, so there you are.

    Somehow, a lifetime of vaccinations hasn’t killed me yet but I guess I got lucky, as did his mother. We don’t bring it up anymore and I don’t closely read the articles he sends because I fail to see the point.

    Basset, that wasn’t exactly the article I read but it was very similar. I haven’t listened to him for quite some time but I always thought he expected people to go to extremes. I suspect these people who ate it up were people who had gone to extremes in the other direction before finding Mr. Ramsey.

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  45. Sherri said on December 12, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    When you’ve convinced yourself that as a white conservative evangelical man, you are oppressed, it can’t be that hard to go full Trump. After 8 years of a Black man as President, the prospect of a woman as President was completely unacceptable.

    And no matter how much they pretty it up or mask it, it’s part of the core identity of white conservative evangelicals that they are oppressed. Just like the early Christians in the Bible.

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  46. Jakash said on December 12, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    While Kathleen Parker’s column is a step in the right direction, her conclusion that “What’s wrong is Trump, was Trump, forever-will-be Trump.” doesn’t cut it, at all. The fact that massive support for Trump is the end product of decades of Republican “political philosophy” and dog-whistling is the bigger problem. Trump himself, in a better society, would be no more dangerous than any other carnival barker. He’d rant and rave, and few would pay attention. “What’s wrong” is that there are millions in his cult, and even more problematic are the supposedly reasonable folks in positions of authority who cater to them because they fear losing their votes.

    Here’s a good comment after the WaPo column: “Parker states that she believed the country would survive Clinton OR Trump. What I’d like to hear explicitly from people like her is that they believe Hillary would’ve been not just no worse than Trump but far, far better. Better, because she believed in surrounding herself with experts not idiots. Because she could appeal to the good in people instead of the hate they have for the other side. Because she believed in science. Because unlike Trump she had a history of public service. I want to hear Parker and others say she was the most qualified candidate in decades and we wouldn’t be where we are now–a battered, beaten nation–if we had just picked her over a con man who was one of the worst Americans even BEFORE he started campaigning. Let’s see that column from any conservative opinion writer.”

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  47. alex said on December 12, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    Jeff, just this morning I was reminiscing in another thread about how bad environmental pollution was until the 1970s when the EPA was established and how much environmental damage has been reversed since then. The younger generation takes relatively clean air and water and land for granted because they’ve never known anything different. And I remember the pushback because that was part of Reagan’s schtick. Government was the problem. It was making the cost of doing business too expensive. And Reagan attempted to subvert the EPA by installing Neil Gorsuch’s mother as its director.

    I must say I find it heartening that the automakers, even with Trump’s regulatory rollbacks, are pressing on for emissions-free vehicles by 2035, though I doubt this would have happened had they not already been so heavily invested in moving in that direction.

    But anyway my point is that these nutters are the sort that buy into the libertarian line that their tax dollars are being squandered on do-nothing government agency employees who are nonetheless somehow busily stripping away at everyone’s personal liberties.

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  48. Sherri said on December 12, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Showtime’s recent 4 part documentary on Reagan is a good reminder on just how insane the Reagan years were.

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  49. LAMary said on December 12, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    When I heard the name Neil Gorsuch my first thought was wondering if he was related to Ann. I remember trying to get Ann Gorsuch on the phone when I worked for the NYT in college, pre Molly Ivins days. Weirdly enough at my second job at the time, working at a discount office supply place, I waited on an annoying customer who was buying a lot of stuff to start a greeting card company called Blue Mountain Arts. She had her son with her, a little kid. Jared Polis. He’s now the governor of Colorado. My Colorado years were interesting.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Back in college, I bought a lot of Blue Mountain Arts cards. Does that get me closer to LAMary in the six degrees of separation game?

    Jackash, the Parker column struck me as CYA, though I don’t disagree with any of your comments. The Trump problem isn’t going to go away with Trump. The Trump problem is a symptom of the horrible beliefs held by too many of our fellow Americans. It may not have started with Reagan, but it came into full flower with him.

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  51. Sherri said on December 12, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Michigan and Ohio have generally tracked together during the pandemic, but not the last month, when Michigan added restrictions and Ohio didn’t.


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  52. LAMary said on December 12, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Julie, I spent Monday morning at the dentist. He’s a big Broadway musical fan, posters of flops all over his office and the Broadway satellite station playing everyday of the week but Thursday when the hygenist and dental assistant demand a break. To the left of the dental chair there’s a poster on the wall for the musical version of Forbidden Planet. While I was waiting for my x-rays we were chatting about Forbidden Planet and I mentioned that I knew the daughter of the guy who wrote the screenplay for the movie. This led to his asking me if I knew what the screenplay was based on (yes, The Tempest) and if I knew who the screenplay writer was related to (yes, Stella Adler.) Taking the challenge I told him that Alan Adler’s daughter was a high school kid in the gourmet shop I managed in the late seventies. Also working there was a kid named Johnny Cryer, now John Cryer and a kid named Gary Dennis, whose father wrote the music for Oh Calcutta. Among the regular shoppers were Joe Bologna, Julie Taymor, James Levine, Tim Curry. Martine van Hamel, then director of the NY City Ballet used to come in too. This was at 104th St. and Broadway. Twenty four blocks north of Zabars with no competition in between. In the thirty or so years I’ve been going to that dentist we have had some discussions of obscure Broadway shows but I gues I’ve never named dropped with him before. I can do east coast, west coast and Rocky Mountain name dropping.

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  53. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    I have been to Broadway shows and met Aaron Tveit. How am I doing? 😉

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  54. LAMary said on December 12, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Good start, Julie.

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  55. Brian stouder said on December 12, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Well, I’ve interacted with a smattering of people who are (in varying degrees) famous…mostly by attending various book tour* and/or Omnibus series lectures at IPFW. And indeed, a Lincoln scholar (friend of NNC Gerald Prokopowicz) who ran Fort Wayne’s altogether marvelous Lincoln Museum some years ago actually dedicated one of his books to my daughter – which gobsmacked me, at the time. By way of saying, it’s been my experience that if one gets out of the house every so often, these things will occur. *And indeed, if this pandemic recedes, I’d be willing to travel a little ways to see Rachel Maddow when she tours with her new book…

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  56. Mark P said on December 12, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I drove my pickup truck down Broadway from way up the Hudson River all the way through NYC. With an Alabama tag. Pushing NY cabs out of the way, just like they do. Does that get me any points at all?

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  57. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Mark, you definitely get points for driving in NYC. Brian, a book dedication is very special indeed. And I just remembered we saw Jeff Bridges and family at the LA Airport. We were waiting for a bus and they were being picked up by a limo. They had a LOT of luggage.

    I have just finished the Christmas cards and am feeling very pleased with myself. Last year they went out in March. I guess the pandemic has been good for something.

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  58. Sherri said on December 12, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    An old white guy, who lacks any advanced degree of his own and who would likely not be qualified for the job he held for thirty years were he trying to get hired today, is given space in the WSJ to address the incoming First Lady as “kiddo” and tell her she shouldn’t use the title of Doctor because she’s only an Ed.D., not an M.D., with an “unpromising” dissertation title.

    In related news, I’m about halfway through Ijeoma Oluo’s latest book, “Mediocre”.

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  59. Suzanne said on December 12, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    I would be way too terrified to drive in NYC. When we were there a number of years ago, I did see Yoko Ono walking down the street near the Dakota. My daughter went to grad school with the son of the guy who wrote the music for Man of La Mancha. She said he was nice. And rich. Very, very rich.

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  60. alex said on December 12, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    People like Doctor James Dobson and Doctor Laura Schlessinger have cheapened the honorific by using it to sell snake oil to idiots, and so has Dr. Phil McGraw, whose dissertation was “Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Pyschological Invention.” (Was he planning on going into business selling counseling as a cure?)

    Anyway, the idea that only physicians are entitled to call themselves “doctor” is bullshit. Anyone can call themselves doctor.

    As for Jill Biden, she’s a scholar and her dissertation addresses the real-world problem of student retention in community colleges. The author of the WSJ hit piece is probably a stockholder in one of Betsy DeVos’ ventures.

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  61. Deborah said on December 12, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    We drove to New England maybe 20 years ago or so, we stayed a couple of nights in Manhattan. My husband did the driving in NYC but it was my Miata that we drove. I don’t remember it being that scary. I’ve actually been more afraid in Kansas City and Omaha, those two cities have interstate systems that were terrifying while driving through. In NYC traffic crawls so it doesn’t feel as frightening.

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  62. David C said on December 12, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    I think driving in NYC would be less scary than riding in a cab in NYC. I was only there for ten days and didn’t ride many cabs but with a good quarter of the drivers were psychos. They got me where I was going but it was white knuckles all the way.

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  63. LAMary said on December 12, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    After bailing out of retail and going to wholesale I drove in NYC, all the boroughs except Staten Island, five days a week. It’s not that bad and I got very good at parallel parking, a rare skill in LA.

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  64. susan said on December 12, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    The full title of Ijeoma Oluo’s book:
    Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
    says it all.

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  65. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Alex, to be fair, Dr. Phil’s 1979 dissertation at the University of North Texas was “Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention.”

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  66. Little Bird said on December 12, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Jeff, did he think it was all in their minds? I have a friend with Rheumatoid arthritis and I’m not sure I’d wish it on my worst enemy.

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  67. Mark P said on December 12, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    When I drove through NYC it was in the afternoon. Traffic was heavy. I learned from watching the cabs that you change lanes by edging your front fender into the next lane. Apparently it’s like a turn signal; your next lane neighbor lets you in. I suspected that they let you in not because they were nice, but because they knew you (the cab) were coming over no matter what they did. I watched cabs do it a few times, then tried it myself. It worked. I could change lanes any time I wanted just by starting to edge over.

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  68. Dexter Friend said on December 13, 2020 at 12:37 am

    Richard Harris coming out to the crowd between acts with a Chicago Tribune in hand, Arie Crown Theater, Chicago, was as close to theater royalty I ever came. He was ranting about a shit-review of his touring production of “Camelot”. Harris had recently bought the show, lock, stock, and barrel. He screamed at us “Who IS this Richard Christiansen?” Of course, Harris played Merlin. That was a fun day, Amtrak in from Ohio, no seats, conductor stashed us into a bedroom for a deluxe trip. I remember the details at the show: at intermission, huge silver bowls filled with crushed ice and St. Pauli Girl beer. A fun day. And…the show was great. Fuck Richard Christiansen! : Richard Christiansen (born c. 1932) is an American theatre and film critic, who was “the chief theatre reviewer of The Chicago Tribune ” from 1978 to 2002 and the “leading critical voice in Chicago theatre for more than three decades”. He became the chief critic and senior writer of the newspaper. From Wikipedia

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  69. Dexter Friend said on December 13, 2020 at 12:44 am

    “Fairytale of New York” is now on the schizer list, as the politically correct police have decreed. One little word, the other f word, inserted into the lyric many years ago, have propelled new versions that are “clean”. I am not linking the most famous copy-cat POS by Bon Jovi (who I like, by the way)because it fucking sucks. Long live The Pogues!

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  70. Connie said on December 13, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Not so long ago we talked about about our wish to pay small amounts for individual content rather than larger amounts for long subscriptions. Here’s an idea: the micropayment browser.

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  71. Heather said on December 13, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Never drove in NYC but I did drive a rental car out of the center of Rome once. It was … an experience. This was pre-Google Maps too. To this day I’m not sure how we made it out of the city.

    I rented a car again there about 10 years ago for a road trip, but that time I made sure to pick it up at the airport so I could hop right on a main road.

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  72. LAMary said on December 13, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Driving in Rome would be crazy. As a friend described to me, No brakes, just horns.
    Phil McGraw is on my list of plagues Oprah has inflicted upon us. Dr. Oz is on there too.

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  73. Deborah said on December 13, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    OMG we did that too, drove out of the center of Rome in a very small rental car, it was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. My husband did the driving and we when we got about 2 blocks from the car rental place a car swooped by us so close it pushed the side mirror backwards, but the mirror just flipped right back in place instantaneously. So they must make cars like that over there for just that reason. Once we got out of Rome it was better but the semi trucks on the highways were also horrifying. That was the last time we drove in Italy, every trip after that we took trains everywhere. Driving in France wasn’t nearly that bad, except in the South of France the roads between villages can be very narrow. We drove in Germany once too and that wasn’t bad except for the speeding cars on the autostradas, that was pretty scary.

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  74. Deborah said on December 13, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    We never drove in the UK because getting used to driving on the opposite side just seemed too daunting.

    Well, unfortunately we’ve figured out that we have to replace the toilet in the Santa Fe condo, we thought it was fixed when the plumber came out on Friday but it seems not. The toilet is about 35 years old so it’s probably time, past time.

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  75. alex said on December 13, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Wasn’t trying to be unfair to Dr. Phil. Quite a bad misreading on my part though. LOL.

    My dad has a funny story about his first time driving in England. He wasn’t used to right-hand driving or traffic circles and he managed to smear the side of a car and burst two tires on his first attempt.

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  76. LAMary said on December 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Autostradas in Germany? Wrong former fascist state. Germany has autobahns and Italy has Autostradas. Kein geschwindeskeitbegretzung in Germany on the Autobahn.. I probably spelled that word incorrectly but it’s such a good word and and seldom get a chance to use it. It means speed limit.

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  77. Deborah said on December 13, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    LAMary, you’re so right about autobahns and autostradas, it has been a while since I’ve been to either Italy or Germany.

    Round-abouts or traffic circles or rotaries, I think we’ve had this discussion here before, they take some getting used to but they’re actually much safer than intersections with stop signs or traffic lights. That seems completely wrong but many studies have been done. I think it’s because they make you slow down and pay more attention. Four way stops are the next safest. I know it seems counterintuitive.

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  78. Brian stouder said on December 13, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    At some point before the end of the movie, I’d be up for seeing a bit of the UK and/or the European mainland. And indeed, I’d absolutely NOT want to drive a car in those places! (As Clint Eastwood intones in one of his movies, ‘a man has got to know his limitations’) The whole ‘wrong side of the road’ thing is huge, especially (one supposes) as one rounds corners in busy urban area. Heck, I recall blowing a red light I didn’t even see until I had already (essentially) run it – in Milwaukee! They had some lights on street corners, rather than suspended over the intersections…!!

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  79. Beobachter said on December 13, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    LAMary@76 that’s also one of my faves!

    On the other side of the spectrum, here’s a German word shorter than its English equivalent:




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  80. LAMary said on December 13, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the spelling correction. I also like the German word for nurse: Krankenschwester. The sentence they use to demonstrate usage is close to my sentence. I said kein instead of keine. Close, though, considering I basically only know German from Schlager LPs.

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  81. beb said on December 13, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    To the extent that Dr. Phil doesn’t do DNA testing or lie-detector tests, he’s not the bottom of the barrel. Most of the time his advice seems reasonable/conventional. I do take offense to his habit of giving his wife 5 minutes at the end of a show to tout her line of beauty aids, and his frequent mentioning of his sons on-line doctor consultation business. This shows that at heart he’s a grifter. But if the choice were between Dr. Phil and turning the TV off. I’d pick “off” every time.

    Sounds like the Proud Boys had a riot in DC. Four stabbings and lots of vandalism as they went around tearing down BLM posters, sometimes burning them. Where were the riot squads? The “less lethal” rubber bullet, the tear gas and head poundings? Where were the police in all this?

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  82. David C said on December 13, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    When we moved to Wisconsin I ran a few red lights. In Michigan, they were never on a post at the corner of an intersection. They were always hanging overhead. It doesn’t help the I’m red-green colorblind. The green light doesn’t look any different than street lights and red just doesn’t seem to catch my eye. Why they aren’t larger and in different shapes is beyond me.

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  83. Suzanne said on December 13, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Ah, driving in the big city…
    Probably 20 years ago, we had booked a hotel in downtown Chicago for a one night getaway but the day of, something came up with my husband’s job and he couldn’t go. So I loaded up the 2 kids in the van and off we went! I ran a red light on Michigan Ave because, as someone mentioned above, it was on the corner, not above the street. The cross street dead ended on to Michigan, so there was no cross traffic to hit, thank goodness! On the way home, I somehow ended up on Lower Wacker, which was not at all where I wanted to be. I was in the right lane which I suddenly noticed was a turn lane, so I flipped on the turn signal to merge left when the guy behind me started honking like crazy. “Well, kids,” I said, “that’s how it is in the big city. People just honk their horns all the time!” Then I look in my rear view mirror and noticed the guy furiously motioning that he was giving me room to merge. “Well kids,” I said, “and sometimes they are honking because they are trying to be courteous drivers!” I merged, we all waved, and we were on our way home to IN.

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  84. Dorothy said on December 13, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    In fall 2019 we were in Ireland for a week and Scotland for a week, rented a car in both places. That was our first experience being overseas together; I chickened out on the driving aspect. It made me nuts. Felt like my stomach was churning ALL the damn time, although Mike did a stellar job. And btw it’s not the ‘wrong’ side of the road – it’s the ‘other’ side of the road. I know, I know – it’s wrong to us ‘mericans but truly we have to be open minded about these things.

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  85. Beobachter said on December 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm


    Dohntchamean Stop and Go lights, hey?

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  86. Deborah said on December 13, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Dorothy, well at least I said “opposite side”, does that get me off the hook?

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  87. David C said on December 13, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    I’ve gone native enough to say soda instead of pop, but stop and go lights and bubbler are bridges too far.

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  88. alex said on December 13, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    Bubbler’s a bridge too far only because it’s a midwestern euphemism for shart.

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  89. Dorothy said on December 14, 2020 at 5:53 am

    I think it was Brian Stouder I was shaking my finger at, Deborah! He called it the wrong side of the row.

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