The new breed.

Twenty years living in northeast Indiana will do things to a person’s head. One of the things it did to mine was make it very comfortable with Republicans. After all, they were everywhere – if you couldn’t make your peace with them, you’d be damn uncomfortable. Like being terrified of squirrels.

And in that time, I thought I’d met the full spectrum. They ran the gamut. At one end were the moderate country-club types who ran the city and weren’t overtly racist. Next down were the county office holders and residents. When the city tried to annex the urbanized parts of their territory, they objected strenuously; it wasn’t just the taxes (which went without saying), but the crime, oh my the crime. “We don’t want to be part of the city with all that criiiiimmme,” was the lament. As though simply stretching the boundary around their subdivision would invite crime. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t.)

Then there were the hard-core rural types, who got twisty knickers over the very idea that some day, the city might sprawl out to them, that they might have to accommodate another human being’s expectations in any way. Some of them were crazy – tax protesters, third-party voters, regular callers to talk radio with fanciful theories about the Federal Reserve, which is to say, they were anti-Semites who’d probably never had a conversation with a Jew in their lives.

One of these guys hailed me outside a polling place on Election Day. “Ma’am, may I interest you in some literature from Bo Gritz?” “I thought it was pronounced ‘grits,'” I replied. “Oh no,” he said. “It rhymes with ‘rights.'” Ha ha! No thanks.

Anyway, even these guys were mostly harmless. There was that messy business in Oklahoma City at the federal building, but at least it shut them up for a time. Hard to adopt a pose of moral superiority when your fellow travelers have bombed a daycare center.

But this new type disturbs even Rod Dreher, and I’m not sure what to think of them. I’m reasonably confident they’re just flinging chum at the dumbest – but still writing checks! – members of the base. However, I honestly don’t know what to do with this steaming pile of rancid fish guts:

Does this alarm you, or nah? Is this only grifters fighting over a drying lake full of about-to-be-beached fish, or what? What will be the upshot of it? Paul Mitchell, lame-duck Michigan congressman, was elected four years ago, and was pure Tea Party then, probably still is. He declined to run for a third term, and this week formally resigned from the caucus. It’s a toothless move. If he’s trying to send a message, and he is, nobody is listening.

But if the GOP can’t accommodate a hard-core tea partier anymore? How long do we have to pretend these people are fit to invite into your home? I wouldn’t touch Flynn with 10 feet of Sarah Palin. And yet? Here we are.

I was sleeping better, briefly. But I’m not anymore. I still expect a rather large act of violence before Jan. 20, as this tantrum goes on, and on, and on.

OK, then. Midweek, time to watch some TV. Maybe watch a sitcom, because to judge from ol’ General Flynn, soon it will be all show trials and executions. Happy hump day.

Posted at 7:43 pm in Current events |

139 responses to “The new breed.”

  1. David C said on December 15, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    King of the tRumpies a couple of blocks away has taken most of the huge signs from his yard and now has all the front windows of his house blocked with them. Somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a garage full of diesel and potassium nitrate.

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  2. Bitter Scribe said on December 15, 2020 at 10:37 pm

    Oh is Rod Dreher disturbed? Is he really disturbed? Is he upset and unhappy that his precious squelch-the-gays-and-force-women-to-have-babies party has been taken over by someone as uncouth as Donald Trump?

    Well fuck Rod Dreher with a rusty running chainsaw. He and his kind helped set up Trump with their obnoxious insistence that their obnoxious beliefs had to be imposed on their fellow citizens by force of law, and when it came to making that happen, there were no rules. Let Dreher piss off to Benedictland or wherever the fuck he keeps threatening to go but never does.

    Sorry to be so profane but that simpering ninny really annoys me. I love seeing Roy Ederoso take him apart over at Alicublog.

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    • nancy said on December 16, 2020 at 10:46 am

      In case I didn’t make it clear enough, my point was: If a crazy person like Rod is upset by these idiots, they must be super-crazy. He does indeed share responsibility for them, but he will never, ever accept it.

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  3. Margaret said on December 15, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    The latest breed of Republican is terrifying and delusional. Like Trump himself.

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  4. LAMary said on December 15, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    The rest of my household thinks I’m a little crazy because I think there’s going to be violence. Aside from secretaries of state and governors who don’t follow trump’s instructions there are also people like heads of the county department of health who have security details at their homes and offices. Lots of threats, lots of guys playing soldier, lots of insane accusations flying around and someone is going to get too serious about it.

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  5. Deborah said on December 15, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    I think there will be violence too, it’s coming, it seems inevitable with all of the guns and hate, I just hope it’s not widespread. I’m hoping it will be curtailed quickly but not feeling very assured that it will be. Some of the videos I saw of street violence this past weekend in DC were extremely alarming, I can’t get the images out of my head. I worry that there will be assassinations like there were in the 60s, like the Kennedys and MLK. The Trumpers have been trawling for assassins for years now. I hope I’m just being paranoid and that I’m overblowing it, I really do.

    On the Homefront in Santa Fe, our hot water heater is now dripping and will probably have to be replaced tomorrow too (it has been repaired twice in the 8 years since we’ve had a presence here and is fairly old, not sure how old. It’s bizarre that this is happening at the same time our toilet has to be replaced. This just became apparent to us about an hour ago, I’m not going to get much sleep tonight for a lot of reasons.

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  6. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 12:47 am

    If she’d just sexually harassed a co-worker, all would have been fine.

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  7. Gretchen said on December 16, 2020 at 1:24 am

    The mayor of Dodge City KS just stepped down because she was getting so many threats after she put in a mask mandate.

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  8. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 3:06 am

    I thought I wrote a comment last night but maybe I spelled my name wrong again?

    Ok, now I see that it is there, never mind.

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  9. charlie said on December 16, 2020 at 4:35 am

    well ms nall,the repubs are still thicker than mud here in northeast indiana..the problem is that there are way to many trumpers and most of them are dumber than a bag of hair….i was in one of our local hospitals last week to pick up some meds and one of them was ranting and raving about having to wear a mask and how he wasnt going to put one yadda yadda the police ended up taking him away in cuffs with him still screaming ..this is the same hospital where my wife works in the i.c.u. taking care of covid patients ……..

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  10. Dexter Friend said on December 16, 2020 at 4:44 am

    “Florida police brandishing firearms raided the home of Rebekah Jones, the former state Department of Health employee…”
    MSNBC has been reporting on this and last night interviewed Rebekah Jones. Critics are calling this raid “gestapo ways” and I agree. Now the coppers say no guns were pointed at the 2 little kids or the two adults. OK, sure. All over her calling attention to thousands of should-have-been-prevented deaths in Florida from Covid19.

    Local authorities have released that “a small number of first-dose vaccine will be here in the county in a week.”

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  11. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 5:35 am

    Interesting to hear that Pompeo’s holiday party was sparsely attended after inviting 900, only 70 responded and even fewer showed up. I guess the word is out that they’re all a bunch of losers so no need to suck up anymore. My autocorrect kept trying to change Pompeo to pompous, more accurate actually.

    It is 3:30am mountain time and I’ve had to get up twice already to empty the pan we placed under the dripping hot water heater. I’ll be glad when this night is over. I think I’ve read all of Twitter while listening to the drips.

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  12. alex said on December 16, 2020 at 7:46 am

    The new radical breed of conservative, I suspect, is a product of a fragmented media environment where reality is no longer based on commonly agreed-upon facts and common courtesy is no longer a commonly agreed-upon value.

    What’s both fascinating and troubling here is that people seem to be taking even further leave of their senses. Now that Fox and Facebook can no longer sustain the alternate reality bubble that has nurtured their grievances for years, they’re turning to OAN and Parler. It’s truly like an addiction and these folk will move on to any new opium den that offers a bigger buzz.

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  13. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 16, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Always dangerous to take on a complex topic on an internet comment thread, even a forgiving one (well, mostly) like this one. But to digress at the start: in central Ohio, shared across our borders somewhat to nearby states, we’ve had an overdose crisis for a few years now. It has slowed a bit during COVID, but not much. Overdosing is a complicated phenomenon, but in brief, we don’t have as best as can be measured a big uptick in use or even per use dosage. What we really have is a fentanyl contamination crisis. Fentanyl has become part of the heroin mix in an unpredictable and hugely dangerous way.

    Obviously, the addition of fentanyl is at some point intentional, so contamination is more the issue for downstream and end users, who don’t usually know just what they’re getting. The complications are that since drug dealers aren’t exactly working under Pfizer level conditions, their mix of fentanyl is uneven, and the microdose that boosts is adjoining to the dose that kills, often still a microscopic amount. Test strips for fentanyl, as a street support handout, are technically illegal, which doesn’t have cops looking for those of us who give them out to people on the street, but does limit what programs can formally obtain and distribute testing strips. The concept behind it is tough, too, even for many longtime street advocates: “you’re helping them take drugs?” Well, in a word, yes, but in such a way that they live long enough we might get them off of them some day. It still feels odd to me, too.

    The original confusion on our end was thinking “dealers don’t want to kill their users, it’s bad business.” But that’s so 2010. We’ve found that sadly part of the pathology of addiction is a) I want stronger, and b) I won’t be the one with the bad batch. So sharing out a poorly mixed batch of heroin contaminated with fentanyl, and media putting out word that a couple of addicts died with needles in their arms? It draws business. You kill a couple three or four, and get fifty customers. This is oversimplified, but you get the general idea.

    So I think Alex is dead-on with his take about OANN & Parler et alia: it’s the pursuit of the hit, the buzz, the thrill of total oblivion. Or as Nancy says at the top, the fear of the abyss, but mixed with a fascination with and even a certain dark hunger for falling into it. But the common human situation so many Republicans share with street drug addicts: I won’t die. I see this stuff killing people (“what do you mean I have COVID? that’s not why I’m on oxygen – I can’t breath! but I don’t have COVID, it’s a myth”) on a medical and mental level, I will go down to the same street corner I know is killing people, because that won’t be me. But I need to get my buzz on, to receive my visceral thrill of complete chaos looming just beyond my electrified fence or Ring doorbell. So they click deeper into the rabbit hole, and occasionally get out of the ratty recliner and unlatch the pantry door, and carefully count the boxes of Winchester shells again, plus those two boxes to the back of the off-brand ammo you purchased back when Obama won and you couldn’t hardly get any off the shelf.

    Yeah, it’s enough. If you keep back one last round for yourself, just in case.

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  14. Peter said on December 16, 2020 at 8:19 am

    You know, I’m just at a loss for words for what’s going on these days. I’m not surprised by Your Favorite President (me)’s responses, and I expected the loyal toadies and sycophants to do their finales (thank you Mike Pompeo and My Pillow Guy for being you), but this wholesale servitude by Senators and Attorney General’s (or is it Attorney’s General?) is just sickening. It’s so late stage Third Reich.

    Speaking of late stage Third Reich – this just hit me: Konrad Adenauer was 73 or 74 when he became chancellor and stayed in the job until he was 87, so I have high hopes for Joe righting the ship in time…

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  15. LarrytheRed said on December 16, 2020 at 8:55 am

    “I still expect a rather large act of violence before Jan. 20, as this tantrum goes on, and on, and on.” Remember that McVeigh got executed and Nichols is doing life w/o parole.

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  16. Suzanne said on December 16, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Jeff (TMMO) your analysis is spot on. It is the same mentality that goes into people’s response to COVID: “The victim won’t be me.” I see it with co-workers and friends who intellectually know that the virus is out there and can be deadly and say they know we all need to be careful but then regale me with stories of how they spent their weekend going here and there and everywhere. One of my co-workers and his wife both had COVID and less than two weeks after diagnosis, while admittedly they still weren’t feeling 100%, got in their car and drove from NE IN to Indy to visit relatives. Gee, I wonder how this virus spreads??

    As far as violence, I think I said here long ago that I expect it will happen. People out here in the Netherlands don’t just own guns, they stockpile them. Ask them why, and you will get various answers including that they just like them to they are necessary to fight against government overreach which they can’t define really. This from people like those on my Facebook feed yesterday who just now had a revelation that each state administers elections according to their own rules and how this obviously is unfair and needs to be changed to stop election fraud, never mind that is how the Constitution set up elections.
    Let’s face it. It’s boring out here in rural America. There isn’t anything to do, you see the same people day in and day out, and your job is probably hard and in the time of COVID there is nothing to look forward to. Anger & violence at least gives them a rush, however brief.
    A friend sent me this James Baldwin quote which seems appropriate:
    “But renewal becomes impossible if one supposes things to be constant that are not–safety, for example, or money, or power. One clings then to chimeras, by which one can only be betrayed, and the entire hope–the entire possibility of freedom disappears.”
    Rather than consider change as inevitable and look inward for ways to cope with it, they cling to their chimeras, and the more they sense betrayal in that, the harder they cling.

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  17. Connie said on December 16, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Deborah, it is not difficult to just empty the hot water heater. I know I have seen a garden hose used to do it.

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  18. Jim said on December 16, 2020 at 10:00 am

    I think this qualifies as violence:

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  19. Julie Robinson said on December 16, 2020 at 10:02 am

    The public health administrator of Linn County, Kansas has been encouraging people to wear masks, and in return “she’s been harassed, sued, vilified and called a Democrat, an insult in her circles.” Even her own husband won’t listen and refuses to make his hardware store customers wear masks. Then he got Covid, she got Covid, and her mother got Covid. Her mom did not survive.

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  20. alex said on December 16, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Remember that McVeigh got executed and Nichols is doing life w/o parole.

    Remember that Kyle Rittenhouse is out on bail and has legions of defenders including Republican pols. Also remember that the Second Amendment has been reinterpreted to suit the gun industry’s demands for an unfettered marketplace. And Cliven Bundy and company got off scot-free after an armed takeover of a wildlife refuge.

    That’s not to say that McVeigh and Nichols wouldn’t get the same punishment if they committed the same crime today, but I’d wager that they’d be celebrated as folk heroes by right-wing media and public opinion would be as mixed as it is about the legitimacy of the election.

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  21. Heather said on December 16, 2020 at 10:07 am

    I’m a little worried about violence. In some ways I’m glad for the pandemic, because it means fewer and smaller public appearances by Biden and Harris for now–but I’m more afraid of what this means for our country in the future.

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  22. Andrea said on December 16, 2020 at 10:36 am

    My husband got an urgent text from his cousin in Oklahoma last night, saying that she needed to talk to him right away. Turns out she has inside information that trump is taking over the military on Friday and declaring martial law for the good of the country. She wanted to warn us so that we could stockpile food and supplies up here in the wasteland that is Chicago, and she wanted us to spread the word to our other family members.


    They spoke for an hour — he was WAY nicer to her than I would have been. But he did ask her what she would think if this did not happen on Friday. She hedged a little about the timing, but eventually said that perhaps she would reconsider her thinking if Biden were in fact inaugurated. But she maintained that the mainstream media is all working from a script given to them by George Soros, and that QAnon is real, etc.

    I am not sure how to change people’s minds. Nothing seems to penetrate.

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  23. Suzanne said on December 16, 2020 at 10:42 am

    This is a very interesting thread.
    “QAnon is an ARG (Alternate Reality Game). It was set up that way and is managed that way. QAnoners are playing an ARG and refuse to stop for the very reason transreality gaming can be hazardous: you can forget what’s game and what’s reality. QAnoners are lost in a dangerous game.”

    “When we think of the far right as a space of “fake news” rather than the gamification of reality, we falsely accept the notion that Trumpists are interested in news. They’re not. They’re interested in tailored escapism, and in redefining reality as a mythology they can live with.”

    Makes sense of why they have moved to Newsmax, Parler, etc. Like Jeff said above, they are addicts who need their fix. Fox wasn’t doing it any more.

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  24. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 11:30 am

    Connie, I did think about that but it was late at night when we realized we had the leak and the garden hose is in a box outside where it’s very cold and snowy, plus I have no idea how draining the thing will effect the heating element. I looked all around it for an off button but found nothing. I don’t want to burn the place down. I have a called the plumber, they’re coming out to replace the toilet after 1pm and they don’t know if they’ll be able to replace the water heater today too but at least they can drain it and turn it off or whatever, so we don’t have to keep monitoring the pan we put under the leak. Of course that will mean no hot water. What a pain and so weird these two things happened at the same time.

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  25. susan said on December 16, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Deborah, you’d probably have to turn off the H20 tank at the breaker box. That on/off switch should be labelled as such, and would be on its own 220 circuit. I am assuming it is an electric tank and not gas. If it’s gas….eeeeeks! (I’m scared of natural gas appliances.)

    On edit: Oh, I see you said “heating element.” So, not gas. There usually are two elements, one up near the top, one near the bottom of the tank. It’s the bottom one that can end up being buried in calcium carbonate precipitate from years of heating hard water, and then they kind of blow out. I bet your tank is really rusted inside, hence the leaking.

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  26. Brian stouder said on December 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    An interesting thread, indeed. I was a National Review subscribing, Conservative Book Club true-believing Republican way back when Fort Wayne’s News-and Sentinel (as the older folks referred to it) hired some attractive brunette who always pointed out the numerous things I was wrong/mistaken/unaware of…. Really, that’s what politics is supposed to be about, yes? Learn/ponder/think/rethink, keep learning, keep pondering, etc. And now, I sound like an old guy!

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  27. Peter said on December 16, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Deborah, whatever you do, don’t put your hand under the water heater and poke around to see where it’s leaking – it’s like picking a scab, if you push a little too hard you won’t have to worry about getting a hose to drain the tank but you’ll need a mop and lots of buckets.

    Don’t ask how I know.

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  28. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Putting aside for a moment the right wing and their resemblance to addicts, I’d like to talk about how we talk about addiction.

    I wish we’d stop talking about addicts chasing the high. That gives the sense that an addict is expecting a rush of euphoria and happiness. In reality, what I’ve heard most from addicts when they experience their drug of choice is “I finally felt comfortable in my own skin” and “the voice in my head shut up”. That’s the feeling that they’re chasing, and becomes ever more elusive as the shame of addiction becomes entangled.

    To an addict, the drug of choice is not the problem, it’s the solution. Why is kicking addiction so hard? Because the problems are still there, and now the only coping mechanism is gone. We expect people to go to rehab for 30 days, come out and go about their lives again? I had all the support in the world, was in therapy, attended meetings almost daily, had a sponsor, was on anti-depressants, and it was three years before I could say I was comfortable in a social setting and didn’t wish I had a drink.

    Addiction is not the problem. It is a maladaptive response to problems. You can’t get and stay sober without addressing the problems that you were masking with the drug.

    Sorry, I just think too many people have a model that addicts are people who decided to play around with drugs for no good reason and got caught.

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  29. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    When elected Republicans can incite violence and pay no political cost, yes, I do think it will lead to violence.

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  30. Suzanne said on December 16, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Sherri, you are, I think, correct. And I believe that fits the narrative of today’s discussion well. Having lived among rural conservative types for decades, one thing I have seen is copious amounts of unacknowledged, untreated mental illness. I have seen a great inability to cope with change, especially death. So, it makes sense that their political stance, their fealty to Trump above all else, their thoughts of violence, are their drug of choice to cope.
    As I quoted above “When we think of the far right as a space of “fake news” rather than the gamification of reality, we falsely accept the notion that Trumpists are interested in news. They’re not. They’re interested in tailored escapism, and in redefining reality as a mythology they can live with.”

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  31. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    I grew up among a lot of unacknowledged, untreated mental illness, trauma, and abuse. And in my experience, many rural conservative evangelical churches perpetuate and enable that, rather than acting as a counter to it.

    Rural conservatives did not need Fox News to gaslight them; they’d been gaslighting themselves for decades.

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  32. alex said on December 16, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    As someone who has been smoking like a chimney since adolescence, and abused alcohol for years for the same reasons Sherri mentions, I agree that this is a maladaptive sort of addiction.

    But I’ve also had dalliances with cocaine and crack and I realized that there’s a much different and stronger sort of dependence that comes with those, and I’ve known people who lost years of their lives, if not life itself, to those things, and also to meth and heroin. That shit rewires your brain and you can never get enough. And that’s the kind of high I think people are getting from grievance.

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  33. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    All of it rewires your brain, Alex. Some drugs are faster to addiction than others, which has as much to do with physiological factors as rewiring the brain.

    I’ve known heroin addicts and cocaine addicts as well as alcoholics, and I’ve known alcoholics who have lost their lives to it. Different substances work differently on different people. I can take Vicodin without problem, because Vicodin doesn’t give me that feeling I seek, but I’ve known other alcoholics who have gotten addicted to Vicodin after quitting alcohol.

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  34. CheezWhiz said on December 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    In one sense this is all kafeybe (however its spelled), which is apparently the pro wrestling term for pretending all the posturing they do is real. I used to watch Big Time Wrestling on channel 9 with my Sicilian grandmother, who loved Bobo Brazil and hated The Sheik and his manager The Weasel. She knew it was all show, but she liked to “believe” it anyway. The difference is that Generals, Senators, and Presidents aren’t supposed to be acting, and there aren’t newspapers and TV networks dedicated to analyzing wrestlers monologues. So yeah, there will be (more) violence, but hopefully not another OKC type extravaganza. More armed fat guys in camo threatening politicians for sure.

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  35. Jeff Borden said on December 16, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    St. Ronald of Reagan gifted us with “news” outlets that don’t pretend to be accurate when he pushed the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine. Deregulation allowed a handful of companies to dominate the media market. There’s no downside to pushing conspiracy theories, blatant lies and outright calls for violence. I continue to write letters to the companies advertising on Faux, but all I get in return are bland form letters.

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  36. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    So it begins, the plumber is here replacing the toilet. He looked at the water heater and was surprised it’s electric, said they don’t see much of those anymore, I wasn’t expecting to hear that. Also because it’s a small place he’s not sure they even make the size diameter anymore that we need to fit it into the laundry closet, it’s a very tight fit as it is. We may need to go to a narrower, taller 40 gal one instead of the squatter 30 gal ones they make now, which seems odd to me. Geez, it’s always something isn’t it? This plumbing company is considered really good, maybe the best in town and has been here for a long time, so I guess I believe them, although it is a small city so we have to take what we can get.

    The good news is a few years back we loaned a single friend who lost her job $5,000 and to be honest we never thought we’d get it back. But she called us about a week ago and is sending a check for the whole amount, she’s got a great job and has had it long enough so she feels very good about being able to keep it. It feels like free money and will more than pay for this unexpected expense. Yay!

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  37. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Was very pleased to read that Deb Haaland the native American woman representative from NM has probably been selected to be the next Interior secretary but the house is concerned about filling her spot because she comes from a somewhat republican district in the state (around Albuquerque). It’s not as republican as the farther south part of NM which just lost their Democratic Rep, but still.

    The plumber is working away in the bathroom, we have windows open, ceiling fans on and wearing masks, I’m quite cold.

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  38. brian stouder said on December 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Deborah – our biggest home incident was a few years ago, when we were away for a weekend and returned to find that a pipe had broken, and all the flooring (especially the soggy carpet!) in our whole house was ruined.

    Thankfully, our insurance agent came through like a superstar – and the end-result was a nicely re-done home.

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  39. LAMary said on December 16, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Sherri, there are generations of alcoholics in my family. Grandfather, father, uncle, brother and maybe one of my nieces. I was on my way to joining that club but stopped cold and never went back. Believe me, there are plenty of times I wish I could knock the sharp corners off. I had a scrip for ativan for a couple of years and I decided to quit. I remember seeing my mother’s diary from the time when she was dating my father. Lots of references to my father getting drunk. He had some events in his life that made that drinking worse. A son who was handicapped, a wife who died of cancer, a fire that destroyed his business (a lumber yard… That was some fire). I remember a period of six months when he was dry after spending six weeks in rehab. The day he went back to drinking I knew right away. I saw him walking up the driveway, not staggering, but trying to stand as straight as possible. Walking carefully. I was 14 and I was devastated. Maybe it’s wrong for me to still be angry at him, which I am. I need to work on forgiving him I guess. He died when I was 19. I know he had tragedies in his life and he had a drunk dad and a mother who spent 8 hours every Sunday at church. It all sucks. I just wish he had stopped and looked at the good things he was not seeing through his pain and his drunkeness. I don’t think he ever drank enough to not be in pain.

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  40. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    My mother rarely drank, in fact I don’t think I ever saw her take one that I can remember. My dad drank a beer on Friday nights when he watched the boxing matches on TV. After my mom died my dad drank a little more but not much that I know of. My mom’s dad drank some and maybe that’s why my mom didn’t. My dad’s parents were full blown tee-totallers and vocally so. I heard stories from friends when I was a kid who had a drunken dad, it always seemed to be the dad. My ex could sock it away seriously, he was/is probably technically an alcoholic but except for his temper he didn’t act falling down drunk. I sure was glad to be away from that anger when I left.

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  41. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    I can’t tell you how good it feels to have a brand new spanking clean toilet. It’s smaller than the old one which is great in the tiny bathroom. Now if we could get the water heater issue resolved soon.

    Since we’ve been in this condo since 2012 the following appliances have been replaced: refrigerator, dish washer, washer, dryer, stove, bathroom sink, kitchen sink faucet, now the toilet and soon the water heater. The fireplace has been relined and the kitchen cabinets have been refinished not to mention all the outdoor improvements. We paid for some of this when we were still renters and some since we’ve owned a little more than a year ago.

    Since I started typing this the plumbing company called back and said they have found a taller 40 gal unit with the same diameter they can install tomorrow morning for an ungodly price but it feels like we have no choice. Sigh. Merry Christmas.

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  42. Deborah said on December 16, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    We gave the go-ahead for 8-10am tomorrow for the new 40 gal water heater to be installed. Hopefully this will be the end of the Homefront drama for a while. Yikes.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on December 16, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    Deborah, I feel your pain. Since we bought the Orlando home, we’ve replaced both toilets, a sink/vanity, dishwasher, kitchen sink & faucet, heat pump (AC & heat), roof, lanai, and screen enclosure. Now we’re adding the addition and are getting a hot water heater as part of that too, and the washer & dryer will die any day now. Both the bathrooms and the kitchen are in bad shape but the addition bids came in so high we’ve had to delay them. It’s only money, right?

    We’ve been waiting over two months for our building permit. Even though we aren’t cutting down any trees and already have our front yard as a garden, they want us to plant trees. Fine, we have a little yard space left, we’re happy to plant trees. First it was two, then three, now four. The permit’s been stuck with the tree people for 10 days now.

    These are first world problems, no? Besides, who cares about the kitchen when you can watch the sun set every night over the lake? We’re just impatient to get the project done and get moved.

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  44. Icarus said on December 16, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Deborah @ 41: is a tankless heater an option? I believe we talked about them here before and the consensus is that they aren’t all they are cracked up to be, but perhaps your property is the exception?

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  45. alex said on December 16, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    I still see cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. as being different from the standard substances of abuse. They alter your brain chemistry almost immediately and totally upend your life in no time flat. People try them out recreationally believing that they can handle it and nothing bad will come of it, and nothing good comes of it and comes fast.

    No one likes cigarettes or alcohol or marijuana on the first try or even after many tries. It takes some considerable hardening of the body before they can be tolerated much less desired. And even if you become dependent on them you can be functional for years and years before anyone suggests you have a problem.

    I hated alcohol until I was in my mid-thirties. It gave me the room spins and made me puke. Weed was my social lubricant of choice. This was back in the days when it wasn’t an elephant sedative but brought on mild euphoria. Over the long haul, though, alcohol was cheaper and easier to score and was more socially acceptable, and I grew to love the hard stuff and could tolerate ridiculous amounts of it.

    As cocaine goes, I was an opportunistic user. I couldn’t afford it and had no idea where to buy it, but in the 1980s club scene there were always people offering lines as an icebreaker. It was utter nirvana but only lasted about ten minutes, after which I was left wanting more. For several years after I’d last had any, just the mere mention of cocaine could make me experience the high again and crave the substance. I understood why it ruined people and felt grateful that I’d never been exposed to it any more than that.

    I only tried crack once. It was like a cocaine buzz but a hundredfold and it lasted for hours. I knew I would never try it again because I recognized its seductive power and knew that I had too much to lose.

    I dunno, maybe the alternative reality trip is more like the high one gets from compulsive shopping or gambling or pyromania but the hold it’s having on people is as bad as losing them to heroin.

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  46. LAMary said on December 16, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    I liked weed first time I tried it. I remember I was at the apartment of some people who graduated from high school two years before me, listening to Firesign Theater, and smoking weed. The LP of Firesign Theater had a scratch and it kept repeating the same line but no one got up to fix it. Somehow it worked for a room full of stoned people to hear the same line over and over. It was from the routine, “Beat the Reaper,” if anyone here is familiar with Firesign Theater.

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  47. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Alex, there really are people who like alcohol the first time they try it, and there really are people who can use cocaine recreationally. There are differences in how quickly you can become addicted to substances, but it’s more complicated than some substances rewire your brain faster. How the substance is used has a big impact; the faster a substance gets into your system, the faster the effect, and the quicker the addiction. Because alcohol is usually taken orally and processed through the digestive system, it takes longer to take effect than shooting heroin directly into your vein, and is easier to use without addiction as a result. People abusing pills will crush them and snort them, because the effect is faster than swallowing them.

    It wasn’t that I liked the taste of alcohol when I tried it, it was that I liked how it made me feel. I haven’t had a drink in 18 years and I still have a visceral memory of how it made me feel. Nothing else takes the edge off as quickly or as well.

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  48. Colleen said on December 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    On one side of my family tree, you can’t find a branch without an alcoholic. Much family lore begins with the phrase “and he was half in the bag….” I don’t drink much, and am not supposed to have any for a year after surgery. They don’t want you to transfer addictions. Never tried pot. Now I can’t, because my job could spring a drug test on me at any time.
    Given my family history and my own history of depression, I figure it’s best if I steer clear of alcohol as a general rule.

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  49. Heather said on December 16, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Addiction undoubtedly has a physical element, but at its core it’s about avoiding difficult emotions and/or realities.

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  50. alex said on December 16, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    A close friend lost her son to heroin this year. And he had gone through all of the rehab and even dedicated his life to helping others with the same problem. And I’m sure the night he OD’d he thought this would be one harmless fling and he could handle it. So I don’t see alcoholism as the same thing. Though it’s similar in some respects, and can even kill you in the long run, it doesn’t kill you like that.

    But anyway this conversation started out about Trumpism being like a new opiate of the masses. What is this freaky hold it has on people? How do you get them to recognize they have a problem?

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  51. Bitter Scribe said on December 16, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Deborah and Julie: Been in my condo for about 17 years and so far have replaced air conditioner (central unit), water heater, dishwasher, bathroom faucet, refrigerator and garbage disposal. Desperately need to redo kitchen but waiting to see how much money I have left when I retire.

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  52. Sherri said on December 16, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    Alex, whether you believe it or not, the same thing can happen with alcoholics.

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  53. Dexter Friend said on December 17, 2020 at 12:34 am

    There was no weed at my high school in the mid 1960s, in small-town Indiana, just north of Fort Wayne. My first experience with THC was with hashish, in 1970, with army buddies. There was the comic section of a Sunday paper there near our circle on the floor. I began reading the strip “Snuffy Smith”. The cartoon characters had audible voices in my head. I knew this shit was gonna be good…a game changer. As the months passed, the dime bags from Mexico stopped from the paraquat attack on the joyous weed, and the good stuff from Mendocino County filtered in, slowly. More months later, I was introduced to pre-rolled weed from the Vietnamese fields. Old timers will recall rumors of a elixir-weed called ‘Cambodian Red’. Oh shit, damn damn damn. Once we got some of that shit. Fu-uhh-uhh FUH cked up. We used cold beer as a beverage, same as Coca-Cola. When we had a chance we’d get blasted on a jug of Ronrico, but rarely. The juiceheads looked down on us, shotgunning huge clouds of smoke from a confiscated AK-47 barrel. So the weed use slowed down , then after 10 years of social usage, stopped, from boredom from the stuff…just petered out. And then the alcohol began to possess my soul. Jeezuss…how I ever got out that fucking thick web is a true miracle. Beer, bourbon, scotch, and bum wine, and plenty of it. I had my share and quit 28 years ago. Miss it? I don’t say I do, but….

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  54. Dexter Friend said on December 17, 2020 at 12:43 am

    Suzanne: I was visiting a house near the Michigan state line a few years ago. The son of the couple who lived there had a massive array of weapons, but as startling, a huge cabinet with ammunition. These people, these Trumpers, these Proud Boys and all this shit, are ready to kill when so moved. It just is so crazy I am in denial of the danger.

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  55. beb said on December 17, 2020 at 2:55 am

    I can feel Deborah’s pain. The stove in our house needs replalcing but the way the kitchen is set up only a 20″ stove will fit. A nearbu big box hardware store lisyed some on its web site. I wanted to look at one and order it in person. They did not have any in stock or have any idea if or when they would have them in stock. So I went looking at another big box hardware store. They had listings with the note that delivery would be in February. WTF!

    Then I decided to look at a big box appliiance/electronics store. They had them with delivery in January! That was like 6 weeks away abut at that point it seemed like the bird in the hand and I ordered it. But sheesh! (The only way we could put a readily available 30″ stove in the kitchen would require ggutting the kitchen and finding ew places to put both the stove and fridge. It’s a 73 year old house where you have to leave the kitchen to change your mind.

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  56. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2020 at 8:32 am

    There’s a C.S. Lewis quote that always pulls me up short about temptations I’ve never had to wrestle with:

    “Ever since I served as an infantryman in the first world war I have had a great dislike of people who, themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line. As a result I have a reluctance to say much about temptations to which I myself am not exposed. No man, I suppose, is tempted to every sin. It so happens that the impulse which makes men gamble has been left out of my make-up; and, no doubt, I pay for this by lacking some good impulse of which it is the excess or perversion. I therefore did not feel myself qualified to give advice about permissable and impermissable gambling: if there is any permissable, for I do not claim to know even that.”

    (preface to “Mere Christianity”)

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  57. Julie Robinson said on December 17, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Chocolate. You can keep the others, just give me all the chocolate.

    Bitter, forgot the disposal! We also pulled up the disgusting carpet in the bedrooms and had the terrazzo refinished. Well worth it.

    This morning the New York Times tells me that Mitch McConnell is folding on liability protection in a new coronavirus stimulus bill. Also, the good citizens of Palm Beach have remembered that our soon to be former President signed an agreement back in 1993 prohibiting Mar-A-Lago from being a full time residence, and are litigating. Along with longer days, better times are coming.

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  58. Rayl said on December 17, 2020 at 11:05 am

    For those who wish to understand the biology of addiction, this might be something to read:

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  59. Bitter Scribe said on December 17, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Julie: I forgot that I had the place recarpeted and repainted last year, along with a new wall-mount TV and some other furniture. Set me back about $12K, and worth every penny.

    As for C.S. Lewis, he may have been humble about advice regarding gambling, but for someone who didn’t have a romantic/sexual relationship until he was well into his forties, he sure was free with his advice about proper relations between men and women. As you might guess, I have very little use for C.S. Lewis.

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  60. LAMary said on December 17, 2020 at 11:26 am

    beb, I’ve got the same issue but with refrigerators. Most modern fridges don’t fit in the space between the cabinets. The one I have is hanging in there, but when it goes I’m not sure what we’ll do. Tearing out cabinets sounds expensive.

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  61. Jeff Borden said on December 17, 2020 at 11:27 am

    My wife grew up north of Palm Beach in a much more downscale, blue collar coastal city, but we fly in and out of there when visiting. We also have a close friend who lives in one of the many gated communities (one of the Williams sisters of tennis fame lives in his) and was an accomplished lawyer who recently retired. We know the area a bit.

    It is a snooty town with a large population of “old money.” These people do not wear wife-beater shirts or baggy shorts or flip-flops. They don’t party ’til they puke. Christ, the home owner associations down there rival the old Soviet politburo for the hoops they make owners jump through. (Our friend was just fined $250 because the light illuminating the address on his mailbox had burned out.)

    In short, tRump and his clan are NOKD (not our kind, dear) and never, ever will be accepted. And his followers? Nope. They’d best keep moving south to Fort Liquordale and beyond. City officials have given tRump a lot of slack while he was in office, i.e., street closures, limited access to the intercoastal waterway, noisy Marine helicopters coming and going. I suspect as an ex-president, these efforts will cease. The old money legal teams will be on this like a shark.

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  62. Julie Robinson said on December 17, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Jeff B, my sister lived in the low-rent West Palm area for some 25 years, and she was fond of telling me about the drama when he wanted to buy Mar-a-Lago. The NOKD were horrified and fought it tooth and nail. He tried to build a dock and was beat back, same with a helipad, and the story said the one for Marine One will be removed soon. It’s going to be so much fun watching him get his just desserts.

    Sis worked for the Women Infants and Children program, serving the working poor, so many of her clients worked at places like Mar-A-Lago. That’s right, our tax dollars support their lifestyle.

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  63. Deborah said on December 17, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    One of my mother’s favorite things to do when I was a kid was to pile us all in the car and have my dad drive us up the coast to Palm Beach so she could gawk at the mansions. I always thought it was boring because the houses were way far back from the road and you could barely see them through their elaborate gates.

    I’m sitting in the car in the parking lot of the imaging waiting for LB to get another MRI, they don’t like extra people in the waiting room because of Covid. It’s cold but sunny so I’m perfectly comfortable. My husband is back at the condo on an important zoom call in our bedroom directly across from the laundry closet where the water heater is currently being replaced. I will be glad when this is over.

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  64. Sherri said on December 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Two local headlines this morning:

    Seattle was the saddest metro area in the nation last month, survey shows

    A ‘river of rain’ is headed toward the Seattle area

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    • nancy said on December 17, 2020 at 1:34 pm

      Debra Winger shot a movie in and around Seattle and found it so depressing that she gave an interview and said the city should paint targets on the sidewalks for people to aim for when they jump out of windows.

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  65. Deborah said on December 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Boo Texas, yay New Mexico
    Texas sued NM over water that had evaporated in a reservoir from the Pecos river in NM that TX had asked NM to store for them. SCOTUS ruled in favor of NM. TX isn’t doing too well with SCOTUS lately.

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  66. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Bitter Scribe, I’m not bothered by you or anyone not having any interest in Lewis per se, but he really didn’t have much to say in sum about those sorts of relationships, for exactly the reasons you mention. In fact, that’s the one place where many modern Evangelicals are not pleased with Lewis, because his condemnation of anything other than male headship in sanctified marriage is minimal and tepid at best. He’s got a very 1930s Oxford don attitude on the sexes, but the closest he gets to talking about same-sex issues is complicated by the fact that most of it is specifically embedded in his unhappy memories of a British public (aka in the US “private”) school, and the various oppressions and impositions there . . . which does no orientation much honor.

    Anyhow, he’s not much of a modern evangelical Christian in many ways, not the least of which is his cheerful embrace of a good drink, smokes if you got ’em, and worship that is moderate and generally low-key.

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  67. Jeff Borden said on December 17, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    A quick Palm Beach anecdote: About 20 years ago, we met our friend and his wife at a very nice (and very expensive) downtown restaurant while we were in Florida for the Christmas holidays. It was probably in the low- to mid-70s and sunny. Nonetheless, two women arrived for lunch wearing fur coats: one a jacket and the other full length. I guess you don’t get many chances to wear fur in Florida.

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  68. Diane said on December 17, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    I’m with Bitter Scribe on CS Lewis. As a child I thought the Narnia Chronicles were just silly. Later, in college, I read a fair amount of CS Lewis as a Religious Studies major and still was not impressed. Thought his thinking was very limited by his Oxford etc. background despite his journey from perfunctory Christianity to atheism to Christianity again. Don’t ask me to defend the impression though. This is a memory of what I thought 40 years ago and I admit the young college kid could have pretty much missed everything. I certainly never bothered to go back and read more after college.

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  69. Mark P said on December 17, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    A friend lived in Seattle 40 or so years ago. He said when it stopped raining and the sun came out, people would hug each other on the streets. He lives in New Mexico now, so I guess not as much hugging.

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  70. Julie Robinson said on December 17, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    I went to Seattle twice when our daughter lived there. I was on vacation, having all kinds of fun, and by day four felt suicidal.

    We just finished baking the first batch of Christmas cookies, so I’m way too happy to be an apologist (Jefftmmo will get this) for Lewis. Some other day.

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  71. Suzanne said on December 17, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    I have not read a great deal of Lewis. I do remember reading Mere Christianity when I was in college or shortly thereafter and thought it was one of the best books I had ever read. I read it again about 10 years ago and thought Meh.
    I also read Til We Have Faces years ago and recall thinking I must be missing something because I just really didn’t get the point. I enjoyed the Screwtape Letters. I have never read any of the Narnia books although I do know the story.

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  72. Deborah said on December 17, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Ha ha, Jeff B. I remember that as a kid too, when we’d go to Miami Beach during the winter you’d envariably see a woman in a full length mink coat walking around in the city when it was barely below 75. I will say we thought we were freezing when it dipped down into the 60s, no one had clothes for cool-ish weather. I remember waiting for the school bus on the corner shivering, when if it gets to that temp here in northern NM in the winter we’d be sitting out on the patio

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  73. Sherri said on December 17, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    While it might cost me a job in the Biden administration, I will never apologize for calling Republicans a bunch of fuckers, because I don’t apologize for telling the truth.

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  74. Deggjr said on December 17, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for the Palm Beach insights.

    Now there are reports that President Trump won’t vacate the White House by January 20th. I hope the two stories aren’t related.

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  75. Dorothy said on December 17, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    I read on Twitter this morning that there should be a pay-per-view option to watch the doors of the White House on January 20 to watch Ol’ Dumbass being dragged out, wrapped up in a straight jacket and masked like Dr. Hannibal Lecter, strapped on a dolly. Man I’d SO pay for that option!

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  76. Deborah said on December 17, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    Me too Dorothy, in fact that’s such a great visual I’m going to start using it to calm myself down when I’m stressed.

    Water heater has been in for a while, we had to run water until we could get a bunch of residue out. I wish we could have used that water for plants instead of letting it go down the drain. I can’t wait to take a shower with nice hot water. We can flush the toilet now with no worries too. Ah, the little things in life, but they cost a lot. Maybe I can get a good night’s sleep again.

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  77. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    The dilemma: his desire is that we keep talking about him. His worst nightmare is that we’ll stop. But his new-found following means we don’t dare ignore his statements.

    I do not have a solution to this anti-syllogism.

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  78. Sherri said on December 17, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Yes, they really are that dumb.

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  79. beb said on December 17, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Republicans are good at pearl-clutching and …. um, pearl-clutching…? I would never feel bad about calling Republicans “fuckers” because that’s hat they are.

    I think the easiest way to get Trump out of the White House would be to dangle a $100 bill in front of him and pull it back as he chases after it.

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  80. David C said on December 17, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    I always figured a bucket of KFC would work better than that, beb.

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  81. LAMary said on December 17, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I agree on the KFC. Even though he’d want the hundred he wouldn’t admit to needing that pocket change. He’s a billionaire after all. Greasy chicken on the other hand…

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  82. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 17, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    A friend posted that he’s heard Trump is not planning on leaving January 20th — but I’m still looking for a source on that not-implausible story. Anyhow, this was my perhaps non-helpful comment on his thread.

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  83. Bitter Scribe said on December 17, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    Every ICU bed in Los Angeles County is now taken up by COVID patients.

    We’re following a historical pattern of Democrat-cleans-up-Republicans’-mess, only this time the mess is mountainous.

    Regarding C.S. Lewis, I always thought “Mere Christianity” was just a restatement of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” which itself founders on the Euthyphro Dilemma. If you don’t know what any of that means, you probably studied something in college that made you money, instead of philosophy.

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  84. Mark P said on December 17, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    Mike Pence is planning to chair the Senate for the official counting of the EC votes, and then flee the country immediately afterwards. I don’t know whether he wants to be out of shit-throwing range from Trump, fears violence, or just wants some more travel on the taxpayers’ dollar.

    The most believable scenario for Trump is that he goes to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas and doesn’t come back to DC. He apparently has been fantasizing about not leaving the White House on January 20, but I don’t think he’s serious. If someone mentions the consequences of doing that (dragged out screaming and crying, hauled out on a stretcher, escorted not too civilly by large Secret Service agents holding each arm) I think he will decide running away will be preferable.

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  85. alex said on December 17, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but whenever there’s talk about pearl clutching it makes me think of porno with strings of baubles passing through places where the sun never shines.

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  86. Bitter Scribe said on December 17, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Maybe Pence is fleeing because Mother doesn’t want him to be alone with Kamala Harris.

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  87. susan said on December 17, 2020 at 11:54 pm

    Something to look forward to on January 20!

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  88. LAMary said on December 18, 2020 at 12:35 am

    I like visualizing Trump getting the classic bum’s rush out of the WH. A big guy on each arm, lifting him slightly off the ground, his legs flailing as they hustle him into some unmarked vehicle.

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  89. Jakash said on December 18, 2020 at 1:04 am

    About a month ago, GoldenGateBlond on Twitter figured out: “You guys, we don’t have to send in the Marines to get him out of the White House. All we have to do is cancel the cable.”

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  90. beb said on December 18, 2020 at 1:27 am

    Deadline Detroit has announced that beloved Wayne Country sheriff Benny Napoleon has died, He was 65. Napoleon had been Detroit police chief under under Mayor Archer, then was an assistant Wayne County Commissioner (Detroit is in Wayne County) then Sheriff or Wayne County. He had run for re-election this year, and run unopposed. Was diagnosed with Covid and spent nearly three weeks on a ventilator before passing away. Napoleon’s brother also had covid; recovered but still suffers long term effects.

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  91. Dexter Friend said on December 18, 2020 at 2:25 am

    Noel Phillips is a YouTube giant who makes a living flying all over the globe, reporting on new techno gadgets and reviewing airlines. Once he used up some extra miles by sending his wife to Seattle for a look-see. She posted a video of herself standing by Pike Place Market, closed, nobody in sight, cold rain pouring down, as she pleaded to her husband to “get me a flight out of here now.”

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2020 at 7:35 am

    Look, I think maybe you better not
    mention winning the election around here.

    Why? Don’t they believe in winners?

    (looking at Nick)
    A… Yeah, but… you know…

    Then why should they be surprised
    when they see one?

    (to Nick)
    He never grew up. He’s…(to Donald)
    How much did you win by, anyway, Donald?

    Seventy-Two million…(thinks)
    …last November.

    Nick slams the bottle down on the counter.

    That does it! Out you two pixies go,
    through the door or out the window!

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  93. brian stouder said on December 18, 2020 at 9:31 am

    Come to think of it, life IS a bit more wonderful, right now..!!

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  94. LAMary said on December 18, 2020 at 9:49 am

    My current contract job has been either very easy or insanely busy. No middle ground. With the exception of one bitchy woman everyone has been extremely nice, mentioning me in a positive way on the weekly zoom meetings.Since I’m a temp I don’t get holiday pay and my paycheck for Thanksgiving week was anemic. Last week they announce they would be closing the offices on Dec. 24 and not reopening until Jan. 4. Not good for my financial situation. Then I got a call from the corporate HR person yesterday. She told I’m getting paid for the closed week. I’m paid through a temp agency and she told the temp agency to approve my hours for that period. I hope these people hire me permanently. Aside from being good to employees they do very good work:food banks, homeless outreach, neighborhood clinics, contact tracers. People who apply for these jobs are pretty amazing. Not all of them, but a lot of them. I interviewed a woman for a homeless outreach job. She would be part of a two person team on the street in San Francisco. I have to ask tough questions about dealing with homeless people. One is about how the applicant would manage dealing with the death of a homeless person they were working with. This woman I was interviewing had been homeless herself. Her answer, when I asked, “how would you deal with a client dying?” was ” I would grieve because it’s the right thing to do. Then I would follow protocols because it’s the right thing to do.” Knocked me right out.

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  95. LAMary said on December 18, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Mike Pence got a vaccination on TV. He got his, “I Didn’t Cry” sticker off camera.

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  96. Deborah said on December 18, 2020 at 11:34 am

    A legacy achievement What an asshole.

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  97. basset said on December 18, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t know what I should be more concerned about, that this shirt exists or that some algorithm put an advertisement for it on my screen:

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  98. ROGirl said on December 18, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    An email just went out at work to notify everyone that John James, the senate candidate who lost to Gary Peters, will pay a visit to our facility on Monday afternoon.

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  99. LAMary said on December 18, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Nice t shirt, basset. I think it would be best in lime green. You’d want high visibility in that shirt. Maybe the people who make AR-15s also make those shirts.

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  100. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    LAMary, I love that answer.

    We were able to figure out how to give year-end bonuses to all our staff with the homelessness response program I’m on the board of, in our morning meeting. The other early morning meeting for our community warming shelter for the persistently unhoused (we’re still working on wording for that last hardest-to-serve cohort) set our benchmark at 10 degrees for opening up, and we don’t feel half so good about that decision. But if we put the activation standard at a low of 15, we’re afraid we can’t meet that expectation for the 12-60 people we’re aiming this low barrier shelter option at, given our current resource base.

    Hard choices in any direction . . .

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  101. LAMary said on December 18, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Jeff, PEH is the acronym I see the most in my job. It’s what the Los Angeles county department of health uses. In the past five years I’ve worked in three hospitals, one VA contractor, a few nameless temp jobs and this company which is a nonprofit working mostly with city,county and federal agencies working on health and homeless issues. I have learned so many acronyms and forgotten most of them when went to a different contract position. I hope I stay with this company. They seem to be extremely ethical and genuinely committed to what they do. The VA contractor I worked for was the polar opposite and the way they treated their employees reflected their contempt for people. And PEH is persons experiencing homelessness.

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  102. Sherri said on December 18, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    The stupid gets stupider. Creating a US Space Force was stupid. Stealing the logo from Star Trek was stupider. Naming the members of the force “Guardians”?

    …of the Galaxy?!? Did Disney pay for that?

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  103. Bitter Scribe said on December 18, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Sherri: Right? I was hoping for Space Cadets, myself.

    Seriously, anyone here been in the Air Force? Is there any reason to take the USAF Space Command and make it a separate service? To me it seems really stupid.

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  104. basset said on December 18, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    LAMary, I suspect that they’re working on a tactical hoodie version of that shirt with high-capacity pockets and a semiautomatic zipper. Wouldn’t surprise me, anyway.

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  105. Sherri said on December 18, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    Can the journalists in this joint explain to me how Dean Baquet still has a job?

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  106. beb said on December 19, 2020 at 1:35 am

    This is interesting:

    The surprise victory of Mitch McConnell has lead to a study of some of the election districts where McConnell won. Democratic districts were Republicans never win. McConnell got the votes the majority of registered Democrats. And Kentucky doesn’t use the Dominion voting machines but the ES&S machines. As did Maine where Susan Collins won unexpectedly and South Carolina with Lindsay Graham unexpectedly won. I don’t think the ES&S machines produce a printed ballot. Maybe Trump feels he was cheated but he was counting on hacked ES&S machines to tip the race for him. Only not enough states still use them….

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  107. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 8:30 am

    More destruction by Trump that may be irreversible

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  108. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 19, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Yep, we use PEH often; our low barriers “warming shelter” is the pop-up facility we assemble when the overnight lows dip below a certain number; started a couple of years ago when we had a polar vortex coming, turned out to be -13, and a couple of us banded together for three nights to open two locations for those who generally won’t/don’t come to the three existing emergency shelter options we have. In candor, it’s usually because they’re still using, are not ready to stop, and know the shelters will require that you not use while in residence. But the persistently unsheltered have a variety of stories behind them, and when media finds them they tell their particular story which may or may not be strictly true (a running issue has been a couple of our regulars say they won’t come “in” during even very cold weather “because no one will take my dog and will put her in a shelter” which in fact we have provision for at our pop-ups, but it sounds better than “I plan to keep drinking Milwaukee’s Best by my fire all night” to a reporter, etc.).

    And after too long at this, I kinda get it. Going into a shelter *does* mean a bunch of rules and people in clean clothes telling you what to do, and some of my fellow volunteers can be a bit . . . much, at times. The flip side is that I sincerely believe most of our guests who will say, once relaxed, that they really do have a plan to stop using, just not today, okay? And they’ll talk about it, and it’s generally not completely unrealistic. It’s perhaps implausible, but once the winter ends and they get a decent roofing job and pile up just enough to get their own apartment, then they’ll stop. Well, okay. I could say “but why not start tonight?” or I can meet them where they are, try to keep them safe, and encourage the basic idea that not using will get them to a better place.

    Anyhow, we got the standard up from below Zero to 10 degree lows as our opening trigger. We’re not a large urban area, so our unhoused homeless number is lower, and our need for a low barriers (i.e., not demanding a guest be or stay “clean” while in our space) shelter is not that strong all the time — last time we stayed open as the temps went up above 15 degrees overnight, but the snow was deep, we emptied out, because as the last couple leaving said to us “all the good places will be taken if we don’t get back out there.” Oh, I said stupidly. I hadn’t thought about that before.

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  109. David C said on December 19, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Mitch won Kentucky because it’s fucking Kentucky and all that analysis is crap. There are lots of places in Kentucky where Democrats lead Republicans in voter registration because people never bothered to change theirs. Sure Mitch has a lousy approval rating. They don’t like him but they hate Democrats. Lefty conspiracy theories are no better than righty ones.

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  110. Sherri said on December 19, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    The people who have been experiencing homelessness persistently have adapted to that environment, and don’t necessarily fit well with the more rules-based congregate shelters that are the current solution. If you already have a home, nobody says you have to stop drinking to move to another one.

    Too many problems of the marginalized are addressed with middle class solutions, without including the people with the problem in the solution.

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  111. alex said on December 19, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    If you love McMansion Hell and Tom & Lorenzo, have I got a new rabbit hole for you:

    Dunno why but I found it good for laffs today.

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  112. Scout said on December 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    alex @111 – thanks for the good laugh. I needed that.

    My 88 year old Dad was taken to the hospital by ambulance last night and is being treated for influenza while waiting for a covid test result. He has been going steadily downhill since he took a fall back in October. Good vibes welcome.

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  113. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    I liked a lot of that stuff on that website, Alex. It was funny and some of it very pretentious. I wonder what they’d say about my places in Chicago, Santa Fe and Abiquiu. I don’t think I want to know.

    I just got off of a condo association zoom call and one of the other owners has Covid, his whole family has it, their son brought it home from pre-school. They just moved back to Santa Fe from California because of all the fires, their house there was in a forested area and they suffered a lot from the smoke. They’re renting a house here, his elderly dad lives in his condo in our building now and he saw his dad on the 10th, so we’re all hoping his dad and step mom weren’t exposed because neither of them are in good health. The owner on the zoom call is ok now, but he had to go to the ER because he kept fainting and was dehydrated because he couldn’t keep any liquids down, had a temp of 103. He’s 52 and has 2 very young children, his wife is much younger, she had very mild symptoms and they only knew the kids had it at first because the son’s teacher had it and they all got tested. He was very sobered by the whole experience and said it made him rethink everything.

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  114. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Scout, so sorry about your dad. I’ve seen his photo on FB and he sure doesn’t look 88, handsome fellow. Hope he pulls through ok, sending the best vibes I can your way.

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  115. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Alex, that website reminded me of the time I went to a party at the home of a woman who was a stylist of photos for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Every room in her home was set up with stuff that you’d only see in a magazine, especially a bathroom that I needed to use while I was there. She had draped a bathrobe over a chair with straw slippers just so and a bar of soap on it etc as if someone very stylish were about to come in and take a bath any second. It was disconcerting and it made me feel that I needed to get out of there pronto. Her husband was an architect who taught with my husband.

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  116. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 19, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    It’s a long night in a low barriers shelter when nine are trying to sleep and three are tweaking, among other things each of them wanting the other two kicked out (into -13 pre-dawn streets) “because they’re bothering people.”

    I understand the Salvation Army rules a whole lot better after a dozen nights each of the last two winters trying to get to breakfast without anyone calling 911. Negotiating with someone high on meth is . . . interesting. And hey, without lots of coffee I don’t think I could do it. Plus you keep checking the restroom trashcans to make sure one of them isn’t burning, again.

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  117. Sherri said on December 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Congregate shelters have to have rules, but congregate shelters aren’t a solution to homelessness. Especially during a pandemic.

    The real challenge in solving homelessness is not with the homeless population, it’s with the comfortably housed who want the homeless population to go somewhere else.

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  118. ROGirl said on December 19, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Sorry about your father, Scout.

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  119. alex said on December 19, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Sending you virtual hugs Scout and I hope all will be well. I’m about to go check in on my 90-something folks but only stay a moment and fully masked. Because I have to go out into the world and work every day I have no idea whether I might be a carrier and have to play it safe. Looking forward to normalcy again, whenever that happens.

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  120. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Scout, I’m also sending good vibes to your father, hoping he will heal. My mom is 88 and lives in fear of falling. Every time I call and she doesn’t answer, I pray she just in the bathroom.

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  121. jerry said on December 19, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Johnson has just cancelled Christmas over here. We were expecting our twin London-based sons to be home for five days and now they won’t be. We know it makes sense but it is rather distressing.

    I spent the morning wrapping the presents to go in their “stockings” – they’re only 47 and aren’t ready to go without yet! And we’ve got menus planned and beef ordered for Christmas Day and turkey ordered for Boxing Day. But most of all we’ll miss spending some precious time with them.


    But I hope you all have the best Christmas the circumstances allow.

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  122. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Jerry, sorry for the wrench in your holiday plans, I’m happy that we’ve been with my daughter since before Thanksgiving and tested together, all negative and if we go anywhere, like to the grocery store or pharmacy we are together, at least two of us at a time so we’re a pod at this point. We try to limit errands to a couple of times a week but that’s not always possible.

    It’s unclear if the elderly parents of the condo owner guy who has Covid have been tested since they found out their son has the virus. The dad is a Trump supporter, don’t know about his wife, but we do see him wearing a mask most of the time when he walks his dog, we hardly ever see her. The corridors up to their place are outside so we never have to be in an enclosed space with them. We’ve alerted the other residents of the building to take extra precautions about mask wearing and hand washing in case there’s possible exposure. Trying to keep people’s health privacy but still warn others is tricky.

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  123. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 19, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you and holiday blessings to all of the fellow sandwich generation folk here; it really is helpful to read about various people’s responses.

    Jerry, don’t know if it’s amusing or not but Boris has provoked the Twitter ire of his one-time bestie here, with Trump chiding him in strong terms today for locking down.

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  124. Dorothy said on December 19, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Scout I’ll be thinking of your dad and sincerely hope he recovers, whatever it is he is fighting health-wise.

    We’re heading out of town tomorrow because our daughter is having surgery on Monday. We’re going to help with post-surgery recovery. We’ll be home a week from today. We’ve had Covid tests (negative) and think we have a very good chance of a long trip with very few interactions with others (lunch on the road tomorrow in the car). It helps that we’re bringing the dog which means we really cannot, even if we were dumb enough to do it, eat in a restaurant. We rented an apartment at an Air BnB – less contact with other people (no hotel employees). And we had really awful family news yesterday. One of my great-nephews, a five year old, very likely has lymphoma. He developed very swollen glands and had to get a battery of tests including a biopsy. The doctors are pretty sure it’s cancer, and we are all reeling. Liam is one of three sons of my nephew and his wife; Liam has a fraternal twin. For this to happen is just so awful, and it’s magnified by its proximity to Christmas. Please have some good thoughts for their little family as they face this upcoming upheaval in their lives.

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  125. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    Dorothy, oh my, sorry to hear that about a five year old. Thinking about you and your family this season, may your daughter’s surgery be uneventful.

    Forgive me if I’ve already mentioned this here, I forget who I’ve said what to. We’re leaving NM a little earlier than planned, Jan 3rd instead of mid-January and our plans are not to be back in NM until later in May. With my eye issues and possible cataract surgery when it’s safe in Chicago and travel restrictions because of general virus risks, we’re staying home. It’s clear that it’s not safe to go back and forth, even if we drive instead of flying. The only thing that could change those plans are LB’s health issues over the next few months.

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  126. Bob (not Greene) said on December 19, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Like Jerry, I was looking forward to a Christmas visit from my son who lives in Milwaukee and who I haven’t seen since March.

    But another son who lives with us, who is a nurse and was within weeks of being vaccinated, tested positive on Wednesday. So it’s lockdown central here. He’s “exhausted and achy” but otherwise ok, so far.

    My wife and daughter were tested and came back negative, but the demon is in the house.

    Scout, my heart goes out to you. Good thoughts for your dad.

    Merry fucking Christmas

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  127. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    OMG, Bob (NG) more and more people I know personally and virtually have contracted the virus or have close associations with people who have. I sort of expected this, that eventually it would happen to all of us, but it is very upsetting as it moves so quickly now among us. Scary.

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  128. Sherri said on December 19, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    In this long article of all the ways this administration screwed up this pandemic, this stuck out:

    Despite shunning recommended protocols internally, Trump aides speak with pride about the actions they took on the pandemic and are incredulous that their work has been so widely panned.

    300K dead, but why are you complaining?

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  129. Deborah said on December 19, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Sitting in front of the fireplace in Santa Fe after a delicious dinner of potato leek soup with all the fixings, which reminds me of three things I will miss about NM when we go back to Chicago in 2 weeks: LB’s cooking, fires and mountains, don’t know which order to put those in.

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  130. LAMary said on December 19, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    Knocking wood that no one here has tested positive.Older son stopped by today, stayed outside tending to the garden and repairing a section of fence. Younger son works outdoors with his job, clearing brush along the LA River. Masks on when the crew is in the truck. And I never go anywhere. If a package is delivered I wave at the delivery person through the window, wait for them to go out the gate before I go outside. LA is the hotspot of country right now and all my nurse friends are burning out and really angry. Sending the best vibes to you and your dad, Scout. This year is so ugly.

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  131. susan said on December 19, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    xmas tree ornament

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  132. Dexter Friend said on December 20, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Best wishes for Dad, Scout, and Dorothy in your travels and with your grandson’s health.
    Johnson promised Christmas would be joyous and then yanked out the rug and cancelled Christmas, no travels or gatherings, and as Jerry witnesses and TV tells us, Brits are not happy. Personally, the beat goes on; Carla Lee had to be transported to a local hospital when her picc line became nonfunctional, then another 14 day quarantine was imposed on her in the nursing home because she had left the place for an hour. I lost track of how many weeks since I have seen her, as we Facetime regularly. I drive to the place to drop stuff off for her 3-4 times per week. I have her snacks, toiletries, clean clothes ( I do her laundry as she does not trust the place there to return things ), I set the bag by the door, an attendant answers the main door, I pick up the laundry and the attendant picks up the new stuff, as I stay back 15 feet, double-masked.
    I just finished “Wayne”, a ten-part binge on Prime…I found it lighthearted , violent as hell, profane, and very entertaining, and I recommend it.

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  133. susan said on December 20, 2020 at 1:03 am

    2020 yule log

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  134. Dorothy said on December 20, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Thx Dexter. It’s my brother’s grandson who is sick. But I appreciate all the good vibes yins are sending.

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  135. Scout said on December 20, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks to all who have posted well wishes for my Dad, and I am sending out my own to all of you who are also facing difficulties.

    The update this morning is that Dad is still in an ER bed at a fairly large hospital 36 hours after being admitted because there is ‘no room at the inn’ due to Covid. He has influenza and a UTI and is now on a Foley Catheter and antibiotics, but the good news is he is negative for Covid. None of us can visit him and I’m sure he is quite confused due to his dementia.

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  136. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Current background:

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  137. Deborah said on December 20, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Scout, that’s heartbreaking that none of you can be with your dad. This virus situation is the pits and it obviously didn’t have to be this bad for everyone. So sad.

    I’m back out in Abiquiu for a few days, it seems like a year since I’ve been here after the vision, toilet and water heater issues in Santa Fe, but it’s only been about a week and a half, if that long. It’s so nice to see the snowy mountains in the distance, calming.

    We brought some provisions to some neighbors out here who’ve been having rough times. She’s an artist and had a stroke this summer after her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer which is now in his liver. They actually looked much better than the last time we saw them, we met masked, outside and dropped off a basket of cheeses and salami, fruit etc and a box of salmon that my brother in law sent from Seattle. We did this weekly during the end of the summer but haven’t been able to do this much lately because of the snow/ice and the remote scary roads to their place. It’s an amazingly beautiful drive up there but nailbitingly harrowing. They lived in NYC before moving out here decades ago, they’re about 10 years older than us. It was good to see them looking healthier.

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