My Texas problem.

I have nothing against Texas. I have nothing against any state, really. Each and every state has a collection of terrible and wonderful people, although some of them need to DO BETTER, as the kids say these days. (Looking at you, Idaho. And several others.) Texas is the same as any, but yes, often it makes me weary.

It’s all that yee-haw Texas crap they’re always pulling. Yee-haw, we’re a nation unto ourselves! Yee-haw, we’re ruggedly independent and self-reliant! Yee-haw, let’s secede!

See, I’m old enough to remember the “let ’em freeze in the dark” Texas of the ’70s and ’80s, when they sneered at Michigan residents who were refugeeing to Texas like Okies; the auto industry was on its knees, the weather was awful and they’d heard there were jobs to be had in the oil industry, or the awl bidnis as it’s known down there. Michiganians were called the “black tag people,” as I recall, after the license plate colors of the time. Basically, Texans behaved like Texas-size assholes. I have not forgotten.

Later, when the tables were turned, when the awl bidnis fell on hard times, I don’t recall any of them getting an attitude adjustment. But let’s not be petty. I will be the bigger person here. I will say I am perfectly fine with helping Texas as it suffers through Michigan-like weather it is utterly unprepared for. Only it turns out we cannot help them because the Texas electrical grid is a closed system and why? Because yee-haw Texas, that’s why:

The separation of the Texas grid from the rest of the country has its origins in the evolution of electric utilities early last century. In the decades after Thomas Edison turned on the country’s first power plant in Manhattan in 1882, small generating plants sprouted across Texas, bringing electric light to cities. Later, particularly during the first world war, utilities began to link themselves together. These ties, and the accompanying transmission network, grew further during the second world war, when several Texas utilities joined together to form the Texas Interconnected System, which allowed them to link to the big dams along Texas rivers and also send extra electricity to support the ramped-up factories aiding the war effort.

The Texas Interconnected System — which for a long time was actually operated by two discrete entities, one for northern Texas and one for southern Texas — had another priority: staying out of the reach of federal regulators. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Power Act, which charged the Federal Power Commission with overseeing interstate electricity sales. By not crossing state lines, Texas utilities avoided being subjected to federal rules. “Freedom from federal regulation was a cherished goal — more so because Texas had no regulation until the 1970s,” writes Richard D. Cudahy in a 1995 article, “The Second Battle of the Alamo: The Midnight Connection.” (Self-reliance was also made easier in Texas, especially in the early days, because the state has substantial coal, natural gas and oil resources of its own to fuel power plants.)

I’m told Texas is, in this emergency, getting a helping hand from Mexico, and brothers and sisters, that is hilarious.

I have only really visited Texas once. We drove across part of the panhandle some years back, passing through Amarillo, home of the American Quarter Horse registry. I recall lots of flat landscapes and…not much else. And I visited Houston for a job interview in 2004. It was…fine, I guess, although I was appalled by the local attitude toward fossil fuels. At least three people told me they’d mastered “air-conditioning the outdoors,” explaining how the roof on the baseball stadium was partially closed, then giant A/C ducts turned down on the spectators. Also, there was something in the parks, I forget. (Yes, I believe I’ve told this story before.)

“I don’t really like hot weather all that much,” I offered, weakly.

“Aw, you’ll change your tune after you spend your first Christmas in shorts!” one editor said. Yee-haw, Texas!

But I understand suffering, and I’m sure that single-digit weather in a place that is absolutely not built for it is miserable. Frozen pipes are miserable. Not having heat because of rolling blackouts? Miserable. Dangerous, even. People will die because they lack coping skills, and as I write this, I believe at least two have already perished from CO poisoning, trying to stay warm in a running car.

But I won’t say let ’em freeze in the dark. It’s a new era, and we need one another. But I will not forgive Ted Cruz. You Texans have to fix that one.

Also, stop building houses in reservoirs, you greedy idiots. You get hurricanes! JFC.

As for the actual dark, here in the land of the black-tag people, we got hammered overnight. The drifts were four inches up the back door this morning, and Wendy was super-bummed about that. I shoveled her out a little pee patch, cleared the back steps, failed to get the snow blower to start and left it to Alan, who is doing it now. More on the way, too, on Thursday, although it’ll be a little warmer. But we have insulation and long underwear and snow plows and know not to let a car be your furnace.

We haven’t air-conditioned the outdoors yet. And I prefer our bearded senator.

OK then, here’s the midweek update, a little early. Gotta start putting the DD newsletter together.

Posted at 10:17 am in Current events |
 

64 responses to “My Texas problem.”

  1. Suzanne said on February 16, 2021 at 10:26 am

    We have a drift at our back door that is probably 3 feet deep. Not sure how or when we will tackle that. Our snowblower crapped out and a shovel seems inadequate for the task…

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  2. Joe Kobiela said on February 16, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Drove up to dtw this morning usually leave 3hr before my flight left 4hr early today, not much traffic could do 50 on the 2 lanes 60-65 on the 4 lanes, just had to be careful. It took a extra 45 minutes. Unfortunately my flight to Nashville was canceled so I’m sitting in the terminal waiting for my company to rebook me. The life of a pilot.
    Pilot Joe

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  3. ROGirl said on February 16, 2021 at 11:15 am

    A neighbor was kind enough to buzz through with a snowblower this morning, not only the sidewalk but also my driveway. I had to shovel off the porch because the snow had blown straight to the front door and piled up in a drift. My street doesn’t get cleared until the main streets are done.

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  4. Andrea said on February 16, 2021 at 11:21 am

    We are comfortably snowed in here in Chicago, now that our power is restored. I keep hearing that old carol “In the bleak midwinter” in my head, with its mournful refrain of “snow upon snow upon snow”. Other than the sound of the snow blowers, though, I am not finding this scene to be mournful. We have a brilliant blue sky and the silence that only comes from several feet of snow out there. I am sure I will tire of it sooner than later, but for now we are cosy.

    My sister, however, lives in Austin, and has had intermittent power since yesterday morning, and no water. Yesterday afternoon her kitchen pipes burst. The earliest estimate for her water to be restored is Friday. All the hotels in the area are full, she said. As of last night, she had 8 gallons of water for their family of 4 plus a dog. We talked about melting snow in a bucket for using to flush the toilets. We are trying to keep her spirits up, but feel pretty helpless from so far away.

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  5. Deborah said on February 16, 2021 at 11:37 am

    I lived in Texas for 8 years of my life. 8 years I will never get back. I lived in Houston 1 year and Dallas for the rest, LB was born there. I was not happy that whole time, at all, was ecstatic to move to St. Louis. That period of my life was in what I call my former life, when I was married to my ex. It snowed 8″ in Dallas one time, actually I think that was the only time it snowed while I lived there. We did have ice storms every once in a while, those were brutal. The heat and humidity in Houston was unbearable, and I grew up in Miami, so I knew what heat and humidity was. The worst part of Texas to me though, was the Texans, I’m sorry to say that, but there was a lot of arrogance and entitlement. There are some beautiful parts of Texas, around Austin in the hill country, especially in the spring when the wild blue bonnets and Indian paint brush flowers bloom along the highways. I have occasional dreams where I have to move back to Texas and believe me, those are nightmares.

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  6. Little Bird said on February 16, 2021 at 11:44 am

    It’s currently snowing in Santa Fe, and we already have a foot on the ground. It’s dry powdery snow, so shoveling it isn’t too bad. I’m just glad I have a fireplace. I’m stuck at home for a few days because my street is more like an alley and it never gets plowed. It’s a rare enough snowfall that all my local friends are posting tons of pictures of their yards, myself included.
    I remember the snow in Dallas that Deborah mentioned; I was three and fascinated by the way the ice encapsulated individual leaves on the bushes.

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  7. alex said on February 16, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Our bearded Senators are clean-shaven.

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  8. Suzanne said on February 16, 2021 at 11:48 am

    This is great. Ted Cruz gets totally blasted on Twitter for this tweet
    https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/1361682246978199553?s=21

    The responses are brutal. And hilarious!

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  9. LAMary said on February 16, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    A friend and I drove from Denver to Padre Island one time. Padre was fine. The towns in Texas where we stopped along the way were less than hospitable to two hippieish types with Colorado plates on the VW. We got some rudeness, some comments about my male companion’s hair length, some uncomfortable meals in diners with silent stares from the locals. When I started working for Molly Ivins I mentioned this to her and said I fully supported the Texas secessation movement. She understood. Back in Colorado, there were bumper stickers that said, “If God wanted Texans to Ski he would have given them mountains.”

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  10. Heather said on February 16, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Spent an hour shoveling the car (glad I moved it yesterday to nab a space in front of my building) and clearing out the snow from our building’s Dumpsters in the alley, which is a mess. Not sure where we’ll put the snow if it keeps on like this–the mounds on the parkways are already about four feet high. I’m remembering the massive snowfall in Boston a few years ago where the snowpack got to around seven feet. That said I’m not going anywhere for a couple days. Cars are getting stuck all over.

    I have been to Austin a few times, although not in about 20 years, and I gathered it’s changed a lot thanks to the tech industry. Cool town though and great food. And I went to Dallas/Ft. Worth for a friend’s wedding, also years ago. I just remember a lot of strip malls. That said a liberal friend lives in Houston and seems to like it well enough.

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  11. Bitter Scribe said on February 16, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    I look forward to the president’s nasty tweet about how since Texans are so self-reliant, they won’t be needing any help from the federal government they were recently talking about seceding from, and didn’t your AG sue to keep me out of the White House? Too bad, y’all.

    Wait…you mean presidents don’t do that any more? We have someone in the White House who’s more interested in helping Americans than trolling them? Well, shucks.

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  12. susan said on February 16, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Round one. “NAACP sues Trump for inciting Capitol riot”

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  13. David C said on February 16, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    My uncle Tom was a transplant to Texas so, of course, he was more of a Texan than Texans. I remember some family get together after some horrendous heat wave in Dallas killed hundreds of people if I remember right. One of my aunts mentioned how terrible that was. Tom came out of his chair and yelled at her “They would have died anyway”. He died before the pandemic but I have no doubt he would have had the same attitude toward those who died from it.

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  14. Deborah said on February 16, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    Today is one of the few times in the last few years I’ve been in Chicago during Fat Tuesday, but because it’s so icy out there I don’t want to go out anywhere to get paczki (autocorrect did not want to let me type that).

    I didn’t mention that one time when it snowed while we lived in Dallas the city shut down for about a week. They had no plows etc. People didn’t have boots or proper coats etc. I had mine leftover from when I was in college in Nebraska. It was a mess.

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  15. JodiP said on February 16, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    For those of us with housing, we have been pretty lucky here–just windchills in the upper twenties at worst. As I joked with a friend, it’s some weird windchill Stockholm Syndrome when you check the temp and are relieved the WC is only -6! I would actually like a bit of snow to get the XC ski trails doing better. I got out on Sunday and had to open my coat’s vents even with a -20 WC.

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  16. robert said on February 16, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    Delightful post & comments. I lived in Texas for 35+ years and loved the state. Used to be many folks down there would give you the shirt off their back, BUT I remember well the “Freeze in the Dark” bumper stickers. I also recall smug jokes comparing Yankees to hemorrhoids. I now live in Jersey (with a foot of snow still on the ground). I am sympathetic to the plight of those folks who are actually freezing in the dark, but I regret that the state that was home to Ann Richards and Molly Ivins now suffers under Ted Cruz, Ken Paxton, and Dan Patrick.

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  17. Sherri said on February 16, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    If the GQP cared about facts, then knowing that Texas is on its own grid should tell them that there is no national power grid to shut down as part of the Storm, but instead they want to blame the power outages in Texas on frozen windmills. (Not a joke.)

    A graphic of the power grids, for your infrastructure viewing pleasure: https://mobile.twitter.com/hacks4pancakes/status/1348454340097400832

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  18. basset said on February 16, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    This talk of Texas and black-plate people reminds me of a Seger song:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWCFMVRiILk

    “don’t you miss that freeeezin’ rain,” indeed.

    Mrs. B’s brother and his wife moved from Michigan to Texas right around then, to a city which built this: https://www.asumag.com/planning-design/new-construction/article/20855703/katy-texas-district-opens-high-school-football-stadium-thats-being-called-the-most-expensive-ever

    $70M for a high school stadium… ya gotta have priorities, I guess.

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  19. Connie said on February 16, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    I am reminded of the winter of 96. We lived in southern Indiana, 50 miles north of Louisville right off an I65 exit. Massive storm hits. Freeways are completely closed in Ky and Tn. Truck traffic begins to back up on the freeway. It did not take long for every big parking lot from the exit to the city limits to fill with big trucks. It was the second day that restaurants began to run ouf food due to both feeding truckers and no deliveries. It was several days before they could hit the freeway again.

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  20. Deborah said on February 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    On Twitter:

    “I’ll vote for a Democrat when hell freezes over.” — Texas Republicans

    “Deal.” — Mother Nature

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  21. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Our niece lives in Austin but happily has retained her Midwest sensibilities. Instead of whining she pulled on her coat and boots and grabbed her snow shovel. She’s experiencing the rolling blackouts too, but is handling it with aplomb. BTW, our daughter loves traveling and has enjoyed every place she’s been, except Las Vegas and Texas.

    Officially we got 11.2 inches, but I saw a posting in our neighborhood of 14. 11, 14, what’s the diff?

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  22. Sherri said on February 16, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Microsoft has a server farm near San Antonio. It’s running on generator power right now, but they’re scrambling to shift all the load off to other servers because they don’t know when they’ll be able to get more fuel for the generators, because the roads are so bad.

    Something to think about for all the hospitals and care facilities that are running on generators right now in Texas as well.

    Infrastructure: the stuff you don’t think about until it’s not there.

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  23. LAMary said on February 16, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    and speaking of building homes in reservoirs: My son was in Houston a couple of years ago when he was still a roadie and not a brush clearance guy. On the day of the concert the city was flooded. Bigly. The bands split before it got crazy. The roadies and tech people had to take a bus to some other city in Texas and wait for the trucks full of equipment and merchandise to get to them. I explained that there is basically no zoning in Houston and that stuff is built on flood plains.

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  24. LAMary said on February 16, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    I have a completely unrelated question for the bleachers. I’ve been getting charley horses in my right leg all morning. I’m just sitting here at my desk, didn’t do anything different in the last 24 hours to make my calf muscle do this. Any suggestions about a) how to stop this and b) why this is happening? It’s not life threatening but it’s very annoying.

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  25. Sherri said on February 16, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    More explanation of the Texas electricity system: https://mobile.twitter.com/hacks4pancakes/status/1348454340097400832

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  26. Heather said on February 16, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    LAMary @24, try a magnesium supplement. They’re good for muscle function.

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  27. LAMary said on February 16, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks, Heather. I keep walking it off with a trip up and down the stairs. Of course growing up my father’s medical advice was to walk off everything. My grandmother’s was either a laxative or an enema.

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on February 16, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    LAMary: I get them at night, which is arguably worse. I have to leap out of bed to walk them off, sometimes literally screaming in pain.

    I’m taking potassium pills, which seem to help a little. Next I’ll try magnesium, as Heather suggests.

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  29. alex said on February 16, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    Hydration also helps, LA Mary. Sometimes charley horses are nothing more than a sign that you need water.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Mary, if you can stand it, any calf stretches will help. Or if you have a foam roller, roll it over that. I bought one for my husband but he’s too much of a wimp to use it, so now it’s mine, all mine.

    A friend posted a list of the top 40 songs today in 1974 from WLS in Chicago, in other words the playlist of my senior year of high school. #1 was Seasons in the Sun, which I think was our prom theme, not that I went. #2 was The Way We Were. After that it devolves to a lot of disco and really bad novelty songs like The Streak and I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes.

    Since we’re snowed in we decided to make a huge pan of scalloped potatoes and another huge pot of ham soup. I found a Spotify list from 1974 and we’ve been listening and having a dance party.

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  31. LAMary said on February 16, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    I looked up food that are high in magnesium and pumpkin kernels are at the top of the list. Luckily I just bought some pumpkin seed granola which I just ate for lunch. I’ll have some more water too. Did a few more trips up and down the stairs which confused the dogs.
    Julie, that playlist sucks. People get all nostalgic about the seventies but there was a lot of dreck happening then. Polyester shirts (remember Quiana?) ugly shoes, really bad television. The music from the seventies I still listen too includes Stevie Wonder, The Band, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and speaking of Texas: Jerry Jeff Walker. Austin City Limits featured clips of old appearances of his and I realized how much I loved the Viva Terlingua album.

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  32. Deborah said on February 16, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    LAMary, I sometimes get those Charley horses a lot, I really hate the ones in my feet which make my toes draw up, horribly painful. I take both magnesium and potassium every morning. I attribute it to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Bananas help too. I get them more when I’m in NM, thus dehydration.

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  33. Deborah said on February 16, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    LAMary, your comment mentioning your grandmother’s remedies was funny to me because my mother was a big believer in enemas too. One time as a kid I had a really bad rash from playing under the mango tree and my mother gave me an enema as a possible cure (?). Where that thinking came from I have no idea. Was it a weird fad or something?

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  34. Jakash said on February 16, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    4 short (uh, make that long) years ago, from the comments in 2017, over there on the Wayback Machine.

    jcburns: “We’re in the Georgia 5th. Our congressman: John Lewis. We have been, however, encouraging our brethern and sistern up in the gerrymandered-therefore-quite-white 6th to get out and get a democrat elected there. Ossoff is the name I hear as ‘the best chance.'”

    Wonder what ever happened to that guy.

    Julie, your class really missed out on the opportunity to have “Love’s Theme” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra as the prom theme. What could they have been thinking? 😉

    There are songs from 1974 that I remember fondly, no matter how lame they were. But of the ones I hated, I defy anyone to mention a more awful one than “Having My Baby.”

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  35. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    We skipped over a lot of the songs on the playlist. After five or six bad ones in a row we shut it down. But a good energy source for cooking, and now we have enough food for the next week.

    Jackash, we also used Nights in White Satin for a dance theme, only they changed it to Knights. Really clever, right? I don’t know why I served on all those stupid dance committees, the only one I every went to was the one where the girls invited the boys. And the boy I wanted to invite couldn’t go, and by then all the good ones were gone. Plus I woke up that morning with a miserable cold. I don’t look back on all of high school with fond memories.

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  36. David C said on February 16, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    This is a weird treatment for cramps. It doesn’t work for me, but it works for Mary. She keeps a little bottle of hot sauce in her bedside table. When she gets a cramp at night, she puts a drop on her finger and rubs it under her lip and for some reason it interrupts the cramp. She says she feels the heat inside her and it loosens up instantly. She read athletes will just eat hot peppers so she tried hot sauce. It’s strange but it seems to work for some people.

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  37. Bruce Fields said on February 16, 2021 at 5:56 pm

    “I get them at night, which is arguably worse. I have to leap out of bed to walk them off, sometimes literally screaming in pain.”

    Me too. I’ve scared my wife once or twice that way. It feels like there’s a muscle in my calf that’s trying to tear itself apart. Ugh.

    Fortunately in my case I’ve found that just pointing my toes up (so I feel a stretch where it hurts) stops it, and if I react soon enough the pain doesn’t last.

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  38. LAMary said on February 16, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Bananas are out. I get migraines from bananas. There are other magnesium rich things to eat. Grains, raisins, salmon. I’ve got some salmon filets in the freezer and a new grill pan to play with, some brown rice the in house brit finds barely tolerable (white basmati only for him) and it’s likely I’ve got some sort of vegetables in the fridge that are on that list. Spinach, broccoli, random greens are in there somewhere. I should check on squashes being on the list. I know I’ve got the acorn and spaghetti varieties on hand.

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  39. Scout said on February 16, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    I used to get those charlie horses all the damn time but haven’t had any recently. My theory is the glutamine powder I add to my smoothies really helps. I use Body Fortress brand. https://www.amazon.com/Body-Fortress-Replenishment-Post-Workout-Supplement/dp/B001HITON8

    When I did get them often the only thing that worked was to walk them off.

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  40. susan said on February 16, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    How I mitigate leg & foot cramps is by sitting up and breathing in really deeply and slowly through a pursed mouth; and exhaling slowly through the same pursed mouth. Over and over until the weird pain dissipates. Works for me! A friend of mine goes to the fridge and downs a big spoonful of yellow mustard, the classic hotdog type. That’s why she even has it in the fridge. She says drinking dill pickle juice works, too. I have never tried either.

    I assume you all have heard about sleeping with a bar of soap between the bedsheets?

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  41. Suzanne said on February 16, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Here you go. Leg cramps info from the Mayo Clinic

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-cramp/symptoms-causes/syc-20350820

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  42. Suzanne said on February 16, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    If you aren’t watching The Black Church on PBS, you should be. It’s excellent.

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  43. Mark P said on February 16, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I have driven I-40 across the Texas panhandle many times. Flat is the single descriptive word needed. Aside from the smell of feed lots, there are three noteworthy things along I-40 in Texas. The first is a gigantic metal cross at Groom. I have always called it the Jesus of the Mobile Homes, because the construction looks like typical mobile home construction, but there’s no Jesus on the cross. Just in all the statues around it. The second thing is the leaning water tower, also in Groom. Groom just has it all. The third thing is the Cadillac Ranch, just west of Amarillo. Google that one.

    The panhandle doesn’t have much to recommend it, other than the fact that it’s not too wide. If you want a real taste of Texas hell, drive I-10 and I-20 from El Paso to the Louisiana border. You will come to believe that Texas is infinitely wide.

    My mother once had to go to the hospital in Fort Davis, which is pretty close to the middle of nowhere. The hospital looked like an old motel. They were proud of the fact that if they ran into a medical crisis, they could communicate with medical personnel in the closest big city, Fort Stockton, which is almost a hundred miles away by ambulance. Fort Stockton, in case you have never heard of it, had a population of less than 10,000 in 2010.

    People in New Mexico hate Texans. “Hate” may be too strong a word, especially since they tend to be reliably stupid when it comes to paying for tourist trinkets. Indian jewelry, too.

    My nephew is in an all-electric apartment with no power in Dallas. He’s talking about going to Colorado, where his brother lives, until Texas gets their shit together. That could be a long wait. I found the idea of leaving Texas for warmer weather in Colorado funny.

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  44. Deborah said on February 16, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    When we take what I call the southern route from Santa Fe to Chicago we take I-40 across the TX panhandle then up through OK etc. I have seen Cadillac Ranch and that hideous ginormous cross many times. The building details of the cross are just as you describe them, cheap corrugated metal panels. Cadillac Ranch is kinda cool, done by a group called Ant Farm, sorta well known in architecture circles. We take the southern route to avoid bad weather in winter months. When we came back to Chicago in early January this last trip we took that route. It’s really boring, I much prefer the route up through Colorado’s western slope then turning east at Laramie WY on I-80.

    I can confirm that people in NM are not fond of Texans. In Santa Fe you’ll often see a grizzled old guy with a big stetson and tons of silver and turquoise jewelry get into a pick-up with Texas plates. Stay as far away from him as possible while driving.

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  45. Gretchen said on February 17, 2021 at 12:04 am

    LAMary: I get leg cramps when I’m short on calcium. Taking a couple of Tums a day seems to help.

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  46. Deborah said on February 17, 2021 at 12:26 am

    Watched the movie “All About Eve” tonight with Bette Davis, Celeste Holme and Anne Baxter. Found out watching commentary on the DVD after the movie that Baxter’s grandfather was Frank Lloyd Wright. Her mother was a daughter of Wright and his first wife, I never knew that before. The movie was very long and I got tired of Bette Davis’s bitchy character about half way through it, but I stuck with it. Davis has this famous line in the movie, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” as she looks over her shoulder while wearing an Edith Head gown, at her guests at a party she’s hosting.

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  47. Sherri said on February 17, 2021 at 1:28 am

    After reading a fair amount about the Texas power situation today, it basically comes down to this: in choice between cheap and reliable, Texas chose cheap. Whether it’s spending money for excess capacity, or weatherproofing the grid, or connecting to systems outside of Texas that would have meant more regulation, Texas chose cheap, and thus, less reliable in the event of extreme weather.

    And yet, in a state with its own power grid beyond federal regulation, that has been dominated by oil and gas and controlled by Republicans for decades, their politicians are blaming the Green New Deal.

    Yee-Haw.

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  48. Dexter Friend said on February 17, 2021 at 2:03 am

    I used to get those charley horses. The only change I made was to eliminate ice cream and eat jello with fruit instead. I have not had a cramp in 5 years since.

    I lived in San Antonio for 4 months as a soldier. It was the only time in my life I was plagued by depression, but that was because I felt stuck at the bottom of the country and couldn’t leave, and Vietnam probably awaited, which it did, just a year later. I did see “Easy Rider” in a barrio movie house, first run. And don’t believe the bullshit about The Alamo being just a stupid big nothing tourist trap; it’s fucking awesome. 🙂
    OK…I just binged all 4 episodes of HBO Max’s “Lady and the Dale”, about Liz Carmichael (Car Michael?) , the wondrous transsexual woman who lit up the world in the 1970s post oil embargo gasoline shortage crisis, by promoting a little 3-wheel car powered by a motorcycle engine. There is a lot more to it, a great family movie, lots of hateful cops, grifting, grandiosity and braggadocio. And watching Liz as she fights off persecution by some TV and press haters, most notably Tucker Carlson’s father, shown in a montage with Tucker spouting the same anti-trans hate his father spewed decades before. This stuff is must-see TV (well, it’s not TV, it’s HBO, as they say).Today’s topic, Texas, is featured as well. Austin, s’matta of fact. I have a friend whose son lives there…he visited, said he was amazed how hilly it is. Also, before the pandemic, there was a great comedy club scene in Austin. I think I might like Austin. Texas. I remember I left San Antonio on a day just before Christmas, 1969, and it had been 80F at noon. I flew to O’Hare on a Branniff Whisperjet and landed where it was -10F. That was one heluva discrepancy.

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  49. Deborah said on February 17, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Will people be getting ashes swiped on their foreheads this morning even while the virus is very much among us? Will the officiant wash their hands between each application?

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  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 17, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Mark P, you forgot to mention “The Big Texan Steak Ranch.” My brother and I would debate taking on the 72 ounce steak, but never tried it. Wisely, I think.

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  51. Jakash said on February 17, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Deborah @ 49,

    “The Archdiocese of Chicago announced new protocols for distributing ashes, which are typically applied to foreheads in the shape of a cross. This year, celebrants are advised to sprinkle ashes on parishioners’ heads, as is done in Europe, or mark a person’s forehead with the ashes using a cotton ball or disposable, and non-plastic, Q-tip.”

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/2/16/22285794/ash-wednesday-coronavirus-ashes-forehead-sprinkle-catholic-archdiocese-social-distance

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZw1MmyUbLw

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  52. Icarus said on February 17, 2021 at 10:26 am

    JTMMO @ 50: I’d heard of steak joints doing something like this. In my marathon running days, I could probably put one of these away. Now I’m not so sure, especially since the meal consists of Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad, with Roll, Butter, and of course the 72 oz. Steak

    After a couple of minutes of googling, I found an interesting story.

    https://datavizblog.com/2018/07/23/35-years-ago-today-i-ate-the-72-oz-steak-at-the-big-texan-in-amarillo-texas/

    The Big Texan 72 oz. Steak Facts and Stats
    Nearly 4800 people have succeeded in eating the 72 oz. steak (since 1960).
    Almost 30,000 people have attempted to consume the free 72 oz. steak (since 1960).
    Approximately two women each year successfully eat the steak of the 4 or 5 who try. About 50% of the women who try are successful.
    Richard LaFeare chomped his way through 2 steaks on the “Donny & Marie Osmond Show” in 2000.
    Frank Pastore, who was a professional pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, ate the complete steak dinner in 9 and 1/2 minutes.
    The oldest person to eat the steak was a 69-year-old grandmother; the youngest, an 11-year old boy.
    Klondike Bill, a professional wrestler, consumed two complete dinners in the one-hour time limit back in the 1960s.

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  53. JodiP said on February 17, 2021 at 10:32 am

    The only time I was in Texas was to celebrate Maggie Jochild’s 60th birthday. A bunch of had met through Alison Bechdel’s blog. Another friend,Thierry, and I stayed at the Austin Motel–we’d never met before! It was so awesome to meet Maggie and her love, Margot who came from England. We all had so, so much fun together. Maggie was bed bound, so lots of visiting and food. Margot, Thierry, and I went to the Continental to listen to music and another place for jazz. Thierry and I went to Barton Springs, which was really beautiful. Maggie passed on January 6, 2017. We all can’t believe it’s already been four years. I often wonder how she would have written about what we have gone through.

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  54. LAMary said on February 17, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    I don’t eat ice cream other than the vegan variety because I’m very lactose intolerant. Like doubled over in pain intolerant. I’m thinking it was dehydration. It’s not happening today, so far.
    Going to CO to get warm sounds like a great idea. You can wake up to a freezing cold morning and it’s 55 by midafternoon in Denver. Or the other way around. I walked to the movies in shorts and flip flops once and walked home that way in a snow storm Luckily it wasn’t far.
    I’ve lived in CA for nearly 40 years and while I jump on people’s cases for saying that we’re all airheads here I occasionally want to jump on some local’s case for supporting the airhead comments. Last night on the news there was video of snow in Greece, and they showed a family building a snow man at the beach. The anchorman just could not get over the concept of snow on a beach. Who knew it could snow at the beach? Wow. How does that even happen? Snow on the beach in Greece is pretty unusual, agreed, but it snows on beaches all over northern hemisphere for Christ’s sake. Then this morning a local reporter on one of the NPR stations (not KCRW) reported on the new mega vaccine site at Cal State LA. The military is running it. The reporter said, “Californians are used to controlled lines like at Disneyland, but the military is even more organized.” I fucking hope so. It’s not the Magic Kingdom, it’s a vaccine site run by the military.

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  55. Suzanne said on February 17, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    Rush Limbaugh has met his demise. My first thought was “GOOD!”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2021/02/17/rush-limbaugh-conservative-radio-host-has-died-lung-cancer-70/5998621002/

    I also take joy in this being on the same day as the demolition of Trump’s Atlantic City casino.

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  56. Deborah said on February 17, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    At least people won’t be subjected to Rush’s vile crap anymore. But someone will take his place no doubt, someone even worse probably.

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  57. LAMary said on February 17, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    He was disgusting. Giving him the Presidential Medal of freedom degraded that award.

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  58. LinGin said on February 17, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    Jodi P @53 – Your friend wouldn’t happen to be Therry Neilsen-Steinhardt, would she? I know Therry was friends with Maggie Jochild (I pointed her to this blog when I found out). Therry and I are FB friends through our mutual love of opera and classical music.

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  59. LinGin said on February 17, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Nice tweet, Nancy. 😉

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  60. LAMary said on February 17, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    About Rush,from Wikipedia
    Since the 1990s, Limbaugh had become known for his love of cigars, saying, “I think cigars are just a tremendous addition to the enjoyment of life.”[276] During his syndicated television program from 1992 to 1996, he also became known for wearing distinctive neckties. In response to viewer interest, Limbaugh launched a series of ties[277] designed primarily by his then-wife Marta.[278] Limbaugh uses props, songs and photos to introduce his monologues on various topics. On his radio show, news about the homeless has often been preceded with the Clarence “Frogman” Henry song “Ain’t Got No Home”.[21] For a time, Dionne Warwick’s song, “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again” preceded reports about people with HIV/AIDS.[279] These later became “condom updates” preceded by Fifth Dimension’s song, “Up, Up and Away”.[21] For two weeks in 1989, on his Sacramento radio show, Limbaugh performed “caller abortions” where he would end a call suddenly to the sounds of a vacuum cleaner and a scream. He would then deny that he had “hung up” on the caller, which he had promised not to do. Limbaugh claims that he used this gag to illustrate “the tragedy of abortion” as well as to highlight the question of whether abortion constitutes murder.[280] During the Clinton administration, while taping his television program, Limbaugh referred to media coverage of Socks, the Clintons’ cat. He then stated, “But did you know there is also a White House dog?” and a picture of Chelsea Clinton was shown. When questioned about it, Limbaugh claimed that it was an accident and that without his permission some technician had put up the picture of Chelsea.[281][282]

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  61. JodiP said on February 17, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    LinGin it is the remarkable Therry N-S! A couple years after our Austin date, she came to MN for a visit and it was delightful as well. She has sucha great heart. I hope to get to see her after the pandemic is under control.

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  62. Dave said on February 17, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Limbaugh was bad enough, as in terrible, but giving the award to Gym Jordan degraded it even more, the former occupant of the White House had no respect for what it was supposed to signify.

    I remember Limbaugh talking about anyone he didn’t like who passed on as, “Assuming room temperature”. All I could think of when it popped up on my screen was how he had assumed room temperature and perhaps he was immediately being shown the error of his ways. Or maybe not.

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  63. alex said on February 17, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    The whole world’s having a happy dance.

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  64. Julie Robinson said on February 17, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    The only good thing I have to say about Limbaugh is that he waited long enough to die that our former president couldn’t order flags at half staff.

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