Read that, not this.

You know what I’m doing this weekend? Having a dinner party. For TEN people. What was I thinking? This is madness, and I’m still trying to work out the menu. So far: Mixed grill of beef tenderloin, chicken and maybe some shrimp, a fancier-than-average potato salad, grilled vegetables and…whatever. Open to suggestions, must feed 10. I have yet to shop.

Which is to say, this blog may be scarce the rest of the week. However! Neil Steinberg has written a fantastic one about Eric Zorn, who is taking the buyout and leaving the Chicago Tribune in the wake of its purchase by Alden Capital. It’s long, but absolutely worth the time, and has some very fine lines therein, including:

The thing Eric and I do, comment intelligently in a well-written fashion, isn’t what’s driving the conversation anymore, not the way wild extremism does. Fanatics glitter in the spotlight while moderation creeps off to die alone in the shadows.

How does it feel? Like a brontosaurus, under a darkening sky, up to its knees in a bog, slowly chewing a big mouthful of decaying vegetation, gazing uncomprehendingly at the heaving ribs of a stegosaurus that has toppled over on its side and is breathing hard, eyes staring, fixed.

Something like that.

Maybe it hit me because I’ve been doing my basement-cleaning, running across old clips, and feeling very dinosaur-y myself.

Anyway, I have much work to do. Much, much work. Read Neil, and we’ll talk later.

Posted at 10:21 am in Media |

45 responses to “Read that, not this.”

  1. Dorothy C Michalski said on June 16, 2021 at 10:40 am

    My daughter shared a potato salad recipe she saw on IG that included tomatoes, red onions and capers. The IG account said something about her dad had spent time in Spain, something something and it’s really delicious. Now I want to try it and plan to this Sunday. Grossypelosi was the account in case anyone wants to try it.

    I started putting sweet potatoes in my cold potato salad a few years ago because I had a taste for the salad, but only had a few white potatoes on hand. And I had two sweet potatoes. So I kind of had to try it, accidentally. It was delicious. Now I do it on purpose.

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  2. Deborah said on June 16, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Today is Bloomsday. My husband calls it Odysseusday because Bloom = Odysseus. He thinks that’s funny.

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  3. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    There is precious little to savor in the Tribune already. Now, Zorn is leaving as are lifestyle columnist Heidi Stevens and Steve Chapman, a moderately conservative oped writer.

    If the Trib sheds baseball writer Paul Sullivan, I’m gone.

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  4. ROGirl said on June 16, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

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  5. tajalli said on June 16, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Dorothy@1: were you using white or orange sweet potatoes? Sun-dried tomatoes, capers and red onions sound great as part of a vinegar/oil marinade. I’d consider adding fresh cilantro stems also (very zingy and don’t stick in your teeth).

    Nancy, I’d go with peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

    Re phone scams last thread: the very American English sounding female voices are almost certainly AI-generated as are the jovial male that says, “Well, I wasn’t expecting someone to pick up so I didn’t switch to my phone voice” and claiming it’s Steve Harvey or someone from the Police A[something] League.

    Coursera, a MOOC (massive online open-source course) provider, uses an AI to read the written course offerings – nice touch for persons wishing to learn/expand/practice their English and an, occasionally amusing, reinforcement for native speakers. Received a phone message from “at” (AT&T) claiming my account was in danger of being disconnected. The live guy (Asian Indian accent) wanted to argue when I said I’d call billing directly – a clear indicator of nefarious intent. I just pickup and hangup to stop the landline/message machine these days, I don’t even bother to say a word.

    And thanks to whomever for recommending “The Library Book” – great read chock full of additional reading suggestions, similar to Larry McMurtry’s “Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen.”

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  6. Hank Stuever said on June 16, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    The Steinberg column on Zorn is so good and — ugh, so painful. He’s right in how the elegance of thoughtful and reported columns is no match for the frenzied opinion mosh pit of any given day in the life of the super-online. My day just got more glum.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 16, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake’s wings of excess. I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and time one livid final flame. What’s left us then?

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  8. Deborah said on June 16, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    I visited that Martello Tower in Sandy Cove, near Dublin where Buck Mulligan carried that bowl of lather. To get up to the roof lookout we had to walk up a claustrophobic stair that wound around inside the perimeter walls. Looked out at the sea and down to the house of Roddy Doyle who wrote “Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha” (and other books). Had one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten at a nearby restaurant.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on June 16, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    If the Tribune forces Eric Zorn out but keeps John Kass, they will have well and truly sunk beneath contempt.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 16, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Bitter Scribe, I fear you’ve accurately foretold the future.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 16, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    STEPHEN Nothung!

    (He hits his ashplant high with both hands and smashes the chandelier. Time’s livid final flame leaps and, in the following darkness, ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry.)

    THE GASJET Pwfungg!

    BLOOM Stop!

    LYNCH (Rushes forward and seizes Stephen’s hand.) Here! Hold on! Don’t run amok!

    BELLA Police!

    (Stephen, abandoning his ashplant, his head and arms thrown back stark, beats the ground and flees from the room past the whores at the door.)

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  12. LAMary said on June 16, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    NYT kale salad with lemon, garlic,almonds and parmesan
    A crowd pleaser every time.

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  13. Ann said on June 16, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    I’ve discovered a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for a Mexican shrimp cocktail that I will be bringing to every summer event I’m invited to. The base is a combination of V-8 and catsup and I have to tell you it really works. Plus it’s beautiful served in a wine glass.

    I’m crushed about Zorn, and will miss Heidi Keibler Stevens just as much. Perhaps even worse, twitter seems to think that Mary Schmich is taking the offer as well. I’m more grateful that ever that the Sun-Times seems to be staying strong.

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  14. ROGirl said on June 17, 2021 at 5:22 am

    I read the Neil Steinberg column last night and when I clicked through the link to Eric Zorn’s column about his mother it confirmed what I was almost certain about. His parents, Fran and Jens Zorn, taught at the Residential College when I went to Michigan. The Residential College, or RC (not to be confused with Roman Catholic) is a small college within the LS&A. The dorm where students live is also where their classes are held.

    Fran was my freshman English instructor. She had her students come to her house one evening a week for classes, which took place in her living room. It was a big old house on Olivia Street in Burns Park, and she served home made apple cake and cider (it was fall semester).

    I think Eric popped in one time. He may have been in high school, possibly middle school.

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  15. Dorothy said on June 17, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Tajalli @ 5 – I used orange yams or sweet potatoes. I did not know they come in white. I love how much I learn hanging out here.

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  16. alex said on June 17, 2021 at 7:23 am

    I just ordered America’s Test Kitchen’s One Pot cookbook and received their Chicken Bible instead. I suppose I could put it to use but it’s not what I ordered and there are no instructions or people to contact to rectify a fuckup like this. It looks like I have to return the book, wait for a refund, order and pay for the correct book again and hope for better results next time.

    I adore my mom’s potato salad, old-fashioned and simple with bacon, egg and finely minced bell pepper and slathered in mayo and mustard with a splash of cider vinegar. Always a crowd-pleaser.

    Saving the Steinberg piece for later. If it’s as good as his recent takedown of Kass, which had me howling, I’ll want to enjoy it without any distractions.

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  17. Mark P said on June 17, 2021 at 8:38 am

    I guess food is like music, you always like what you grew up with. My mother made a very plain, standard potato salad that was not sweet at all, not drowned in mayonnaise, and with just the right sharpness from dill pickles. I have never found any potato salad anywhere that tastes as good, so I don’t eat potato salad. Same with bbq pork. Hers was absolutely fat free — I can’t stand to eat fat — and also not sweet at all. I don’t know if she even had a recipe, but if she did, it disappeared after she died, along with some other recipes I wish I had. She made some terrific cakes. I assume my late brother’s widow has the recipes, or threw them away, but she has cut off communication with us for an unknown reason. Maybe she’s busy.

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  18. Suzanne said on June 17, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Alex, did you order your book from Amazon? Although I do use Amazon occasionally, I try to avoid them because I have gotten so many wrong or damaged orders over the years. There is almost never any paperwork included which makes me crazy. Right now, I am awaiting a refund from a dress I bought through Amazon that I just didn’t like when I put it on so I wanted to return. First, I had to go online and request a return, print off a return label, find a UPS drop box to send it back, wait for confirmation that it had been received, and now, I am waiting for the refund (minus shipping costs) to appear on my credit card statement which may take 10-14 days. I ordered some leggings from Amazon a few years ago that I never received at all and once ordered a book and a large box of ramen noodles was delivered.
    I know so many people who love Amazon but I am not a fan.

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  19. LAMary said on June 17, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Maybe because I have Amazon Prime it’s been incredibly easy for me to get refunds when I return something. I sent back two blouses last week. Printed out the return QR codes, put them in a couple of ziplock bags because the bags they came in were sort of torn up. Brought them to the UPS store and got a refund the next day. UPS just scans the code and magically Amazon says ok. I’ve done this a half dozen times and it’s been seamless.

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  20. Suzanne said on June 17, 2021 at 9:50 am

    LAMary, I think maybe that having Amazon Prime is the key. I guess it is a great marketing scheme by giving lousy service if you don’t pay to have the subscription which then gives you great service.

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  21. LAMary said on June 17, 2021 at 10:00 am

    It’s about 120 bucks a year. I get Prime movies, shows, etc, and returning stuff is a piece of cake. The only other streaming service I have is Netflix which I’ve had since they mailed DVDs to the house and the in house brit pays for that. I think Prime’s not a bad deal. I’m not claiming Amazon is a benificent entity but 10 dollars a month? Not bad.

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  22. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2021 at 10:45 am

    NYT had a story about working in an Amazon warehouse, and it was damning. I was ready to cancel Prime. Except I needed things for the move.

    I’d love to buy less online, but local stores often don’t carry what I’m looking for. I can spend a day traipsing around, hurting my feet, or spend hours on the phone trying to get through the telephone tree to get a question answered, or I can browse Amazon.

    I needed some thin socks because I’m overheating doing all this packing. I went to two stores and couldn’t find the magic combo of thin + for large feet. Actually bought a package but they weren’t really for large feet, and now I have to haul them back to the store. The ones I ordered came in less than 48 hours and they’re perfect. Same thing with some luggage, and compression socks. Multiply that and I’m part of the problem, I guess.

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  23. Dorothy said on June 17, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Mark P @17 – I don’t even know you but your discussion about your mom’s food, and the desire to have the recipes, makes me want to ask you if you’d like me to write to your sister-in-law on your behalf and politely ask if she’d share these recipes with you. It makes me almost want to cry thinking of someone holding back something like that, which means so much to you!! If I could get those recipes for you, I surely would.

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  24. David C said on June 17, 2021 at 11:37 am

    I don’t have Prime and I’ve never had problems with returns. I’m sure Prime members jump to the front of the queue for free shipping but I rarely have a need to get an item in two days. If I do, I fork over the $8 for two day. I think I’ve only done it a time or two in the past year.

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  25. JodiP said on June 17, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    I love this broccoli slaw from Smitten Kitchen.

    We are having 4 over on Sunday and I am making a Moroccan Chicken salad from a ATK book. It’s lightly dressed with flavored oil, has apricots, toasted almonds and served on butter lettuce. We’ll probably have a cheese/charcuterie plate as well. The rest is assigned potluck. We’ve been doing it this way with these folks for nearly 20 years, and love it.

    Have a blast, Nancy! Cooking and entertaining is my idea of heaven, so I am very happy to be doing this again!

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  26. alex said on June 17, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    I ordered that book directly from America’s Test Kitchen. As it is, my card’s being debited to the tune of $20/month for the privilege of having access to their recipes, product reviews and other content. I love the show, but their incompetence at order fulfillment (and rather impersonal and indifferent service in general, difficult web site and pushy marketing) is getting on my last nerve, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are others who feel the same way.

    Never had a problem with Amazon so far, knock wood. More and more I’m finding that retailers don’t stock the products I want to buy so I end up purchasing through Amazon.

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  27. Deborah said on June 17, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I have Amazon Prime and through the pandemic it has been very helpful. Only one thing ordered never showed up, I got credit back for it pronto. I ordered a pair of overalls for LB (she’s very into overalls now) that were size large and when they came in the mail, they were indeed labeled large but they were tiny. Rather than return we mailed them to my husband’s 13 year old granddaughter and she loves them. When I looked back at the item on Amazon the fine print noted that they ran small and to order 2 sizes larger than your normal size. Oh well it turned out fine. I don’t like what I read about Amazon and it’s disgusting how much money Bezos has compared to the warehouse workers and drivers, but at least during the pandemic he paid hazard pay, for a while anyway. I wish I had an alternative to Amazon. Is there anything else out there like it?

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  28. beb said on June 17, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Of course there’s no alternative to Amazon. If one existed Bezos would buy it and close it down. Amazon is a clear example of an unhealthy monopoly.

    The food you grew up with is always the best. One of the things I miss is her bread and butter pickles. What she did was slice the cucumbers paper thin before pickling them. I would fork a mound of them onto a hot toasted cheese sandwich. God, that was so good. Store bought bread and butter pickles taste OK but they are thick cut and don’t stack like Mom’s did.

    Texas is a textbook example of the failings of free-market capitalism. First hundreds died during a snowstorm that clobbered their electric grid. Now the heat is threatening black-outs because the grid can’t delivery enough juice for all the A/Cs.

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  29. Suzanne said on June 17, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    “Even before the pandemic, previously unreported data shows, Amazon lost about 3 percent of its hourly associates each week, meaning the turnover among its work force was roughly 150 percent a year. That rate, almost double that of the retail and logistics industries, has made some executives worry about running out of workers across America.”

    This was discussed on some news show I watched a few nights ago. At the rate Amazon runs through workers, it won’t take long before they aren’t able to find people to replace those who leave.

    Also from the article:
    “But several former executives who helped design Amazon’s systems, and still call themselves admirers of the company, said the high turnover, pressure over productivity and consequences of scaling up have become too critical to ignore. The company has not ambitiously addressed those issues, said Paul Stroup, who until recently led corporate teams devoted to understanding warehouse workers.”

    Not sure what they are looking for. Warehouse work is hard, physical labor and a person’s body can only take so much.

    ““Amazon can solve pretty much any problem it puts its mind behind,” he said in an interview. The human resources division, though, had nowhere near the focus, rigor and investment of Amazon’s logistical operations, where he had previously worked. “It felt like I was in a different company,” he said.”

    Translation: Amazon leadership understands logistics; they don’t even try to understand people.

    “Company data showed that most employees became less eager over time, he said, and Mr. Bezos believed that people were inherently lazy.”

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  30. Deborah said on June 17, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    I read that piece on Amazon the other day in the NYT. Bezos has a goal of eventually only operating with robots, I don’t think I read that in the current piece, but in another piece a while ago. He doesn’t care a hoot about workers, not very many companies do. What will happen to all of those Amazon workers when there are no more jobs? Frightening.

    I make a very simple potato salad, just a few ingredients, but when I serve it people always rave about it and have seconds (or thirds). Only russet potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish chunks after boiling and cooling, chopped celery hearts and red onion (lots of onion), salt and pepper, Mix in mayo, only Hellmans, and sprinkle a bit of paprika on top. That’s it, nothing sweet about it, no mustard, no pickles. I like my potato salad better than any others I’ve tasted. LB makes it the same way except she adds chopped parsley and she likes her version better. I think I learned to make my version from my mother, but she put sliced hard boiled eggs on top. That’s ok too but some people don’t like the eggs on it, so I got used to making it without. I can make a meal out of only a pile of my potato salad on a plate, but that’s probably just me.

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  31. Deborah said on June 17, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    I’ve had good German potato salad too, served warm and eaten with good German sausages or something like that. I have made it before, but not often, it’s been years.

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  32. Mark P said on June 17, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    Dorothy, that’s very kind of you. But my elderly aunt, who I’m pretty sure my sil didn’t know, wrote and asked for the recipes. No response at all. I know she’s still alive because my nephews are in touch with her. I guess it was something we said, or maybe didn’t say, but my wife and I can’t think of anything it might be. I do miss my mother’s cooking.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    According to the NYT article, Bezos believes that over time employees become complacent, so his goal is that no one in the warehouse works for Amazon over three years.

    And I just placed another order; I need a second TSA lock and I’ve no time to go hunt one down.

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  34. Deborah said on June 17, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    I had never heard of Juneteenth until I lived in a predominantly African American area of Dallas called Oak Cliff. It was a big deal there, big barbecues and parties. We lived there for 6 years until we moved to St. Louis, this was when I was still married to my now ex. LB was 5 when we moved. When we moved to St. Louis the block we lived on was also predominantly African America and Juneteeth wasn’t celebrated there, at least not to our knowledge. That neighborhood eventually became gentrified and now it’s more mixed.

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  35. Scout said on June 17, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    COMPLETELY off topic, this had me laughing out loud. The Brits are unsurpassed in colorful insult humor, plus it gave a different perspective to the G7 than we’ve been treated to by the US media.

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  36. Dexter Friend said on June 17, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Deborah’s #31 post reminded me of the only place I ever ordered warm potato salad, the now long-closed Hans Haus in South Bend. I always ordered a different entre, sauerbraten, sausages, currywurst, labskaus,schnitzel,Königsberger klopse.
    The place had a heluva chef.
    Years later, that guy showed up on a message board about the show “Six Feet Under”. We became message board pals. Then he went to LA to hook up with another boarder, and got sick and came back and died quickly. He was only 38.

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  37. Colleen said on June 17, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Like Julie, I have grown tired of traipsing around town to not find what I am looking for, so I buy from Amazon.

    Our family potato salad is so simple. Potatoes. Onion. Parsley. Hellman’s. Salt and pepper, of course. That’s it.

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  38. Dorothy said on June 17, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    I would not eat (cold) potato salad that was lacking chopped up hard boiled eggs. My mom made it much like Deborah and Colleen do, but she had eggs in her. And seriously – you don’t use eggs in yours ladies!?

    And does anyone else suppress a gag reflex in the grocery store when you see the yellow goo that is sold in huge batches? I don’t mean the stuff in a refrigerated glass case. I mean the mass produced stuff in plastic buckets. Yech!

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  39. Colleen said on June 17, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    No eggs! Hard boiled eggs kind of make me gag. It’s actually a family recipe from my dad’s side. We love it, but as someone said earlier, it’s all what you grow up with…

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  40. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    That stuff at the grocery store isn’t to be trusted. It looks like they cook the potatoes and extrude them into a mush, then add salt, food coloring and chemicals. Nasty.

    So, Colleen, no deviled eggs for you?

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  41. Deborah said on June 17, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I never buy store bought potato salad. Occasionally I will be at an event or someone’s party and I will inadvertently serve myself some, then I have to use my paper napkin to discreetly remove it from my mouth to deposit it in the trash. I have since determined how to avoid that just by the look of it. Gross.

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  42. Deborah said on June 17, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    It’s kind of raining again in Santa Fe, thunder being heard off in the distance. So hoping this is really the beginning of the monsoon season. These storms are minimal rain, but hey, it’s better than nothing. And rain is magical, you can water an equivalent amount but the rain makes quite a difference.

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  43. Dexter Friend said on June 18, 2021 at 1:38 am

    Carla Lee gets recognition here for her magic touch with potato salad. She used the chopped eggs. Every time we hosted holiday dinners, many over the years, she made a huge bowl. Every church dinner, the congregation demanded a big batch of it. People always ate it all up. Just another sad end to a tradition. She’s been gone 5 months now.
    On a happy note, Sir Paul McCartney is 79 today. My older brother is 74 today as well; I wonder if he even knows it. I never get updates except “oh, he has good days and bad days…”. His retired nurse-wife cares for him in their house way up near the Mississippi River, and keeps the family members who are still in the Midwest completely shut off from information.

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  44. alex said on June 18, 2021 at 7:48 am

    I e-mailed America’s Test Kitchen customer service and they wrote back to advise that they’re sending me the book I ordered and letting me keep the one they sent by mistake. Yay! For as much money as the membership costs it’s the least they could do.

    So that brightens my day up a bit, although we have some dark skies here and it looks like we’re in for some strong storms later today. Hope it’s not another derecho like we had some years back. That one created quite an unforgettable mess.

    So. Ready. For. The. Weekend.

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  45. Suzanne said on June 18, 2021 at 7:49 am

    This a Twitter thread, live tweeting about a live stream of the Health & Freedom conference in Tampa, going on this week. A co-worker of mine is attending. It’s sick and disgusting.

    How do I work with a guy that believes this crap?

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