One star.

I forgot to tell you guys about our Friday evening over the weekend. The three of us went to see “House of Gucci,” and for Alan and me, it was our first trip to see a movie in a theater since the pandemic. The movie was just OK — more on that in a minute — but the experience of watching it in the theater was? Awful.

No wonder everyone is trying to short AMC stock. The whole experience was interminable and expensive.

If you’re going to a movie these days, especially a first-run movie the first weekend it’s open, you should expect to pay the top price, but holy shit — $14 per ticket, and that’s the beginning. Popcorn — two small popcorns, mind you — were $16. They were salty, so we got three beers to carry in. $35, plus tip. We’re now t $100 for three people to see a movie.

Showtime: 6 p.m. The previews start, and keep going. And going, and going. They ran for 25 minutes, followed by five minutes of turn-off-your-phone spots and a long one featuring Nicole Kidman, extolling the experience of seeing a movie in a theater. The movie finally started at 6:30. It was nearly two and a half hours, which meant we were there for three.

And it wasn’t very good. The short version: Everybody speaks in a mamma-mia-that’s-a-spicy-meatball accent, which somewhat obscures the clunky dialogue but doesn’t obscure that the movie is too long, verges on camp, veers wildly in tone and, most appallingly, is a movie about a fashion house that contains hardly any fashion.
Although Lady Gaga looks great and that’s about all I can say about it.

See it yourself if you want; maybe you’ll love it.

But enough about my petty complaints. Today we had a school shooting in exurban suburbia. Three dead so far, eight injured, including a teacher. It’s going to be a brutal few days, and I’m not looking forward to it. Who would?

Random France photo, on a government building. As national mottos go, it’s a good one:

Posted at 8:38 pm in Movies, Popculch |

45 responses to “One star.”

  1. Deborah said on November 30, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I have no desire to ever see a movie again at a theater. What’s the point? Home TVs aren’t much smaller now than the screens in theaters proportionally, so why bother? The only thing that would make me go is a movie that is only available at theaters that I really want to see, but that hasn’t happened so far. But then I’m an old fart so who cares what I think.

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  2. Ann said on November 30, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    I’d been thinking maybe I’d like to see a movie in a theater again but you just reminded me why I hadn’t been going very often before this all started. Plus there’s this.

    Obligatory appreciation of France pictures: I particularly like the fonts in this one.

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  3. MarkH said on November 30, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    Looking at today in nn.c history, I canNOT believe it’s been 17 years since Ken Jennings finally lost in Jeopardy(!). And now he hosts the show, for the time being. I definitely prefer Mayim Bialik.

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  4. Dexter Friend said on November 30, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    My last movie in a theater was in an ill-fated stadium seating place on Reynolds Road in Maumee. I liked the tiered seating. The year was 1998 or 1999, whenever Jim Carrey in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” premiered. And I used to go to movies a lot, but I was just 50 and I had had enough, and I knew it. Now I watch an average of ten movies movies per week via streaming services.
    Late news still are reporting 3 dead in the northern exurbs high school murders. 15 year old male shooter captured immediately. People at age 15 do not have enough brain development to even be near machine guns. No doubt, many do ,as proven these last 25 years, and before. Words mean nothing, Johnny gets his gun, whenever the notion strikes him.

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  5. Jason T. said on November 30, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    We love seeing movies in a theater. But there are very few movies we get to see in a theater.

    We have a bunch of AMC multiplexes here, and they seldom show anything but big-budget action movies, usually on multiple screens — a 12- or 16-screen theater will have a DC or Marvel comic book movie on four screens, a Pixar movie on four screens, and a “Fast-and-Furious” type movie on four screens. Feh!

    Pittsburgh has dropped out of the top 25 media markets, so we’re kind of an ugly stepchild now — as a result, rarely, if ever, do Oscar-nominated pictures play here for more than a week or two, and seldom do they play on more than one or two screens in the market … usually at one of the handful of art houses and second-run theaters that are hanging on in the far-flung suburbs, and often at inconvenient times.

    During the pandemic, we started a “Friday movie night” and we’ve been seeing a lot of Oscar-nominated movies from the past five years that barely played Pittsburgh. Paul Harris’ website and his list of “Movies You Might Not Know” has been a gold mine:

    On top of that: Yes, the modern theater going experience is frustrating.

    I enjoy movie trailers, and so does Denise — we often will watch a bunch of them on Amazon or Netflix — but I resent paying $12 or $14 per ticket to watch five to 10 minutes of car dealer and cell phone commercials, five to 10 minutes of propaganda for the theater chain itself … and then getting, maybe, two actual movie trailers.

    Feh, I say. Feh!

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  6. Jason T. said on November 30, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    (One thing that has enhanced Friday movie night is that I’ve piped the TV sound through the living room stereo. I also picked up a second-hand video projector … now I just need a screen.)

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  7. Sherri said on December 1, 2021 at 1:14 am

    Last time I went to a movie theater, before the pandemic, I swore I was never going back. The thirty minutes of previews and ads and nonsense just pushed me over the edge.

    Next thing you know, the gun nuts will be promoting kids carrying guns to school for self defense.

    Most people who own guns do not own guns to hunt. Most people own guns do so because it makes them feel safer, even though it actually makes them less safe. What it really does is comfort them, and way too many people will put their comfort before other peoples’ lives.

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  8. beb said on December 1, 2021 at 3:51 am

    Atrois (Duncan Black) long ago argued that people buy guns because they have a fantasy of someday shooting a black guy. Over and again he has been proved right.

    I don;t have much against 30 minutes worth of trailers if they are for movies I might be interested in seeing. But sometimes, I think it was before a showing of “Birds of Prey” the trailers were all for a bunch of “action” movies and I felt like I could not tell when one trailer ended and the next began. The growing length of movies is kind of distressing. I remember when the standard length of a film was 90 minutes and you got a good story in that length. Now movie runtimes average two hours and things like Gucci at 2.5 hrs in not unheard of. And you don’t get nearly as good a story.

    I haven’t read anything about the Oxford shooting but I do have an opinion about it — charge the parents with murder. They had it in their power to keep a gun out of that boy’s hand. They deserve the blame as much as he does.

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  9. David C said on December 1, 2021 at 6:12 am

    I grew up in a rural area and everyone had a shotgun, a pistol, and maybe a deer rifle if they went up north huntin’. Nobody had an arsenal. They were tools. They weren’t part of your persona. You would no more pack a pistol to go get groceries that you would pack a drill. The kid in Oxford either used his parent’s gun or a gun his parents gave him. They’ll probably get off scot-free. The fifteen year old should probably get therapy. Fifteen year olds have only limited control over themselves. Parents are supposed to keep a lid on that and when they screw up this badly they need to face the consequences.

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  10. alex said on December 1, 2021 at 7:11 am

    I can’t remember the last time I went to a big cineplex and saw Hollywood product because what I remember more than any particular movie is how filthy everything was and how loud and inconsiderate some of the other patrons were. Though tempted to yell STFU already, I held my tongue because who knows these days who’s packing heat.

    I want to support our local art house, which is a nonprofit and runs a clean facility and attracts a better clientele. It would be a big loss if that place ever went belly up.

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  11. Mark P said on December 1, 2021 at 9:02 am

    I was positive that it wasn’t MY hearing. I think something can be done about unintelligible dialogue. I watch Motor Week. A few years ago they started playing some with-it type music so loud I couldn’t understand what was being said. I emailed them and said that although I watch and enjoy the show, I was going to stop watching if they didn’t lower the volume of the music. Maybe a bunch of other old folks complained, because they lowered the volume to the point that I’m not even sure right now that they have music.

    Face it: There is no solution to the gun problem. As Obama said, if we can’t get gun control after Sandy Hook, we are never getting gun control. We need to tear this country down to the ground and start over, and this time, no white men allowed in the room when the new constitution is written. I, an old white man, can see we are too dangerous to govern.

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  12. Suzanne said on December 1, 2021 at 9:22 am

    There will be no solution to the gun problem until the gun nuts get to the point that the deaths of children are no longer seen as a necessary evil for them to keep their guns. I don’t see it happening. Your kid’s life for their constitutional purity is a deal they are willing to make.
    I don’t understand the gun culture and never will. My brother is a gun nut. He hunts, fine, but he owns more than a rifle or two to hunt. Last week, he mentioned that he had sold his bayonets (yes, plural. Bayonets) to some guy at the gun show and was quite pleased about it. What someone living in rural NE Indiana would need multiple bayonets for, I can’t imagine. I do not like to go to his house because I know it’s full of guns and he has two unstable adopted sons but he sees no problem. Guns, Jesus, and cable tv are his mainstays.

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  13. Jenine said on December 1, 2021 at 10:27 am

    I have a friend who thinks that US gun reform will be in our (mid50s – I don’t have any yet) grandchildren’s era and will involve insurance laws. I am not sure if that makes him an optimist or a pessimist.

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  14. JodiP said on December 1, 2021 at 10:34 am

    My best year of movie watching was in 1986, when I lived in Seattle. It was a test market for movies and we saw 102 movies.There were a couple inexpensive art houses. I still have the tiny notebook somewhere where they are all listed.

    We have a great moviehouse here, the Riverview which used to do more second run, but now have gone to first run. But tix are $5 and the popcorn and soda cost about 6 total. the popcorn is amazing, with real butter.

    I think I’ve jsut seen one movie in the theater since the pandemic, Jumanji 2 with a friend and his son. We had a great time.

    I just found out that a documentary was made about the rescue of the Thai boys soccer team. I would have loved to have seen that on the big screen but alas, it’s come and gone.

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  15. Scout said on December 1, 2021 at 11:29 am

    We have a 65″ TV, a Sonos sound bar, a soft couch, blankets to snuggle under and plenty of snacks. I do not need to see the newest release in a theater when I know I will enjoy it more at home when it eventually streams.

    So it has now come out that President Bioweapon knew he was Covid positive before he met, unmasked, with the Gold Star families on whom he later blamed his exposure to it, as well as showing up at the debate with Biden, refusing to get tested or wear a mask. One could be forgiven for assuming he hoped to infect Candidate Biden.

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  16. Margaret said on December 1, 2021 at 11:38 am

    My boyfriend’s local theater used to have Cheap Tuesdays where tickets were very reasonable. We didn’t eat or drink in the theater then would find a Happy Hour nearby afterward. I enjoy seeing a movie in the cinema sometimes. I hope they don’t all disappear. I taught for 37 years. School shootings are never ending in this country. If nothing changed after Sandy Hook, there is no chance of meaningful reform.

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  17. susan said on December 1, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Speaking of Amurkan gun culture: Texas. “No charges have been filed.”

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  18. Sherri said on December 1, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    If it were black teenage boys shooting up high schools, that would change things.

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  19. David C said on December 1, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Mark P @ 11

    “We need to tear this country down to the ground and start over, and this time, no white men allowed in the room when the new constitution is written. I, an old white man, can see we are too dangerous to govern.”

    Amen Mark.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on December 1, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Ladies and gents,

    The NYT is reporting it looks like SCOTUS will uphold the Mississippi abortion law, upending Roe v. Wade. Aren’t you lucky? Now, a small group of pinched up prigs will set your life’s agenda for you.

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  21. Dave J said on December 1, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    It seems to me directors are unwilling to edit their movies to a reasonable length nowadays. Films that could have been quite enjoyable at 90 minutes end up being interminable slogs at 2.5 or three hours long. Yes, my attention span is shorter than it used to be, but so is everyone else’s. The cutting room has a floor for a reason, Mr. Villeneuve, Mr. Fukunaga, please use it.

    I’d like to see gun ownership require insurance that reflects firearms’ actual cost to society — which, of course, will never happen. It’s easier politically to nibble around the edges with solutions that don’t actually solve anything. (“We outlawed 50-round magazines! Now you can only shoot 49 bullets at a time! You’re all safe now!”)


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  22. Mark P said on December 1, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    I heard a report on the radio that said the six Taliban members of the Supreme Court seem to be ready to uphold the abortion ban. After laughing at all the fundamentalists who talk about the end times, I’m now afraid we are in the end times for this country. The joke’s on us. A bunch of goddamned rich white men set us up to fail from the very beginning.

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  23. LAMary said on December 1, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    A trip to the movies here in LA easily runs 100 bucks+. Parking: figure 20 bucks. Tickets, snacks and drinks for two add up to the rest. There hasn’t been a movie I yearned to see that much in a long time.

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  24. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    Apparently we’re of one mind here when it comes to movies and guns. I haven’t been in a theater since pre-pandemic for all the reasons others have listed, plus there hasn’t been a movie I’ve needed to see on a large(r) screen. Back when we did go it was a matinee and we snuck in a few M&M’s.

    As for guns, I’ve never held one and don’t want to. It was never something anyone in my family talked about as positive, though as farmers both my grandfathers had one for an animal in distress.

    Here’s what I want to discuss: yoga pants that give you a badonkadonk butt. I observed one for 20 minutes in line at Universal, sitting in a wheelchair so it was right at eye level. The pants had specially woven areas that seemed to completely separate and lift each cheek (remember when it was bras that lifted and separated?) and the results were quite spectacular, if you like that sort of thing. According to our daughter these pants are all the thing these days, though, as a pastor, she doesn’t have a pair.

    It was all very Kardashian adjacent, down to the black extensions, spray tanned skin, and caterpillar eyelashes, and I found myself wondering if there was surgical enhancement as Ms. K reportedly had. Of all the wonders I saw that day, I must confess this sight stayed with me the longest!

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  25. Dorothy said on December 1, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Julie I’m a little confused. The person wearing those pants was sitting in a wheelchair, but you could still see this feature of the cheeks being lifted and set just so?! I can’t get a visual on that because the wheelchair thing just sounds like you would not be able to see someone’s ass if they are sitting down.

    My son asked me to go see the latest James Bond movie last month and of course I said yes. I HATED the half hour of commercials and nonsense, and I have for YEARS refused to buy food at the movies because it’s like highway robbery, the prices they charge. But we went to lunch before the movie so of course we weren’t hungry at the movie. I bought lunch; he bought the movie tickets. It was fun. But if Mike and I go to the movies (and we have not since before the pandemic) we try to go to Dayton’s Neon Theater, that has the quirky movies that usually only run on Netflix or Prime after the award seasons. If that makes sense. They have two screens, not very big seating section so it’s more intimate and enjoyable and we’re supporting a local small business, which makes us happy.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Dorothy, I was in a wheelchair. My feet are too awful to do a day at a theme park, and my incredibly kind hubby and daughter pushed me around all day. You get quite the view at three feet.

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  27. Dorothy said on December 1, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    OHHH Okay thanks! Sorry for being thick headed.

    I forgot to mention another preference for watching movies at home vs. a theater: the pause button/getting up to go to the bathroom and not missing any of the movie.

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  28. Sherri said on December 1, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    I’m running a public hearing tonight on changes to the zoning code to accommodate permanent supportive housing (I.e., using hotels to house people without housing). This afternoon, we received a particularly unhinged email about the topic, from a resident of a neighboring city. With lots of profanity, this man made threats to city council members, as well as comments about the Chinese wuhan flu. He attached a 23 page “case” for prosecuting the mayor and city council, which also included links to 70 music videos on YouTube. (The set list was pretty typical Boomer music, except for the inclusion of Deutschland Uber Alles.) he also attached a four and a half page single spaced list of links to antivax postings.

    Never have I been happier to be meeting virtually.

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  29. diane said on December 1, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    And yet we don’t need better mental health services in this country.
    Seriously, the person Sherri described may or may not be dangerous but surely needs help. How sad to have lost control of one’s mind and the ability to process rational thoughts.

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  30. alex said on December 1, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    The nuttiness is contagious, even worse than COVID. No wonder Dr. Oz is attempting a career in politics. He’s an old hand at selling snake oil to easy marks, so he might as well take his act to the greener pastures of Pennsylvania.

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  31. Deborah said on December 1, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    I know exactly what you mean Julie, about the badonkadonk butt. I saw a lot of those in Chicago while we were there this last trip back. I haven’t got a clue how it is achieved but it’s certainly noticeable. Might as well just use paint but then again there seems to be some sort of support.

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  32. Mark P said on December 1, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    We’ve been talking about abortion rights, but I think the outcome is a foregone conclusion: Roe v. Wade will be dead by next year. What scares me is what might (probably will?) happen if the SC hears Trump’s case on keeping his incriminating records from being released to the House committee. If they rule in his favor, it will fundamentally change the government. It will provide the power for a former president, a person who holds no office and is simply an ordinary citizen, to make decisions and issue orders to the executive branch, giving him power superior to that of the sitting President.

    In ordinary times I don’t think I would worry too much about the SC giving executive power to an ex-president, but these are not ordinary times. If they rule in his favor, we might as well pack up our bags and head to the Gulag because this particular experiment will be over.

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  33. Dexter Friend said on December 2, 2021 at 1:41 am

    I am dependent on canes and rollators but have only been forced into wheelchairs when leaving the hospitals after colonoscopies or even blood work if a volunteer or nurse sees me and thinks I look wobbly. Right after I got my first rollator I was finished with appointments at the Battle Creek V.A. and was loading it into my van, and I forgot to set the brake in a hilly parking lot. The damn thing took off and a doctor saw it happen and he ran it down for me. Once after a football game in Ann Arbor a woman driving a Gator saw me limping and drove me to the rack where my bicycle was parked. I always did that so I could park for free and ride a few miles to the stadium. This was 24 years ago and I have not walked straight since 1981 , as I recall.
    And Trump had Covid19 and knew it but still debated Joe anyway, and infected 7 of 8 reporters on Air Force 1 that trip, and he knew he was infected. Narcissism. Only ME, just me, and fuck everyone else.

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  34. Brandon said on December 2, 2021 at 2:47 am

    The highest-grossing movie of 2021, The Battle at Lake Changjin, has made $895 million in its native China alone. It recently opened in the United States in only twenty theaters, making just short of a quarter-million dollars.

    It’s unlikely Lake Changjin will have a wider release in America.
    Current showtimes for the movie.

    This review is less than complimentary, but concludes:

    “Anyone into big-time action cinema on the largest possible screen will more than get their money’s worth, even if the film is simplistic and entirely predictable in its goals, both as action and politics. But it doesn’t matter how big your screen is at home — if you want to see this at all, see it on a really big screen.” [Emphasis mine]

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  35. Suzanne said on December 2, 2021 at 7:01 am

    I mentioned here that I had heard Tom Nichols speak in Fort Wayne a couple of months ago. I just finished his book Our Own Worst Enemy which credits rampant narcissism for much of the anger and contentious debate in the country. Trump is really the natural outgrowth of this. The book is worth reading. I didn’t agree with everything but he makes some good points that many Trump supporters are not the economic underclass but bored upper middle class narcissists who want to do something big. I can’t argue with this. Most of the Trumpsters I know are not struggling to make ends meet.

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  36. Deborah said on December 2, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Suzanne, that sounds about right. Curious, does Nichols offer any advice about what can be done about it? I realize that problem recognition is the first step, but where do we go from here? Are these people going to get bored with Trumpism too? Or are they entrenched and beyond working with?

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  37. Suzanne said on December 2, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Deborah, he had three suggestions at the end of the book but can I remember them? I checked out the audio version from the library and returned it so I can’t revisit right now. (You can read the introduction on Amazon He has a section on seemingly decent people making bad citizens and discusses the impact of social media. What I like about him is that he admits his flaws. He admits to using social media and sometimes saying stupid things on Twitter.

    This came out today written by him. I think he’s correct about this.

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  38. Patience said on December 2, 2021 at 9:35 am

    It’s interesting that this is the first of your blogs that I read. I was just wondering the other day whether a movie out would be fun but the truth of the matter is that our very large TV & comfortable surroundings at home are now enough to make me NEVER return to a movie theater. The ticket & outrageous snack prices combined with the fact that a theater feels claustrophobic to me. Plus all my streaming services…why would I subject myself to a potentially crowded theater?

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  39. Jeff Borden said on December 2, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Six people –all but one Roman Catholics and the one who isn’t was raised Catholic– are taking away a woman’s right to choose when a sizable majority of Americans want Roe v. Wade left alone.

    Apparently, we aren’t a Christian nation. We’re a Catholic nation.

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  40. alex said on December 2, 2021 at 10:53 am

    The anti-abortion movement has always been a religious crusade more than anything. That’s why the evangelical protestants joined it. They didn’t used to give a rip about abortion until they recognized that it would gain them the sort of political influence that had always evaded their grasp.

    As for the high court’s Catholics, they all demonstrate the circular sort of reasoning with which they were inculcated from birth and the only thinking they do outside of that box is how to subvert things to work in their favor. It’s the same skill they learned for explaining their way out of punishment for bad behavior. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing is a classic example. The word “boof” means something other than what it means, and then he turns on the tears and points a finger at Hillary Clinton and the liberal mob. An old nun would have been familiar with the act but would have bought it anyway because he made culprits out of the right people on her shit list.

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  41. Deborah said on December 2, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Suzanne, I like Nichols, I follow him on Twitter, as I’ve said before, I too don’t agree with everything he says but he’s funny and he says enough that I do agree with to make it worthwhile.

    Yesterday LB made a sort of thanksgiving meal because I kept complaining about how I missed having dressing since we had pasta Bolognese on that day. She roasted a chicken stuffed with onion, cut up apples and herbs. She had made cornbread a couple of days ago for the dressing, so it would be sufficiently dried out, she used the giblets in the dressing with lots of butter and I don’t know what all else. It turned out delicious, the best dressing I’ve ever had so far. The first time I ever had cornbread dressing was at a friend’s house when I was a teenager, that was my standard for the best dressing/stuffing I’d ever had until yesterday.

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  42. Sherri said on December 2, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Yet those Catholics on the Court somehow forget their Catholicism and the sanctity of life when it comes to capital punishment.

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  43. Jeff Borden said on December 2, 2021 at 1:11 pm


    Clarence Thomas was raised Catholic, but joined the same evangelical church as his nutty rightwing wife. I apologize for the error and should’ve researched this before posting. Still, he’s been conditioned by the nuns and priests.

    Sherri, don’t get me started on those fucking so-called pro-lifers, who weep for blastocysts while ignoring the poor, desperate, hungry children coming across our borders. . .not to mention the poor, desperate hungry American kids who live in poverty. While those sanctimonious fuckwads were shouting their love of all life in seeking to reverse Roe v. Wade, four living children were murdered and eight were wounded by an asshole loser with a semi-automatic pistol. These same “saints” will not tolerate a word in favor of gun control.

    To me, “pro-life” has taken on the same oxymoronic life as “jumbo shrimp” and “military intelligence.”

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  44. LAMary said on December 2, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Twice impeached guy also blamed his covid on the gold star families he met with. Not sure of the sequence of events but I bet that fat bastard infected them. Not the other way around.

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  45. Deborah said on December 2, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    LAMary, Chris Hayes did a step by step rundown on the sequence of events during and after Trump’s positive test result

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