The last good year.

I’ve told you about my friend Ryan’s Last Good Year theory, haven’t I? Can’t find it in search, but the idea is simple, and this: 2024 is the United States’ last good year. If Trump wins, it’s all over — this we know. If Trump doesn’t win, it’ll be all over, but in a different way: Likely violence, even more yammering about election fraud, even more screeching from the Halls of Congress, etc. Perhaps Marge Green will show up in a lucha libre mask next January. Maybe Lindsay Graham will get a Trump tattoo on his chest. (Probably he already has one, but on his butt.) Either way, 2025 will be worse than 2024.

So enjoy 2024. Might as well.

I came home from lifeguarding last night to learn that Justice Samuel Alito has been flying yet another problematic flag at his multiple houses, this one the Appeal to Heaven banner:

Also known as the Pine Tree flag, it dates back to the Revolutionary War, but largely fell into obscurity until recent years and is now a symbol of support for former President Donald J. Trump, for a religious strand of the “Stop the Steal” campaign and for a push to remake American government in Christian terms.

Three photographs obtained by The New York Times, along with accounts from a half-dozen neighbors and passers-by, show that the Appeal to Heaven flag was aloft at the Alito home on Long Beach Island in July and September of 2023. A Google Street View image from late August also shows the flag.

The photographs, each taken independently, are from four different dates. It is not clear whether the flag was displayed continuously during those months or how long it was flown overall.

But oh my, Nina Totenberg was friends with Ruth Bader Ginsburg! Oh my oh my oh my liberal bias in the media!

I should note that I disapprove of Totenberg having such a personal relationship with a person she covers. But Alito and his openly displayed political opinions are worse, by far.

So now we have two utterly, thoroughly corrupt justices, a probable third (Kavanaugh), and lord knows what fun Amy Barrett has in store for us.

Enjoy 2024! It’s the last good year!

It’s been hot this week, too hot for May, mid- to upper 80s all week. But it’s better here than it’s been in the South and central Plains, scoured by tornados this week. And at least rising sea levels aren’t flooding septic systems in Michigan. So for a Last Good Year, it won’t be a terrible one.

Meanwhile, I just opened the Axios Detroit newsletter to find they linked to my 2020 column on Mitch Albom for Deadline Detroit (it’s his birthday). STILL RELEVANT, MOFOS. As it turns out, I cannot get my phone to stay linked to my car’s sound system, so I’ve been listening to the radio far more than in the past. My 8-minute drive to lifeguarding coincides with NPR’s dreariest segment, and so I migrate over to WJR, and often catch a bit of Mitch’s talk show. It’s easy to see how his op-ed column became 800 words of blather; he’s just imitating the standard midrange talk-radio “discussion.” You say something anodyne and dull (“I’m no fan of Donald Trump, but Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen are bad people, too”), then say it again in different words, listen to your co-host/producer agreeing with you — because no one disagrees with Mitch — say it again, etc.

But he’ll be there until they dynamite him from his seat. Maybe it’ll happen in 2024, and then it’ll really be the last good year.

OK, then, Thursday awaits. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 8:51 am in Current events, Media |

55 responses to “The last good year.”

  1. Joe Kobiela said on May 23, 2024 at 9:00 am

    Try unhooking your car battery for a few minutes then after hooking it back up redownload your phone.
    Pilot Joe

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  2. alex said on May 23, 2024 at 9:43 am

    I’ve come to think of 2016 as my last good year, the one where I still felt confident that the long arc of the moral universe would always bend toward justice, only to have my illusions shattered. 2024 should have been a good year, the first of my retirement, but my unease about the future has wrung the joy out of it.

    I got some momentary relief from the 2020 election, but this soon faded when I realized that Trump wasn’t being held accountable for attempting a coup and possibly if not likely selling out our country’s secrets to our enemies.

    And on that note, I’m walking away from what has already been too much screen time today so that I can shower, take my daily plethora of pills and injections, and get a crown re-cemented, the same one that fell off three weeks ago, both times while eating soup.

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  3. Mark P said on May 23, 2024 at 10:10 am

    As I have got older I have felt a vague disappointment that I won’t be able to see the wonders of the future 10, 20, 30 years from today. Now I think maybe I don’t care that much. It’s not just the downward death spiral we seem to be in, it’s also things like global warming. There is a good chance that we will not only not meet the hoped-for limit of 1.5C, but that we might double it. I am pretty sure I don’t want to see global famines, or whatever else Big Oil and the Republicans have in store for us. Probably concentration camps. My nephews will have to deal with it, but not me.

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  4. LAMary said on May 23, 2024 at 10:11 am

    Not sure what time of day you’re listening to NPR but my drive home means I hear the dramatic breathing woman and sometimes the slightly whispery little girl voice woman giving me the news. Ugh. I go to KROC and hear a lot of 90’s rock instead.

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  5. David C said on May 23, 2024 at 11:56 am

    I think last year may have been my last good year. I go down the list of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and my wife checks them all. She had an appointment with a neurologist but canceled it. I understand that. Who wants to be told that the rest of their life is going to be a pain in the ass. Her brother recently passed away from progressive supranuclear palsy which is Parkinson’s on steroids. Another reason she probably doesn’t want to hear the word Parkinson’s. So we’re getting ready to sell the house to move back to Michigan where we’ll have family support and to buy a home without stairs. So yeah, it’s not going so get better.

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  6. Dexter Friend said on May 23, 2024 at 12:01 pm

    All 3 of my vehicles have CD players since I drive well-maintained hoopdees, so I listen to music from The Fugees to Tom Waits. My Fugees CD, I bought in 1995. Time flies.
    James Comey, the bane of HRC aficionados, surfaced on MSNBC and said he expects singular violent attacks if Trump loses (he will lose, right?) but there is no need to fear another J6, as “we scared the pants off those rioters (when we jailed them) and they won’t band together like that again.” Also, reports of J6 calls for the assembling in The Situation Room as Mike Pence was near to being killed and all hell was breaking loose, and frantic calls to Trump to get to The Situation Room were not being put through to him as Trump sat in front of a TV, guzzling Diet Cokes and reveling in the riot. The military brass were coming unglued as they needed direction which never came. Schumer and Pelosi continuously called The White House needing to have Trump DO SOMETHING !!—but nothing happened except Capitol police were beaten and choked and crushed by Pine Tree flagpoles and stolen police shields.
    OK, I never understood, because there are many military bases near The Capitol full of soldiers with access to their armories…why weren’t they all mobilized and rushed to The Capitol to quell the insurrection with extreme prejudice?

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  7. Julie Robinson said on May 23, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    A small bluetooth speaker would bypass the whole wonky car system.

    We have some medical issues in the family that I’m not at liberty to disclose, but they’re only going in one direction, and not for the better.

    These days I’m hardly ever in the car, and never by myself, so listening to anything is a moot point. But I don’t listen to NPR here at home either. Once in a blue moon I’ll remember about Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and pick up the podcast. I used to have radios in every room of the house and would just leave them on as I went from room to room. Sorry, NPR.

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  8. Jason T. said on May 23, 2024 at 1:53 pm

    Your friend Ryan is not alone.

    One of the political websites had a story months ago listing several increasingly bad options for the United States in 2025. (It may have been Parker Molloy or The Bulwark, I can’t remember, and I can’t find the link to the original story.)

    The author took as a given that no matter what the election results are, Republicans will insist that Trump won, and then made educated guesses from there.

    It was a little bit like the movie “WarGames” in that every scenario resulted in the end of the United States as we know it:

    • Biden is elected, and Republican members of Congress refuse to form a government, shutting everything down

    • Biden is elected, and Republican-run states literally attempt to secede

    • Trump is elected, and Republican-run states move to criminal same-sex relationships, birth control, abortion and other pet causes using old laws still on their books

    • Trump is elected, and begins arresting his enemies (including elected officials) and suing the media into submission

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  9. Jason T. said on May 23, 2024 at 1:55 pm

    “My 8-minute drive to lifeguarding coincides with NPR’s dreariest segment”

    How can you tell? A lot of it is pretty dreary

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  10. nancy said on May 23, 2024 at 3:34 pm

    NPR is suffering from a condition I’ve come to think of as Funders’ Syndrome. Lots of nonprofit news orgs get money from trusts, foundations, etc., and these are always accepted with no-strings, which is to say, the funders don’t get to direct coverage. However. They’re usually offered for specific coverage areas — environmental news, education, diversity, etc. So they don’t get to say you must cover this story, but they expect you to cover some stories from their area of concern.

    And how this shakes out is me frantically stabbing my radio button because it’s halfway through a 10-minute story about some group of biologists who are trying to reintroduce native grasses in the Great Plains, and I’m about to die from boredom. Alan sets his alarm to go off at a particular time — I’m long since up and about — and swears it’s always the diversity story of the day.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on May 23, 2024 at 4:27 pm

    I guess it will all come down to how many “true loons” there are in the QOP. Boneheads like the Freedom Caucus, of course, will be all in. In the Senate, probably Cruz, Johnson, Rubio, Hawley and (barf) Vance. But even a pathetic bootlicker like Graham, I think, will blanch at the idea of destroying democracy. Anyone with any knowledge of history knows revolutions frequently don’t deliver what they were intended to do. And all those fucking billionaires the QOP services are likely to be unwilling to sacrifice their vast holdings.

    I do believe we’ll see more “lone wolf” attacks like Oklahoma City. Or mass murders, though given the frequency of mass shootings in our deranged nation will make it hard to stand out as revolutionary action.

    I’m with Mark P. I’m 73 and can’t believe the difference between what I hoped for as a young man and the shitshow we live in today.

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  12. FDChief said on May 23, 2024 at 7:11 pm

    I’m not sure whether 2024 will be a turning point so much as one more tic on the “we’re so fucked” timeline. We the People – shit, We the Human Race – have shown ourselves to be utterly incompetent at doing the one most critical thing species need to do; avoiding self-driven bad outcomes, in this case due to human-created climate change. We’re too selfish, too ignorant, too greedy, too contentious to do what we need to do to head off needless suffering and death. Lemmings make us look bad.

    And the political horizons look worse, if anything. The American Experiment in self-government is being murdered less by the roughly 25% of the public who are toxic assholes – because there’s always going to be a minority of toxic assholes – but by the vast lump of useless soylent green who can’t be arsed to vote at all or who vote based on ignorance, misinformation, gullibility, and foolishness. The sort of people who can look at the GOP and see “a normal political party” and not the seething hive of scum and villainy.

    So in many ways I’m damn glad I’m old. I don’t want to live to see the end of this story. It’s not gonna be a happy ending.

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  13. Sherri said on May 23, 2024 at 8:43 pm

    The GOP has been headed in this direction for most of our lives, but why the hell the Dems just stand and watch is a mystery. Sure, Dick Durbin say, Sam Alito should recuse himself, but he won’t, so what can we do? No point in holding hearings, he says.

    How do they think this politics thing works? Do they think that Woodward and Bernstein brought down a president all by themselves?

    They act like they have no agency; there’s nothing we can do, so why bother. But vote for us, anyway! Well, I will vote for my Democratic representative, because what choice do I have, but I haven’t donated a dime to Congressional candidates this cycle.

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  14. Jason T. said on May 23, 2024 at 9:14 pm

    Ah, found it; it was Brynn Tannehill in The New Republic. The article is entitled, “There Are Four Postelection Scenarios, and Not One Is Good.” I was off on some of the details, but her predictions do, indeed, range from bad to dire.

    Sleep tight!

    No matter how I map it out, the election cycle either ends in chaos and violence, balkanization, or a descent into a modern theocratic fascist dystopia. There is no scenario in which everything turns out “just fine.” Even in my first scenario, the best case for Democrats (and democrats), nullification of Biden policies by red states is rampant, and the union slowly dissolves. The only scenario that results in a peaceful transfer of power is the one that leads almost inevitably toward the worst possible long-term outcome: a fascist nation, allied with the globe’s worst dictators, governed by religious fundamentalists yearning for Armageddon, while armed with enough strategic nuclear weapons to give God a run for his money.

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  15. FDChief said on May 23, 2024 at 9:20 pm

    I think the main reason is that the mainstream Dems still want to believe in the nation and the Constitutional system. If they face the reality that the GOP is a gang of Christopathic nuts who will rule or ruin, well…then it’s civil war.

    The GOP knows that perfectly well. That’s why they are the way they are; they have nothing to lose constantly lying and fighting. For them it IS war. You can’t do anything wrong to your enemies.

    But many Dems cling to the illusion that the GOP is what it was when it tried to hide its plans, and fake civility. To accept that you can’t negotiate with the MAGAts is to accept that their idea of a civil society has failed.

    Many would prefer to bend the knee.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on May 23, 2024 at 9:36 pm

    My family would have a driveway moment with the story about the native grasses, then spend the whole meal rehashing it. So, truly, there’s a lid forevery pot!

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  17. Mark P said on May 23, 2024 at 11:37 pm

    I could see (very faintly) an outcome with Republican control of the government, a ban on contraception, gay marriage and interracial marriage, Supreme Court endorsement of racial gerrymandering, a federal ban on abortion, registration and tracking of pregnant women, alliances with other fascist countries … all the greatest hits. And (the faint part) a soft secession of the liberal states.

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  18. susan said on May 23, 2024 at 11:48 pm

    Mark P— You do realize that every “liberal” state has a red MAGAt half or third. So “soft secession” won’t come to pass, either.

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  19. Mark P said on May 24, 2024 at 12:14 am

    Susan — you’re thinking like today’s Democrats. A soft secession looks like this: the governor of California refuses to enforce Supreme Court rulings. The state refuses to cooperate with federal mandates to register and track pregnant women. The state continues to recognize same-sex marriages. The state provides contraceptives. There are ways to basically refuse to take part in the new fascist state. Remember, there were lots of Southerners who didn’t want to secede, but they mostly got carried along with the ones who did.

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  20. Dexter Friend said on May 24, 2024 at 7:43 am

    Evan Gerskovich to be released immediately upon confirmation of a Trump victory !
    …said Donald J. Trump in The Bronx last night.
    Russian media’s response, translated to the best of my ability: “We do NOT know what the fuck Trump is talking about.”

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  21. FDChief said on May 24, 2024 at 8:11 am

    If you want a look at the wingnuts’ Fantasy Island, take a peek at Clarence Thomas’ opinions.

    They’re insane screeds full of longing for a return to Jim Crow and Gilded Age robber baron capitalism, the end of foofy liberal ideas like female suffrage and individual rights to dangerous stuff like sexual autonomy and privacy.

    These people are telling us right out front this is what they will do, and if we don’t like it they will use force – the force of “law” or just open force – to compel us to conform.

    They won’t let us be. They won’t accept a “liberal” state that rejects their regime, and, like it did in 1861, their federal government will use that force to impose union on their terms.

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  22. Deborah said on May 24, 2024 at 8:19 am

    I’m a boring person so listening to a story about native grasses would float my boat, as Julie said. When we’re on road trips we listen to archived Fresh Air interviews Bluetoothed from our phones.

    I too am happy to be old in some respects. I can’t imagine what life will be like 20 years from now when I would be 93. We’re heading into another hottest summer on record and it’s not getting better, ever, every succeeding year will be the hottest ever. That’s the problem with climate change deniers, they’re taking us all down with them.

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  23. LAMary said on May 24, 2024 at 9:10 am

    About a month ago there was a looooong story on NPR about mindful eating or conscious eating or something. The little girl whispery voice person interviewed someone even more tedious about the process of appreciating what you’re about to eat, putting it in your mouth, chewing slowly and on and on an on. I swear it was twenty minutes of this. My commute is ten miles of slow traffic. This story lasted most of the way. Just the chewing step was a good five minutes long. If you’re familiar with LA geography this story lasted from La Brea and Santa Monica to Hyperion and Rowena. Slowly.

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  24. Jeff Gill said on May 24, 2024 at 10:29 am

    Julie, you say there’s a lid for every pot.

    But my sister & I, clearing our childhood home back in 2021, found Tupperware lid racks we remember Dad screwing into the inside of the doors of the cabinet under the sink. There were roughly 60 Tupperware lids dangling from their clips, 30 on each side. In the cupboards, we found a little over 40 Tupperware containers.

    In the end, we matched maybe 35 lids & bowls or boxes. Twenty and more lids? Nothing they fit. Maybe the containers got tossed and the lids kept, but Mom never microwaved in Tupperware (she’d read something about how it was dangerous), and they sure as heck didn’t break.

    We did find a set of the popsicle makers, but even there, five cups and sticks for a rack of six. One probably got frozen too many times, cracked and tossed. We sold it all as a case lot anyhow.

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  25. alex said on May 24, 2024 at 10:32 am

    My brother and his ex-wife are skinny and they’re big proponents of savoring small bites slowly and feeling satisfied without feeling full. No matter how long it takes to deliver such advice, or how often, it’s well worth heeding and I wish I had become so habituated.

    It sucks having a pot belly and constantly having to stick it with needles.

    So if it saves even one person from this fate, perhaps it’s worth NPR droning on and on about it.

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  26. Deborah said on May 24, 2024 at 11:03 am

    Tupperware lids reproduce asexually, so you will always have more than you have containers. Same with wire hangers.

    But socks on the other hand disappear mysteriously in the washing machine, always only one of a pair.

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  27. Jeff Gill said on May 24, 2024 at 11:26 am

    One of the great science fiction short stories:

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  28. Julie Robinson said on May 24, 2024 at 11:39 am

    It turns out the washer actually does eat socks. Maybe 20 years ago ours needed a repair, and when they took out the agitator cover there were socks up in there. Design flaw, I’d say.

    Metaphor, Jeff, metaphor.

    We are signing our new wills this afternoon. Turns out Florida has a protect the Florida attorneys law, in which out of state wills are basically no good. It takes more legal work to prove them than the cost of new ones. So we are bucking up and paying.

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  29. LAMary said on May 24, 2024 at 12:49 pm

    Alex, do they speak verrrry sloooowly about eating that way?

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  30. David C said on May 24, 2024 at 1:07 pm

    I think a lot of states have that, Julie. We were going to do a will here in Wisconsin but the lawyer told us it wouldn’t be any good when we moved back to Michigan. I’m glad he told us and didn’t just do it. My brother showed me their will and trust. It was as thick as a telephone book. My parents will and trust that they had done in the aughts was about forty pages. Has life become that much more complicated in the last twenty years?

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  31. Sherri said on May 24, 2024 at 1:56 pm

    More on sheriff’s departments and the problems therein:

    Elected law enforcement is a bad idea. Recently, my county switched from an elected sheriff to an appointed one, but it will take time to change the culture, if it can be changed.

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  32. basset said on May 24, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    DavidC way back at the start of the thread, cancelling neuro appointments is the last thing you want to do if there’s even a suspicion that your wife might have Parkinson’s – as a “parky” myself, I can tell you that starting treatment early
    and doing lots of exercise is the only way to maintain some kind of normal life for as long as possible. Don’t let her be in denial. I’m not a doctor or anything, but if she wants to talk to me about it ask Nancy for my contacts.

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  33. Julie Robinson said on May 24, 2024 at 3:39 pm

    This getting older isn’t for the faint-hearted, is it? I have a huge sigh of relief that the new wills are done, plus power of attorney, living will, and health care representative. 32 pages each times four of us, and he charged $2800 for the whole thing. The first attorney we called wanted $250 just to walk in the door, even if we didn’t end up using her services. That rubbed me the wrong way.

    We found this guy through a friend of a friend. The of a friend is a probate judge who has seen his work frequently, so there was an extra layer of comfort.

    At one point I had all our important papers organized, but since we moved some of that’s been unorganized, so that’s next on the agenda. Currently debating a safe deposit box vs. a fire resistant safe. If anyone wants to save me research time on that issue, please do.

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  34. basset said on May 24, 2024 at 3:44 pm

    Might also consider something waterproof, that would have helped us when our house flooded.

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  35. David C said on May 24, 2024 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks basset. I’m making progress and I think Mary’s almost ready. She knows something isn’t right but is still blaming it on her food sensitivities. I see signs of her backing off of that. She’s reading the Kirk Gibson Foundation website and she sees how well Gibby is doing with his parky when I’m watching the Detroit Tigers and he’s doing color on their broadcasts. I think that’s taking some of the fear away and decreasing her denial. I’ll give her a little bit more time but the full court press is coming very soon and I’ll contact you if she needs to hear from someone who’s been there. Thank you for offering. Fortunately, in the mean time, she’s still walking an hour a day even on days it feels like a struggle. So when she gets a diagnosis, I know she’s going to work hard to have as normal a life as possible. When she decides on a course, she follows it with almost religious fervor.

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  36. tajalli said on May 24, 2024 at 4:42 pm

    From the Internet Archive, here’s the issue in Galaxy Magazine with “Or All the Seas with Oysters” that you can download as a PDF or other formats. (The print in the direct archive is eensy.)

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  37. Dorothy said on May 24, 2024 at 5:25 pm

    Deborah @26: I’ve heard that statement about socks going missing in laundry for YEARS. And I can say that in nearly 45 years of marriage, I’ve never lost a sock like that. Sometimes they go inside the leg of a pair of pants, or the sleeve of a tee shirt. Something like that. But that’s not LOST – it’s just in a different place.

    PS I clicked on submit and then a message box popped up telling me the message I was about to post was being done on an unsecure site. Or something like that. Is anyone else getting that message here?

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  38. David C said on May 24, 2024 at 6:02 pm

    They only thing I find in my shirt sleeves or pants legs is a dryer sheet. I usually don’t find the sheet until I’ve worn the item all day without discovering it.

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  39. jcburns said on May 24, 2024 at 6:39 pm

    Dorothy, that warning might have come from your browser or your operating system. For some reason, some webfolks have a big concern about non-encrypted sites that comes out of the idea that anything you might enter could be seen anywhere. If your comment contained your credit card number or your mother’s maiden name, that wouldn’t be the safest thing in the world, but it’s unlikely for that to happen on

    Nancy’s site is unencrypted. That means that it comes up faster on your computer, by the way. You’re sending less data back and forth to read Nancy’s thoughts and those of the commentariat.

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  40. Julie Robinson said on May 24, 2024 at 7:51 pm

    basset, I’ll be researching carefully but I think the idea is if you have a fire there would presumably also be water, so a safe needs to be resistant to both.

    Our credit union charges $135/year for a safe deposit box large enough for a will. Think I’ll look at safes.

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  41. Sherri said on May 24, 2024 at 8:01 pm

    I’m not, by nature, a grifter. But, the way my mind works, I do sometimes speculate about how easy it would be to come up with various grifts*. Like, when you consider how many people are more afraid of being exposed to trans people than they are of being exposed to say, measles, I would guess that it would be easy to sell them a dietary supplement that promised to protect their kids from changing genders. “This one simple pill will ensure that little Johnny will never consider becoming Jane!” Tell ‘em it’s from a Biblical recipe, and watch the orders roll in.

    *I also look at things like shoplifting prevention systems in stores and how to defeat them, not because I have any intention of shoplifting, but because I just look at systems and automatically start looking for how they break.

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  42. Jeff Gill said on May 25, 2024 at 7:13 am

    Tajalli, thank you. That was worth re-reading. I first encountered the story in a coverless collection of SF short stories. My grandmother learned of the old practice of tearing covers off of unsold stock to get publisher credit, and became a dumpster diver of sorts behind a book store in Charleston. She got me much of my early SF that way.

    Sherri, working with juveniles who’ve failed to evade security systems, that’s a running narrative inside my head: telling them how they could have done their theft better. I don’t say it out loud, but it’s always interesting to see how they could have avoided identification and arrest (it would take planning & consideration, which if engaged in probably would have meant they’d not have done it in the first place).

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  43. Mark P said on May 25, 2024 at 11:34 am

    I have noticed lately that our local Walmart is posting uniformed (but unarmed) security at the doors in addition to the receipt checkers. I wonder if it’s just a new policy, or there is more shoplifting. With prices so high that wouldn’t be a surprise.

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  44. nancy said on May 25, 2024 at 11:35 am

    Julie, the last bank in our area that offered safe-deposit boxes closed a few years ago, and from the employees’ comments, it’s a service that’s going away, mainly for lack of use. I’ve always heard that a refrigerator or deep freeze is a good place to hide important papers. Failing that, consider a lawyer’s office or other off-site storage.

    For ours, I just told Kate: The red three-ring binder in the office room.

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  45. Julie Robinson said on May 25, 2024 at 12:21 pm

    And displace the ice cream?

    Three-ring-binder is what we’ve got now. But others want a safe and I’ve just been given money for one. It’s fine; I can do the research online without schlepping around on my ankle.

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  46. Dexter Friend said on May 25, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    Not mad, just sorta cursing the fates…all set to head to little Caro, Michigan for a grave visit (the guy who calmed me down in Viet Nam when the shit hit the fan numerous times), and as I pulled into my driveway last evening before today’s planned early departure…the engine light came on and the A/C began blowing hot air. I just had the A/C topped off on Wednesday and had the mechanic make sure nothing was wrong, all fluids full, tires aired…carefully planned trip. Cancelled. I know many/most old vehicles have an engine light glowing but you gotta scan first to make sure it’s not a major problem, and only a fool would set out for Saginaw Bay with a fucked van. I never invested in a scan tool. The cheap ones are worthless and the good ones cost a goddam fortune. I am just saying I am a little disappointed. I can’t watch the news out of Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana-Illinois-Missouri and see that tornado damage and bitch about a little engine light. Could you go on after a tornado destroyed everything but your body…all your stuff? Maybe your pets…even a relative? I don’t know how these people just pitch in and carry on. I have never been burned out of a house nor even seen a tornado. Maybe…someday…we never know.

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  47. David C said on May 25, 2024 at 6:20 pm

    We had a tornado go through the back 40 on my grandparents farm when I was a kid. I didn’t see it. Dad made us go the the basement while he watched it. Mom was pissed.

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  48. Brandon said on May 26, 2024 at 4:12 am

    “Inside the Libertarian Party’s Decision to Host a Trump Speech”

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  49. alex said on May 26, 2024 at 8:52 am

    Dex, maybe you can salvage your trip if you take your vehicle to Auto Zone or one of those places for a diagnostic scan. The problem could be as simple as replacing a sensor, and they can probably do it for you on the spot.

    A road trip does sound like fun. If we fit one in today, it’ll be to our favorite greenhouse near Clear Lake to get onion bulbs and asparagus crowns and to see if they’ve got any good end-of-season deals yet. Not that we need more plants to take care of.

    My other project: When we got a new roof last summer, it took on a surprising pink/purple hue that wasn’t evident when looking at shingle samples or at the photos in the sales brochure, and it clashed with the rusty orange stone veneer on this house and has been bugging me to no end. Not wanting to paint the stone, I’ve been experimenting with limewash to tone down/neutralize the color, and finally I found a buff-colored limewash that seems to balance things out.

    I’m regretting posting about it on a Facebook group dedicated to mid-mod remodels. I’ve been told by purists that I have a Crab Orchard Tennessee limestone facade and that I’ve desecrated it.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on May 26, 2024 at 9:22 am

    Oh yes, those folks think that every pink or green tiled bathroom needs to have even the colored fixtures remain. Or kitchens shouldn’t *actually* be functional.

    Dexter, we took our car in to be checked before a trip from Fort Wayne to Washington DC; everything looks great, chirped the dealer. It broke down without AC halfway there, then the repair job broke down while there and had to be repaired, then re-repaired. Lost three days and spent double what we’d saved by not flying. Last time we trusted a dealership and last American car.

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  51. David C said on May 26, 2024 at 10:36 am

    The unfortunate thing about OBD scanners is the often don’t tell the whole story. Then it gives semi-competent mechanics and part store employees an excuse to fire up the parts cannon and it ends up costing more than it should have. I think your instincts are right, Dexter. Delay for your trip until your regular mechanic looks at it.

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  52. tajalli said on May 26, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    Mark P@43, not only Walmart but Ace with their numerous locked cabinets. My favorite local produce store has the clerks notate the receipts in crayon color-of-the-day with a clerk stationed at the door, checking receipts as you leave. Shoplifting has become rampant and the profit margins are narrow.

    Alex, I’m making your skillet chicken once again, a truly terrific recipe.

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  53. alex said on May 26, 2024 at 6:18 pm

    The one with the caramelized onions and ‘shrooms? That does sound good right now.

    This week I tried out the NYT’s “Marry Me” chicken recipe and it’s a keeper too. It comes together pretty easily with a simple sauce made from heavy cream and it gets a nice tang from sun-dried tomatoes. I subbed fresh thyme for the oregano and threw in tons of extra garlic for good measure.

    Tonight someone else is doing the cooking, although we haven’t decided where we’re going yet.

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  54. David C said on May 26, 2024 at 6:28 pm

    Shoplifting isn’t any more rampant than it’s ever been. It’s a handy excuse for retailers to raise prices and Republicans to churn up moral panic.

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  55. Mark P said on May 26, 2024 at 10:37 pm

    CNN is typical of virtually all the MSM: report one study and treat it as gospel.

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