It’s Only Wednesday Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    I know I said I would change a couple of decades of habit and watch the debate last night but I only lasted 6 minutes. Two things jumped out at me: It sure as hell looked like Trump knew what the first question was going to be, and Chris Wallace would do nothing to stop Trump from talking over and interrupting. From what I read this morning I was certainly right about that second point. The Biden team should never have agreed to a Fox News guy as a host.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I made the right choice last night.

  3. Kurtz says:


    Yeah, me too.

  4. Scott says:

    Well, it looks like my decision to not watch the debates was a correct one. Now, at least, I won’t have to buy a new TV.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    According to the Daily Mail
    Brad Parscale and his wife own the “$2.4 million Florida home” at which he was arrested, “three swish condos worth a combined $5 million” also in Ft Lauderdale, “at least $300,000 worth of cars – including a 2017 Ferrari, a Range Rover and a BMW X6”, and “has owned as many as eight boats.”

    Not bad for a guy “who lost his family’s company to bankruptcy in the mid-2000s but rebuilt his finances after working for Trump in various digital guises since 2011. while he was making $180,000 a year.”

    Hence, I find these 2 statements totally credible:

    Tim Murtaugh, the Communications Director for Trump’s 2020 campaign, said in a statement to ‘It’s utterly false. There is no investigation, no audit, and there never was.’

    Steve Guest, the RNC Rapid Response Director, said: ‘This report is categorically false. There is no audit or investigation of Brad at the RNC.’

    Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

  6. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: @OzarkHillbilly: @Kurtz: I watched the whole thing, every moment, and let me say: If there’s ever been a presidential debate worth skipping, this was it.

    The silver lining is that it may have done some damage to Wallace’s “respectable” image that he never deserved in the first place.

    (The other silver lining is that most of the media commentary so far seems to agree that Biden won. I was underwhelmed by his performance–he’s clearly slower than he used to be, and there were a number of missed opportunities–though he had some good moments, and more important, Trump had a lot of really bad moments. I don’t expect the debate to change much about the race, and maybe it’s even a bit of a blessing that Biden didn’t do some absolute knock-it-out-of-the-park performance like Kerry ’04, Romney ’12, or Hillary ’16 which led to heightened expectations later on.)

  7. An Interested Party says:

    Biden’s strategy, whether intentional or unintentional, seemed a bit like rope a dope, somewhat like the so-called “hiding in the basement” campaign he’s supposedly been running so far…just hang back (for the most part) and let his opponent hurt himself, which he did over and over and over again…

  8. Mikey says:

    I lasted half an hour before I simply couldn’t handle Trump’s constant interruptions and mindless blathering and stream of bullshit and lies.

    One guy on Twitter said of the debate “it’s like a shit sandwich fell into a dumpster fire.” That’s being overly charitable.

    On the funnier side, Mark Hamill tweeted “this debate is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I was in the Star Wars Holiday Special.”

  9. Bill says:
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Swearing parrots separated after telling folk where to go

    Five foul-mouthed parrots have been separated after learning to swear at a Lincolnshire zoo. The parrots – named Billy, Elsie, Eric, Jade and Tyson – joined Lincolnshire Wildlife Park’s colony of 200 grey parrots in August. But soon after, they started encouraging each other to swear.

    “We saw it very quickly – we are quite used to parrots swearing but we’ve never had five at the same time,” Steve Nichols, CEO of the wildlife park, told PA. “Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.” The parrots have since been distributed to different areas of the park so they do not “set each other off”.

    No one had complained about the parrots, Nichols said, but they were separated for the sake of young visitors and in the hopes that they would pick up natural calls from the other African greys.

    “People have come to us but they think it’s highly amusing, we haven’t had one complaint,” he said. “When a parrot tells you to fuck off, it amuses people very highly. It’s brought a big smile to a really hard year.”

  11. Jen says:

    Looks like I too, made the right call by not watching.

    A friend of mine simply posted “but it’s women who are too emotional.”

    I understand the President claimed that insulin is “as cheap as water.” I can say without any hesitation that that is a lie, even if he’s using Perrier to flush his toilets.

  12. Bill says:
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Fox News uses ‘hate’ five times more often than competitors, study finds

    Fox News uses the word “hate” five times more often than its main competitors, according to a new study – particularly when discussing opposition to Donald Trump.

    Robert Mathew Entman, professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, and Curd Knüpfer, assistant professor of political science at Freie Universität Berlin, studied more than 1,000 transcripts from “the two ideologically branded channels – rightwing Fox and leftwing MSNBC” in primetime, 6pm to 10.59pm, from 1 January to 8 May this year.

    “We expected to find that both of the strongly ideological networks made use of such words,” they wrote for the Conversation, “perhaps in different ways. Instead, we found that Fox used antipathy words five times more often than MSNBC. ‘Hate’ really stood out: it appeared 647 times on Fox, compared to 118 on MSNBC.

    “Fox usually pairs certain words alongside ‘hate’. The most notable was ‘they’ – as in, ‘they hate’. Fox used this phrase 101 times between January and May. MSNBC used it just five times.”

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Alternate: Florida’s Hunt For Chinese Communist Ties Comes Up Empty-Handed

    Florida sent letters to 100,000 businesses and entities registered as vendors with the state in June, asking if they were “owned or controlled by the Communist Party of China.” Months later, that hunt for Chinese communists has come up empty handed, with the state unable to cite a single company owned or controlled by the Communist Party of China that it has identified through the effort.

    Instead of finding communists, the state effort gave many Floridians a scare that the state was engaging in the kind of political fear mongering and list-making that marked the darkest days of the Cold War, according to responses reviewed by WLRN.

    The move was a stroke in Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ campaign to assign blame for the COVID-19 pandemic to China. The letters were signed by him, and recipients were further asked to confirm whether they represent “U.S. Interests” or not.

  15. Bill says:


    Alternate: Florida’s Hunt For Chinese Communist Ties Comes Up Empty-Handed

    The result isn’t surprising plus I read about the letters a few months back. My S Corporation didn’t get a letter. Dear wife is Filipino and one time when she was hospitalized (For fibroids around 25 years ago) a nurse said she looked Chinese.

  16. al Ameda says:

    re: ‘Debate’ and Chris Wallace
    Chris Wallace is under, somewhat unfairly I believe, intense criticism for his handling of Trump’s not completely unxepected, rude insolent behavior.

    I honestly believe that Wallace, like many cynical and jaded observers, had no idea that Trump was going to burn the debate down. If Wallace had considered the ‘what if he ignores all the rules and destroys the debate format’ scenario, at some point following a couple of warnings, he would have anoounced ‘because the president cannot behave and follow these agreed-up rules, the debate is over. Good night.’

    Yes, Wallace gets some blame, but …. but, this is Trump, he was elected to deconstruct the federal government and destroy ‘norms’ and last night was his latest civic atrocity. Wallace didn’t think he would go there, and if we’re honest with ourselves, neither did we.

  17. Bill says:

    Here is some sad news.

    Actor/songwriter/singer Mac Davis has died.

    Singer Helen ‘I am woman’ Reddy has also passed away


  18. Jen says:

    @al Ameda:

    at some point following a couple of warnings, he would have anoounced ‘because the president cannot behave and follow these agreed-up rules, the debate is over. Good night.’

    This, along with Samuel L. Jackson as a moderator, should be the standard for the third debate on Oct. 22. The one on Oct. 15–assuming it even happens–is a town hall format.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: a nurse said she looked Chinese.

    Now that you mention it, you look commie.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al Ameda: Wallace didn’t think he would go there, and if we’re honest with ourselves, neither did we.

    I think you are speaking only for yourself when you say that. I know a lot of people who watched it for that exact reason. I’ve never watched a debate in my life, but I knew this was going to be a shitshow because everything trump does is a shitshow and that was all the more reason to avoid this one.

  21. Bill says:


    Now that you mention it, you look commie.

    The only reason it came up was because Dear wife’s nurse was a Filipina. I told the nurse that DW was also.

    When DW was on hospital pregnancy bedrest, her mother (Nanay) stayed with her 95% of the time. Nanay would nevertheless leave the room and sometimes people would try speaking to her in Spanish.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: To riff off of what I was saying on another thread, it sure didn’t take long for Chris Wallace to go from “serious journalist” to “Fox News guy.” Working in a cat house erodes your soul, even if you’re only the piano player.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: My wife is from Mallorca and her accent is very strong. A number of people have asked her if she’s from Russia.


  24. al Amerda says:


    This, along with Samuel L. Jackson as a moderator, should be the standard for the third debate on Oct. 22. The one on Oct. 15–assuming it even happens–is a town hall format.

    If we are to have 2 more debates, then I’m with you on this.
    Trump sees himself as an ‘entertainer’ so why not Samuel LJackson?
    A few well-placed ‘I don’t recall asking you to say a god damn thing,’ or ‘just shut the f*** up,’ while being somewhat crude, might just restore order.

    I’m of the mind that Biden should have a press conference this morning wherein he announces something like: ‘Clearly the president cannot control himself, therefore I see no reason to go forward with the next two debates.’

  25. Kathy says:


    This, along with Samuel L. Jackson as a moderator, should be the standard for the third debate on Oct. 22.

    I second that.

    Or someone with the credibility to tell Broke Ass Trump “Shut your trap or I’ll shut it for you.”

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Florida sent letters to 100,000 businesses and entities registered as vendors with the state in June, asking if they were “owned or controlled by the Communist Party of China.”

    Wait… They expected people to answer that question? Really? Yikes!

    When the article said that the move was a “stroke” they were talking about what caused him to think that asking the question was smart, right?

  27. Bill says:


    My wife is from Mallorca and her accent is very strong. A number of people have asked her if she’s from Russia.


    Maybe they were exposed to too many bad Russian accents on American television programs.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: That’s just it, her accent is like nothing you’ve ever heard on TV either.

  29. Mu Yixiao says:


    This, along with Samuel L. Jackson as a moderator, should be the standard for the third debate on Oct. 22.

    Too bad R Lee Emery is no longer with us.

  30. Kathy says:

    I think this week I’ll try baked potato pancakes with cornmeal instead of wheat flour (I’ve never made them before), to the side of a chicken and lentil stew with chickpeas and tomato and Dijon* mustard sauce.

    *I don’t think French’s Dijon mustard is real Dijon, but I’m pretty sure it is mustard.

  31. Mu Yixiao says:


    I think this week I’ll try baked potato pancakes with cornmeal instead of wheat flour (I’ve never made them before)

    I’d recommend against that. The flour acts as a binding agent, as well as soaking up the moisture from the potatoes. I don’t think corn meal would do the job. Corn flour, perhaps, but not meal.

  32. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Agree with @Mu Yixiao: it’s the gluten in flour that provides strength and structure to the potato. Without gluten, they will fall apart/collapse in mush.

    Of course, cooking is about experimenting so go for it. However, the reason that cornbread recipes call for wheat flour (or gluten-free baking equivalents that have high amounts of starches) is to have that binding element/structure to form.

    I highly recommend Shirley Corriher’s cookbook titled Cookwise. She’s a biochemist and that cookbook contains a treasure trove of scientific information on the chemistry of cooking.

  33. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Maybe it’s a language problem. It’s the thing used for making tortillas. In Spanish it’s called “harina” meaning flour. But I’ve always seen powdered corn derivatives called either cornmeal or corn starch (I use that for thickening sauces).

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely do a bit of research.

  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    Only About 3.5 Percent of Americans Care About Democracy

    This is the root of the problem facing America, their tribe is more important than the whole.

  35. Jen says:

    @Kathy: I’m familiar with masa harina–it’s gluten-free, so would present the same issues as corn meal. The only thing that might work would be corn starch (which the Brits call corn flour, just to utterly confuse things further).

    I always make my own tortillas (flour and corn) and for the corn ones I use masa harina. You know how delicate they can be if the water ratio is just off by a little bit? The lack of gluten is why.

  36. Kathy says:

    A couple of COVID-19 observations:

    1) Lots of people seem offended if asked to keep their distance or put on a mask. as though one didn’t want them personally in one’s space, or did not want to breathe the same air they do. you know, as if the clear implication they may be infected is like calling them unclean.

    Three’s nothing personal or exclusionary about it. Anyone might be infected, and given asymptomatic transmission not know it.

    Sometimes if they ask in a wounded tone “You think I’m infected, ” or “are you afraid I’ll give you COVID?”, I ask them in return “Are you sure I’m not?” Most times, this helps.

    2) Lots of people around the office lately think they’ve already had COVID-19, and want an antibody test to know for sure.

    This seems unlikely. Sure, there are many asymptomatic cases, and some cases so mild they barely register or can be confused with a cold or flu. But being asymptomatic also can mean, more likely, you haven’t caught the virus, and a cold is more likely to have just been a cold. It’s really hard to say without a good estimate of asymptomatic cases in the general population.

    The explanation that jumps to mind, is that it would be a great comfort to know you’ve already had it, and are unlikely to catch it again soon.

    For once in my life, I wish Trump were right and a vaccine is right at hand. Unfortunately, that’s even less likely than a solid diamond meteor will land softly right in front of me in the next ten minutes. I don’t expect a vaccine until late this year, if not in the first quarter of next year.

  37. Kathy says:


    Thanks. this clarifies things a lot.

    I do have corn starch, but it doesn’t taste like corn… I’ll have to think about it.

    I kind of want to mix corn and potato flavors. Maybe I’ll go back to my idea of adding instant mashed potato flakes to corn bread, or maybe mixing some kind of cooked potato into the corn bread. There are other possibilities.

  38. Mu Yixiao says:


    Maybe it’s a language problem. It’s the thing used for making tortillas. In Spanish it’s called “harina” meaning flour.

    Ah. Around here “Corn meal” has always been coarse-ground corn used for cornbread.

  39. CSK says:

    Speaking of the Brits and their cuisine, a common side dish with British lasagna is not a salad, but…a baked potato.

  40. Jen says:

    @CSK: Ha, yes. That and jacket potatoes (baked potatoes) stuffed with tuna salad confound me.

    My husband’s a Brit (naturalized citizen here now), but I am exceedingly familiar with all manner of British “cuisine.”

  41. Kathy says:

    On aviation news (hype?) Boom Supersonic will roll out its XB-1 demonstrator, aka Baby Boom, just a week from now on Oct. 7th.

    XB-1 is a two-person, fighter-sized aircraft, meant to demonstrate the technology Boom has developed for its debut passenger aircraft, name Overture, which is not yet even under construction.

    This is really weird for me. I want to get excited and I want this company to succeed. But we’ve been here before, and seen this film many times. We don’t lack the know-how to build supersonic passenger jets, else how did the Concorde operate for thirty years, right? It’s the economics that make routine supersonic passenger flight too expensive to be worth the trouble.

    On a related note, Airbus announced several ideas for zero-carbon aircraft. All involve using hydrogen for energy, either to power fuel cells for electricity, or burning hydrogen for thrust. That’s also nice, and eventually it will be necessary, but a long way off. it’s not as though Airbus is developing a hydrogen powered plane right now.

    There are many issues with hydrogen, which doesn’t have the energy density of hydrocarbons, alas, and requires ultra-low temperatures to stay liquid. But it’s the one likely substitute for fossil fuels.

    It would pair well with renewable power sources, too, which would then be used to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water (electrolysis), and to liquefy it for use as fuel. It would go even better with fusion reactors, which would use hydrogen (or more likely deuterium) as fuel.

  42. CSK says:

    Once, at the home of friends in Scotland, I was served a luncheon of nude spaghetti topped with small boiled white potatoes, accompanied by a white roll.

    Cuisine blanche?

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: One of my favorite non-African meals I picked up from my time in Ghana: Boiled spaghetti noodles topped with boiled cabbage and a can of corned beef.

  44. CSK says:

    Italian and Irish–a splendid example of ethnic fusion.

    I’m sure it beats spaghetti and potatoes, tastewise.

  45. charon says:


    The other silver lining is that most of the media commentary so far seems to agree that Biden won.

    Not just media, post debate polling is really bad for Trump.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:

    The House passed a resolution affirming the desire for a peaceful transition of power, these R’s voted against it.

    The five Republicans who voted against the resolution were Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Clay Higgins (La.), Steve King (Iowa) and Thomas Massie (Ky.).

    The Senate passed a similar resolution unanimously earlier.

  47. Kurtz says:


    I am exceedingly familiar with all manner of British “cuisine.”

    You reminded me.

    Even if I liked Brit food, I would have disavowed it once Gordon Ramsay became a celebrity beyond cheffin’. I will say that I seem to recall he was in a commercial that made me chuckle. Still, not enough.

  48. JohnMcC says:

    @Kathy: I am absolutely NOT a chef or particularly gifted cook. But I can pretty reliably turn out meals I like, myself. And the desire for a strong corn flavor if something I achieve by using a can of cream-style corn somewhere in the process. Does a lot for cornbread.

  49. Kathy says:


    That’s how I cook, too (which explains the garlic, powdered peanuts, mustard, onions, etc.)

    I’m thinking now shredded potatoes, fried with onions, then mixed in with the cornbread batter. Probably as a topping for the chicken stew…

    It’s only Wednesday. I cook until Saturday, so I’ve time to figure it out. 🙂

  50. Mu Yixiao says:


    The real question is:

    Are you going to have apple sauce with your potato pancakes?

  51. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I was thinking mustard.

    I know people like to put something sweet in their latkes, but I never did.

  52. Jen says:

    @CSK: That is funny!

    I’ve actually had really, really good food across the UK. We have a tendency to head out to the countryside, and if you stick with what’s fresh and local (and use the Good Pub Guide) you can eat very well.

  53. CSK says:

    When I lived in Scotland, the fish (haddock) and chicken were the absolute best I’ve ever eaten, but I bought and prepared them myself. The lamb was superior. Beef, particularly ground, which was infused with some horrible purplish dye, was not so great. Crawford’s bran bread (bakery) was excellent. And there was a biscuit (cookie) called a Belgian biscuit that was killer–and I don’t particularly care for sweets. Whatever the hell passed for ice cream, on the other hand, was dreadful. Coffee was undrinkable unless you made it yourself.

    Fresh vegetables were in very limited supply, so I got used to eating a lot of leeks, carrots, potatoes (naturally), and Brussels sprouts. Everything else had to be frozen or canned (yuck).

    Asparagus would turn up very occasionally in a gourmet shop, priced astronomically, but it looked awful–withered.

  54. CSK says:

    Sour cream mit latkes can be nice.

  55. Mu Yixiao says:

    My first visit to the UK was a month-long class in London. A group of us (college students) had at the top of our list “eat pub food”. So our first full day, we headed out for a proper lunch of Bangers and Mash.

    “Regular or spicy?” asked the barman.

    “Spicy!” we replied.

    We all sat down at a long table and dug in…. and then stared at each other…

    “Can you taste anything?”
    “No. Nothing. You?”

    The only thought going through my mind was… How do you get less spicy than “flavorless? Does the “regular” actually remove the flavor from other food?

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: –

    It’s the economics that make routine supersonic passenger flight too expensive to be worth the trouble.

    We’re living in an age where a boutique banking program at Deutsche Bank can give Donald Trump a loan for $2.5 billion dollars. It’s possible that we’ve finally reached a point where people are so rich that supersonic travel costs won’t trouble them.

    That’s probably not good news for you, but think about the big people for a change. They deserve comfort and ease in travelling, right?

  57. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Brit sausages (bangers) are about 50% oatmeal, which may account for their lack of flavor.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: In Korea, peeled baby potatoes are steamed coated with syrup and served as a desert item. They are so popular that the faculty cafeteria I ate at while I was at Woosong University used to limit the number that people could take.

  59. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Hmm. What kind of syrup?

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Personally, I like bangers and wish I could buy them here for reasonable money. The restaurant that I go to for coconut French Toast serves it with a sausage very much like an Irish banger, so I survive. But if one is used to Southern-style “country sausage,” the flavor of bangers is subtle, true enough.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Usually just plain boiled sugar syrup or Korean corn syrup–which is on the order of Karo Dark Syrup. Mostly they’re sticky and just slightly sweet, but Koreans tend to believe that potato isn’t good for people to eat, so it’s sort of a special thing.

    I remember a class where an elderly Korean gentleman was answering the question “do you think that Americans have a good diet.” His answer was that Americans eat too many things that are bad for your health like bread and noodles and potatoes and meat and not enough healthy things like vegetables and rice. And interesting take on both attitude toward American influences in Korea and probably what traditional Korean diet has been–and continues to be from what I saw while I was there.

  62. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It’s possible that we’ve finally reached a point where people are so rich that supersonic travel costs won’t trouble them.

    It never did. Who do you think flew on the Concorde? For that matter, they’re the same people who fly first or business class, and complain if they get an older plane with 2-3-2 configuration lie-flat beds.

    Concorde’s problem was that it guzzled fuel at prodigious rates, and it debuted in an era of oil shocks and high oil prices. Airlines couldn’t make a profit on it. Add the restriction on going supersonic over land, and it made no sense for Transcontinental routes in the US, or most routes in the Americas.

    Side note: Air France flew a Concorde from NYC to Mexico City for a few years. In order to take advantage of the plane’s speed, it eschewed the direct route, and instead flew along the eastern coast of the US, turned at Florida into the Gulf of Mexico, and then went subsonic upon reaching land. It was faster that way.

    The Anglo-French consortium that built it estimated 200 orders for the first generation model. About 20 actually flew. That’s why it died. No one developed a follow on model, taking advantage of what was learned from operating it. And it stayed unprofitable even in the mid-80s when oil prices collapsed.

    BTW, given the extremely comfortable first/business class seating these days, I wonder whether the rich need to travel faster. Economy passengers sure do. I can’t fathom a 10-hour flight with today’s poorly padded slim-line seats with minimal legroom. Alas, economy passengers won’t eb able to afford supersonic flight.

  63. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: “Reasonable money” — I gave up on that and just buy them from Parker’s: A British Institution.

    They aren’t cheap, but they are the closest we have gotten to the proper bangers in the UK.

    @CSK: Didn’t bangers get their name because sometimes an imbalance of rusk cause them to explode out of their casings?

  64. Mu Yixiao says:

    Speaking of sausages….

    Both of my German colleagues in China were aghast when I told them how we eat bratwurst in Wisconsin. 😀

    One of the few things I really miss about China is the food. Liang Pi (“cold-skin” noodles) is absolutely delicious. I looked up the recipe, thinking I’d make some. It takes 6 hours to make the noodles!

    And then there’s Shangdong jianbing (start at 1:20 to watch it… it’s part breakfast, part street performance).

  65. Mu Yixiao says:


    I can’t fathom a 10-hour flight with today’s poorly padded slim-line seats with minimal legroom.

    16 hours ORD –> PVG. In coach. With Chinese passengers who have no concept of privacy and no public politeness (very polite in private).

    One of the flights PVG –> ORD involved something I never thought I’d see: A steward get out of his jump-seat and yell at a passenger.

  66. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I knew a Brit woman who moved to Canada and was distraught because the only sausages she could find in the shops were all meat. The horror!

    Around St. Patrick’s Day, Trader Joe’s sell a six pack of what they call Irish bangers for $4.49. They’re only 5% bread product, though, so they’re probably not authentic.

    I don’t think you’re going to get a true Brit or Irish sausage in this country, since the taste for a 50% oatmeal filler is pretty limited.

  67. CSK says:

    Yes, but I heard it was the water content that made them explode.

  68. Jen says:

    @CSK: That makes sense and sounds right. Water was added to the rusk to bulk up the sausages (it should actually be rather dry when added–I’ve made sausages in the past; the rusk is supposed to absorb the fat rendered during cooking and keep the sausages from getting dry or gritty). When the sausages were cooked, the water turned to steam and made the casings explode.

  69. CSK says:

    What proportion of rusk do you use?

  70. Jen says:

    @CSK: 10-20% is considered pretty standard. Enough that it absorbs enough fat to prevent them from drying out, but not so much that the meat grind is obscured.

    It’s been a while since I bothered to make sausage, Parker’s are so good.

  71. Kurtz says:

    Tame fox pup smuggled across state lines to save him from possible euthanization

    New Hampshire animal rights activists transported the male fox, which was raised illegally by Massachusetts residents and then abandoned, to the Granite State on Sept. 6, just a day before Massachusetts Environmental Police arrived to locate the animal in response to complaints of a crying fox in a Dracut, Mass., neighborhood.

    Jackson-based activist Donna Ellis said the fox was outside for about five days crying to be let in the home that raised it. Someone who lived in the neighborhood reached out to Ellis’s friend and fellow activist Marianna Neville.

    “The neighbors were upset for various reasons. Some wanted him killed, and some wanted him helped,” Ellis said.

    Anyone want to hazard a guess about which way the town voted in 2016?

  72. Kurtz says:

    Director of Intelligence releases unverified Russian intelligence on Clinton.

    Graham responded to his critics later Tuesday, saying that the veracity of the Russian intelligence assessment was irrelevant.

    “I’m not saying whether it’s true or not,” Graham told reporters. “I’m asking Democrats, do you give a damn whether the FBI investigated it, or do you just care only about investigating Trump?”

    When pressed on why he released the information even though it was unverified, Graham called it “the ultimate double standard.”

    “They took the whole damn country through hell for two and a half years — and is it far-fetched to believe that the Clinton campaign would do something like this after Christopher Steele?” Graham said referring to the author of an unverified dossier of claims about Trump’s connections to Russia.

    Uh, Senator Graham? Steele was originally hired by a Republican rival during the primaries. Your stance on Trump changed when he won, but I’m sure you were totally against hiring Fusion GPS during the primaries, right?

    Plus, I’d say there is a huge difference between publishing unverified intelligence gathered by an adversary and an American company employing a former intelligence agent of an ally for oppo research. But I suppose reasonable people can disagree on that.

  73. CSK says:

    Yes, I feel that way about certain products. I have access to very good bakeries, so I never bother to bake bread. I do make cornbread, since I like to put a cup of kernels in it, and I can’t find a shop that does that.

    A funny thing: The Scots used to talk about varieties of potatoes the way we talk about years and vintages of wine. I recall a friend rhapsodizing about acquiring “a lovely Perth potato” she was going to have for her tea (dinner).

  74. Jen says:


    said the fox was outside for about five days crying to be let in the home that raised it.

    That’s heartbreaking! Ugh. Glad we could provide refuge here in NH.

    We had a family of kits in our yard earlier this year, they are freakin’ adorable. Like puppies.

  75. Sleeping Dog says:

    Quinnipiac has a poll out showing Trump and Biden in a statistical dead heat in, wait for it, South Carolina.

  76. Kathy says:


    If there were a Hell, the lowest depths would be reserved for people who abandon pets.

    We’ve made these animals dependent on us, both physically and emotionally, therefore we’ve made ourselves responsible for their well-being.

    I understand sometimes one can no longer keep a pet or care for it. In such cases, one ought to find a good home for them.

  77. Mu Yixiao says:


    A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

  78. flat earth luddite says:

    @al Ameda:

    Oh, come on, folks… we all knew, deep in what passes for our souls, that he was going to go batshirt loony on stage. Just like we all know that there’s going to be a wreck in the third turn, or that the heel is going to miss the “frog splash” at the end of the match.

    Well, y’all are better people then I am, so maybe you didn’t expect it. Me, I was counting on it. Only disappointed that the “solid…steel…chair” didn’t get utilized at the end of the match, er, debate.

  79. Kurtz says:


    I got my first dog a few years ago; I had cats growing up. I adopted him, and I was the right person for him. 15 pound fluff puff with the teeth of a dog twice his size. He needed a patient person with no progeny.

    He’s my little dude.

  80. JohnSF says:

    Two questions: how long ago was this? And what time of year?
    Because these days you can get pretty good asparagus year round at supermarkets.
    It is pricey though in the winter; usually air-imported from East Africa or South America.

    But round my way you can get bundles or fresh English asparagus in some local shops (including some supermarkets) at very reasonable prices when in season (late April/start July). And lovely stuff it is too.
    Thing is, a some supermarkets (Asda and Tesco notably) appear to dislike varying their supply chains to include seasonal UK green veg., and seem prefer to use a sequence of imports, switching between southern Europe and southern hemisphere.

    As for beef, I’ve never seen any purple dyed; but I don’t buy beef from supermarkets anyway.
    I use a local farmer/butcher who raises his own (field-grass fed) beef and lamb; and his own pork.

    One thing I will say: British supermarket fruit is nowhere near the quality you get in French supermarkets, let alone producer markets or grocers.
    One highlight of holidays in France was always the wonderful peaches or nectarines or melons.
    Yum! Drool!

    Granted, France can produce them in quantity locally from the Loire southward, but you’d think Brit. supermarkets could import them with little greater difficulty than a French shop in the Pas des Calais.

    But every time a British supermarket peach tempts me to try a peach, it’s like chewing cardboard by comparison

  81. CSK says:

    This was decades ago when I was a student in Edinburgh. I’m sure things have changed a lot since then. The asparagus was sold in a shop on Princes Street.

    I once read a reference to “aspergrass” in a medieval English cookbook. so clearly it’s been available for hundreds of years. Perhaps less so in Scotland.

    I still don’t get what the dye in the ground beef was about. I do recall the Scots were always urging us to serve them hamburgers, and wildly grateful to get them. The other Yanks and Canadians and I could never figure out why, since burgers are really simple to make, but the Scots–and I’m speaking of the university faculty–seemed to regard them as fantastically exotic treats. that only those from the other side of the pond could create.

  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Considering that breakfast sausages that are worth eating go for $7.99/lb. where I live, the price at Parker’s is not all that unreasonable. I’ll have to remember this site when I next feel like a splurge.

  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Things may be getting desperate in SC. I got an emergency “personal communication” from Lindsay Graham’s campaign today. It seems, according to the letter, that outside money from leftist influences have enabled the Democratic candidate opposing him to raise more money than any Democrat has ever raised in SC. The solution to this breach of decorum is, of course, to seek money from good patriotic outside sources such as myself.

    I did what I could to help him as I am sending back his request in its postage paid envelope with a request that he remove my address from his fundraising list. I felt it was the most least I could do to help.

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: When I was visiting my grandparents in Belfast as a teenager, I remember something vague about putting beet juice into ground meat, but I never was told the reason or what it did for the meat. The butcher at the top of the road where my grandparents lived made ground meat patties at his shop that we sometimes bought, but they had chopped onion and celery in them for some reason. And they were a little crumbly for burgers. Maybe Scottish butcher shops have the same problem and that was why a foreign hand was needed.

  85. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Hmm, beet juice. I never thought of that. I’m still in touch with some of the people I knew back then. I’ll ask one of them.

    I just remembered that ground beef was known as mince, or mince meat.

  86. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Beet juice? Yeeks!
    Maybe it is, or was, a Northern Irish/Scottish thing.
    I’ve heard of people including beetroot in the mince, similar to some using onions, but this is a new one on me.

    One thing about British mince beef though; some is from lower fat cuts, which would not be good for burgers, though OK for say cottage pie or such.
    For burgers best thing would be specifically steak mince, not beef mince, and watch the fat percentage.

    Personally I prefer to use a mincer to grind my own from a steak with a good bit of fat content.

  87. flat earth luddite says:

    in a slight shift into the Twilight Zone (DOJ edition), picture the following being read by Rod Serling:

    Screaming about a Deep State conspiracy? Accusing the judge of bias? Throwing colleagues under the bus while pretending that the unprecedented actions at Bill Barr’s DOJ are normal and pro-forma? Nefariously altered exhibits? Technical snafus and unmuted mikes that force multiple adjournments for the court clerks to scramble to reconnect all parties?

    Check, check, check, check, and CHECK. Yesterday’s hearing the Michael Flynn case had it all.

  88. Mu Yixiao says:

    Before I head off to sleep:

    Burger. I spent a couple years working in the meat dept of our local grocery store and learned a few things. For burgers you want 85% lean (15% fat) either chuck or round. And if you’re buying it in bulk and making the patties yourself, make a ball and squish it around in your hands before pressing it into a patty. This will make a nice patty that stays together.

    If you’re buying pre-made patties from a meat dept, get ones that aren’t nice circles. Those are made from the scraps of what they’re cutting (if chuck roasts are on sale, the burger will be chuck). They will be fresh, and will be just meat & fat (most meat depts get boned “primals” out of which they cut roasts and steaks, the trim is ground into burger). If the patties are perfectly round, they’re cut from tubes that have been processed elsewhere (with who knows what bits and bobs in them), and have probably been frozen and stored for who knows how long.

    95% lean is going to be sirloin. A lot of people think that’s better (sirloin is better than chuck, right?), but you can’t make a decent burger out of it. Sirloin is for things where you want crumbly beef–casseroles, tacos, chili, etc. However… any fattier beef will crumble just as well if you’re pushing it around in the frying pan with a spatula. So… buy the chuck/round for 2/3 the price.

    Anything that’s 80% lean or lower is going to shrink significantly when you cook it. It may look like you’re saving money, but you’re going to end up with less meat for your dollar (and a much bigger mess to clean up when you’re done). It’s okay for taco meat, but don’t try to make burgers out of it.

    And… if you have any skill with a knife, buy whole beef tenderloins (untrimmed) and trim them yourself. You’ll save $2-3/lb, and in addition to the steaks, you get all the little bits of trimmed beef to use for fajitas, beef stroganoff, etc. Out of a 4/5 tenderloin, I get 6-8 2″ steaks, 10-20 oz of “bits”, and about 4 oz of silverskin and fat that gets thrown away.