Monday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. An Interested Party says:

    I’m reminded of rodents and sea vessels

  4. Bill says:

    Here we go again

    The Daily Mail, citing a South Korean diplomat, reported the DPRK is hiding Kim’s failing health.

    “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended,” Chang Song Min, an ex-aide to late South Korean president Kim Dae Jung, told local media, the Daily Mail reported.

    “A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo Jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period.”

    North Korean media released pictures claiming to show Kim, 36, attending a government meeting on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch reported.

    Kim’s 32-year-old sister is his de-facto deputy, the Daily Mail reported.

    The last time these rumors surfaced, somebody suggested that NK state a Weekend at Bernies for the next decade. It may still be a good idea.

  5. An Interested Party says:

    There were some Republicans/conservatives who criticized last week’s Democratic convention for an alleged lack of substance and ideas…looks like that’s projection on their part…of course, these are Trump supporters, so projection is real big with this crowd…

  6. Bill says:

    Here we go again two

    Wisconsin police shoot Black man as children watch from a car, attorney says

    A man is fighting for his life after he was shot by an officer with the Kenosha Police Department in Wisconsin Sunday afternoon.

    A graphic video purported to be of the shooting and posted on Facebook, shows at least two police officers following the man with guns drawn as he walks from the passenger side of a gray vehicle to the driver’s side. When the man opens the door of the vehicle and tries to get in, one of the officers is seen grabbing him by the T-shirt. The officer points his gun at the man as he holds on to the man’s T-shirt. At least seven gunshots are heard, and the man appears to go limp in the vehicle, the car horn blaring.

    Police said they were called to the address to deal with a domestic disturbance, but it is unclear who called or what happened before the video recording began.

    The video can be found here. Note how the police had their guns drawn as Blake walked away from them. These police need to be charged with attempted murder. That would be the charge for me or you if I shot a person in the back.

  7. Scott says:

    AI algorithm defeats human fighter pilot in simulated dogfight

    An artificial intelligence algorithm has defeated a human F-16 fighter pilot in a virtual dogfight simulation.

    The Aug. 20 event was the finale of the Pentagon research agency’s AI air combat competition. The algorithm, developed by Heron Systems, easily defeated the fighter pilot in all five rounds that capped off a yearlong competition hosted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    Heron’s AI system gained notoriety throughout the competition for its aggressiveness and the accuracy of its shot. Mock noted before the human-AI matchup that the AI system will “take shots that we would never take in our training environments.” Mock also said Heron often made an error in basic fighter maneuvers by turning away from enemy aircraft to where the AI thought the other aircraft would go, but was able to recover throughout the fights because of Heron’s “superior aiming ability” and the competitor aircraft taking the bait.

  8. CSK says:

    @An Interested Party:
    The Conways’ eldest daughter Claudia has begged to be emancipated from her parents.

    I find it interesting that George too is backing away from the Lincoln Project, which he co-founded, and Twitter. The situation at home must be really desperate.

    I like George. The kids I feel sorry for. As for Kellyanne, I’ve never understood how easily and willingly she could spend four years lying on behalf of a creature like Donald Trump.

  9. Jen says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I came to post the NYT piece on the same topic. My guess is that one or more of the kids is in real distress. Given the timeline (Kellyanne told the President last night and her departure takes effect this week) things must be quite desperate.

    Sad, and I hope it all works out.

  10. Scott says:

    @Bill: Headline writers have to amuse themselves somehow.

  11. Kari Q says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Not really a surprise. We all knew that the GOP didn’t stand for anything. They’re just making it official.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: After four plus years devoted to the cause, three months before the election seems an odd time for Kellyanne to decide she needs to spend more time with her family. Tom Levinson at Balloon Juice speculates that while family may well have played a role, she likely got new orders from her masters, the Mercers, or at least had had her old orders rescinded. Apparently they’re bailing on Trump. They may have realized screwing over the country wasn’t as fun a hobby as they expected.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    How the Republican National Convention became CPAC

    All that’ll be missing will be the three rings and the non-human animals…

  14. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: It’s definitely odd timing, but it really does sound like there’s a real crisis at home. Kids don’t petition to become emancipated minors when things are pleasant. Given that George is also stepping away from his position, and the less-than 2 weeks notice, this has personal crisis written all over it.

    Having worked in politics and seen on a much smaller level the toll it can take, I’m skeptical of the notion that someone is pulling strings as suggested at Balloon Juice. In fact, if that was the case I’d suspect a more gradual separation, similar to what was referenced in the NYT piece: Kellyanne would take time away from the WH and work for a few days a week on the campaign, and then distance from there. Big donors don’t like the appearance of upheaval, Trump is still an incumbent and will be around at very least until January. They’d want her around to get what they want in place before he leaves, so no, I’m not a fan of that explanation.

  15. CSK says:

    I agree. The Balloon Juice explanation doesn’t account for why George would back off the Lincoln Project, which was his baby.

  16. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @An Interested Party:

    There were some Republicans/conservatives who criticized last week’s Democratic convention for an alleged lack of substance and ideas…looks like that’s projection on their part…

    In addition to the link that you provided, there’s this one:

    In our system, when a sitting president comes to a convention, the platform often takes a backstage to the president’s agenda.

    And that would be great, if Trump actually had a platform and an agenda that his is running on. “America First” isn’t a platform or policy.

    Most who identify as Republican state that they are better off now than they were 4 years ago.

    I suppose those dead from Coronavirus weren’t polled.

  17. KM says:

    @Liberal Capitalist :

    Most who identify as Republican state that they are better off now than they were 4 years ago.

    I’ve always been curious as to what that question really *means* to respondents. By almost any objective measure, life in the US is worse since this Admin started. Economic woes, an uncontrolled pandemic, massive job losses, social strife, dismantled government services, shortages and restrictions everywhere…. but life is BETTER for them somehow??? Does anyone ever ask follow up question for details as to how or in what way?

    Really, what they seem to mean is that because their party is in power and enacting their agenda, life is good. Their lives might be crap but at least it’s their overlords hurting them instead of “those people”. Gilead might be a terrible place to live in general but at least it makes the religious among them happy and nobody’s got it as bad as those handmaidens. Pay lip service to their beliefs and they’ll let you ruin everything, including them while claiming it’s a great place to live……

  18. Kathy says:

    I’m about to finish Michael Lewis’ “The Fifth Risk.” Mostly he goes over what a few government departments do, and how Trump’s so-called administration made a great job at not preparing to take over any of them, or even understand what they did (“No one is more ignorant about government than I am!”)

    What struck me, is how Lewis keeps saying how little is generally known about what a whole department or agency within a department actually does. not just among the general population, but also within think-tanks, among pundits, among members of Congress, and inside presidential transition teams.

    This reminded me of something in Ronan Farrow’s book, “The War on Peace,” about the lack of clear branding of US direct aid (mostly food and medical supplies) given out in Afghanistan.

    In both cases, people are getting some form of assistance, in some cases very badly needed one, and have no clue where it comes from. In the Lewis case, in addition, there are various programs that contribute to the public good, and people either don’t know where they came from, or attribute them to other entities. Lewis claims, for instance, that research into fracking was done by the Department of energy, not by private oil companies.

    This is something I know a little about. The food we sell to government welfare programs, for example, for distribution to parts of the population, are handed out in boxes, clearly marked as coming from the state government and a particular agency, as well as a disclaimer that this aid is free of charge and no tied to any specific political party.

    It’s clear to me the government needs a marketing department to advertise what it does. If nothing else, so voters will be informed about what X department Y candidate wants to close down, actually does.

  19. Kathy says:


    Isaac Asimov once observed many of the ills in the world stem from people who’d rather live in a hell they’ve made, than in someone else’s heaven.

  20. Jen says:


    It’s clear to me the government needs a marketing department to advertise what it does. If nothing else, so voters will be informed about what X department Y candidate wants to close down, actually does.

    This is technically PR, not marketing, and many government agencies issue RFPs to outside vendors for this work. The very large PR firm I worked for ages ago fairly regularly responded to these RFPs, and a good friend of mine who specializes in health care PR communications worked on the ACA rollout under one of these agreements.

  21. Teve says:

    My friend Bob: “damn, you’d think a guy with a mail order bride would have more respect for the post office.”

  22. EddieInCA says:


    Bill says:
    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 06:14

    Here we go again two–

    Wisconsin police shoot Black man as children watch from a car, attorney says

    That video is horrific. They shoot the man seven times IN THE BACK while holding on to his Tshirt. The police officer is holding on to him while shooting him in the back at point blank range. How the guy isn’t dead is a miracle.

    F**king outrageous. That cop needs to be charged with attempted Murder, and the two other cops as accomplices. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible!

  23. Sleeping Dog says:


    arlier this month, while speaking via Zoom to a promising group of politically inclined high school students, I was met with an abrupt line of inquiry. “I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand,” said one young man, his pitch a blend of curiosity and exasperation. “What do Republicans believe? What does it mean to be a Republican?”

    You could forgive a 17-year-old, who has come of age during Donald Trump’s reign, for failing to recognize a cohesive doctrine that guides the president’s party. The supposed canons of GOP orthodoxy—limited government, free enterprise, institutional conservation, moral rectitude, fiscal restraint, global leadership—have in recent years gone from elastic to expendable. Identifying this intellectual vacuum is easy enough. Far more difficult is answering the question of what, quite specifically, has filled it.

    I decided to call Frank Luntz.

    “You know I don’t have a history of dodging questions. But I don’t know how to answer that. There is no consistent philosophy,” Luntz responded. “You can’t say it’s about making America great again at a time of Covid and economic distress and social unrest. It’s just not credible.”

    Luntz thought for a moment. “I think it’s about promoting—” he stopped suddenly. “But I can’t, I don’t—” he took a pause. “That’s the best I can do.”

    “If you think about the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution—they’re all about ideas. Parties were supposed to be about ideas,” said Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman who ran a short-lived primary against Trump in 2020. “John Adams was an ornery guy, but he believed in his ideas. On the other side, Thomas Jefferson, he certainly didn’t live up to the ideas he espoused, but shoot, at least he talked about them. Nowadays, it’s just regression to the lowest common denominator on everything. It scares me. You keep going this way of cult of personality, you will kill our Republic.”

    It can now safely be said, as his first term in the White House draws toward closure, that Donald Trump’s party is the very definition of a cult of personality. It stands for no special ideal. It possesses no organizing principle. It represents no detailed vision for governing. Filling the vacuum is a lazy, identity-based populism that draws from that lowest common denominator Sanford alluded to. If it agitates the base, if it lights up a Fox News chyron, if it serves to alienate sturdy real Americans from delicate coastal elites, then it’s got a place in the Grand Old Party.

    “Owning the libs and pissing off the media,” shrugs Brendan Buck, a longtime senior congressional aide and imperturbable party veteran if ever there was one. “That’s what we believe in now. There’s really not much more to it.”

    Given that the R’s are the party of Trump and that won’t be relinquished regardless of what happens in Nov, added to the reality that conservative thinkers have been driven out of the party, it is difficult to see the R’s become anything but a festering sore of grievance.

  24. Kathy says:

    I plan to spend exactly no time watching the Trump Covidpalooza 2 this week.

    However, there’s buzz going around the media that Trump the Liar plans to announce a vaccine before the election. Therefore there’s a probability he’ll announce it at the so-called party convention.

    This is a terrible idea on many levels.

    One, it’s a gamble. Perhaps the Moderna or Oxford vaccines are effective, perhaps not. that’s why there’s testing before approval.

    Two, phase 3 testing is underway, but it will take time. Moderna plans to test on 30,000 people. Thus far, reports say, about 18,000 volunteers have received the first dose, either of the vaccine or the placebo. Keep in mind this is a two-dose vaccine, the second given 28 days after the first. Meaning there won’t be any significant results before the end of September, and those will be partial.

    Three, it’s unlikely either vaccine will cause COVID-19, because, as I understand it, neither make use of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, either live, weakened, or dead. But that doesn’t mean they can’t cause other problems. So far they haven’t, and it’s likely they won’t. But, again, that’s why there’s testing before approval. Suppose 5% of recipients have some serious side effects. You want to find that out after it’s been given to millions of people?

    Four, suppose the vaccine isn’t effective. Maybe you still get infected but have a milder disease, which would still be good. Maybe it does absolutely nothing, which leaves us right where we are now. But in the latter case billions have been spent on development and partial testing, and billions more in manufacture and distribution. Not to mention the hit in credibility as far as vaccines and other preventive measures go.

    We all want a vaccine, but one that works, one that reduces infections, and one that doesn’t make things worse. We don’t want any vaccine some incompetent moron wants to trot out as his means of retaining power.

  25. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’d be very interested to see the intersection of “anti-vaxxer” and “Trump supporter”. If Trump comes out and says “We have a brand-new vaccine!”, how many of the people who refuse to give their kids long-used and well-tested vaccines will jump on the band wagon with the untested miracle cure?

  26. Kathy says:

    On a lighter topic, I cancelled my subscription to Amazon Prime.

    I got one month free, plus I paid one month at about $4.75. I also ordered a few things online, all with “free” shipping. Not bad.

    I cancelled it because I don’t order much online (other than audio books and ebooks), and there wasn’t much left I wanted to watch on their streaming service.

    Speaking of which, it’s really odd what’s available and what’s not. For instance, Avengers Endgame is available for streaming, but Avengers Infinity War is not (it can be purchased, but that’s extra). Season one of Lodge 49 is there, but season two is not.

    I’m waiting to resubscribe to Netflix once the full third season of Star Trek Discovery is out (or maybe once half of it is). I would return to Amazon Prime once season two of Picard is up, but that will take a while because of the pandemic.

    Also, the Prime video interface plan sucks. When you open it, it tries to play a promo video for some show. To me that’s just a waste of time. Ditto when you run an episode or movie, first it attempts to show a promo clip. Hey, it’s a paid service, quit it.

  27. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Anti-vaxxers are a very mixed bag politically. The Pew research Center says 12& of liberals and 10% of conservatives feel vaccines are unsafe.

    AAs for Trump, three years ago he wanted to appoint Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a liberal Democrat, to be head of some commission to look into the safety of vaccines. Recall that before the pandemic, Trump himself expressed anti-vaxxer sentiments. Kennedy is an extreme anti-vaxxer.

    The real loons think that the prospective Covid vaccine will provide Bill Gates with a chance to implant microchips in us, either to sterilize us or to keep track of us.

  28. Kathy says:


    If one could be rendered sterile (presumably male and female alike) with an injected microchip, Gates would be minting a new fortune by selling them as contraceptives.

    Ditto if he could so easily implant chips for universal tracking. Give the chips some minimal functionality like touchless credit/debit card payments, and give them away for free.

    Anything requiring an elaborate conspiracy to accomplish is either impossible to do or not worth doing.

  29. Teve says:


    Rudy Giuliani tells Fox & Friends that Trump doesn’t really need to prep for the debates because “he’s immersed in government policy, you can’t believe how much this man has learned in 3.5 years. … He could debate Daniel Webster. He’d win.”

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: When you’re a whore, you have to take the jobs that are available? (Just a guess…)

  31. Teve says:

    @Kathy: I once heard a moon landing conspiracy that would’ve been about three times harder than just going to the fucking moon.

  32. Kathy says:


    He would, but only because Mr. Webster is dead.

    And it would be a close thing.


    Pretty much. Not least because there’s no way you’d keep the tens (hundreds) of thousands of people involved in the project from babbling about it being fake. How many people built hardware for the missions? How many companies were involved as principal contractors and subcontractors? How many scientists have examined the samples brought back? (BTW such examinations continue to this day, as techniques for analysis keep improving).

    That was the other big flaw in Capricorn One (terrible movie): that they needed to kill the astronauts to keep the conspiracy a secret. More likely you had to do extensive mass murder to keep the secret.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Interesting quote from the same long form Politico article Sleeping Dog cited above, this time from Arthur Brooks:

    “I actually find it kind of reassuring. With McGovern in 1972, it was a colossal wipeout with a hugely mistaken candidate who was completely out of step with mainstream public opinion. Then in 1976, Jimmy Carter, an honest to goodness progressive, wins,” Brooks said. “I mean, Richard Nixon gets tossed out of office for blatant corruption. Everybody’s heading for the hills saying, ‘I never voted for him! I’m not a Republican!’ And six years later, Ronald Reagan wins and then gets reelected in one of the biggest landslides in history. These things can heal really, really fast.”

    Brooks may be right but I think it is more likely the Republicans are facing a California moment, where their increasing extremism alienates moderates from the party, giving the extremists more power, which alienates more moderates and so on until they have marginalized themselves to the point of irrelevance.

  34. CSK says:

    This is amusing: The forthcoming Melania and Me, by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania’s former bff and aide, will regale us with transcripts of secretly taped conversations in which Melania trashes her husband and Ivanka.

  35. EddieInCA says:


    I cancelled it because I don’t order much online (other than audio books and ebooks), and there wasn’t much left I wanted to watch on their streaming service.

    Dead Like Me
    Man in the High Castle
    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    Good Omens
    Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
    Tales from the Loop
    Jack Ryan
    Orphan Black

    All amazing in my opinion.

    There is too much good television right now to keep up.

  36. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yes, the R’s maybe having a California moment writ large.

    Having become the party of white grievance, those who could have put forward a conservative vision for America and an agenda to accomplish it, have either left or have been kicked out of the party. What is left are hatemongers, grifters and cynics. Out of that you see people like Gaetz, Cotton and Hawley trying to build a movement. But really Gaetz is trying to transfer the cult to himself, Cotton is an authoritarian and the if the contradictions of Hawley’s movement were a house, it would collapse. A top of all that, as long as Mitch McConnell is the R leader in the senate, nothing creative will emerge from that party.

  37. sam says:
  38. MarkedMan says:

    @EddieInCA: “Dead Like Me” is a gem. “Orphan Black” is also a gem and a technical tour de force by Tatiana Maslany. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, she plays five of the main characters and nine other minor characters, often appearing on screen with herself. And it is not a comedy! Every character is fully realized and has an arc meticulously maintained throughout the entire series. At least twice when she was playing one of her characters pretending to be another one of her characters I found myself thinking, “This actress just doesn’t get that other character”, only to realize “this actress” was actually “that actress” and actually doing a bang up job of keeping the characters separate, making mistakes in portrayal exactly how the fictional character would.

  39. Teve says:

    Friend of mine is a college professor in South Carolina:

    If you think Jerry Falwell Jr.’s troubles don’t have anything to do with Trump, you’re probably going to be a bit surprised in the next couple of days or weeks.

    (Point of order: lots of people have challenging family lives, and I don’t hold JF Jr’s problems and/or kinks against him. But there’s a bigger story here involving Trump, Michael Cohen, and Falwell’s endorsement. Maybe the pool boy was blackmailing Fallwell; maybe not. But I’m reasonably confident Cohen was, at Trump’s behest.)

  40. EddieInCA says:


    Agreed. I thought she deserved the Emmy every season she did that show. Amazing work.

  41. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: Totally endorse. Besides a great premise, Maslany was so good, I completely forgot it was the same actress playing multiple characters. Often in the same scene.

    Also on Amazon, just started Counterpart with the great J. K. Simmons. It played on Starz so it’s a couple years old but its got me hooked.

  42. Teve says:

    A top of all that, as long as Mitch McConnell is the R leader in the senate, nothing creative will emerge from that party.

    i read that McConnell realized he could control the Republicans if he controlled the fundraising money, so he did something that inserted himself into that process. Go against Mitch and your campaign funding gets cut off.

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: Thanks for reminding me about Counterpoint. I’ve been meaning to watch that.

    There was a season of “Fringe” with the actors playing two versions of themselves. That was also a series I would highly recommend. It got weird but held it together.

  44. Teve says:

    A friend of mine is exasperated right now because Louis DeJoy literally admitted that his changes reduced service levels.

    46% of Americans are either clueless or nihilists acting out of only spite. That’s going to screw up a country’s politics and institutions.

  45. Teve says:

    Apparently Trump was just giving a press conference and mentioned Obama and somebody shouted monkey!, so that’s great.

  46. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: Ahhhhh, Fringe, I miss that one!!! Might have to re-watch that now that I’ve watched all of Umbrella Academy and Yellowstone just got over.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Oh, most of the people building things for the moon mission wouldn’t have to be in on it. They clearly built rockets that launched — probably just shot an empty landing module way out into space. Or a full module into a nice eliptical orbit so they can return at the right time.

    You could keep the conspiracy small if the only part you’re faking is the actual landing. Change the signals going back to mission control, and you have lots of people there who don’t need to know, for instance.

  48. Kathy says:



    But that implies none of those thousands of people ever asked how their hardware they built performed on such a historic mission, or that NASA shared no telemetry about that nor asked for tweaks for future missions. Or that NASA had to make all of that up.

    As to the signals, the Moon’s not far, and Apollo had decent electrical power. Meaning their signals would have been easy to receive by amateur radio enthusiasts (which still exist for some reason), and more so for foreign government. And none of them noticed anything strange, eh? 🙂

    I know you’re not defending the Moon Hoax Idiocy. I’m just illustrating how easy it is to punch holes in absurd conspiracies, with just some moderate knowledge and common sense.

  49. Jen says:

    @Scott: I lived in Germany when it was still divided (early- to mid-80s) and Counterpoint was SUCH an interesting show to watch through that lens. I was very disappointed that they cancelled the series, but at least they ended it with a decent amount of closure.

    @Jax: I’m trying to ration my Umbrella Academy viewing so it will last longer….

  50. Kathy says:

    This is why science journalism needs to improve.

    Consider the headline: Hong Kong man re-infected by Covid-19 after four-and-a-half months leading to immunity concerns.

    Now consider that of the millions of confirmed COVID-19 cases the world over, there is this one (1) recorded case of reinfection, and contrary to the first infection, this one is asymptomatic.

  51. wr says:

    Speaking of TV, allow me a rave for The Young Pope, which I avoided for the last few years, fearing it would be dull… but man is it brilliant. Funny, terrifying, thrilling and with a perfect role for Jude Law that showcases both his beauty and his coldness. It’s basic thesis is especially timely — what if they gave a position with unlimited power to a man whose sole concern is his own power?

  52. Teve says:

    @Teve: OK multiple people are saying that if you listen to it over and over you can barely tell that he’s not saying monkey he is saying spygate. Equally retarded but less racist.

  53. CSK says:

    Oh, God. Was there any reaction? Fallout? Was anyone horrified? Shocked? Appalled? Disgusted?

  54. CSK says:


    Spygate? How could anyone mistake “monkey” for “spygate”? They don’t exactly sound alike.

  55. Kathy says:


    The problem is when I get caught up in TV, I have very little time left for other things like reading or writing.

    Therefore, except when on vacation, I try to limit my TV watching (as opposed to having the TV provide background noise) to things I really want to watch.

  56. Kathy says:


    Wishful thinking and motivated reasoning.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @wr: Just from the title, I had assumed it was about a young, hip Pope who does young people things while being the Pope. I swear, I thought it was a fish-out-of-water comedy.

    The Pope wants to go to a Billie Eilish concert, but the Bishops are trying to prevent him so the Papacy remains respectable. Etc.

    Easter Mass becomes a rave for Jesus, and those stodgy Bishops are so offended, but they have to come around when they realize MDM promotes the message of Jesus and brotherly love better than any old Bible verse.

    So many possibilities. So many terrible possibilities.

  58. EddieInCA says:


    Kathy says:
    Monday, August 24, 2020 at 14:48

    The problem is when I get caught up in TV, I have very little time left for other things like reading or writing.

    Understand that completely. I decided to watch an episode of Sense8 one morning on Netflix a few years ago while on location in Austin, TX, and ended up in front of the television for 13 hours.

  59. CSK says:

    Good point, but it’s still a huge jump.

  60. de stijl says:

    There is a story out today about Falwell Jr., his wife, and a pool boy which I consider newsworthy but kind of meaningless although notable hypocrisy. What consenting adults do behind closed doors is decidedly not my business. I really do not care.

    But they all met at the Fountainebleau.

    I was staying there for a quick consulting gig and when I was checking in someone had dropped the ball on the reservation. They were fully booked up.

    I asked for any accommodation at all since I did have a booked reservation.

    The very nice lady said I could stay in the party room if I did not mind sleeping on a cot they could roll in for me. I said fine. Thanks for being so helpful. For one night that will work out. Not a problem and thank you so much.


    It was the VIP party room and was ~3000 square feet on the top floor and two levels. The TV was the size of an SUV (this was the early aughts).

    The balcony overlooked the ocean. It was balmy and smelled like sea and heaven, while back home it was probably below zero and snowing that night. I watched container ships making their way down to the port.

    Yeah, I slept on a shitty cot, but I felt like a God looking down on puny humans for one night.

    Next night they put me in a normal room with a tv sized tv and a proper bed and I was so deflated.

    For one night I had the rock star room.

    And they comped me! I was going to get reimbursed anyway, but still that was still very cool and very appreciated.

    I love Fountainebleau!

  61. Scott says:

    @Teve: Democrats are losing an opportunity in driving home that reduced postal service levels impact rural America more than anyone. Rural delivery is highly subsidized.

  62. Jen says:

    @de stijl:

    There is a story out today about Falwell Jr., his wife, and a pool boy which I consider newsworthy but kind of meaningless although notable hypocrisy.

    I haven’t read about it in depth yet, but from what I gather via a few respectable voices on Twitter is that the money/payouts appears to be the problem. No matter how you package it, it doesn’t seem to fit the definition of a charitable contribution.

  63. Kathy says:

    I suppose it had to break in Florida.

    The Dolphins, who for some reason are still part of the NFL, plan to allow over 13,000 spectators to their home opening game. That’s about 20% capacity.

    Sure, when you read about the preventive measures, it seems kind of maybe ok. But we’ll see how that goes. For one thing, I think there won’t be a way to keep groups of people who come to the game together socially distant form each other. Then, too, people who get seats high up behind an end zone, will notice all that empty space way down near mid-field. IMO, the question won’t be whether any fans will attempt to take over the better seats, but how many and how long into the game.

    Not to mention that bringing so many people together makes for a high likelihood of a super spreading event. Suppose “only” 50 of 13,000+ people get infected. That’s a very low percentage, right? Well, maybe. how many people in their communities will these fifty infect?

    I know “The League” means the sum of the team owners. And I know they play under several jurisdictions. So there’s no central authority within football or outside of it to mandate there be no fans at the games.

    Oh, and what about second order effects from people who don’t see the sky falling after a game with such attendance, and then lower their precautions or abandon them altogether?

  64. Teve says:

    @CSK: it’s bad audio and I had read that it was monkey first so when I heard it it sounded like monkey, but then when I heard the spy gate thing I went back and it kind of sounds like that too.

    There’s a YouTube video where a sound is repeated over and over, and there’s a word on the upper left corner of the screen and a word on the upper right corner of the screen and whatever word you’re looking at that’s what you think the sound says. With audio humans are incredibly suggestible.

  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: When I was a kid I had a Mad Magazine paperback book that had an “ad” for magical flat ants (I may not have this exactly right), that forever changed how I looked at conspiracy theories. Basically, there were 50 or so ants printed on the page, with the copy stating that whenever you closed the book they moved around and when you opened it they froze. I got into a thought experiment where I postited various cameras and so forth to “prove” this false, but every time I came up with something I was able to add conditions that made the proof worthless. As soon as they were hit with any amount of light they went back to their original spot. They moved without friction and so made not imprint on the page. Etc, etc, etc. At that point I realized that once you shift from “you have to prove it true” to “you have to prove it not true”, you could believe anything.

  66. de stijl says:


    Lodge 49 is amazing. Represent!

  67. Teve says:
  68. Teve says:

    Wow New York Attorney General is saying that Eric Trump is refusing to comply with a subpoena citing his constitutional rights.

  69. Jen says:

    @Teve: Huh. I vaguely remember someone…can’t put my finger on who said it exactly…something about pleading the fifth means you’re guilty?

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: It’s hard to stop people from making stupid choices short of running some sort of hyper-authoritarian system where to stop people from dropping cigarette butts on the ground, you outlaw cigarettes and when they switch to dropping gum wrappers, you outlaw gum.

    It’s not called “freedumb” for the irony. But it is as American as apple pandowdy and shoofly pie.

  71. Sleeping Dog says:


    Constitutional right to get his ass thrown in jail.

    Here’s what I don’t understand, why doesn’t the AG get a search warrant and just grab what they need. It appears that they have probable cause.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Or actually saying 2 different things and saying you’re not?

  73. Kathy says:


    That sounds a lot like Sagan’s invisible dragon in “The Demon Haunted World.”

    As to the Moon landings, there are thousands of photographs, hours of video, testimony from the astronauts, telemetry from the missions, communications lag while the astronauts were on the Moon, samples of Lunar rocks, etc. That’s proof enough.

    The claims that this is all faked, come with no evidence or offer of proof. So, yeah, proving them false would be hard, but it’s also unnecessary.

    That’s why arguments on whether any kind of deity exists or not can go on forever. Me, I see no evidence* of any kind of deity, much less the god of the Bible. So until I see positive proof of a deity, and that shouldn’t be too hard for an allegedly all-powerful being, I go on the assumption that there aren’t any.

    Besides, even the most devout monotheists are 99.9999999% as atheistic as I am. They don’t believe in thousands of other gods whose existence has been claimed or assumed at one time or another, while I don’t believe in one more god than they do.

    * To date, not one person has brought up the coffee argument. In brief, if there is no god, what are the chances that a drink as tasty, enjoyable, and beneficial as coffee, which also augments one’s alertness, would exist?

  74. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Teve: Given that Daniel Webster has been dead for almost 170 years, that may not be as preposterous a bet as we think. ETA: I see Kathy beat me to the punch on this one.

  75. flat earth luddite says:

    Wow, impressive ideas. Seriously. Maybe time for a p/t gig writing scripts for Vinnie Mac over at WWE? Hey, all of these are a vast improvement over the last umpteen years. Seriously, G, expect a call from his people.

  76. flat earth luddite says:

    Thanks for the coffee argument. Made my day. Slurping my coffee as I type (TG for speech recog software)
    And another big thanks for the Daniel Webster comment. But I still think he’ll beat Big Orangeade in a debate.

  77. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Cinemas opened in Mexico last week. There’s a lot of publicity on all the preventive measures they’ve taken, and I plan on not going to see any movie in a theater until general vaccination is well and truly done, and the pandemic is burnt out.

    The theater chains say their employees will wear masks, gloves and face shields. I believe it. They also require all patrons to wear masks, and they are blocking seats to keep social distance. I believe that, too.

    But they’ll be offering popcorn and other snacks at the concession stand (understandable, as that is where their income is), so many patrons will be unmasked for extended periods, inside a relatively small, enclosed space.

    I’ve also seen how employees in other places treat their PPE, and how they fail to keep distance from each other even when they can easily do so. I estimate the same lax attitude to pervade theaters.

    In other words, no movie is worth the risk of catching COVID-19.

  78. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: That first season of Sens8 was pure magic. I was in tears through so much of it from the beauty of its message of love and connection transcending the horrors of the contemporary world. And this was a show I was motivated to dislike, since Joe Straczynski is one of the few people in the biz I truly despise on a personal level…

  79. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    You’re welcome.

    While the hottest period of the year has passed here, it’s still warm. So I tried the following today after lunch:

    one scoop chocolate ice cream (sugar free)
    four shots espresso
    one cup of milk
    1 1/2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

    Put it all in a blander and blend.

    It was ok, but tasted too strongly of coffee and not enough of chocolate. So, tomorrow it’s two scoops. It’s also best when cold, so I think I’ll chill the espresso and milk before blending.

    Oh, the output was about two full glasses, of which I drank one. The other was taken by a willing coworker. She said she liked it.

  80. CSK says:

    Jerry Falwell, Jr. has resigned from Liberty University following the revelations that he enjoyed watching his wife have sex with the pool boy.

  81. Teve says:



  82. Teve says:


    And this was a show I was motivated to dislike, since Joe Straczynski is one of the few people in the biz I truly despise on a personal level…

    what’s that about?

  83. Teve says:

    @CSK: Liberty University doesn’t allow its students to kiss. You can’t be in charge of that school if it keeps coming out you’re a perv.

  84. de stijl says:

    The upcoming R convention is going to be prosecutor’s paradise of Hatch Act violations.

  85. de stijl says:


    “blander” was a great typo.

    I am from the midwest. People own blanders here. It removes cayenne and reduces the Scoville points.

  86. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Why do I suspect the problem is that he enjoyed it?

  87. Teve says:

    Seen on Twitter: “DeJoy was questioned by Katie Porter and he very obviously forgot the Safe Word.”

  88. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Cayenne has Scoville points?

  89. de stijl says:


    I dated a girl from Bethel.

    She lived on campus.

    We did very un-Baptist things. We danced. We played cards. We smoked cigarettes. We drank liquor.

    It is oddly thrilling to “play cards” in a Bethel University dorm room that she had to sneak me into.

    That which is forbidden is so enticing.

  90. EddieInCA says:


    Have you seen the behind the scenes on the filming? Genius. You know all those scenes in airplanes? They freaking shot them while traveling between locations in a 747. Pure genius.

  91. Jen says:

    @Kathy: For some reason my link to the Scoville scale for cayenne has been blocked by the all-knowing spam filter system. Cayenne registers between 30K to 50K Scoville units on

  92. CSK says:

    Yes, and if you apply for a faculty job there, and get selected for an interview, you have to undergo a three-day interrogation about your religious beliefs. Can’t have any doubters/unbelievers/sinners in their midst, polluting the minds of the young.
    They were probably wishing he’d made videos.

  93. JohnSF says:

    Interesting Daily Beast article re. Jared Kushner’s dealings (paywalled).
    As sleazy as you’d expect, basically.
    And,well, hi there, Kirill Dmitriev! What a coincidence, your name popping up.
    Small world, eh?

  94. de stijl says:


    I assume. It is a pepper.

    Are you mocking me for my low-brow sensibilities?

    Last night I used ghost pepper and pineapple sauce on my pork chop.

    It is embarrassing. I love heat, but my white boy head thinks it is under attack and sweats excessively. It starts at the tippity top and just drips down.

    I have to forewarn people if we are out eating. Truly embarrassing.

  95. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    I went to a Catholic college that had an arrangement to serve as the college for the novices at a nearby seminary. These guys had taken no vows, only expressed their intention to enter the priesthood.

    Those fellows had parties that were bacchanals punctuated by indiscriminate sex.

  96. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Fine, we launched something at the moon, but there weren’t people on that rocket. Transmissions were first sent to the lunar module with a narrow cast beam, and then broadcast back. The hard part was synchronizing the ground control actors with the transmission that had twice the delay of Earth to Moon.

    Next objection?

  97. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Yeah, I assume it’s a pepper, too, because it looks like one 😉

    I’m mocking mid westerners who think Cayenne is hot.

    That said, I once made cream of chile poblano. Poblano’s supposed to be among the mildest of peppers. The soup was hotter than straight up habanero sauce.

  98. Teve says:

    Ben Shapiro is on Twitter defending Jerry Falwell Junior on the basis that if he were a liberal, Democrats wouldn’t mind. Reminding us yet again that half of the white boys who get into Harvard don’t get in on academic merit, they get in because they are legacies, families have connections, or give a lot of money to the school like Kushner.

  99. Teve says:

    @Kathy: coulda been cross fertilized. Happens easily with peppers. One guy said he grew his bell peppers next to his habaneros and the bell peppers turned out hot as shit.

  100. Mm says:


    since Joe Straczynski is one of the few people in the biz I truly despise on a personal level…

    If you don’t mind me asking, why is that?

  101. MarkedMan says:


    since Joe Straczynski is one of the few people in the biz I truly despise on a personal level…

    If you don’t mind me asking, why is that?

  102. Kathy says:


    I’ve heard of that happening, too. I wouldn’t swear it’s true.

  103. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Said it before, Republican “conservatives” have a serious problem with working out any consistent political philosophy.
    Republicans essentially 18th/19th century “liberals”, but with a variety of weird additions over time: high-tariff protectionism, Sumnerian “evolutionary individualism”, “pro-business” corporatism etc.

    And crucially it went from being the party of “mainline” Protestantism to a mutual embrace with evangelicals/Southern baptists, and some “more Catholic than the Pope” ultras. (Plus studiously looking away from the racism of its new base).
    With abortion (and guns) as banner policies, that usefully smuggle in judicial stances that reinforce other, apparently unrelated, “small state” preferences.

    Having jettisoned social liberalism, Trumpist populism demolished what remained of “economic liberalism” (arguably little enough given the increasingly unhinged “tax cuts at all costs and to heck with the deficit! Yay Laffer!” doctrines).
    And rendered it’s foreign policy incoherent.

    What’s left?
    Neither “conservative liberalism” nor European or Asian style “modernising conservatism” nor even older “reactionary conservatism”, but just an incoherent populism that promises somehow to salve it’s supporters woes, but has zero rational plans to do so.

    See e.g. ongoing legal moves to demolish existing basis of healthcare, in the middle of a pandemic and recession, with no real plans for a replacement system. While Trump actually says at the same time:

    “We protected your pre-existing conditions. Very strongly protected…and you don’t hear that.”

    What possible policy platform can be constructed on this basis?
    And even if one were, could Trump be trusted not to kick it to the ground and set fire to it a day later?

  104. Moosebreath says:


    As Don Henley wrote about a prior generation’s Elmer Gantry wannabes:

    “People want a miracle
    They say Oh Lord, can’t you see us?
    We’re tryin’ to make a livin’ down here
    And keep the children fed
    But, from little dark motel rooms
    To Six Flags over Jesus
    How are the mighty fallen
    So the Bible said”

  105. DrDaveT says:


    Meaning their signals would have been easy to receive by amateur radio enthusiasts (which still exist for some reason),

    Software-Defined Radio (SDR) in general, and GNU Radio in specific, have created a whole new world of possibilities for amateur radio, way beyond the traditional limits of “ham” radio.

    Or so I’m told… Not my particular bug.

  106. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: Hey! Nice avatar!

  107. Mister Bluster says:

    Liberty University says Jerry Falwell Jr. has resigned. Falwell says that’s not accurate, report says
    While Liberty spokesman Scott Lamb originally told CNN Falwell would resign, he now says that Board leadership have been in discussion with Jerry Falwell and expect to be able to make a statement on Tuesday.

    Falwell: Resignation reports are ‘completely false’
    Says he does not plan to resign from Liberty University, despite controversy
    He said that he has not agreed to leave the post permanently, nor does he plan to, although he is on an indefinite leave of absence following a series of controversies this summer. Falwell added that Reuters’ report released Monday that a former business associate, Giancarlo Granda, had a years-long affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki, with his full knowledge was “90% false.”
    Virginia Business

    Sure would like to know about the “10% true” part of this.

  108. de stijl says:


    Where are all you getting cool art for avatars?

    I want one.

    I wanna be a cool kid too.

    Of course then I would have to choose which.

  109. de stijl says:


    I never did it – too introverted, but I get the appeal of ham radio. It is super geeky and nerdy which I love.

    Plus, gear. Relatively inexpensive geeky gear is best gear. And lingo.

    No one really gives a shit about their clothes hamper, but a brand new transceiver thingamabob direct from Germany in original packaging is a beauty thing to unbox and plug in and set up.

  110. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I took mine with my drone last summer. 😉 I was thinking about changing it to my cat Studmuffin with a “Leaving Las Vegas” snapchat filter, but I’m working on putting American flags in the lenses of the aviator glasses first. I anticipate having time to do that….when haying season is over.

    The drone pic is linked to the blog I use for posting drone pics….but haven’t updated in forrrreeeevvver.

  111. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I do coin collecting.


    Scooters (Vespas)

    Camping. Camping is cool because there is a ton of cool gear. It gets used a couple times a year, yeah, but it makes happy.

    I liked it when Hank on Breaking Bad was a rock collector who wanted to go the geode show. And a home brewer. That sort of character information helps round out folks.

  112. Kathy says:

    Hopefully the link works. It’s a Twitter post of an ad with Michael Cohen (another inhabitant of Mount Purgatory) attacking Trump the Would-be Mafia Don.


  113. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Gem shows are the best, man! If you want to meet interesting characters, go find the guys who packed out a 200 lb geode or piece of petrified wood, and now wheel it around on a dolly! 😉

    I think my favorite character I’ve met at the gem shows is the fork guy. He bends the fork tines into a “base” and a “dancer”, and when you spin the dancer, it spins into eternity. He upgraded his forks this year, they’re irridescent. He’s straight out of Cheech and Chong, talking to him, but damn…..I sure love my dancing forks!

  114. Teve says:

    The Grand Old Meltdown
    What happens when a party gives up on ideas?
    I mean, they didn’t have any ideas worth keeping. Anti-environmentalism and anti-climate change were always just money handouts to extraction and pollution industries. Anti-evolution was just a hand out to the psycho evangelical morons. Trickle down economics? How dumb do you have to be to still believe in that? Again just a transfer of money to rich people.

    Use rich people’s money to stir up ignorant people, get political power, and then reward your donors with capital gains cuts at the expense of literally everyone else in the country and their children. That’s all the Republican Party has been for decades.

  115. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    Camping. Camping is cool because there is a ton of cool gear. It gets used a couple times a year, yeah, but it makes happy.

    The closest I come to camping is a hotel without room service.

  116. Teve says:

    Kellyanne Conway having family problems lead me to thought I’ve never had before. What if this isn’t just an act she’s doing on behalf of Trump for money and fame, what if she’s an unhinged compulsive liar in real life and she just can’t ever say true things.

  117. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: camping is what homeless people are doing. Screw that, if it doesn’t have a shower and excellent coffee it’s not civilization.

  118. de stijl says:


    I don’t know what dancing forks are, but now I want know more.

    Is there video?

  119. de stijl says:


    Hotels have a one in five chance of fucking me up really hard. City center hotels are cool. City center hotels have traffic whizzing by and street noise. People walking down the sidewalks.

    I got put up in mid-range hotels on the edge of nowhere.

    Every now and again I get a huge feeling of loss – loss isn’t the right word. Unmooredness.

    I could be anywhere – Sacramento or Seattle or Superior. The room would be exactly the same and the exact three cars in the parking lot will be there forever and ever.

    I am nowhere and everywhere simultaneously. I think the uniformity of hotel rooms and corridors informs that. It is spooky and very uncomfortable – a bad dark place where I am utterly alone.

    There is a Steven King story about a myth debunker who rents a room in a hotel with a bad backstory – 1408.

    There is a one in five chance I have a 1408 experience when I need a place to rest my head away from home.

  120. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA: @Teve:

    If I am car camping the Bialetti gets packed and some freshly ground coffee.

    I am not a savage.

    Also, Twinings Irish Breakfast tea bags.

  121. Mister Bluster says:

    Back in 1974 I drove my quadriplegic friend Joe in his Ford Econoline van that was not rigged for him to drive from the midwest to California and back on a month long trip. We camped in his van at several sites. Interstate rest stops, some of which were modified for wheelchair access and some which were not.
    Some overnites were in RV parks and other nights we stopped in the desert or on the ocean beach and camped there.
    When we got to San Francisco we camped out on friends couches.
    There isn’t much I would like to do again in life but if I could recreate that trip with Joe I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  122. DrDaveT says:


    Hey! Nice avatar!

    Sweet of you to notice 🙂

  123. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Also, Twinings Irish Breakfast tea bags.

    Oh, dude. Genuine single-estate Assam is so cheap, so easy. Nobody should have to drink Twinings Irish Breakfast, once they know what they really like.

    You want the Upton Tea Company. Mention my name.

  124. Teve says:

    @DrDaveTI need to get some Lapsang Souchong from them. But I do have to disagree a bit about the twinings. I have a long long history with coffee and tea and to my taste buds at least the supermarket stuff is 90% as good as the high dollar stuff.

    Coffee was a different beast entirely, and there really wasn’t any good supermarket coffee, but now everybody’s growing arabica beans so that’s all changed. Hell even McDonald’s is using good beans now. Although I need to find out why, relentlessly, Panera coffee is horrendously awful. Every single cup I’ve ever had from Panera has tasted sour.

  125. Teve says:


    Man, Colin Kaepernick is going to be thrilled to hear that the Republican Party is taking a stand against “cancel culture.”

    And Goodyear.

  126. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: A friend of mine applied for a position at the evangelical college I graduated from. During the application process, he decided to withdraw his application because he was unwilling to pledge to not engage in consuming alcohol, dancing, or playing cards. He was asked to reconsider because all he had to do was agree to the pledge; they didn’t care what he actually did.

    While I will object to Liberty on many levels, I’m not going to fault them for trying to hold principles and looking for faculty who will share those principles. I wish they would find a university president who would share those principles, too. Maybe they can do better the next time (Pro Tip: don’t hire anyone with the last name Falwell).

  127. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: My experience with Poblanos when I was in the produce business was that they were very tricky. Some of them were as mild and sweet as red peppers, but others were hotter than than many hot peppers.

    @Teve and Kathy: True, but that would explain it.

  128. de stijl says:


    I get the difference between bad coffee and average and good.

    I can taste it.

    But with tea the distinction is pretty minimal to my taste buds. I know my buds like a malty tea.

    Twinings does me fine.

    Also, did you just “Hey, sweetie. Bless your heart” me?!

    No worries, I deserve it often.

  129. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Roadtrips are vital experiences. I’ve tried to explain multi-day roadtrips to European friends and they flat-out just do not get it at all.

    I think it is size. Yo, we should go to the Black Hills and shroom. Hell fucking yeah. That’s at least eight hours and that’s if we pee in bottles.

    Europeans cannot fathom that.

    Give Joe a shout-out from a virtual stranger. He sounds like a cool dude.

    I love roadtrips. Looking out the window, watching the world roll past.

  130. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..Give Joe a shout-out from a virtual stranger.
    I’m sure Joe would appreciate your regards. He died in 2008. Lung cancer. Couldn’t put down the goddamn cigarettes.
    He was very cool. I met him in 1973. We were lifelong friends.
    He once told me that if Janis Joplin had met him she would still be alive.
    Too bad we will never know.

  131. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Cigs are a hard thing to quit. It took me a long time and many failures.

    The brain is very insistent when it wants nicotine. Maddeningly so.

    I still cheat every now and again.

    Glad you shared your memory about Joe. Treasure it.

  132. wr says:

    @Teve: “what’s that about?”

    It’s all more than a quarter century in the past now, and I don’t feel like rehashing it here. Suffice it to say that back in the day Joe was loathed by pretty much everyone who knew him personally. But who knows — maybe he’s changed…

  133. Jax says:

    @de stijl: No video that I know of that I could link to, since we can’t upload video here, but if we have an OTB meetup after Trump is gone next year, I will bring a set so you can see!! Because you HAVE to come to the meetup if we have one, you know. 😉

  134. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..The brain is very insistent when it wants nicotine.

    Tell me about it. I was choking down 3 packs a day when I finally put the butts down after 30 years in ’95. Never went back. Not one drag since then. Same with the swill. Not one drop since I gave it up right after I quit smoking. I had been pretty much drunk every day since I left home to attend college in 1968.
    Now if I could only exhibit the same discipline when it comes to finances I just might approach middle class.

  135. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    But with tea the distinction is pretty minimal to my taste buds. I know my buds like a malty tea.

    Fair enough; de gustibus and all that. I was mostly just noting that Irish Breakfast Tea is a blend that is mostly Assam, and that good pure Assam can be had easily by mail. If the single-estate isn’t your bag (as it were), Upton also sells high-end CTC* Assam that is a step up from supermarket bags but still cheap. If it doesn’t taste any better to you than Twinings, you should of course stick with what you like. Apologies for any inadvertent condescension.

    *”Crush-tear-curl”, a mechanical process that produces little pellets of tea. The pieces are much smaller than “broken” but much larger than usual commercial tea bag contents.