Sunday’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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Good morning everyone!

    ETA Early for me, but the neuropathy says I’ll be here until the meds kick in. Fortunately, there’s a bottle of buffalo trace & a seegar, so rumor has it I’m safe and sane until sunrise.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hello Kettle, I’m Pot. You’re black.

    The campaign of Donald Trump, the former president and runaway leader in the chase for the 2024 Republican nomination, also seized the opportunity to capitalize on the mistake.

    “Casey DeSantis’ embrace of voter fraud to salvage her husband’s failing campaign is not just wrong, it risks compromising the integrity of the Iowa caucus,” spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement.

    “This type of irresponsible and desperate rhetoric must be addressed by both Ron DeSantis and [Iowa] Governor Kim Reynolds, who campaigned for election integrity and was elected to protect the votes of Iowans. Both governors DeSantis and Reynolds must reject and condemn these comments and apologize to the great people of Iowa.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Magnificent 7? Who needs them:

    A clash between gunmen from a criminal gang and residents of a small farming community in central Mexico left 14 people dead and seven injured, local authorities said on Saturday.

    Dramatic video of the fight on Friday posted on social media showed villagers in cowboy hats with sickles and hunting rifles chasing down suspected gang members amid bursts of automatic gunfire.
    Police in the State of Mexico, which abuts Mexico City, said the clash occurred in the hamlet of Texcaltitlán, about 80 miles (130km) south-west of the capital. Officials said 10 of the dead were members of the criminal gang, while four were village residents. Police did not identify the gang, but confirmed that the violent Familia Michoacana drug cartel has been dominant in that area for many years.

    The video appeared to show that the attackers wore military-style uniforms, some with helmets. Villagers apparently set their bodies and vehicles on fire.

    Local media said Familia Michoacana gunmen showed up in the village earlier demanding local farmers pay a per-acre (hectare) extortion fee.

    Sorry for the 4 dead villagers and the inevitable retribution that no doubt will be inflicted upon the village.

  4. de stijl says:

    Last night my kitchen light bulb conked out. I’m wandering around my house at 12:30 AM with a flashlight trying to remember where I’d stashed my camping lantern. I wasn’t under the sink even though I checked twice. Took me ten minutes to remember the clothes closet. “Ah! I remember now!”

    It, too, was dead. It’s the version that takes 6 D batteries. Well, I know where I stash batteries at least so I don’t need to fumble around like a fool. Opened the battery drawer. I had two D batteries.

    Okay, plan B. I have three flashlights (I swear I am not a prepper) that I can arrange to cast enough light to see by. I arranged.

    Not trying to be graphic or weird, but the overhead light in my kitchen is basically a boob. An semi-opaque dome with a nipple you unscrew that holds up the cheap bronze colored stamped sheet metal areola and the glass dome.

    The problem is height. I used the kitchen counter. There’s a nipple you use to unscrew and a cheap bit of bronze colored stamped sheet metal as the areola and a semi-opaque half globe dome. Not trying be weird or sexual, but the overhead light fixture in my kitchen is a boob.

    I eventually got the lightbulb replaced and I didn’t drop anything or break anything and reattached the boob to the fixture.

    All because I wanted tacos at 12:30 AM. I had a hankerin’.

  5. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Were you on your porch?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A daughter reflects on her mother’s death.

    I will never forget the look in my mother’s eyes that day near the end; the “north face of the Eiger”, as my family christened it. You have seen it in Game of Thrones, that look. As the Queen of Thorns, she used it to great effect. Fixing me with it for the first time in these last months, she said: “Rachie, it’s gone on too long – push me over the edge.”

    She had by then been on end-of-life drugs for four days. I felt sick. I knew what she was asking me to do. I had made a promise when I was quite young, that I would one day put a pillow over my mother’s face if she ever asked me to. It was a joke for years. Until now. And I couldn’t do it. It was the one and only time she showed anger or bad temper in any of her suffering. She died the next day.

    Diana Rigg campaigned for assisted dying for years, a shame it was denied to her.

    “I have cancer and it is everywhere, and I have been given six months to live,” she says. “Yet again we found ourselves in the bathroom this morning, my beloved daughter and I, half-laughing and half-crying, showering off together, and it was loving, and it was kind, but it shouldn’t happen.

    “And if I could have beamed myself off this mortal coil at that moment, you bet I would’ve done it there and then.”

    She adds that nobody talks about “how awful, how truly awful the details of this condition are, and the ignominy that is attached to it. Well, it’s high time they did. And it’s high time there was some movement in the law to give choice to people in my position. This means giving human beings true agency over their own bodies at the end of life. This means giving human beings political autonomy over their own death.”

    A bit of a long read but well worth the time.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Kevin Drum has a piece on generative AI that sums up for me how far away from being truly useful the technology is. Before getting into it, it’s worth noting that in a follow up piece he lets us know that “Kevin Drum” is not a common name. Basically one other Kevin Drum shows up in internet searches and he is just an average guy with little internet presence, unlike our Kevin. (Interestingly, there are something like 30 Kevin Drums that show up in LinkedIn searches, but I’ll come back to those in a minute.) When Drum asks Bard to “tell me five things about Kevin Drum”, those five are somewhat accurate, if mundane. but when he says “tell me five more things” twice for a total of ten more, they are just random nonsense told in an authoritative and friendly way. He’s a language enthusiast, a gardener despite living in an apartment. He likes coffee and is a contributor to many animal welfare causes. All completely wrong. These results match what I get when I try to use these things. Whenever I try one, I ask it something I know a lot about and the results universally sound chatty and informative and start out vaguely on the right track and then fairly quickly start making mistakes, sometimes major ones, and sometimes contradicting what they said a few sentences earlier. They don’t seem to be getting better either. They seem to be more “realistically” conversational, and seem more authoritative, but haven’t improved on actually getting the subject right at all. Drum believes we are very close to having results as good as people, but he has recently started asterisking that by noting that people are incredibly mediocre at this. Where I think he goes wrong is that while most people are mediocre, the best are really very good. In contrast, the best of the cognitive AI engines seem to be very mediocre and are not getting better.

    Oh, and for those LinkedIn Kevins? As LinkedIn has become spammier I’ve limited my usage to looking up people I’m going to interact with professionally but haven’t met before. It’s always been solid for that, until about a year ago. Now I get all kinds of hits that click down into a rabbit hole. Companies with no internet presence and one employee, and that employee doesn’t really appear anywhere else. Once or twice there may be an explanation but this is happening multiple times for every search. I’ve been suspecting generative AI is somehow involved.

    Last thought: I asked Bard what the difference was between cognitive AI and generative AI. It replied with a well laid out, bullet pointed list of what comprises each and their intended purpose, along with helpful examples of each. It was easy to read and understand. I then compared it to Wiki, which is written by human experts in the field. Based on the those entries, Bard got the essential relationship between the two wrong in the first sentence and then built from that.

  8. Kathy says:

    On yesterday’s thread on primaries, I’m struck by the disparity between the primary and general presidential elections.

    Why not hold all primary elections the same day? With early voting and mail-in voting as needed.

    Or, conversely, why not have the general election state-by state over weeks or months? Announcing the results of each as they are counted.

    I’m not saying the latter is a good idea, though I do like the former better.

  9. Kathy says:

    Explained: Why Xlon can’t get advertisers to stick with Xitter.

    I didn’t even read the piece.

  10. drj says:


    a piece on generative AI that sums up for me how far away from being truly useful the technology is


    As long as it’s plausible enough (low bar) and cheaper than human workers nobody (that matters) is going to care.

  11. drj says:


    To put this into perspective:

    I always thought that decadence is an overused concept but since Covid-19 and some recent election outcomes I’m not so sure of that anymore.

    On the bright side: I get to to be a knock-off Dr. Rieux occasionally.

    Yay for cheap-ass existentialism, I guess.

  12. Kathy says:

    On non-Xlon related Xlon news, the Spaceforce is launching their X-37B once more for some reason, this time on a Xalcon Heavy.

    I distinctly recall a prior launch on a plain Xalcon 9 some years ago. So why use a Heavy now? either because the super-secret spaceplane (non-crewed) will carry a heavier cargo, or because it’s going to a higher orbit. Both would require the extra thrust.

    Both would prove of interest, too. But the US military has never revealed what the 2nd gen Shuttle mini-me actually does.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:


    Saw this earlier:

    Excuse me, but the industries AI is disrupting are not lucrative

    Another day, another huge new AI model revealed. This time it’s Google’s Gemini. The demo video earlier this week was nothing short of amazing, as Gemini Another day, another huge new AI model revealed. This time it’s Google’s Gemini. The demo video earlier this week was nothing short of amazing, as Gemini appeared to fluidly interact with a questioner going through various tasks and drawings, always giving succinct and correct answers.

    Yet in reaction to the announcement Google’s stock only got a couple percentage bump—a minimal response to supposedly being one step closer to artificial general intelligence (AGI), the holy grail of AI. Perhaps because, while the video makes it seem like the AI is watching the person’s actions (like the viewer is) and reacting in real-time, that’s. . . not what’s going on.
    A more interesting “bear case” for AI is that, if you look at the list of industries that leading AIs like GPT-4 are capable of disrupting—and therefore making money off of—the list is lackluster from a return-on-investment perspective, because the industries themselves are not very lucrative. What are AIs of the GPT-4 generation best at? It’s things like:

    1. writing essays or short fictions art
    4.programming assistance

  14. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Back patio. Under cover, huddled in my heaviest jacket .

    Went out looking for a sunrise shot this am, but no luck.

  15. Kelleher '99 says:

    I think Democrats are gonna have to fight like HELL for the Latino vote—most of the Latino guys I work with are all Trump or Haley voters…

    A lot of Latino guys like Trump…and Dems have to offer a reason why they should vote for Biden….that’s facts.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve seen a bunch of takes on how surprising it is that Kelsey Grammer, who plays Frasier Crane, is a Trump fan. My first thought is astonishment that people are surprised that an actor is not like their character. Flash! Anthony Hopkins is almost certainly not a cannibal. Rock Hudson was most emphatically not a ladies man in real life. Robbie Coltrane is a comedian, not a half-giant magician.

    But the second thing that came to mind was an interview I heard with him a couple of decades or so ago. It was a long form interview but it didn’t take much time to realize he wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the pack. It stuck in my head all these years because although I had seen a number of intelligent people convincingly play dumb ones, it had never occurred to me that it was just as easy for a dumb actor to play a genius. After all, they are just delivering the lines, not writing them.

  17. CSK says:


    Quite apart from Kelsey Grammer, I’m dubious about the ability of stupid people to play smart ones. You can tell they don’t understand what they’re saying.

  18. EddieInCA says:


    Disagree 100%. As someone who has been working with actors for more than 30 years, I can unequivocally tell you thatan overwhelming majority of actors are morons. Not just stupid, but venal, narcissistic, petty, and short-sighted. For every Mark Ruffalo, who is smart and knowledgeable on issues, there are 100 Demi Lovato’s, who are just dangerously stupid [because they have fans that take their nonsense seriously.}

  19. Stormy Dragon says:


    My biggest problem with the Fraiser reboot is that Grammer is the only actor from the original cast returning, which suggests the people in charge of the reboot don’t actually understand what made the original popular. While the show was called Fraiser, he was actually the least important character and mostly existed as a foil for the antics of his brother, father, boss, and nurse/sister-in-law.

    Rebooting a comedy with JUST the straight man seems like a recipe for failure. It’s would be like doing a reboot of the Marx Brothers when you only have Margaret Dumont.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I was curious about this and so googled “dumbest actors”. Apropos of my comment on generative AI above, I found this authentic looking website which I immediately realized was generated on the spot to answer my query, hilariously badly at that. I won’t link, of course, but here are a few gems from the “site”:

    Who’s the dumbest celebrity? Which is true: Past or Present? Regardless of their field of study, the vast majority of people are intelligent. There aren’t many smart, above-average-IQ people running around Hollywood. It is necessary for someone like Renee Zellweger to have cunning and cunning alone in order to be successful. There is no reason to believe that I am stupid. Every now and then, I just don’t think.

    When I see starving children all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I’ve never really visited Japan, despite the fact that I’ve been told numerous times. Colin Farrell dislikes fish as a result. Mayim Bialik, despite her good fortune, does admit to some pretty dumb things. If you consider Brooke Shields a Princeton graduate, she is pretty dumb. Beyonce frequently comes across as unable to read, as if she were unable to comprehend what she was saying. True, there are some dweebs on this list, but not many dumb ones.

    For two hours after he smoked marijuana, he drank from the same cup he consumed Joe Rogan, which is exactly what this douchebag culture entails. It is not as common in the United States as in other parts of the world, but it is quite common in other parts. People who are attractive are generally good at sports or pretend to be someone else. It wasn’t until Sandy Bullock married a Nazi that she became known as a go-between. A Nazi (also known as a dumb person or a Nazi) is a person who is either dumb or a Nazi. Andie MacDowell was always branded as borderline disabled by the A List. Every child who grew up at Disney has done so.

    “For two hours after he smoked marijuana, he drank from the same cup he consumed Joe Rogan.” Well, there you have it, then.

  21. MarkedMan says:


    As someone who has been working with actors for more than 30 years, I can unequivocally tell you thatan overwhelming majority of actors are morons.

    Thanks for weighing in on this. I wanted to challenge CSK, but honestly it would have been just based on that one interview with Grammer and I didn’t think two people arguing about something neither had direct experience with was going to lead to anything interesting. (CSK, apologies in advance if you do happen to know a significant amount of actors!)

  22. Kathy says:


    I recently read a profile on Grammer online somewhere. It put me off watching the Frasier reboot, though the first couple of eps I did see previously were not bad.

    An actor doesn’t have to be smart to play a genius, they just have to act like one convincingly. Regardless how smart, or not Jim Parsons is, he’s certainly not the genius physicist with an eidetic memory the Sheldon Cooper character he plays is.


    So, Joey in Friends was spot on?

  23. CSK says:


    I’m definitely going to defer to your superior knowledge and experience here.


    This makes no sense whatsoever.

    To All Who Are Interested:

  24. CSK says:


    No, I don’t know a lot of actors personally–but I’ve listened to screenwriters bitch about them. 😀

  25. gVOR10 says:


    An actor doesn’t have to be smart to play a genius, they just have to act like one convincingly.

    Worse than that, they just have to act like the popular stereotype of a genius the writers chose to portray.

  26. becca says:

    @MarkedMan: Ah, Robbie Coltrane… have you ever watched Cracker? Great series. I am a connoisseur of British crime shows and Cracker is one of the best.
    Right now we are bingeing Waking the Dead. Highly recommend that series, too.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    She had by then been on end-of-life drugs for four days.

    [Clearly, I don’t understand the British meaning of “end-of-life drugs.” Nevertheless…]
    What the fecking fwk! What is the point of administering “end-of-life” drugs if they don’t end your life? What the fecking fwk!

  28. CSK says:


    You are so right. I used to be endlessly amused by how writers were protrayed: as frazzle-haired chain smokers sitting in front of typewriters surrounded by a sea of crumpled up paper.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I took “End of Life” drugs to be like what my mother-in-law and mother received in end stage hospice care – drugs meant only for pain relief and to mitigate a few side effects from those, typically opioids in definitely addictive quantities.

    And just as a reminder, the dramatic change for the better in hospice policies in most localities occurred both directly and indirectly due to Obamacare. We should never forget that Sarah Palin and the Republicans called any discussion of end of life care “Death Panels” and did everything they could to stop it.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Yes. What you just said would have been my guess based on watching Johnny Carson for several years.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My problem was that I only needed to watch half of the promo spot to realize that I was STILL not going to need to renew my Paramount+ subscription.

    Or is that actually Paramount+’s problem?

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: WAA! I used to write paragraphs like those from your sample for handouts I made to present a paragraph-writing template that I taught to students. If teachers are afraid that ChatGPT is going to give their students an edge that can’t be overcome–thereby making essay obsolete, for example–teachers are not asking hard enough essay questions.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: And also don’t forget that end of “end of life directives” and funding for the counselling needed by elderly/terminal patients who create them was added to Medicare at the urging (at least according to his own testimony on the question) by…

    …Wait for it…

    …Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: And also don’t forget that “end of life directives” and funding for the counselling needed by elderly/terminal patients who create them was added to Medicare at the urging (at least according to his own testimony on the question) by…

    …Wait for it…

    …Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kelleher ’99: I think Democrats are gonna have to fight like HELL for the Latino vote—most of the Latino guys I work with are all Trump or Haley voters…

    A lot of Latino guys like Trump…and Dems have to offer a reason why they should vote for Biden….that’s facts.

    DEMs are offering them a lot of reasons, at the top being Biden won’t have the US Govt round them up and put them into deportation camps on Day 1. As for

    most of the Latino guys I work with are all Trump or Haley voters…

    That’s a pretty damned small subset of Latino voters to draw conclusions from.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I assume “end-of-life” drugs means plenty of morphine for pain, the only limit being you can’t give yourself enough to OD.

  37. DrDaveT says:


    It stuck in my head all these years because although I had seen a number of intelligent people convincingly play dumb ones, it had never occurred to me that it was just as easy for a dumb actor to play a genius.

    I saw an episode of Finding Your Roots that featured Jim Parsons, who played Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. Even the box of rocks was laughing at him by the end of it. I mean, dear God.

    Less comprehensible to me is how someone like Anderson Cooper can plausibly do his job, yet be revealed on (say) Celebrity Jeopardy as both ignorant and slow.

  38. MarkedMan says:


    have you ever watched Cracker?

    Sounds worthwhile, I’ll add it to my list. Thanks! Although truth be told, that list grows ever longer, with shows and movies steadily added to the bottom and darn little coming off the top. For some reason I have the reputation in my family of watching a lot of TV, and I guess I did watch a fair amount in my 45 min daily treadmill or elliptical days, but ever since I started doing much more yoga than treadmill I pretty much only watch a) stuff my wife wants to watch (although she only likes thoughtful shows and is a closet binger and I absolutely do not like to watch more than one episode of a thoughtful show at a time), b) stuff my daughter insists I absolutely have to watch, although it may take weeks or months, c) stuff my son wants to watch with us, as I’m happy to do anything together he wants to do.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Wait, so we are to believe that Newt F*cking Gingrich, of all people, was bucking the “Death Panel” party line? I find this incredibly hard to believe, but not impossible. (Why, “not impossible”? Because of the all too often accurate stereotype of conservatives as people who are unable to muster any empathy for anyone until it happens to them or someone they love, but then they can be just as effective and driven as anyone else… for that one thing.)

  40. de stijl says:

    This ties into AI.

    My local grocery store has a layout issue. It puts tortilla products on the endcap nearest to dairy. Yeah, it’s close to cheese, but it’s four aisles away from the salsa section which is buried in the “ethnic” aisle. Salsa is pretty fucking mainstream nowadays.

    An endcap is the display section at the end of the aisle so there are two per aisle. The main reason an endcap exists is to cover over that grocery stores just shove storage shelving units back to back to produce aisles. It’s really easy to build a grocery store; the furniture does 80% of the heavy lifting. The units themselves are pretty cheap. You can buy them used and no one even notices.

    An endcap is a crappy way to sell tortillas. Tortillas should be co-located very near to salsa. Think about your grocery store layout. Is bulk pasta laid out directly next to bottled pasta sauce? Almost surely yes. That is co-location in practice.

    An endcap of tortillas exists now because a store manager made a snap judgment many years ago and that’s just where tortillas go
    now because precedence. For staff, that’s just where they go.

    You also need to factor in height and sightlines. Normally, you want most oftenly purchased items at close to 5 foot height. Average chin level. As a general rule, expensive items go on the high shelves and cheap goes low. Texmati brand rice in its entirely superfluous packaging gets premium placement. Bulk rice from Vietnam in a plastic bag goes on the lowest shelf. They intentionally make it slightly more difficult to buy lower profit items, and to encourage higher profit sales. That’s built in by design.

    It isn’t just shelf location, but placement and sightline. There is art to grocery store layout. Science too, well not science actually but statistics. Psychology, definitely. Aesthetics. Geometry. Architecture. Traffic analysis. Neighborhood analysis. Demographics.

    Market basket analysis is trying to predict what you will buy based on stuff you also buy that day. You need averages

    I was a colleague to a woman (and a fairly good friend) who made her bones trying to crack the market basket problem. She worked for a regional supermarket in IT. She thinks it is unsolvable. That there are too many variables that are untraceable with just sales data. Even if you overlay Census Bureau and every available demographic dataset about customers in the surrounding neighborhoods, that is an uncrackable intractable problem. She was a mentor and a decent and really interesting person. Carol was really cool and fascinating to get to know.

  41. CSK says:

    Trump will NOT be testifying tomorrow in NY at his fraud trial.

  42. DrDaveT says:

    Just to beat that dead horse…

    We have been measuring global sea surface temperatures daily since 1981. For the months May through December, the highest daily sea surface temperature ever recorded was 20.8 degrees celsius, which happened in early May and again on August 21 in 2020.

    Until this year. The sea surface temperature has now been at or above that previous May-Dec record every day since May 1. Prior to May 1, every day since March 14 equaled or surpassed the previous record for that date.

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t know about “not enough to OD” but definitely enough to end the pain. When my 93 year old mother was dying things fell apart very quickly. She was cognitively all there, but in the year prior had had a few bouts of UTI where she was out of it and took a while to come back and after those she had made her peace with her god and told us that she was ready to go and all she asked was that we wouldn’t let her suffer. A few good months that took us well into COVID, and then brittle bones got to her. Unfortunately, the bones in question were the ones making up her spine and she went from mild discomfort to insane levels of pain in a matter of hours. I won’t go into all the gory details but everything unfolded in so quickly, and access to her was limited due to pandemic protocols. Allowable pain meds were woefully, woefully inadequate, it was a nightmare about who could be with her, until we understood (with the help of a couple of wonderful nurses and a care manager at the hospital) how to get her transferred to hospice. And everything changed in a heartbeat. We miraculously got her transferred to a hospice-only location with huge rooms and beautiful gardens, veteran staff, where any amount of family could be with her, masks, no masks, it didn’t matter because it was the end. Enough meds to end the pain. She only woke up once after she went in and I happened to be sitting by the bed holding her hand. She came out of it, looked around at three generations around her bed and said, “This is wonderful” and went back to sleep. She was there for about 36 hours, but twenty or more family members were able to make their goodbyes in a wonderful pain-free setting before she passed. I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face but it’s all good. I have nothing but gratitude for the thousands of advocates, congressional staffers and Presidential aides who worked at this from Bill and Hillary Clinton’s time to Obama’s to make such things possible. And it makes me acutely aware of who we are fighting against in the Sarah Palin party.

  44. MarkedMan says:


    Even the box of rocks was laughing at him by the end of it

    Harsh, but I think that wins the internet today

  45. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    This whole situation is well known to me. When I got my original Stage IV diagnosis, the 3-year survival rate was less than 5%, but the MD/RN oncology team was prohibited from discussion of (legal in Oregon) assisted suicide because it’s a Catholic hospital. Nonetheless, I was able to squirrel away enough of my prescription narcotics to make sure that if things got bad I’d be able to leave on my own terms. This was something I never discussed with my wife or daughter, because I’d never ask them for help they wouldn’t and couldn’t provide.

    That being said, my heart went out to Ms Riggs, and my sympathies to her daughter for the shattering choices she faced.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: @OzarkHillbilly: Thus my opening sidebar comment acknowledging that I didn’t know what the British mean by “end of life drugs.” Having clarified that point, allow me to reiterate what the fecking feck is the point of calling them “end-of-life drugs” (note the parentheses defining the three words as a single modifier of “drugs”) if they can’t be used to end one’s life?

    Futile palliative care drugs? Worthlessly ineffective pain mitigating drugs? Holding the patient in limbo drugs? Fine! I’ll buy any of those descriptions. But no, they’re not end-0f-life drugs if they don’t usher in the end of life. Easy peasy.

  47. de stijl says:


    Decent to good acting: skill? or born-with proclivilty?

    I was talent very briefly. I did local TV ads and modeling gigs. I briefly had a look – a non-threatening punk male young adult. A type. Hey, it was good side money at the time. It spent green.

    One thing no one ever tells is you is you get hired based on height and weight and body profile. You’re basically a walking mannequin with a haircut. I got hired because of my haircut, mostly.

    But I sucked! Point a camera at me and I instantly freeze up. I look like someone just told me to eat and swallow a lemon slice. Now smile!

    Man, I sucked. I was easily replaced z level talent. I got to keep some clothes. On one Dayton’s shoot I mentioned to the dresser lady that this jacket is really nice. She told me to walk off with it. They can’t sell it now, and no one cares. So I did.

    My dating pool increased. For a couple of years my I dated way, way out of my league. Really good looking women are just as fucked up as everybody else. A bit more so in a particular way. People tell them they are really good-looking a lot. That would mess with my head, too.

    I got to be in background shots for music videos for local bands I really liked. The Suburbs. Husker Du.

    One gig was a music video for The Suburbs and it was a two minute walk from my apartment. Unpaid. Had fun.

    Every thing I ever did was super low-budget.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Too lazy to look up the quote to cite, but to the extent that I recall the conversation, he was impressed with Lutheran Social Services (IIRC) decision to assist clients in writing and filing directives to physicians regarding emergency and terminal care and decided that such help might be worthwhile for the government to reimburse as it could help lower the costs for Medicare for patients in h0spitals and nursing homes by eliminating services the patients don’t want but may not be able to refuse. Sarah Palin was only inveighing against the nKKKLAAANNNNGGGG with her “Obama’s death panels” schtick because such directives were already a feature in Medicare by that time.

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I hear you. I hope to god I can go out before it turns to shit for my family.

  50. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It was suggested that Jacqueline Onassis took her own life with an overdose of morphine (she was bedridden and on a self-administered protocol after the doctors told her that there was nothing further they could do for her). I have no idea if this is true about the suicide, but JFK Jr, when announcing his mother’s death, said she had accomplished it “her own way.”

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    Is bulk pasta laid out directly next to bottled pasta sauce?

    Not at the store I shop at, no. Still, if “salsa is pretty fucking mainstream nowadays,” wouldn’t it make more sense to put it in the chips aisle where it will optimize impulse buying than in near the tortillas–which many people (me, for example) use without cheese or salsa anyway? Or to simply leave it where it is so that people buying it as a staple don’t need to hunt for it?

    Grocery store hint*: When stores place items in proximity, they do it to trigger impulse buying of items the customer wasn’t thinking about buying rather than for the convenience of said customers. ETA: Mostly, it’s in the stores interests for you to need to walk every aisle in order to finish your shopping. Stores absolutely hate people like me who can do most all of our shopping by walking the perimeter of the store–produce to meat to dairy to bakery.

    *I learned stuff like this working 15 years for a wholesaler that owned a chain of supermarkets.

  52. Kathy says:
  53. Mikey says:


    She came out of it, looked around at three generations around her bed and said, “This is wonderful” and went back to sleep.

    From now on if someone ever asks me “how would you want to go?” I would say “I want to wake up one last time, see all my family around me, say ‘This is wonderful,’ and go back to sleep until I pass.”

    I’m glad she and you and your family were able to access that wonderful hospice care.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @Kelleher ’99: If you work with a lot of Latino Haley voters, then you are either living in the weirdest statistical bubble, or you work with several hundred Latinos to get to some number that is “a lot” and discarding the rest from your sample set.

    Haley isn’t very popular with anyone.

  55. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Certainly my goal.

    Not discussed at Casa Luddite, but SWMBO is certainly aware of the bottle of morphine sulfate in the cabinet, and the bottle of buffalo trace.

    Yes, I’m considered “cured” by the medical community , but not in my own head. Recurrence of cancer always in the back of my mind.

  56. anjin-san says:

    Back in the 80s, Kelsey Grammer stopped in at my local bar from time to time. To say that he was not popular with the staff is putting it mildly.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Biden isn’t as great on immigration as people would hope, he’s just less flashy. And Latino voters don’t care about immigration much more than average, and aren’t as pro-immigration as you expect.

    And given a choice between pandering and vilification, the choice isn’t as clear as you would expect.

    Especially with Univision’s new owners having a more right wing bias — the news a lot of them are getting has shifted. There’s a whole media landscape that English-only speakers don’t experience and really have to go out of their way to be informed about. I know just enough to know that I don’t know much*.

    Plus there isn’t a block of Latino voters the way there is a block of Black voters, as Latino can mean a whole lot of things, and degrees of indigenousness and country of heritage come into play. (Even Black voters are not a monolith, of course)

    The Latino vote is going to be tricky. Republicans are making a serious play for their votes.

    Hopefully the Biden campaign has people well versed in Spanish media and the people at the top of the campaign (candidate included) take it seriously rather than just assuming it will follow the same trend lines as every other year and they can just get Biden to butcher a few phrases of Spanish to let them know he remembers they exist.

    *: my Spanish is limited to “Lo siento, soy estupido.” This is the most handy phrase one could know in any language.

  58. Kathy says:

    Noe, this is the kind of play that should have lived for decades on highlight reels, and NFL films, and given the game a name, etc.

    Had the receiver who scored the TD, Toney, not lined up offside.

    My question is why the penalty did not cause the officials to whistle the play dead before the snap, as is usually the case on an offensive penalty that happens before the snap.

    I’m not claiming this penalty cost Kansas City the game. Naturally it hurt them. But had the TD been good, the Bills still had over a minute of play and at least two times out, if not all three. So, Kansas would have had no guarantees, same as everyone else.

  59. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    Really good looking women are just as fucked up as everybody else.

    100%. In 1996, my bosses were casting a feature we’d be shooting in New Orleans. In the room was a very young Salma Hayek, Angie Everhardt, and a supermodoe who shall remain nameless. But we’re talking Sports Illustrated Cover/Victoria Secret Supermodel. All three stunningly beautiful women. Salma went in and did her audition and left. I was in love. Angie went in and did her interview and left. I was in love. Again. While Angie was in her audition, the supermodel was sitting in my office waiting her turn, and she suddenly starts crying. Like really crying, not just sniffles.

    I asked her what was wrong, and it’s an answer that’s stuck with me forever.

    “Everyone thinks my life is perfect. But no matter how rich or successful you are, someone will always get tired of your shit.”

    Her boyfriend had broken up with her. Someone got tired of her shit. None of the fame, money, or success mattered in that moment. Only that she’d been dumped because she was crazy. And she knew it.

  60. MarkedMan says:

    @anjin-san: interesting. What did he do that caused him to be not popular?

  61. de stijl says:


    There is very great possibility I will find myself wandering down the Alzheimer’s path. My grandmother did, my mother did.

    I have a plan. I have a plan because I have seen what end stage dementia looks like up close twice. My grandmother forgot how to chew, ffs. They inserted a tube to feed her. My mother once flirted with me hard while she thought I was her high school boyfriend. She once greeted me with “It’s very nice to meet you.”

    Nope! Uh uh. Not doing that. I have a stash that’ll do the job in a re-purposed prescription bottle. I have a copy of my will. I have a pack of post-it notes to potentially alert the mail deliverer.

    If I get that diagnosis I’m out. I have seen what not going out on your own terms looks like and actively do not want that.

    I’m doing everything I can. I walk an hour a day. I have a daily excersise routine. I do various forms of word puzzles daily. I’m doing the best I can to fight it. All things considered, I’d prefer to be alive, being alive is fun and I get encounter new and interesting things daily which I generally and truly love, but if I get the diagnosis then I will take an early exit. No problem.

    I would recommend everybody think this stuff through and make decisions. It’s damn difficult. Make a will. Share your end of life preferences to your friends and family. Prepare.

  62. just nutha says:

    @de stijl: You’re gonna need a 3rd party to be aware of what’s going on. It may not occur to you that anything is going wrong and your doctor may not look for it on his own.

  63. anjin-san says:


    That was during my own drinking & drugging years and some (well more than some) of those memories are not super sharp. I have a vague memory that he was considered to be rude and demanding. I do remember very clearly that he was not liked.

  64. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Nobody expects that grocery store operation is fascinating. But it truly is. And aggregated sales data is enormous and useful.

    My first real job was as a stock boy. I got paid minimum wage. Hey, at least my boss didn’t try to molest me. Back then the grocery game was highly gendered. Boys stock shelves and some of them bag. Girls do check out and run the tills. That was baked in pretty hard.

    I stocked shelves. I helped unload trucks. A lot of grocery store displayed items is just in time truck to shelf delivery chain, but a lot of stuff gets stacked in the back room. If it’s shelf stable it sits in the back. Behind the deli counter and high-end meat counter is essentially a small warehouse. A kitchen if they have a deli counter.

    I find them fascinating. It’s the store aggregate we go to most often. We need to eat daily. An enormous amount of our money gets spent daily at them. And almost nobody thinks about them as retail superstars. The profit margin is wafer thin. It’s not sexy. So normal we forget about it.

    Maybe in my next life I manage a grocery store.

  65. de stijl says:

    @just nutha:

    I know. It’s covered for now. Two friends and my cousin. Thanks for asking and pointing that out, by the way. It’s important.

    Often when you are sliding down the dementia path you don’t realize it. And people around you either don’t see it, or see it but don’t mention it because that would seem rude and intrusive. Sometimes it’s a slow glide, sometimes it’s a cliff.

    With my mom, I noticed she would tell me the same anecdote about her life three times in a month. I thought this might be an early warning indicator, but she seemed perfectly functional. She wasn’t. She was lying by omission and not telling me she passed out and collapsed in a parking lot. And that she bolted and ran away from the hospital when she woke up. I learned that from a social worker. And that it took three days for her to remember where she’d parked her car.

    At the end I crashed at her house in Mesa. There were dozens, more than a hundred used syringes scattered everywhere throughout her house. She didn’t think to clean those up and dispose of them. So this had been going on way longer than I could’ve imagined. She put her best feet forward and faked her way through our weekly phone chat.

    At least if I go out that way I won’t actually notice. Which is a kind of back-handed blessing.

  66. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Another thing is that gigs like that are really often incredibly boring. It’s mostly folks monkeying around with lighting. You sit around for hours. You stand on your mark and people scuttle about to tweak the lights. For a half hour.

    After the first gig I would just bring a book with me. You need something to pass the time. Oftentimes I’d pitch in and help. No problem. I’d enjoy something, anything to do rather than sitting on my butt being useless and in the way.

    Another odd thing that was new to me was make-up. Especially having someone else apply it to me.