Sunday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy says:

    Yet another startup trying to bring a supersonic plane to market goes out of business.

    Ok, there haven’t been that many, because not many have existed.

    Now, this could be like the early attempts at private space launch ventures, who received no support from NASA nor were taken seriously by potential customers. We should recall these ultimately were successful (SpaceX, Rocket Lab).

    Or it could be that the moment for a second generation supersonic passenger plane isn’t quite right yet.

    Any likely supersonic pane will be, as Concorde was, accessible mostly to the rich and have a high fuel consumption. Sure, Boom’s Overture won’t be as inefficient as Concorde, but then today’s subsonic planes are not as inefficient as subsonic planes form the late 60s to the mid 70s were.

    When the world is trying to reduce carbon emissions, a plane with low passenger capacity and higher fuel consumption doesn’t seem like it would be popular. Not that it would be a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but it wouldn’t help at all.

    I suppose we’ll see.

  2. Teve says:
  3. Teve says:


    “I think any rational Jewish person didn’t like what happened in Nazi Germany & any rational Jewish person doesn’t like what’s happening with overbearing mask mandates.”

    I asked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene about her comment comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust @12News

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I think any rational Jewish person despises MTG.

  5. Teve says:

    Pegasus 37s in black/black are $60 at Nike today. Ridonkulous.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Buried in Simone Biles makes history with Yurchenko double pike vault at US Classic I read this:

    Chellsie Memmel clenched her fists in joy after landing her vault in her first competitive meet in more than nine years. The 2005 world all-around champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist’s score of 13.750 didn’t matter. Neither did a nervous beam routine that finished with an 11.800. Saturday was about simply arriving at the moment itself.

    “I was just overwhelmingly happy that it went OK today,” Memmel said. “Obviously, beam I would have to have it gone better, but I’m still happy with everything that I did and happy that I was out on the floor, that I put myself out there to even get to this point, to try this again, to, you know, to put on a and to register for a competition.”

    Memmel is petitioning for a spot in next month’s national championships, one that women’s national team coordinator Tom Forster said will be accepted.

    Chellsie is 32 years old, practically geriatric in a sport like gymnastics. You go girl*, seize the dream.

    * feels off referring to a 32 yo woman as “girl”, but you go woman just doesn’t sound right.

  7. Teve says:


    to put on a and to register for a competition.”


  8. Teve says:

    That double pike was stupid. I can’t imagine doing that.

  9. Teve says:

    @Teve: I ordered one pair, but I’m really trying to talk myself out of ordering 13 more pairs and just considering my lifetime shoe purchases done.

  10. CSK says:

    As the old Levy’s rye bread commercial pointed out, “you don’t have to be Jewish” to despise Marjorie Taylor Greene. The woman is loathsome.

  11. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: Possibly “to put on a (meet/tournament/race — on the part of the organizers) and to register for a competition (on the part of the jocks)”….

    Do ya think? Maybe?

    I was once a good deal younger and a self-coached weekend warrior. I’ve understood several commenters here share that burden and pleasure; I think I’ve read about runners here and more than one fencer. (My game was triathlon). Anyhow, I read that ‘non-sequitur’ (seems to be a favorite latin phrase in these parts) as coming with a rush from an exuberant athlete and kind of identified with the lady.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I put my youngest into gymnastics at a very young age because he was obsessed with flinging his body from heights for the sole purpose of doing stupid human tricks. Not surprisingly he excelled at floor exercises and the vault, not so much the pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars. Given time he could have gotten good on the high bar as well. He just liked flying thru the air.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: this was in reply to @Teve:

  14. Teve says:


    In response to the recent legislative action in my state of Texas: I’m not pro-murdering babies.

    I’m pro-Juanita who found out at her 20 week anatomy scan that the infant she had been so excited to bring into this world had developed without life sustaining organs.

    I’m pro-Susan who was sexually assaulted on her way home from work, only to come to the horrific realization that her assailant planted his seed in her when she got a positive pregnancy test result a month later.

    I’m pro-Nabeeha who hemorrhaged due to a placental abruption, causing her parents, spouse, and children to have to make the impossible decision on whether to save her or her unborn child.

    I’m pro-little Cathy who had her innocence ripped away from her by someone she should have been able to trust and her 11 year old body isn’t mature enough to bear the consequence of that betrayal.


  15. Teve says:


    I’ve understood several commenters here share that burden and pleasure; I think I’ve read about runners here and more than one fencer. (My game was triathlon).

    it’s been 15 years since I started telling myself I was going to get back into sprint triathlons. It’s weird to live in Florida and not have easy access to swimming facilities.

  16. Teve says:

    At this point I would just walk the 5K, one of my arches is not so great anymore.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnMcC: Speaking of runners: Twenty-one dead as extreme weather hits ultramarathon in China

    Twenty-one people have died after hail, freezing rain and high winds hit runners taking part in a 100km (62-mile) ultramarathon in a mountainous part of northern China.

    More than 700 rescuers and army personnel used thermal-imaging drones and radar detectors to try to find runners caught by the storm in the race in Yellow River stone forest near Baiyin in north-western Gansu province, officials said.

    Twenty-one people died and eight were injured, officials from Baiyin told a news briefing.

    Considering the fact that these were people in peak physical conditioning that weather must have been ferocious. I assume hypothermia was the main cause of death, but the article does not say and my limited googling was unable to fill in that blank.

    21 dead with 8 injured out of a total of 172 runners. Damned horrific.

  18. Teve says:


    Given time he could have gotten good on the high bar as well. He just liked flying thru the air.

  19. Teve says:


    21 dead with 8 injured out of a total of 172 runners.

    that’s probly twice as bad as your ordinary ultramarathon. 😀

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: It’s long past time people stopped equating the conglomeration of a finger digits worth of cells with human life.

  21. CSK says:
  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I lived by the maxim that one should never run when one could walk. It’s much easier to stop and smell the roses.

  23. CNN drops Rick Santorum over comments about Native Americans

    So I guess you could say that they flushed the Santorum down the drain.

    In any case he’ll probably end up somewhere like Fox News or Newsmax.

  24. Teve says:

    My hormones are like, “have a baby”. My bank account is like, “don’t you even fucking think about it”.

    -Nikki Glaser

  25. Teve says:


    On the subject of Marjorie Taylor Greene, this is interesting:

    I once had an elderly Kentucky relative ask me, confusedly, “If the Jews ain’t up to nothing, how come they been kicked out of every country they ever been in?”

    I decided not to engage, for the same reason I don’t argue with creationists. Life’s too short.

  26. George says:


    Absolutely amazing. Though in all honesty I can’t imagine doing anything at the level Olympic champions do it in any sport. Or I guess even at the level of an Olympic qualifier (I try to picture myself say running in one of the qualifying heats for say the 100 meter sprint — I’d need an extremely wide angle imagination to even get myself into the picture at the finish).

    Everything is much easier if I don’t have to do it myself.

  27. George says:


    As you say, horrific. I wonder if there was flooding/drowning or falling off cliffs involved, its hard to imagine that many extremely fit people dying to hypothermia that quickly (and I’m Canadian and very familiar with what cold can do).

  28. Teve says:


    A judge in Georgia’s Fulton County has granted a motion allowing absentee ballots from 2020 to be unsealed and examined for fraud, clearing the way for another audit of the election results.

    These assholes are absolutely going to try to steal the 2024 election.

  29. Teve says:

    @George: at the absolute peak of my physical performance, when i was 28 and doing triathlons and could swim a mile nonstop, I swam at approximately half the speed of a Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte.

  30. CSK says:

    If your relative has fundamentalist inclinations, I’ll bet he or she supports Israel unquestioningly.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @George: I wonder too about flooding/drowning or falling off cliffs (hence my googles), but I have been on a first name basis with hypothermia in extreme conditions. Considering the elevations they were running at, their no doubt lack of clothing for such weather, the severe temp drops, the rains/hail/snow(?), no doubt high winds, etc etc, hypothermia had to be a factor even in drowning or falling as a person’s judgement becomes questionable in a hypothermic state.

  32. Barry says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Assuming swim/bike/run, they could have been hit with hard, chilling winds and bone chilling rains halfway through the marathon, after they had expended a few-several thousand calories. I wouldn’t be surprised if people in that state were running on minimal reserves, and didn’t have anything to maintain body heat.

    And if they were in mountainous terrain with the trails turning to mud, a zillion small rivers crossing the trail and zero visibility, they couldn’t really move nor stay still and survive.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Barry: I wouldn’t be surprised if people in that state were running on minimal reserves, and didn’t have anything to maintain body heat.

    Yep, very good point.

  34. CSK says:

    I never knew Steinbeck wrote a mystery involving a werewolf:

    Rejected by publishers doesn’t exactly equate to “shunned”–though it may feel that way to some authors.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    The whole idea that we have some compelling need to cut the JFK to LHR flight time by two hours is just silly to me. It makes sense actually for the people tuck in coach – who won’t be able to afford it. But if you’re in the front of the plane, (IOW likely to be able to afford supersonic) with a lie-flat bed, slower is actually better unless you only need two hours of sleep. In fact, I much prefer flying LAX to LHR, because a 10 hour flight time gives you time to settle in, have a meal, and catch 6 or 7 hours of sleep before being awakened to your bleary morning coffee.

    Even for the terribly, terribly important businessman it’s nonsense in a world where in-flight WiFi is becoming more functional. Just what business do you have to conduct in person two hours sooner, that you couldn’t do online? It’s vanity not practicality.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    In fact, a better argument can be made for transatlantic travel by ship. It’s relaxing, it can be elegant, it’s less environmentally noxious, dramatically cuts your lifetime radiation load, and lessens or eliminates jet-lag. And if you have the full array of electronic communications available you can still do 90% plus of whatever business you’re conducting.

    We’re planning on spending six weeks in the UK this autumn (fingers crossed for no dramatic new variants) and if I could go by ship I probably would. I hate that first fuzzy 48 hours as your body adjusts to the fact that night is day and day, night. In fact, my SOP is to get a room at the LHR Sofitel (it’s directly attached to Terminal 5) on landing, and often the night before a morning flight back to the States.

  37. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    This reminds me of the MGM Grand, which flew only between LAX and New York, and vice versa. Fantastically luxurious for its time (it folded in 1992), but sometimes there were more flight attendants aboard than passengers.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Spoke with someone who had flown Paris to Singapore on Cathay Pacific(?) and had one of the staterooms that you see advertised in Forbes and the Robb Report. Said it was very nice.

    Crossing via ocean liner seems nice, then you think about all the cruise ship nonsense.


    Kind of like Trump Air, but with amenities.

  39. Mimai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There’s a similar maxim for mountaineers, and it’s one that could save your life:

    “Don’t stand if you can sit… don’t sit if you can lie down… if you’re awake try to be eating… if you’re not eating try to be sleeping.”

    And the maxim of all maxims (for mountaineering and life):

    “Don’t be an idiot.”

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You’re very fortunate to be able to sleep on a plane. I’ve never been able to for longer than 20 or 30 minutes at a time–even on a 10 or 12 hour flight. I’m in for travel by ship sometime in the future, though. (If only ships went to places I want to visit. 🙁 )

  41. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, don’t get me started on Trump Air, which I actually had to fly a few times between Boston and New York and back. Trump Airlines was the original Eastern Shuttle, which had operated very successfully with minimal frills since 1963. Trump wanted a goddamned 40 minute flight to be some kind of fantastic luxury experience, when all his passengers wanted to do was get on the plane, drink their coffee and read their papers, and get off the plane. The first 18 months of its very short existence, Trump Air lost $125 million.

    The idiot wanted marble countertops and solid gold fixtures in the toilet.

    I will say that the magazines in the departure lounge were free, and the selection was quite good. But again, do you really need an armload of magazines to keep you entertained for a 40 minute flight?

    Rant over.

  42. Teve says:
  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mimai: When I was still caving it kind of became a joke: Every time we stopped for a break, I’d take a nap. The pictures got kind of monotonous:

    “Here’s Tom, asleep in the Chandelier Ballroom.”
    “Here’s Tom, asleep at the Rain Tree.”
    “Here’s Tom, asleep at Tres Amigos.”

    As a sufferer of severe cramping, the other thing I’d always do was take a drink of water at every opportunity. I’m not sure it helps me all that much as I still quite often end up begging for a bullet but they say it does so I do it anyway.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Hard to believe you’d find so many snowflakes in Texas.

  45. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: One of the provisions of the law says that no teacher has to participate in any kind of training which could cause them to feel guilty about their race.

    More persecution fantasies.

  46. Teve says:

    Adjustable bed platforms were Not (as i assumed) made for old people watching tv, i just learned. When you side-sleep (like i do) you pull your knees into a neutral back position. “Zero-g” adjustable bed platforms put you in that same acute angle so you can sleep on your back, which is somehow healthier.

    My boss demonstrated this by having me lay flat on a Tempur-pedic and then changed the angle of my feet by about 10° and holy shit it was like a revelation.

    Remember kids, when you make an assumption, you make an ass out of U and -mption.

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    The boat trip to Mongolia is particularly difficult.

    Ambien, melatonin and alcohol helps with the sleep.

  48. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: the perverse thing about alcohol—well one thing of many, it’s a diabolical addiction—is that it helps you get to sleep and then makes your sleep quality shit.

  49. Teve says:

    @Teve: “Teve you’re a salesman so you’re trying to use this place as advertising!”

    No. 99% of the people at OtB aren’t within 100 miles of me. I’m just a geek learning about interesting new stuff and babbling about it on the Internet. If you’re a lifelong insomniac like I am, some of this stuff is really interesting.

  50. Teve says:

    “Are ‘cut-out’ pillows important? IDK. I would like to know.

  51. CSK says:

    Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in Las Vegas sponsored a one-day pop-up vaccine clinic. If you show proof of vaccination, you’re treated to:
    a) a one-year Platinum membership
    b) dances from a vaccinated stripper
    c) a complimentary bottle of booze
    d) Tickets to the “Sexxy (sic) After Dark” show, with limo pick-up.

    Who could resist?

  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..Teve you’re a salesman so you’re trying to use this place as advertising!

    I enjoy your salesman stories. The only true sales job I tried was Real Estate. 100% commission.
    OTB commenters use this forum to sell something or other including themselves. Reynolds comes to mind. I would not deny him or anyone else here any advantage they might gain on these threads.

  53. Michael Reynolds says:

    There are one or two (or six) downsides to alcohol, but the great thing is if you drink enough, you forget what they are.

  54. George says:


    I’ve also had hypothermia a couple of times (turns out being 18 years old isn’t all you need for a week of skiing/winter camping at -40, proper equipment and skills are pre-requisites). At a certain point everything shuts down, and all you want to do is fall asleep. But as you say, before that you go through a stage of confusion, clumsiness and extremely poor decision making — which is why I wondered if flooding and/or falls were involved (ie drowning in a small pond or walking off a cliff were both something I could have done in that state).

    Though the point of already being exhausted makes sense too — if you haven’t the fuel to keep up your inner heat and are too exhausted to move enough to keep warm then apparently you could die quickly (as I just now learned from a quick Net search).

  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    I’m not selling, I’m entertaining. It’s a weakness of mine.

  56. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: I have roughly the same story to tell. Loved the 1/2 marathon distance. At the best I ever was, my time was within sight of the elite marathoners. Figured, not TOO bad. Old fart in his 40s running at 1/2 the speed of elite athletes.

    Thought of running the whole way. 26.2 miles. Started training for that. Then I started meeting all those orthopedic surgeons.

  57. Gustopher says:


    I ordered one pair, but I’m really trying to talk myself out of ordering 13 more pairs and just considering my lifetime shoe purchases done.

    I picked up a spare pair of some Ecco bicycle-toe oxfords years ago, as they were my favorite shoes, fit well, and my pair was rather beat up. I then forgot about them, wore the original pair until they were falling apart, found something else, etc.

    Found them in the closet the other day, about a month ago, and was very happy. Put them on, they were perfect.

    And after walking about a mile, the heel split and began crumbling. Not sure what happened, but the rubber soles did not survive sitting around for a decade.

    So, I wouldn’t buy more than a few years worth.

  58. Michael Reynolds says:

    We got our first shoot-down on the TV series we’re working on. The series in question is based on a book series of mine which is quite dark. Dark as in The Hunger Games would be any random Tuesday in my universe. We did a Zoom pitch and got a call-back (!) to consider whether we should move to soft development*, during which I was gently cross-examined on whether I thought my show would fit into the line-up of (without mentioning names) the very last media company you could possibly imagine showing a 14 year-old with a 10 foot-long tentacle arm whipping a kid bloody. Yes, that company. Princess. . .singing princess. . . talking monkey. . . really cold princess. . . coyotes eating toddlers. . .

    *Yeah, I didn’t know that was a thing, either.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: The world needs a Steinbeck werewolf novel. I hope the estate eventually publishes it. Sure, he didn’t try to get it published after a few failed attempts, sure he no longer seems to have wanted it published… he’s dead now, he lost his vote.

    Even if it is not great.

    I’ve read a lot of Steinbeck — voluntarily! — and not all of it is great. A werewolf novel would be a fine addition to the not-great Steinbeck.

    There’s something charming and quaint about the early mediocre works of great writers, which isn’t matched by the later mediocre works.

  60. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I think soft development means writing and presenting something called an outline pitch.

    You’d be surprised what The Severely Hypothermic Princess Company does. Maybe you wouldn’t.

  61. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: What if they made it a musical, and had the coyotes sing about eating toddlers?

  62. PT says:


    Well, I actually got a pair of Nike’s from your earlier post so now I’m suspicious. Thanks by the way.

  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    I wrote a series called Barf-O-Rama which was exactly what it sounds like, only worse. I’d be furious (or as emotional as one can get while dead) if my heirs tried to cover it up. I invented the terms, ‘diaper gravy,’ and, ‘snotsicle’, not to mention the seven part Barficane Rating System, and I want credit.

  64. CSK says:

    I think the early works of writers seem charming because you can see them learning their craft. There are those who should quit while they’re ahead. It’s a fact that by the time some authors have gotten famous, they’ve lost a step. Or six.

    I’d read a werewolf mystery by Steinbeck, too.

  65. reid says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was a modest runner in prior years. More of a jogger, really. I noticed more things as I trundled by than when driving by, so another maxim could also be “never drive when one can run”.

  66. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Better notify Wikipedia. They attribute the series to Pat Pollan, pseudonym of your wife, Katherine Applegate.

    Mucus Mansion sounds…enticing.

    I have found that, when entertaining small children, particularly boys, that you can’t miss by dragging out the booger and hiney jests.

  67. Mu Yixiao says:

    I am so far down the rabbit hole on YouTube today, but… this video is amazing. It’s a dialect coach, linguists, and native speakers talking about American accents.

    1) Listen to Nicole Holliday’s choice of words when talking about African American accents.
    2) Compare that to the word choices of Sunn M’cheaux.
    3) As with teaching English in Asia, there is so much said that I instinctively know… but it’s amazing to hear it codified and put into words.
    4) The “Tidewater raisin'” is what I know as the “Wisconsin O”.

    I worked long and hard to lose my “Wisconsin [long] O” and “Wisconsin [short] A”. I’ve been very successful. Put me next to an Irishman or a Scott after I’ve had a few drinks, and I’m screwed. I briefly dated an Irish woman; her sister’s* comment was that my pronunciation was “bang on”, but “That’s the thickest west-of-Ireland accent [she’d] ever heard”.


    They were from Belfast, but the older sister had been living in Alabama for 10 years. Imagine a Belfast accent melded into one from Alabama. That seriously screws with your ears. 🙂

  68. Mu Yixiao says:


    Chellsie is 32 years old, practically geriatric in a sport like gymnastics.

    32 and competing in gymnastics?! Holy hell. That woman needs to call Nick Fury and get a chair on the Avengers. That’s fuckin’ super-human.

  69. Mu Yixiao says:


    In response to the recent legislative action in my state of Texas: I’m not pro-murdering babies.

    I think it was Clinton who said “Abortions should be legal, safe, and rare”. Kudos to Markowitz for understanding context.

  70. Mu Yixiao says:


    Considering the fact that these were people in peak physical conditioning that weather must have been ferocious.

    Not necessarily. We don’t pay much attention to how we’re “climatologically adapted”. I noticed it when I was in China. The city I was in was 60% migrant (they came for the factory jobs). In the spring and autumn, it was almost comical. You’d see two friends walking down the street–one i shorts and a T-shirt, the other in jeans and a parka.

    In August, “sitting on a bench at the bus stop” would probably qualify as aerobic exercise for me (heavy breathing and sweating).

    People don’t realize how much latitude China takes up.

    Harbin (north) = Toronto
    Shanghai (middle) = Austin
    Shenzhen (south) = Mexico City

    And the regional geography and climates are as–if not more–diverse than the US.

  71. DrDaveT says:


    “Don’t stand if you can sit… don’t sit if you can lie down… if you’re awake try to be eating… if you’re not eating try to be sleeping.”

    My wife tells me that this maxim originated with nurses.

  72. Mimai says:


    We talking about 1:10 range?

    Halfs are great… a goal to shoot for, keeps you honest, doesn’t take over your life, allows for brunching later that day and walking normally the next. And halfs don’t require herculean efforts to perform other, um, basic life necessities the following week.

  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    Pat Pollari, it’s supposed to be.* No idea where that came from. Surprisingly – surprisingly, I say – Katherine is not anxious to be identified with Barf-O-Rama and is content to have me take all the credit.

    *I’m not just a hack writer, I am several hack writers.

  74. Mu Yixiao says:


    My hormones are like, “have a baby”. My bank account is like, “don’t you even fucking think about it”.

    I remember a quote (which I’m surely butchering): Nobody, regardless of wealth, thinks they can afford a baby. And yet we do it.

    And the people with the most children tend to be the poorest.

  75. Mimai says:


    Yes, that sounds like something a nurse would say. Both parts.

  76. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    We lived in Italy for a while (yes, Tuscany, for extra bougeiness) and I remember coming out of the Hypercoop (Wal-Mart but with way better groceries) on an autumn day, to find the Italians all bundled up, while we strode around in t-shirts braving the brutal mid-sixties weather like Vikings. We actually intercepted censorious, ‘you must be terrible parents,’ looks from the locals.

  77. dazedandconfused says:

    The storm hit at noon, and attempts by rescuers to reach the high altitudes were abandoned at 2:00PM. The bodies were recovered the next morning.

    It’s a fair bet navigating became all but impossible with zero vis on mountain trails being obscured by snow, and as the lead guy wandered off the path everybody behind would follow the tracks.

    Freezing rain, snow, hail, and high winds…in shorts? Nobody is going to survive till dawn. Nobody.

  78. Mimai says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    A corollary: There’s never a good time to have a baby. And yet we do.

  79. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In fact, a better argument can be made for transatlantic travel by ship.

    If I my situation in China hadn’t suddenly turned into “get me the fuck out of here NOW!”, I was actually looking at returning to the US via “Slow boat from China”. The cost was about the same, but the departure schedule didn’t work.

    Cargo ships are offering “crew cabins” for passengers. The accommodations are moderate (about the same as a standard hotel), and a trip from Shanghai to the US ranges from a little over 2 weeks (to the west coast) to a little under a month (to the east coast). I live in Wisconsin, so once I hit port, it’s about the same to get home. I was looking at an east coast port so I could have the experience of going through the Panama Canal.

    If anyone is looking to head overseas and has the time, I’d highly recommend looking into it.

  80. Gustopher says:


    All that said, I rather like Harari as a person. He is, in fact, very learned. And he seems to be a good natured chap. Malcolm Gladwell too. I think I’d quite enjoy a long walk and dinner/drinks with them.

    (Pulling from yesterday’s open thread)

    I think they are both fascinating people who have the ability to absorb a lot of information across disciplines, see patterns and tie it together enough to propose hypotheses. Brilliant, even.

    Often wrong, because of the superficial nature of their understanding of —say— pottery techniques of the Mayans*, but sometimes right in surprising ways.

    That said, each needs a few subject experts to review their work before publishing. Harari even more than Gladwell.

    They run the risk of basing a book on a misunderstanding, like Naomi Wolf did, and having it all fall down around them.

    (Gladwell’s tearing down of the Death By Floormat problem is pretty convincing.)

    500 years ago, when the sum of human knowledge was smaller, either of them likely would have been an amazing genius.

    *: Not an actual example of something they got wrong, just an example of a subject that may be far more complicated than expected.

  81. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Wikipedia is not always a reliable source of information, to understate the case.

    In the years before his death, Philip Roth tried to get them to remove some information about him on the grounds that it was inaccurate. Wikipedia refused to do so on the grounds that two printed sources said the info was true.

  82. George says:


    I didn’t realize the search and rescue ended by 2 pm (it wasn’t in the account I read). Yes, overnight with t-shirts and shorts in freezing rain and driving winds will kill most people. I say most because of an admittedly unfounded suspicion that an obese person (who clearly wouldn’t be running that ultra-marathon in the first place) would have enough insulation to survive the night (possible losing extremities but with a high enough core temperature to still be alive the next morning). A quick Google didn’t bring up any scientific studies, though, so that’s 100% conjecture on my part.

  83. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Read Summer Crossing and Answered Prayers by Truman Capote.

    The former is a posthumously published early manuscript and is genuinely pretty bad, but has sparks of brilliance through it. The latter is fragments of a incomplete “masterpiece” that was clearly going to be a bloated mess.

    I love them both.

    Answered Prayers is, however, likely much better for being so fragmentary. Plus it has a wonderful line about how if a certain woman had as many pricks sticking out of her as she had stuck into her, she would look like a fucking porcupine, and there’s no way a younger Truman Capote could have written that.

    (The movie version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s would be improved by replacing the upstairs neighbor with a werewolf. Not sure about the book though…)

  84. dazedandconfused says:


    I also experienced the near last stages of hypothermia. Boating accident, an 19 foot sailing dingy we broke out the centerboard well and when we had water flooding back and forth the waves flipped us. Without a centerboard to pull on there was no righting the thing and with 5 foot waves it was all we could do to cling to the bottom, fingers wedged in the centerboard gap, up to our necks in 50 degree water without wet suits. Spent 3 hours like that before getting out, a tug boat had spotted us and picked us up.

    First you shiver, but after about an hour shivering stopped. At that point it oddly began to feel OK. I liken the feeling to just getting into bed, because it now felt only mildly chilly on the edges, like one feels in bed before the covers warm up. I think I select that analogy because the main thought was “Man, I could use a nap!” It would have been so easy to simply fall asleep, but we both knew that was certainly fatal so we fought it. For the last hour I survived simply by knowing we had been spotted, The tug had a large barge and was maintaining station about 200 feet away, pointing into the 30 knot wind. They were afraid to approach with that tow any closer in those conditions as their own control was marginal at slow speeds, and releasing the tow would have meant a disaster, lee shore only a couple miles away, so were radioing for the CG to come over and get us. The CG was too far away but after an hour the wind abated enough so they could edge closer until they could reach us with a thrown line.

    For that last half hour I wanted to shed the tee shirt and shorts I was wearing, I felt I was burning hot. I believe it was only being able to focus on imminent rescue that kept my thoughts from wandering into dreams.

    The line came over and I wrapped it around my arm several times, fingers were’t working well at all, and they dragged me over, I was unable to climb the bumper tires surrounding the gunwale but they stepped over, each grabbing an arm and hauled me on deck. It came as a surprise to discover I could do no more than flop around on the deck like a fish. I recall thinking at the time, as if in a dream, that I might actually be a fish, and told the two deck crew that I was “fine”. They looked at each other like “this guy is nuts” and hauled me down to a bunk and threw a bunch of blankets on me. Within a half hour the shivering started for each of us again, and it could be more properly described as convulsions. The doc on the radio told them this was normal, let it pass, and it did. I was sore for a week after. The spasms were that strong.

    Had to spend most of the next day on that tug. They simply turned and continued their tow to Seattle when it became clear neither of us needed immediate medical attention. Neither of us slept a wink that night or felt any need for sleep. Yet our thoughts were oddly blank. Come dawn they cooked each of us two, not one, two, big breakfasts and I was feeling peckish an hour after that. Then I slept. A day and a night.

    We sent them a case of J Daniels.

  85. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I would love to go through the Panama canal.

  86. CSK says:

    I’ve read Answered Prayers, and enjoyed it. The speculation over whether Capote finished it, or wrote more of it, is entertaining. My favorite theory is that the completed manuscript was left in a bus station locker in Los Angeles. Joanne Carson, with whom Capote was living when he died, also claims he wrote at least three more chapters, and that he read them to her. Others say that what Random House published was as much as Capote wrote. Who knows?

    After Capote’s death, Gore Vidal told Johnny Carson that he promised to die on The Tonight Show, just to even things up nicely.

  87. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I would love to go through the Panama canal.

    Just before my Chinese boss stabbed me in the back, I brought him to the US (we stayed at my mother’s house, as I was renting mine out). We took a small side trip to Panama because he knew a couple people there that we could have built a good relationship with. One of them (his family) owned the largest port in Colombia. The two South Americans took us on a nice tour of Panama (it’s so *tiny*!), including going to the canal.

    It’s… *so tiny!* It’s smaller than the Eisenhower through Chicago. I was both underwhelmed and incredibly impressed (that so much traffic goes through such a tiny lock).

  88. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We lived in Italy for a while (yes, Tuscany, for extra bougeiness) and I remember coming out of the Hypercoop (Wal-Mart but with way better groceries) on an autumn day, to find the Italians all bundled up, while we strode around in t-shirts braving the brutal mid-sixties weather like Vikings. We actually intercepted censorious, ‘you must be terrible parents,’ looks from the locals.

    I’m from Wisconsin. It’s rare–but not unheard of–to see people wearing shorts in sub-freezing weather. Hell.. there’s a guy in town that *never* wears shoes. Sub-zero weather, and he’s walking around barefoot.

    For “normal” people, however, we ditch the jackets and go with sweatshirts/hoodies once the temps get into the high 40s. T-shirts in the mid 50’s.

    I remember loading trucks in my shirtsleeves when it was in the mid 20’s.

    On the other hand…

    Anything over 80 and we’re sitting in front of the AC wishing we could go ice-fishing.

  89. JohnMcC says:

    @Mimai: I have much less to brag about than most runners and racers. But I took it seriously and enjoyed it; my best 20k and 1/2 marathon times were 2:10 — 2:20. I could get 10k down to less than 50min but (of course!) not in a triathlon. It was a great race if I didn’t have to walk a couple hundred yards then.

    Thanx for the chance to mention it. One of those life accomplishments that gives quiet satisfaction now that I have titanium knees and birthdays over 70.

  90. Mikey says:


    Halfs are great… a goal to shoot for, keeps you honest, doesn’t take over your life, allows for brunching later that day and walking normally the next.

    I’ve run nine full marathons and one half.

    The level of stiffness and discomfort after the fulls became much less after improving the quality and length of the training that preceded them. Except for the most recent one, I trained very well for that one but the course was considerably more hilly than my previous eight. That hurt.

    The half I ran, a mile in I got my feet tangled up with another runner’s and fell really hard. The ribs on my left side were badly bruised, at least–I didn’t go to the doc (probably should have) but it’s possible there were fractures. My first thought after “FUCK THAT HURT” was “I spent $80 on this race, I’m gonna get up and see how it feels to run.” I found if I didn’t twist my trunk too much, it was bearable, so I ran the next 12 miles and finished.

    The week following was pretty painful, the only way I could sleep was by taking some hydrocodone I’d gotten for a dental procedure not long before the run. But hey, nine fulls and one half and zero DNFs! (Did Not Finish)

    I’m running my tenth full marathon this fall, happy to say it will be held live and in person. I’m really looking forward to that.

  91. Mimai says:


    Often wrong, because of the superficial nature of their understanding…

    Here’s the thing though… these are very smart and learned men. Certainly more than capable of a non-superficial understanding of X.

    So what gives? Laziness? Unlikely. Lack of resources and/or access to skilled research assistants? Ha, that’s absurd! Pressure from the publisher to “stick to the narrative”? I’ve never published a book so I can’t say. Intentional deceit? I sure hope not.

    More likely, it’s seeing a pattern early in one’s research (or a priori) and then assimilating all subsequent information to fit that pattern. Too much assimilation, not enough accommodation. Plus, an incentive structure that reinforces this process. In short, they’re human.

  92. Mimai says:

    @JohnMcC: Oh man, I totally misread your previous comment. Nevertheless, those are very respectable times. Also, titanium knees are a marvel of modern medicine. Amazing how far we’ve come with joint replacements.

    @Mikey: Oof! That sounds rough. I’ve taken quite a few spills on trail races but nothing like what you describe.

    At the disney marathon several years ago, I saw a guy eat it so hard that it still makes me shiver. It was within the first mile, right at the entry to epcot. Race organizers laid these covers over the gaps in the pavement where the turnstiles typically are.

    This guy was running at a good clip and caught a toe on one of the covers. Imagine old school superman flying – that is what this guy did. Skidded to a stop, picked himself up, and kept running.

    I didn’t turn to get a look at him (I didn’t want to know) but I gotta think that the adrenalin dump came at massive cost later in the race. Not to mention the physical trauma.

    Good luck on your upcoming race. It’s nice indeed to be back to in-person events!

  93. Gustopher says:

    Is it bad that my brother texts me that the Proud Boys can’t be Nazis because their leader is a n-clang?

    Seems bad.

    (Also, he’s Cuban, I think, but perhaps this brother has chosen a more expansive definition for the n-word)

  94. Moosebreath says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    “I remember coming out of the Hypercoop (Wal-Mart but with way better groceries) on an autumn day, to find the Italians all bundled up, while we strode around in t-shirts braving the brutal mid-sixties weather like Vikings”

    Years ago, I visited my in-laws in South Florida, and Christmas Day was in the mid-60’s. Since basically nothing was open, and we weren’t going to the beach on a day that cold, we took our then-elementary school-aged kids to a play park. The natives had their kids in snow suits, and some of the more intrepid northerners had their kids in T-shirts and shorts (ours wore long pants, but still T-shirts and no jackets).

  95. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Moosebreath:
    The perception of cold is very strange, not quite tethered to objective reality. When I lived in Minneapolis an absence of ice and a single small leaf on a single, lonely tree was the harbinger of Spring. (The cruelty of a clear, inviting, yet -20 blue sky in February is a sense memory I’ll never lose.) Yep, people would wear shorts and t’s once it broke 50. And by the second winter, I was right there with them. You call this cold? Hah, shoulda been here in the winter of. . .

    Now, re-acclimated to my SoCal birthplace, I work outside almost always, and mid-60’s I have this little electric heater and a quilt. . . It’s pathetic for a man who lived in Portland, ME, Minneapolis and Chicago.

    Now, your native Las Vegan has two temperature norms: Casino Floor and Surface of the Sun. It’s either 65 or 130. If you want to torture a Las Vegan you threaten to set the thermostat on 72.

  96. George says:


    That sounds, as the saying goes, epic. And a very impressive display of determination and willpower.

  97. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: A lot of Latino rappers over the years have used the N-word. To my knowledge, though, none of them used it to defend a white supremacist-adjacent group.

  98. Kurtz says:


    a) a one-year Platinum membership
    b) dances from a vaccinated stripper
    c) a complimentary bottle of booze
    d) Tickets to the “Sexxy (sic) After Dark” show, with limo pick-up.

    Depends on the choice of bottle… And whether they cover the Q-Tip treatment afterward.

  99. reid says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I must be weird, because I enjoy the contrasting temperatures in Vegas in summer. I’ve also been there in winter, and it felt like it was the coldest place on earth. (Okay, it was probably like 40, but when you’re not properly prepared….)

  100. Jax says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My favorite place in Vegas is out on Lake Las Vegas in the winter. There’s a hidden Hilton out there that makes you think you might be somewhere else on the other side of the world, and all of the people are gone except for those of us who are escaping actual -20 temps. I’ll take Vegas in the winter anytime!

  101. de stijl says:

    Been listening to Paul Westerberg solo stuff all day. I as always love it.

  102. Mimai says:

    @de stijl:

    You familiar with Covet (Yvette Young)? This has been my Sunday jam.

    ps, good to see you drop by.

  103. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    For a couple of years I lived in downtown Minneapolis on the skyway. It was awesome.

    I walked to work and back, went to lunch, met friends for drinks, all buttoned up indoors nice and cozy. One February day I realized I had not been outdoors in at least three weeks, possibly a whole month.

    Living on the skyway is like living in a very elongated and distributed shopping mall with crappy stores.

    The rent was stupid high but with a monster view and two balconies (20th floor). Rent steep enough to have a roommate. Super solid dude but a stand-up comic / waiter so he would practice bits a lot, but that is why Odin invented headphones.

    I was 99% going to move to Duluth, but a relationship sprung up and that type of winter is not her deal. Had a realtor, was doing virtual Skype walkthrus, the whole deal. Des Moines is too cold for her and Des Moines is pretty easy winters.

    Chances are looking more likely than not that Duluth is back on the agenda in the near future. Some stresses cannot be addressed and you have to disengage.

    House prices jumped probably 20% in the interim. Choices taken, chances dared.

  104. de stijl says:


    I will check it out. I need new stuff always.

  105. de stijl says:


    I can do my normal playlists, but that is a bit confining, albeit familiar and awesome because I chose it.

    I have been super into classic Americana / rock this last week. Lots of The Jayhawks and Joe Henry and Uncle Tupelo and some Wilco and Golden Smog. Today was Westerberg which is more pure rock than those, excepting the full oeuvre of Wilco.

    I tend to listen in genre spurts.

    Next week may be odd bits of weird genre EDM.

    My crucial listens last week were Jane, Jennifer Save Me, and V all by Golden Smog. Hit repeat so often I felt guilty.

  106. de stijl says:

    Personal story about Westerberg: the hat is he is wearing on the cover of Grampa Boy is my hat. WWII era Soviet infantry winter hat of felted wool. Pointy but not KKK pointy. You can flap up or down the ear covers. Very warm and versatile. A treasured bit of kit. Big red star on the front.

    He liked the look of it and borrowed. I turned him onto my source.

  107. de stijl says:

    The official music video for I’d Run Away captures Minnesota cabin culture quite well.

    If you are lucky on your property purchase, or if you butter up neighbors, you get sauna access. Trad Finnish sauna is fucking awesome.

  108. de stijl says:

    Not sure how many pop songs been written about Sylvia Plath, but Crackle And Drag by Westerberg has got to rate somewhat high, I’d wager.

    I had a mom that presented as bipolar when I was too young to gauge properly beyond her parenting style and process which surely sucked.

    So this song stings pretty hard. No Plath, but (to me) random weirdness. Then quasi-loving concern. Then not. Whipsaw reality. You learn to buck up soon in that environment.

  109. de stijl says:

    Crikey, but I have one meaty recco for Reynolds in particular and Rancid style punk rock fans in general.

    I have to shuffle thru songs to solidify, but fuck me these folks kick ass. Fiddlehead.

  110. de stijl says:


    How you with your Doc’s? Still feeling it?