Thursday’s Forum

Carry on.

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. OzarkHillbilly says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nick Kapur

    Watch how the ultra-wealthy in America gradually raised the taxes of the poor and eventually bent the curve downward until they paid the lowest tax rate of all

    Watch both sides of the graph, then start sharpening your guillotine.

  3. Teve says:

    Rush Limbaugh Predicts A ‘Veritable’ Civil War — Could He Be Right?
    During his nationally-syndicated radio show this week, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh gave an extended monologue about the current coronavirus-induced state shutdowns. In Limbaugh’s view, the Democratic-controlled ‘blue states’ are conspiring to keep shutdowns in effect in order to drive unemployment while the actions of the Republican-controlled ‘red states’ are trying to help expedite the country’s recovery. And of course, Limbaugh predicts that all of this is part of a conspiracy to get President Trump voted out of office. It was the usual Limbaugh radio fare that both delights his followers and infuriates his detractors and that might not merit mention… until he said this:

    “Folks, I’m gonna tell you, these next four months are gonna be a veritable war like we have not seen.”


  4. Teve says:

    Goldman Sachs issues warning about US unemployment
    New York(CNN Business) The unemployment rate in the United States will peak at 25%, rivaling the worst period of the Great Depression, Goldman Sachs warned on Wednesday.

    The unemployment rate spiked to 14.7% in April as the economy lost more than 20 million jobs during the self-imposed shutdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

    Economists at Goldman Sachs downgraded their labor market forecast “to assume that more workers will lose their jobs and a larger share of them will be classified as unemployed,” the Wall Street bank wrote in a report to clients.


  5. MarkedMan says:

    When I talk about the depravity of Southern White culture, I’m not just talking about the nineteenth century. Here’s an example from 1970 in Jackson Mississippi of the white leadership at the highest levels sending dozens of police, including an armored vehicle, into the center of a black college campus. Despite finding no protest, they fired hundreds of shots randomly in all directions, killing two and wounding dozens. Just look at the bullet holes in the dormitories. I’m sure most of the sick individuals involved enjoyed long careers in various police departments and government agencies.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. drj says:


    I looked at the source of the graph. Based on the limited info that was provided, it looks like the situation is even worse than shown.

    As far as I can tell, the graphs only depict direct taxes, not indirect taxes, e.g. sales tax.

    Since poor people spend almost 100% of their disposable income, while rich people don’t, indirect taxes weigh much more heavily (as a percentage of total income) on the poor than on the rich.

    In other words, the difference in tax burdens between poor en rich people is almost certainly considerably bigger (in favor of the rich, of course).

  8. Teve says:
  9. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: whatever, it’s just an AK-47, it’s not like it’s gonna hurt anybody. 😀

  10. Bill says:
  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @drj: Shit… I had assumed it WAS including the more regressive taxes like sales. Thanx.

  12. Scott says:

    How on things going on in Kansas?

  13. Teve says:


    Scoop — Bill Gates is exploring ways to convince other billionaires to donate more for coronavirus.

    Ideas that Gates has considered include launching a new COVID fund for billionaires who signed the Giving Pledge, per sources.


    If only there were some public fund billionaires could pay into along with everyone else that helps fund our infrastructure, hospitals, and public systems all at once.

    It could even be a modest % of what they earn every year. We could have an agency collect it and everything

    @ marcgoldwein

    This describes an income tax


    We have this.


    There is. It’s called: paying taxes.


    It’s called taxes.

    (500 other people explaining taxes to her.)


    Quite amused by the men in my mentions volunteering to explain my own joke to me

    Charles Cooke, editor of, thought he had to tell AOC what taxes are. If i were subject to that kind of dumb sexism on a daily basis I’d be in jail.

  14. Scott says:

    I should probably just turn everything off but I get the sense that everything is totally getting out of control and the crazies are taking charge:

    A Civil War Has Erupted in the Anti-Vaxx Movement and It’s Just as Ridiculous as You’d Expect

    They’re pushing their dangerous views at anti-lockdown protests across the country, raising fears about the risks of any future COVID-19 vaccine. Plandemic, the coronavirus conspiracy theory video starring a discredited doctor allied with anti-vaccine activists, racked up millions of views on social media before it was banned from YouTube and Facebook. In Australia, a crowd called for billionaire Bill Gates to be arrested—all for the “crime” of funding vaccine research.

  15. Teve says:
  16. Scott says:

    And speaking of anti-Vaxxers:

    Anti-Vaxxers’ Social Networks are Ripe With People Susceptible to Their Misinformation

    The team’s findings were published today in the journal Nature. Their study focused on 100 million Facebook subscribers who followed more than 1,000 pages that discussed vaccinations from varying perspectives. Johnson’s team created a map that identified all these pages, labeling them with either red, blue or green dots — red signifying an anti-vax message; blue conveying a mainstream, pro-vaccination theme; and green representing curious people who weren’t clearly aligned with either faction.

    Johnson compares the map, which reveals the links between the colored dots (or “clusters,” representing Facebook pages), to a battlefield map. “You never win a battle without a map of the battlefield,” he says, and he believes a battle is being now waged “for the hearts and minds of the undecideds.” And for those who place their faith in reason and the scientific method, the fight is not going well.

    “Before we drew the map, we expected to see the Blues — the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention], the [Bill & Melinda] Gates Foundation, et cetera — at the center of things,” Johnson says, “with the Reds, who represent the ideological fringe, buzzing around the edges.”

    But that’s not happening, according to the map. Although the Reds (anti-vaxxers) are a numerical minority, they have formed many more clusters, which in turn forge many more links with the Greens than do the Blues. “The insurgent Reds are completely embedded with the Greens,” Johnson adds, “while the Blues are off on their own, fighting the battle in the wrong place.”

    The Reds are making inroads, not only because they have more pages and more connections to the Greens, but also because their pages, which do not focus solely on vaccines, provide “a greater diversity of narratives,” Johnson says. The message from a blue page, such as that coming from the CDC, tends to be “like vanilla, always the same. But red has all these strange flavors we don’t even have a name for. People who are still looking can find what they want — or what they think they need.”

    The theoretical model developed by Johnson and his collaborators predicts that anti-vax views will dominate within a decade. In fact, a poll carried out last week found that 19 percent of Americans will refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine, while 26 percent are undecided — a situation that could amplify outbreaks of the disease, as happened with the measles in 2019. Meanwhile, some protesters in the U.S. and Europe are spreading delusional fantasies, claiming, for instance, that Bill Gates plans to use coronavirus vaccines to inject microchips into the world’s population.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:

    Inside Trump’s coronavirus meltdown
    What went wrong in the president’s first real crisis — and what does it mean for the US?

    Yet without exception, everyone I interviewed, including the most ardent Trump loyalists, made a similar point to Conway. Trump is deaf to advice, said one. He is his own worst enemy, said another. He only listens to family, said a third. He is mentally imbalanced, said a fourth. America, in other words, should brace itself for a turbulent six months ahead – with no assurance of a safe landing.

    A rehash of much of what we know, but tied up nicely is a 1000 or so words.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    “Over the past decade, in U.S. war games against China, the United States has a nearly perfect record: We have lost almost every single time.”

    Think we have military primacy over China? Think again.

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve come across several articles making this or a similar point that the US military in too heavily invested and continues to invest in obsolete technology, i.e., we’re fighting the last war.

    I expect, if these warnings are prescient that they will fall on deaf ears till a couple of aircraft carriers are sunk. Of course then it will be too late.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Steven, when even I can catch this cultural reference, your dipping into some pretty shallow waters.

  20. Teve says:


    The theoretical model developed by Johnson and his collaborators predicts that anti-vax views will dominate within a decade. In fact, a poll carried out last week found that 19 percent of Americans will refuse to take a COVID-19 vaccine, while 26 percent are undecided — a situation that could amplify outbreaks of the disease, as happened with the measles in 2019. Meanwhile, some protesters in the U.S. and Europe are spreading delusional fantasies, claiming, for instance, that Bill Gates plans to use coronavirus vaccines to inject microchips into the world’s population.

    America had a good run.

  21. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’d love to read it, but the FT is subscription only.

  22. Tyrell says:

    Some news you may not have seen:
    “Fireball over Louisiana” Evidently a meteorite exploded over Louisiana. Many people reported a layer of red dust. Radioactivity levels increased.
    “Powerful 4.5 earthquake hits San Diego” (San Diego Tribune)
    “Minor earthquake shakes Rome, Vatican” (Vatican News) This 3.1 quake caused some plaster to fall and cracks at Vatican City. Hopefully Pope Francis was wearing his big hat.
    “India steps in to bring Pakistan on board to check locust invasion” (Times of India) Locusts so thick they blot out sunlight, worse than the Corona virus.
    Have the plagues of Egypt returned?

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: truly a wayward son

  24. Sleeping Dog says:


    I came to the article from Memeorandum shortly before I posted the link here. If that doesn’t work try turning off java script or using Reader View.

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Richard Burr is in some deep doo-doo, but apparently because Loeffler is a Trump sycophant she is going to skate.

  26. Jax says:

    @Tyrell: I thought I saw an article a while back about the locusts….didn’t one of the countries have an army of a million chickens or ducks or something poised at the border to eat all the locusts?

    Ah….found it. China and Pakistan.

  27. Kathy says:


    If you’re vaccinated, you’re safe from that particular pathogen as long as the vaccine holds, regardless of what other people do.

    But: 1) children too young to receive a vaccine, and others who may not be able to take it for various reasons, are vulnerable without the wider herd immunity, and 2) leaving a large human reservoir for the Trump Virus, gives it many opportunities to mutate into something worse, or just something the vaccine won’t protect you from any longer.

    I propose two solutions:

    1) Pay people $100 to be vaccinated, whether they would without the payment or not (paying people to save their lives, a new low)

    2) Confine those who won’t be vaccinated somewhere well away from everyone else (impossible for so many people), until they agree to take the vaccine.

    Both suck.

    A third option, also terrible, would be to forcibly vaccinate any morons who won’t have the vaccine.

    BTW, this assumes the vaccine is safe and effective. In the rush to develop a vaccine, we may end up with unsafe ones. If that’s the case, we need a different discussion.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A google search for “fireball over Louisiana” turned up:

    Something from Godlike Productions (the link sent me to a page with a contract I had to agree to before I could see wtf they were trying to sell)(no, I didn’t agree to it)

    And a youtube video from a guy named Paul Begley, a google search of his name led me to the Paul Begley Prophecy where he appears to sell Jesus, coffee, videos and other stuff.

    And this: The truth is out there: NASA explains ‘fireball’ over Louisiana

  29. Tyrell says:

    @Jax: I remember that. Sea gulls will also work.
    Around here we have lots of crows and blackbirds. That might work.

  30. CSK says:
  31. Scott says:


    In the rush to develop a vaccine, we may end up with unsafe ones. If that’s the case, we need a different discussion.

    This is my fear. An inadequately tested vaccine. It would do enormous damage to society. All those testing protocols are for a reason and they are not just bureaucratic and regulatory hinderances.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Late in the day in yesterday’s forum, Teve wrote:

    If you want to know why Apple has a 60% profit margin on iPhones and Samsung has about a 10 to 15% profit margin on their phones, compare the specs on the new iPhone SE and on the exact same price Samsung a51.

    I thought it was because of that “distribution corporation headquartered in cyberspace” bullsh!t they pulled of. You mean they had to cheapen the product too? What the F is wrong with those guys?

  33. Moosebreath says:


    My initial thoughts went to “Love is coming to us all”, showing my taste in music.

  34. al Ameda says:


    America had a good run.

    Lately I find myself saying that.

    I’ve been joking with friends that ‘Except for a few ‘unexceptional’ blemishes – slavery, apartheid/segregation, extermination of Native Americans, denial of basic rights of citizenship to women, theVietnam War, War in Iraq, assassination of a few presidents and important leaders, internment of Japanese-Americans, and so forth – it’s been a nice 244 year run.,

    It’s not joke anymore.
    It really does feel like we’re a broken country.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Yeah, but if the giga-rich merely paid the proportional levels of taxes to support government, how would they be able to take credit for “going above and beyond” when events like Covid-19, earthquakes, and hurricanes come along?

    And if you were going to suggest “by actually going above and beyond in those cases,” well, if they did stuff like that, pretty soon we wouldn’t even have any billionaires, and then where would our society be, Ms. Smarty-pants AOC?

  36. Kathy says:

    Quick Trump joke:

    One fine day in the 90s, Trump’s accountant goes to see the Orange Man in a panic.

    “Mr. trump, sir,” he declares, “we need to hide several million dollars, right now, or the IRS will fall on us like a ton of bricks.”

    “On you, maybe,” says Trump.

    “I drew up a plan. It’s complicated, and it will cost a bundle, but it’s fool proof.”

    “Never mind,” says Trump, “I’ll take care of it.”

    “What? But sir–”

    “I’ll take care of it. Get out!”

    Time passes, and the wrath of IRS does not fall on them even like a ton of feathers. But the accountant can’t figure out how Trump did it, what with the incomplete access he has to the books and accounts. So he goes to see Trump again, who surely knows more about accounting than all the world’s accountants put together, to have pulled off such a feat.

    “it’s very simple. I knew how to do it because I’m a stable genius, unlike you.”

    “Yes, sir,” the accountant says humbly. “Can you explain to me how you did this stable work of genius?”

    “Sure. I took the millions in cash out of the banks, and faxed it abroad. Then I burned the cash to leave no evidence behind. I’m a genius! It didn’t cost me more than a long phone call! And that call was PERFECT1!”

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: Well, you can’t fix stupid, but the laws of biochemistry are immutable, so the overall system itself will self-correct. It may be too bad that nature won’t care how this sorts out, but I can’t help that.

  38. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: they positioned themselves as a luxury brand, but one that many people could afford. Like the guy said, “The profit margins of Ferrari with the production volume of Toyota”. Except it’s worse, Ferrari’s margin is 23% and Apple’s is 60.

    But if you look at specs Apple is a rip-off.

    Iphone SE:
    4.7 in screen, LCD.
    1800 mah battery
    No 5g
    3gb ram
    1 rear camera

    Samsung a51:
    6.1 in screen AMOLED
    4500 mah battery
    8gb ram
    4 rear cameras

    And they’re both $399.

  39. inhumans99 says:


    Help me out, a google search for Red Dust in LA turns up a 2019 story about red brick dust being an environmental concern in some LA neighborhoods, and stories about LA Red Brick Dust Voodoo protection (because of course, LA). I did see an April story about a meteor shower very visible in the skies of LA, is that what you are referencing?

  40. Kit says:


    But if you look at specs Apple is a rip-off.

    The first two reviews that came up comparing those two models both chose the SE as the winner. Here’s what Tom’s Guide (always very good), had to say:

    The Samsung Galaxy A51 may have a lot going for it, but the iPhone SE is simply a more practical purchase if you’re in the market for a $400 phone.

    The iPhone’s performance is unrivaled, and its build quality is second to none — even if the design is stuck in yesterday. Its single camera captures better photos than the Galaxy A51’s four rear shooters, especially in low light. And Apple’s longstanding software support will give you the peace of mind that your iPhone will get at least some of the latest features long into its lifespan.

    The A51 is harder to recommend over the iPhone SE, especially due to its lackluster processor. However, if the iPhone’s tiny display simply doesn’t work for you, or you really want an OLED screen to enjoy games and movies, or a headphone jack to listen to music, Samsung’s midrange Galaxy is a decent choice. For those with specific needs, it will be the right budget phone. But right now, Apple’s value is simply uncontested in this class; perhaps Google’s Pixel 4a will fare better when it arrives later this spring.

    And I’m not sure where you came up with that 60% figure. As a company, Apple typically enjoys between 35-40% gross profit margin, and around 21% net profit margin.

  41. de stijl says:

    Wisconsin Rs are beavering very hard to make it a totalitarian one party state with a captured judiciary with rights for the opposition.

    Very uncool.

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..For chicken, in Spanish, as used in Mexico, the animals are gallo (rooster) and gallina (hen), and the meat is chicken. A chick is called pollito (little chicken).

    “Let me understand…” Frank Costanza

  43. de stijl says:


    Coulda been Chandler and Joey monkeying around.

    They co-created fireball.

  44. Kit says:

    And just to pile on the hurt a bit more, here the arch Apple fanboy site androidcentral: The cheapest iPhone has a more powerful processor than the most expensive Android phone:

    Apple has updated the little iPhone SE for 2020, and even an Android fan has to see that it’s a great phone at an even greater price

    the A13 is a stronger chip than the Snapdragon 865 for daily use in every category — we’ve seen this applied in real life in the iPhone 11 already. The only area it misses out is 5G, and that’s because Apple just doesn’t care about 5G yet.

    The iPhone SE may not be a better phone than something like the latest Pixel, Galaxy or OnePlus. It has a lesser screen, weaker single camera, doesn’t have the wealth of OS features we’ve come to expect from an Android flagship, and you’re still stuck with a lightning connector instead of a universal solution in USB-C. But when it comes to processor performance and future-proofing for software updates, the iPhone SE beats that Android flagship you’re holding right now.

    Game over, bitches 🙂

  45. de stijl says:


    *Be Very Careful* with telephone solicitors. Do not give them your SSN, DOB, place of birth, previous addresses, your mother’s maiden name, etc.

    You are Art Bell reincarnate.

  46. Stormy Dragon says:


    If you’re vaccinated, you’re safe from that particular pathogen as long as the vaccine holds, regardless of what other people do.

    That reminds me, something more people should know: there was a period in the late 60s to early 80s where there were two versions of the MMR vaccine, a live attenuated virus version and an inactivated virus version. The inactivated virus version was discontinued because it was less effective, and more recently, it looks like the immunity it confers even when it does work starts going away after about 20 years.

    This means that if you were born during the time frame, there’s a significant chance that even if you got the MMR vaccine during the time frame, you’re not actually protected from measles. Until recently this wasn’t a problem because you were still protected by herd immunity, but with that breaking down you may want to do something about it.

    Last summer, I had mentioned this to my doctor and they got me a rubeola response test and it came back negative (meaning my body was not producing any measles anitbodies), so I had to redo my MMR sequence.

  47. CSK says:

    Here’s something that’s always puzzled me: If Donald Trump doesn’t know how to work a personal computer, how did he master the complexities of a smart phone in order to Tweet? I understand that he dictates some of his Tweets to staff, but surely that doesn’t happen at three a.m. or when he’s on the toilet. Ghastly for the staff if it does.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: lots of antivaxxers + pandemic == lots of dead antivaxxers.

    They’ll either learn, or end up six feet under.

    I’m resigned to stupidity culling a large chunk of the human population.

  49. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Scott: And here in South Carolina, one of our local representatives is about to introduce a bill to safeguard the right of citizens not to take a coronavirus vaccine when/if it’s developed. Stopping government tyranny, dontcha know.

  50. Kari Q says:

    I’m hoping someone here can help me. My friend asked for book recommendations and I can’t think of anything that fits what she wants.

    First: Something smart and witty, along the lines of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, but not them because she’s read their books.

    Second: History from a lighthearted perspective, with some humor.

    She’s extremely smart, and she likes books that have serious intellectual heft.

    Any suggestions?

  51. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ““Powerful 4.5 earthquake hits San Diego” (San Diego Tribune)”

    I don’t know where you get your “news,” but there isn’t a single person living in California who would refer to a 4.5 as a “powerful earthquake.” And checking the paper’s site, the only article that comes close references a 4.7 quake off the Northern California coast a month ago, and consider it so important it deals with the entire affair in four sentences including the one which reported no injuries or damages.

    So there was an insignificant earthquake hundreds of miles from San Diego, which in your feed is magically transformed into some kind of catastrophe. Maybe you should rethink your news sources.

  52. Kit says:

    @Kari Q:

    Second: History from a lighthearted perspective, with some humor.

    Bill Bryson is a good bet.

  53. Kari Q says:


    Bill Bryson is a good bet

    Oh, good suggestion! Thank you.

  54. wr says:

    @Kari Q: Has she tried George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman books? They’re kind of the historical fiction version of Terry Pratchett.

  55. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Richard Burr is in some deep doo-doo, but apparently because Loeffler is a Trump sycophant she is going to skate.

    Burr is chair of the Senate Intel Committee, which has a reputation for integrity and put out a report confirming Russia interfered in the 2016 election. So yes, Trump/Barr would be out to get him. And he’s announced he’s not running again, so persecuting him doesn’t endanger the seat.

  56. Kari Q says:


    I don’t know, but I will suggest them to her.

  57. gVOR08 says:


    This is my fear. An inadequately tested vaccine.

    Yes. Trump’s “Warp Speed” project will likely dissolve in confusion after having shoved a lot of cheddar at lobbyists and cronies. But if it stays in existence Trump will pressure it to announce a vaccine before the election. If they do, they’ll probably be lying. But if they actually put out a product, fear of the corners they cut might turn me into an anti-vaxxer. For that one vaccine only.

  58. Stormy Dragon says:


    This is my fear. An inadequately tested vaccine. It would do enormous damage to society. All those testing protocols are for a reason and they are not just bureaucratic and regulatory hinderances.

    I’m pro-vaccine, but I can say right now I won’t take any Coronavirus vaccine or treatment until it’s been approved by some western democracy other than the US, because I don’t trust the current FDA’s ability to make that call right now.

  59. Mister Bluster says:

    Appeals court greenlights emoluments suit against Trump
    The president’s attorney said he will ask the Supreme Court to block inquiries into foreign patronage of D.C. Trump hotel.

  60. CSK says:

    Welp, Trump told Maria Bartiromo of Fox business this morning that he won’t be running against just “Sleepy Joes Biden,” but against the Democrats, the media, the radical left, and “some really stupid Republicans.”

    Covering all the bases, I guess.

  61. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kari Q: I’m thinking Christopher Moore, author of such humor titles as “Island of the Sequined Love Nun”, “Lamb”, “Practical Demonkeeping”, “Coyote Blue”, and so on. Very funny.

  62. Scott says:

    @Stormy Dragon: That’s my thinking also. As you are, I’m pro-vaccine. I mean I risked turning my children into raging nymphomaniacs by giving them the HPV vaccine when they were 11. But I’m pretty conservative when it comes to drug testing.

  63. sam says:


    The Flashman books should be on everyone’s list. Harry makes his last appearance in a non-Flashman book, Mr. American. In the book he’s talking to the main character, the American, and he says (this is 1914): “There’s a war coming. And only you Americans know what it will be like. There were 50,000 casualties at Gettysburg. And there would have been 50,001 if I hadn’t stepped smartly.” If you’ve read any of the Flashman books, that last line should bring a smile.

    Other series to read: The Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell; also the Saxon Chronicles by the same author. The Sharpe series is about a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars, and The Saxon Chronicles is about man born as a Saxon, raised as a Dane, and fighting for King Alfred in 9th century England as Alfred tries to unify the Saxon kingdoms into one. Both series highly recommended.

  64. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kari Q:
    I love Bill Bryson. If you want to move beyond the US (but still with some US history) try George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman series. Bryson and Fraser have both, at various times, caused me to spit up my coffee laughing.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    You beat me to it!

  66. Michael Reynolds says:

    And you beat me to it on both Flashman and the Terrifying, World-destroying… oh, sweet Jesus, it’s a 4.5! Run! Ruuuun!

    If a 4.5 bothers you the law is you have to turn in your California Card.

  67. grumpy realist says:

    @Kari Q: The writers I’m thinking of are Tom Holt (Expecting Someone Taller), and Lee Martinez (Gil’s All Fright Diner). Both are hit-and-miss authors–sometimes very funny, sometimes it just doesn’t click. And sometimes each of them come up with a very thoughtful novel (Martinez’s The Nameless Witch) with humor attached. (I agree–no one is quite like Pratchett.)

    Books with intellectual heft? Dorothy Dunnett wrote a series of mystery novels (the “Dolly” series) when she wasn’t writing the Lymond Chronicles and her other historical books. I’ve managed to collect most of them over the years.

    There’s also the four mystery books written by Sarah Cauldwell, who was a pipe-smoking barrister in the U.K. specialising in tax law. Very, very witty–look for the editions with Gorey’s covers. They’re narrated by Hilary Tamar, who is never identified as a male or female, along with improbably long epistles from the other characters.

    Oh, and look at the Tuesday Next books by Jasper Fforde. They’re set in a world where the Crimean War has continued up to the present day, genetic engineering of pets is standard (and something you do in your bathtub from a kit), and literary crimes are A Big Deal.

  68. CSK says:

    Fraser and Bryson are two of the funniest writers ever. I’ve loved them both for decades.

  69. Kari Q says:

    Thank you for the recommendations. I will pass them along.

    Further suggestions are also welcome.

  70. gVOR08 says:

    In our discussion of ex-cop McMichael’s shooting of Ahmaud Arbery there was a thought that as a trained and experience police officer McMichael would be well aware of applicable law. Why was he an ex-cop? Because he resigned after the state pulled his law enforcement certification. Why did they pull his cert? Failure to attend mandatory training, including use of force training. And it wasn’t the first time.

  71. Kathy says:


    Maybe he should go back to his hut in Africa?

    There’s no denying he’s brilliant. And when he claims to know more than the experts, he usually delivers. SpaceX and Tesla are revolutionary companies, well ahead of the curve. His idea of home solar tiles has a lot of merit, too.

    But he should know his limitations.

    And he should not risk the lives of his employees for his benefit. It’s near certain he’ll be sued for exposing workers to the Trump Virus.

  72. Tyrell says:

    @Kathy: #3: no. I would research the lab it came from first. Then I would only consent to the vaccine after the side effects have been made public. And what the liability limits are. Then I would insist on an antibody test first. If I had already been infected, no need for the vaccination.
    Years ago I broke down and got the flu vaccine. I still got the flu. The first and only time I got the flu. The doctor told me later that it was only 30% effective anyway, and that some people are always outside the norm.
    I would prefer snake venom over a vaccination. As long as it is not from a cotton mouth.

  73. inhumans99 says:


    Aww…we (not just you, but this site) should give Tyrell a break, he lives in a place that sees tornadoes which can upend his life in an instant so he also gets a bit of respect for that fact alone.

    Regarding quakes, when I was visiting my parents in the San Fernando Valley I believe late last year (googled, it was during my 4th of July visit…the Ridgecrest quakes) I remember the ground somewhat gently flowing under my feet and thinking wow…someone in CA just experienced a pretty sizable quake (as it felt like something that was not centered in the Los Angeles area, or bordering areas)…little did I know that was a foreshock!

    The next evening the whole house started to again feel like it was flowing beneath my feet but as I was sitting on a couch with my parents in their living room but this felt…different, as I was like whoa, this feels even stronger than the one we felt the day before and for a second it did have me forgetting how jaded I am supposed to be about quakes (even though I went through the Northridge Quake, no more large quakes in my lifetime works for me).

    I remember saying out loud that oh man, someone out in CA is having a bad evening because it just felt like a big quake had hit somewhere in CA and yup, that sucker was stronger than a 7 and considered the main quake event. Two back to back medium/large quakes is enough to give even the hardiest soul pause and wonder what might come next. What is amazing is that these quakes were more than 200 miles away from the house I grew up in. Also, even more amazing…it was centered in a less populous place and caused less infrastructure damage than feared.

    Another 7+ quake centered in or right next to Los Angeles is a bit of a scary thought.

  74. sam says:

    One other series highly recommended, by Patrick O’Brian:

    [The] Aubrey–Maturin series of sea novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and centred on the friendship of the English naval captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen Maturin. The 20-novel series, the first of which is Master and Commander, is known for its well-researched and highly detailed portrayal of early 19th-century life, as well as its authentic and evocative language.

  75. a country lawyer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: In addition to his Flashman books, Fraser wrote a memoir of his service in the British Army in Burma-“Quartered Safe Out Here”. It’s well worth reading. As compared to the war in Europe and the Pacific there isn’t as much written about the war in that theater. Fraser’s telling of the life of a private in Field Marshall Slim’s “forgotten war” presents a moving view of an ordinary soldiers war.

  76. Scott says:

    @sam: I really enjoyed those books also. What I liked was comparing and contrasting the England of the Napoleonic era viewed thru those male eyes with the England viewed through female eyes in the books of Jane Austen. It is quite a contrast.

  77. Han says:

    @Kari Q: If she’s read Pratchett, has she tried Neil Gaiman? A bit darker, but I would recommend Neverwhere, American Gods, and Anansi Boys. And of course he co-wrote Good Omens with Pratchett, which is one of my favorites. Jasper Fforde’s Tuesday Next books are good witty fun. For lighthearted history, my wife recommends 1000 Years of Annoying the French.

  78. Han says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Oh, and look at the Tuesday Next books by Jasper Fforde. They’re set in a world where the Crimean War has continued up to the present day, genetic engineering of pets is standard (and something you do in your bathtub from a kit), and literary crimes are A Big Deal.

    You beat me to it! And of course, Nursery Crimes are the worst.

  79. Teve says:

    @Kit: the A13 in the SE is fast. But so what. 3gb of ram and a 4.7 inch LCD screen. I don’t care if the processor is infinitely fast, You’re going to have an inferior experience viewing pictures, playing games, reading text, messing with documents, and watching movies.

    The profit margin figure came from phone arena 18 months ago.

    I have sold more SEs than anything else in the last month, but not because they’re good phones, rather because if you don’t have an iPhone you can’t be one of the cool kids.

  80. CSK says:

    I wish Fraser had lived long enough to write his Flashman Civil War epic in which Harry fights on both sides. I’m sure it would have been riotously funny.

  81. CSK says:

    @a country lawyer:
    The General Danced at Dawn is a collection of short stories about the British army in Libya, based on Fraser’s experiences in the Gordon Highlanders.

  82. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: 2)

    Confine those who won’t be vaccinated somewhere well away from everyone else (impossible for so many people), until they agree to take the vaccine.

    When I was in graduate school (mumble) years ago, it was suddenly announced one year that no student (grad or undergrad) would be permitted to attend classes or live in University-provided housing unless they could provide proof of measles vaccination. Proof could either be in the form of a vaccination record from a physician, or getting the shot at the campus health center.

  83. sam says:


    I’ve given some thought to that and I believe he never would have written that book. We’re too close to that conflict, even after all these years, and even more so in the 70s. The Civil War has almost sacred status for us — the blood shed, the sheer awfulness of it. Not something appropriate for the Flashman treatment. The closest we’ll come is Flash for Freedom, and that wonderful scene with Lincoln (even if Flashy blamed Lincoln for whatever mess Harry found himself in later on).

  84. Mister Bluster says:

    Burr has resigned
    Richard Burr of North Carolina would step down on 15 May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.


  85. CSK says:

    Fraser tiptoed up to the Civil War when he wrote Flashman and the Angel of the Lord about John Brown and Harper’s Ferry.

    Yes, that was a wonderful scene with Lincoln. Very sly, the way Fraser attributes the famous saying to Flashman.

  86. DrDaveT says:

    @Kari Q:

    My friend asked for book recommendations and I can’t think of anything that fits what she wants.

    First: Something smart and witty, along the lines of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, but not them because she’s read their books.

    Second: History from a lighthearted perspective, with some humor.

    She’s extremely smart, and she likes books that have serious intellectual heft.

    You might suggest the Italian dynamic duo of Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco, both translated by the matchless William Weaver.

    Calvino is waaaay out there, but if you like him you’ll love him. t zero and If on a winter’s night a traveler… are reasonable places to start.

    Eco is famous for The Name of the Rose, but he also writes lighter-hearted (but still deep) books. Baudolino, or How to Travel with a Salmon, and Other Essays, or even Foucault’s Pendulum (for a very erudite alternative to Dan Brown).

    …and these remind me of Jorge Luis Borges, whose unique short fictions are unforgettable.

    Is she a short story fan? Anything by Borges, or “The Schartz-Metterklume Method” by Saki, or “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts” by Shirley Jackson, or…

  87. de stijl says:


    Going bananas?

    Always was.

    Elon Musk is obviously bright, but thin-skinned, paranoid, and obsessive.

    Bee a en a en a ess bananas.

    One time at Walgreens the overhead speakers were playing a fairly obscure Gwen Stefani song called Cool. Popular for a month or two, but not monster big.

    Chatting with the guy checking me out and I asked “Is this Gwen Stefani?” Yes. Yes it was. He was assistant manager and a No Doubt / Gwen fan had some limited control on their music feed so he’d salted some in.

    Slow Tuesday no one behind me so we jawed for a bit. I mentioned I liked the Replacements.

    Week later I’m in the frozen section trying to decide between regular White Castle microwave sliders or with cheese. Outta the speakers comes Here Comes A Regular.

    That was so boss.

    That was a dude-ass move cuz that song is not retail shopping friendly if you listen to the lyrics. Maybe he hadn’t listened hard, maybe he didn’t fuss all that much because he was an assistant manager at a Walgreens and did not really care that much about climbing the ladder.

    Fist bumped him on the way out. Told him he was a dude and a bad ass. That was a good experience.

    Cool is a very interesting song. Oddly constructed with unexpected chord changes. I can respect a person that really likes that song. As a pop song it is memorable and remarkably not normal.

    Guy sorta looked like skater version of Will Poulter.

  88. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Predictably, a bunch of apologists showed up to say “but they pay vastly more in total dollars”, as if that were somehow relevant. If you’re going to imply that they incur more pain, let’s be explicit about it and look at the marginal utility of the tax dollars they pay. Which is… zero. Paying taxes hurts them, literally, not at all, other than the self-inflicted pain of trying to avoid paying taxes.

    (The apologists also trotted out the “create trillions of dollars in economic value” and “create jobs” arguments, both of which founder on the fact that many more jobs would be created and much more economic value realized if those dollars were spread over the top 400 million people in the world, rather than the top 400…)

  89. Stormy Dragon says:


    or even Foucault’s Pendulum (for a very erudite alternative to Dan Brown).

    This is my second favorite fictional novel ever.

  90. MarkedMan says:

    @sam: I’ve gone through the whole Aubrey-Maturin series at least twice on audiobook and can highly recommend them. One of the few character duos that start out detesting each other and become fast friends and you can actually buy it happening.

    The various narrations of sea battles, court room fights, bare knuckled boxing matches, horse jumping, or what have you come across as fascinating and insightful but also believable. However, there is one book, relatively short if I remember correctly, that has a sea battle that is just a mess. There are 8-12 captains involved and he has them making ridiculous mistakes and acting like a bunch of chowderheads rather than the top ranking officials in the most powerful and disciplined navy in the world. At the end of each book O’Brian discusses what is real, who the characters are based on, etc. And it turns out he based this on a particular real life battle because it was one of the most well documented in the naval record because so many ships had been involved in such a confined area, with the Captains, First Mates and other officers recording the whole thing. O’Brian delighted in the fact that he had to embellish very little, just substituting Aubrey for one of the actual officers here and there. It proves the truism that the most unbelievable fiction is that most closely based on real life.

  91. Scott says:


    The apologists also trotted out the “create trillions of dollars in economic value” and “create jobs” arguments,

    How come the reverse is never true? Especially now. Why can’t we call them the “job destroyers” and “destroyers of trillions of dollars in economic value”?

  92. DrDaveT says:


    I’ve gone through the whole Aubrey-Maturin series at least twice on audiobook and can highly recommend them.

    I own the boxed set of hardcovers, and I’ve read them all at least twice and have listened to the audiobook twice. I might like them a bit 🙂 .

    WARNING: There are at least two different audiobooks. The ones read by Patrick Tull are fabulous, a tour de force of characterization and narration. The ones read by some American guy are just awful — I couldn’t listen to them for more than 10 minutes.

  93. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Aha! I see why I don’t understand any of this stuff. The last camera [edit] phone I bought was $45. 😉

  94. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Not that simple. The Trump Virus is just not deadly enough to wipe out a group of people. It is deadly enough to wreak havoc on said group, and others they come in contact with.

    If they want to go down gasping for air while waiting for a ventilator, that’s their free choice to make. But they will take down a lot of other people as well.

  95. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Previous addresses? I’ve lived enough places that I don’t even remember most of my previous addresses. I was blocked out of doing my Social Security registration via internet because they had a previous address that I didn’t remember, so I picked the wrong answer on that verification question.

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: Another problem is that the San Diego Evening Tribune stopped publishing in 1992 when it merged with the San Diego Union to form the San Diego Union-Tribune. Maybe Tyrell is reading back issues somewhere.

  97. Kathy says:


    Did you ever see a TV series called “Sliders”? It dealt with a group of four people who “slide” between alternate time lines.

    Sometimes we’d just see a small bit of one as an episode opener. Their jumps were rather random for some reason (they were lost among time lines). In one short visit, they reach a time line where the vast majority of Americans are lawyers.

    They try to buy burgers at a stand, and find out they need inordinate amounts of paperwork. One of them asks for just a soda, and additional papers are required. he then asks “Who carries all that stuff around?” The man at the counter answers “You do, if you want to get any service.”

    I bring this up because schools, employers, maybe airlines and hotels and cruise lines, can bar people who are not vaccinated against Trump Virus from accessing the premises, receiving services, or keeping their jobs. But it won’t be universal, absent a government order, and barring customers from all stores, parks, theaters, etc. would be hard. Not to mention people would deeply resent having to show papers to buy a burger, or see a movie.

  98. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The problem is that anti-vaxxers have kids.

    Innocent, did not sign up for this, minor children under their care.

    Reliant on herd immunity for measles, mumps, chicken pox.

    Not sociopathic in intent, but in practice as a side effect of the paranoia.

    Anti-vaxxers are super into re-open. They see this as the moment they will be vindicated.

    I had chicken pox. Looks like I was crucified or my right hand was shot through with a .22 with the circular scar on the back. The one I could not stop picking at. Bed ridden for a week.

    I had mumps. Couldn’t swallow for 3 or 4 days. Sick as a dog. Fever dreams. Maintaining the minimal amount of hydration to not die required me to swallow water in extreme pain.

    We were poor and doctors cost money.

    These are now preventable through vaccination and that everyone else is vaccinated.

    It comes from a paranoic purity urge, but the result is sociopathic mayhem.

    A proper, well run vaccination program is a hallmark of modern post germ theory civilization.

    I would say screw those anti-vax idiots so hard, but those idiots have innocent kids.

  99. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m going to brag on my wife. In an upcoming NYT Bestseller list her latest, The One And Only Bob is #1 in kid’s hardcover, and it’s prequel, The One And Only Ivan is #1 on the kid’s paperback list.

    One of the stranger aspects of my life is that I met Katherine when she was about to graduate college and I was on the run. I had never been to Austin before, had never even seen her around the neighborhood. (Pearl Street.) I knocked on her door, we went out for a beer, the next day I moved in. Then for 10 years neither of us even thought about writing. Finally she suggested we should start thinking about it. No reason on earth why we should have ended up as writers in same or similar genres, successful when we co-author, and severally as well. The odds are ludicrous.

  100. wr says:

    @Kathy: “Did you ever see a TV series called “Sliders”?”

    Not only did I see it, I wrote one of the earliest episodes. The idea was a world in which the British had won the Revolutionary War, and still control the continent. We did a take on Robin Hood in which the Sheriff of San Francisco was essentially Rush Limbaugh and the merry band from across the bay called themselves the Oakland Raiders.

  101. Kathy says:


    I remember that one! The professor was the Sheriff of San Francisco, right?

    Good job.

  102. Kathy says:

    Among our latest slate of product samples for social program there’s an odd one: dried lentils.

    ok. I’ve seen lentils. they are already dry. Like beans, you soak them in water before cooking them. So this one had me puzzled.

    It turns out they’re cooked lentils, dried and sealed in a vacuum pack. I suppose they cook faster at home this way, or rather they just need to absorb moisture and be warmed.

    Lentils don’t take that long to cook. But I guess it makes sense for poor people with limited resources to have lentils that cook even faster. Still, the grocery packages also include beans and rice, both uncooked. So I don’t know.

  103. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I know!

    Last address was in long term memory, the one before I could remember the cross streets and also could recall the condo number, so easy. Third back, I was so lost.

    Last time I got asked I was, unhh, it was on Franklin between Hennepin and Lyndale. I cannot recall the street number or my apartment number. The tan brick building on the east side of Franklin roughly equidistant between Liquor Lyle’s and Rudolph’s. The four story building. I was back by the weird tunnel port cochere bat cave thing.

    Give me five minutes on Google street view and I can point you to exactly that building. The super was named Ginny.

    Btw, they want previous addresses so they can check for liens, fines and fees associated with that address and your name at that time in the public record.

    It’s really stupid. Experian and Choice Point already have this info. Maybe the want to see if you’ll lie.

  104. sam says:

    Sir Harry Flashman’s bio:

    FLASHMAN, Harry Paget, brigadier-general, V.C. [Victoria Cross], K.C.B. [Knight Commander of the Bath], K.C.I.E. [Knight Commander, Order of the Indian Empire]: Chevalier, Legion of Honour; Order of Maria Theresa, Austria; Order of the Elephant, Denmark (temporary); U.S. Medal of Honor; San Serafino Order of Purity and Truth, 4th class; born May 5, 1822, son of H. Buckley Flashman, Esq., Ashby, and Hon. Alicia Paget; married Elspeth Rennie Morrison, daughter of Lord Paisley, one son, one daughter. Educated Rugby School, 11th Hussars, 17th Lancers. Served Afghanistan 1841-2 (medals, thanks of Parliament); chief of staff to H.M. [His Majesty] James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, Batang Luper expedition, 1844; military adviser with unique rank of sergeant-general to H.M. [Her Majesty] Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar, 1844-5; Sutleg campaign, 1845-6 (Ferozeshah, Sobraon, envoy extraordinary to Maharani Jeendan, Court of Lahore); political adviser to Herr (later Chancellor Prince) von Bismarck, Schleswig-Holstein, 1847-8; Crimea, staff (Alma, Sevastopol, Balaclava), prisoner of war, 1854; artillery adviser to Atalik Ghazi, Syr Daria campaign, 1855; India, Sepoy Mutiny, 1857-8, diplomatic envoy to H.R.H. [His Royal Highness] the Maharani of Jhansi, trooper 3rd Native Cavalry, Meerut, subsequently attached Rowbotham’s Mosstroopers, Cawnpore (Lucknow, Gwalior, etc., V.C.); adjutant to Captain John Brown, Harper’s Ferry, 1859; China campaign 1860, political mission to Nanking, Taiping Rebellion, political and other services, Imperial Court, Pekin; U.S. Army (major, Union forces, 1862, colonel [staff], Army of the Confederacy, 1863); aide-de-camp to H.I.M. [His Imperial Majesty] Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 1867; interpreter and observer Sioux campaign, U.S., 1875-6 (Camp Robinson conference, Little Big Horn, etc.); Zulu War, 1879 (Isandhlwana, Rorke’s Drift); Egypt 1882 (Kassassin, Tel-el-Kebir; personal bodyguard to H.I.M. Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria, 1883; Sudan 1884-5 (Khartoum); Pekin Legations, 1900. Traveled widely in military and civilian capacities, among them supercargo, merchant marine (West Africa), agriculturist (Mississippi valley), wagon captain and hotelier (Santa Fe Trail); buffalo hunter and scout (Oregon Trail); majordomo (India), prospector (Australia); trader and missionary (Solomon Islands, Fly River, etc.), lottery supervisor (Manila), diamond broker and horse coper (Punjab) [coper, defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a horse dealer; especially : a dishonest one], deputy marshal (U.S.), occasional actor and impersonator. Honorable member of numerous societies and clubs, including Sons of the Volsungs (Strackenz), Mimbreno Apache Copper Mines band (New Mexico), Khokand Horde (Central Asia), Kit Carson’s Boys (Colorado), Brown’s Lambs (Maryland), M.C.C. [Marylebone Cricket Club], White’s and United Service [two gentlemen’s clubs] (London, both resigned), Blackjack [another gentleman’s club] (Batavia). Chairman, Flashman & Bottomley, Ltd.; director, British Opium Trading Co.; governor, Rugby School; honorary president Mission for Reclamation of Reduced Females.
    Publications: Dawns and Departures of a Soldier’s Life; Twixt Cossack and Cannon; The Case Against Army Reform.
    Recreations: oriental studies, angling, cricket (performed first recorded “hat trick,” wickets of Felix Pilch, Mynn, for 14 runs, Rugby Past and Present v. Kent, Lord’s, 1842; five for 12, Mynn’s Casuals v. All-England XI, 1843.
    Address: Gandamack Lodge, Ashby, Leicestershire

  105. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: “Sliders” had one of the biggest crashes in quality I’ve ever seen on a TV show. The first two seasons are really the only ones worth seeing. Then it got canceled by Fox and taken up by Sci-Fi network (now SyFy). At that point it began ripping off various popular sci-fi and horror films for each episode, and it started to get really inane. Then John Rhys-Davies left the show (it was one of those things where whether he quit or was fired depends who you talk to), which all by itself had a major negative impact on the show, as he was the best actor in the cast. Worse, they gradually began to eliminate all the members of the original cast and replace them with actors who were terrible! The final straw was the fifth and last season, when the original lead Jerry O’Connell left the show. That last season is almost unwatchable; the only saving grace was Cleavant Derricks, the only remaining member of the original cast. Derricks is a talented actor and singer mainly famous on Broadway. (He was in the original cast of Dreamgirls, for which he won a Tony, playing the character later portrayed by Eddie Murphy in the film, several decades later. I primarily remember him from the movie Moscow on the Hudson.) The show also comes to no satisfying conclusion and has a more-or-less downer ending, assuming it’s an ending at all (it was canceled prematurely).

    I’ve noticed over the years that there are certain forms of shark-jumping common to sci-fi and fantasy shows. For one thing, I absolutely cannot stand stories in which two characters merge and become a single character. I’ve seen it on occasion in SF/fantasy novels, but on TV it’s used as a lame excuse to cover up the loss of a cast member. It’s related to a much more common tendency (which Sliders also sort of did, possibly more than once), in which a character is killed off but the actor stays on the show playing a different version of the character, such as a clone, someone from an alternate timeline or universe, a monster in human form, and so on. I always groan when shows do this, but it’s something the majority of SF/fantasy shows I’ve seen have done at some point, and it’s usually a sign the show is starting to wind down.

    Before I saw Sliders, I happened to read an Alan Dean Foster novel called Parallelities which had a strikingly similar plot–and, weirdly enough, seems to have been published at almost exactly the same time the show first aired. It became a favorite book of mine, though it’s remained fairly obscure. The premise is that a slimy tabloid reporter in LA meets with this rich guy who claims to have invented a parallel-world machine. Of course he thinks the guy is a loonie just like all the rest of his subjects, but then he gets somehow zapped by the machine (the exact nature of what happens is never revealed) and it causes him to become a sort of magnet pulling the inhabitants of other parallel worlds into his own, and eventually causing him to be pulled into different parallel worlds. He has no control over the process, and it seems to happen at random with no apparent rhyme or reason. All the worlds look superficially like the LA he comes from–same buildings, same everything–but they become increasingly wacky and bizarre. It’s more absurdist comedy than Sliders. It has a different feel, but a similar structure.

  106. de stijl says:


    I liked Sliders a lot.


    Rhys-Davies. Jerry O’Connell as the doofus “genius” / audience avatar who always needed to get spun up that in this reality T. Rexes still exist.

    His crush [imdb…] Sabrina Lloyd is the actual protagonist. She was the capable one.

    A mix of Quantum Leap and Stargate.

    It was a cool concept in that you could tell any story. Manufacture any premise. Dudes just slid there early first act.

    IIRC, it was mostly alt-history.

  107. DrDaveT says:


    But it won’t be universal, absent a government order, and barring customers from all stores, parks, theaters, etc. would be hard.

    My point was not that everyone could do that, but that one sufficiently painful prohibition (like not being able to go to school/college) would probably convince a lot of mildly anti-vax airheads to just get their kids and themselves the shot and get on with it. For adults, what would a good equivalent be? Can’t renew a driver’s license, maybe…

    (Your episode of Sliders reminds me of the Shoe Event Horizon in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which every economy eventually hits a tipping point and shoe shops become the only kind of shop there is.)

  108. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    I had chicken pox.

    I had chicken pox, too — so mild that I didn’t understand why I couldn’t go out and play with my friends. I was 4 or 5 at the time.

    …and then 40-some years later I had shingles, and that more than made up for how mild the chicken pox had been. Boy did I wish there had been a chicken pox vaccine when I was a kid. (And I’m due to get the second half of my shingles vaccine this month, because no way am I ever going through that again.)

  109. DrDaveT says:

    I should post this again tomorrow, given how far down the thread we are, but…

    Congressional Research Service has posted an interesting and detailed timeline of Chinese (and US) response to COVID-19.

  110. Teve says:

    @wr: oh. that Wxxxxxx Rxxxxx. 🙂

  111. Teve says:

    I would prefer snake venom over a vaccination. As long as it is not from a cotton mouth.

    Okay Lonesome Dove. 😀

  112. Kathy says:


    You’re all over the place, and I have a ton of work I actually have to do. So, briefly:

    “Sliders” had one of the biggest crashes in quality I’ve ever seen on a TV show.

    I agree. I quit watching around the third or fourth season, when the “cromags” begin to show up. BTW, Cro Magnonare among the earliest modern humans, ie us.

    But it had its moments. I’m interested in alternate history stories, and Sliders at least showed some outrageous twists the more serious literary writers dare not approach with a ten-foot pole.

    Quickly, two Niven stories on this genre:

    All the Myriad Ways, was Niven’s attempt at the “ultimate” parallel timeline story. That is, one to end all such stories (which never happens). but ti’s worth reading. Niven’s good for reaching the ultimate logical conclusion.

    The other is For a Foggy Night. here someone accidentally winds up in parallel world, and finds someone else who’s there from yet a different parallel world. The protagonist thinks he can find his way back, and… well, that would be a spoiler.

  113. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I liked Sabrina Lloyd since I saw her in Sports Night.

    But the top dog in Sliders was Rhys-Davis. he has the English accent, after all 😉 Seriously, he’s a very underrated performer.

  114. Teve says:

    Seen on Facebook:

    “In the other timeline, Hillary‘s impeachment trial begins today for her shameful handling of the COVID-19 crisis that has left 12 Americans dead.“

  115. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I used to work for a big ass bank who had a mortgage arm and totally does not rhyme with Bells Margo.

    We had a contract with a joint called Choice Point that later got bought out by LexisNexis.

    They and folks like them have a super scary amount of data on every American.

    A lot of it is public records, but tons of purchased data from brokers or direct arrangements with retailers and credit card companies.

    Astonishingly, jaw dropping amounts of stuff at the juncture of your name/ssn and your address.

    They flew me out purportedly to see how Choice Point could help our marketing via application of their proprietary customer profiling. You fall within one of 16 profiles, and there are techniques to market to every profile.

    But it became clear quickly it was a quid pro quo where they would hire me at a huge bump and a VP in front of the job title if I could deliver access to totally does not rhyme with Bells Margo data on our existing customers. I was already half out the door to a contract company run by a buddy. Yeah, no dog.

    Whether they did after me I do not know, but it would be extremely foolish to say no.

    Mortgage companies collect a huge amount of data associated with people and property addresses. Apparently really valuable data.

    We would grant access, they would type our customers and allow access to their models.

    I was granted access to “me” under really stringent supervision. My name/ ssn at that address (the place on Franklin Ave oddly.)

    The amount of stuff they knew about me was shocking. The past purchase stuff alone was scary.

    I advise strongly to pay in cash anonymously whenever possible.

    This was almost 20 years ago. They know more now. Much, much more.

  116. Tyrell says:

    @Stormy Dragon: How about people who have had measles? I would think that I am still immune.

  117. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Brag away.

    That’s cool ass shit.

    Give her a big ole smootchie and tell her she is talented.

  118. Michael Cain says:

    We have some more restaurant reopening incidents in Colorado. The most interesting by far is the woman who opened the dining room in her small restaurant at ~30% capacity. She says that take out plus delivery don’t produce enough income for her to afford the $1700 per month medication that keeps her out of a wheelchair.

  119. de stijl says:


    Yeah she was on Sports Night. I had forgotten that.

    Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause, and nebbishy guy what’s his name…Joshua Malina – good character actor. Good presence.

    But Aaron Sorkin shows tire me out quickly. Too wordy, Too clever.

  120. Kari Q says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    When I was in college, they required students to either get the vaccine again or sign a waver, because of that exact issue. I signed a waver because there wasn’t a high profile anti-vaccination movement and I’d literally never heard of anyone getting measles. About 10 years ago, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and she said “You should really get your measles vaccine again.” This time, I agreed.

  121. de stijl says:


    Dude I know had shingles in his eye.

    Worst pain he’d ever encountered.

  122. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Dammit… crime Political donations to Trump does pay.

    Private jet company founded by Trump donor gets $27 million bailout

    A private jet company founded by a donor to President Donald Trump received nearly $27 million in government funding under a program run by the Treasury Department, according to government filings.

    Clay Lacy Aviation, a private jet charter company based in Van Nuys, California, that serves wealthy executives and celebrities, received the government grant as part of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion federal stimulus package aimed at supporting jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

    The company appears to have received the largest grant of any private jet company on the list. The vast majority of the other 96 recipients of government funding or loans on the list are major commercial airlines, regional carriers or support companies. Other large private jet operators such as NetJets are not on the list.

    The funding is a grant rather than a loan, and doesn’t need to be repaid to the government. The money is part of the CARES Act program to “compensate aviation industry workers and preserve jobs.”

    “The standard for determining air carrier eligibility was set by Congress on a bipartisan basis and each applicant’s eligibility is verified by the Department of Transportation before any funds are disbursed,” a spokesperson at the Treasury Department said in an email. “Political affiliation has absolutely no bearing on the Payroll Support Program, including applicant eligibility, the amount of assistance provided, or use of funds.”

    The amounts given to each company are determined by their employment, according to Treasury guidelines. So the $27 million would be equal to the compensation Clay Lacy said it paid in compensation in 2019.

    Clay Lacy didn’t return calls for comment.

    “The entire country is hurting during this pandemic,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, a progressive group that first identified the grant and donations. “But the President decided to award a campaign donor with $27 million in free government money.”

  123. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    According to View From the Wing, (sorry no link available right now), 96 “airlines” received bailout money.

    The blogger, Gary Leff, included a full list. There are charter companies, air taxi companies, wet leasers, even companies that operate sightseeing planes and helicopters in places like the Grand Canyon. Some of these diverse group may operate business jets.

    I’m not saying this particular donor should have received money, or that it shouldn’t. Given who is pretending to preside over the country right now, all such grants should be audited by the next administration, and any malfeasance or corruption should be dealt by the DOJ.

  124. EddieInCA says:


    I don’t know where you get your “news,” but there isn’t a single person living in California who would refer to a 4.5 as a “powerful earthquake.”

    Spot on. Anything under 5.0 might be confused with a train going by. 4.7 wouldn’t even register unless it was within 20 miles, and it woudln’t worry anyone.

  125. de stijl says:


    Sliders is daily on an obscure cable channel called Comet. Weekdays, that is. Late morning or early afternoon in a two hour block.

    I know this because it it right next to the channel that does House, Monk, and NUMB3RS marathons on respectively Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

    I will watch Sliders tomorrow 3 and 4 pm central.

    I watch Comet occasionally because they show Battlestar Gallactica episodes in order at 7 and 8 pm daily. BG is always a solid choice. Frack yeah. My fave dude is Michael Hogan as Tigh. He has a great voice (and is a great voice actor).

  126. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    Sliders is daily on an obscure cable channel called Comet. Weekdays, that is. Late morning or early afternoon in a two hour block.

    Most people don’t know that since Television Transmissions changed from analog to digital, each channel on the spectrum within a specific television market, is actually several channels, which you can get with a $10 antenna. Here is Los Angeles, channel 4, which is an NBC affiliate, has 5 total channels, as does the ABC Affiliate (7) and CBS (2). Channels such as Comet, Cozi, Laff, and others show great reruns from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I love watching some for the pop culture references. I’m old enough to remember them when they were original programming, not re-runs.

    I recently cut the cord from DirecTV and went to YouTube TV, and I don’t regret it at all. I get my Premier League Football, and Golf Channel, and EPIX, Showtime and Start, plus Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu, and I’m getting more for about 60% of what I used to pay for DirectTV. Plus my LG Smart TV’s come with a program called “Channel Plus” that gives me an additional 200 channels (190 of with worthless), but the 10 I watch are great.

  127. Monala says:

    @DrDaveT: I had to receive an MMR vaccine to attend grad school in the ’90s, because although I’m sure I received it as a kid, my pediatrician had retired and there were no longer any records of it.

  128. Monala says:

    @DrDaveT: I stopped an argument with someone once (although not sure if it was because they were conceding I was right, or just didn’t have a comeback) by pointing out that the rich pay a greater percentage of federal tax dollars than their share of the population because it’s an income tax, not a head tax, and they have so much more income. “If you don’t think that’s fair, then fight to reduce income inequality,” I said. “That will even things out more.”

  129. de stijl says:


    My current set up assigns all of the sub channels to numbers.

    Which is a bit odd, because when I lived a mile and half from here channel 113 now was 13.2 there.

    It’s odd; I moved all of the old equipment here per the cable company instructions. Same provider, same gear, different channel line-up. No idea why.

    I mostly watch streaming now but the good old tube muted is background visuals. I’ll unmute for Forged In Fire or Top Chef. I am oddly invested in Below Deck.

    YouTube thinks I am a Spanish speaker from Omaha so I get stupid crazy ads. It’s goddamned hilarious.

    Sprint Tracker is offering some deal but I can never figure what because they speak too fast. By the time my brain figures out the gist of the first sentence they are like three sentences in front of me. Looks pretty cool, though.

    If I wanted a career in lawn care services in Omaha, I am set by calling one simple phone number. I do not even need to own my own truck.

    Watching ads in another language makes you realize how stupid advertising is.

  130. de stijl says:

    Aaron Sorkin writes dialogue no one would ever speak and it is completely unnatural.

    I preferred Dule Hill on Psych which is a much better show.

    (Btw, USA has been doing intermittent Psych marathons which is awesome on toast.)

    On Psych, ignore Roday and Hill. All of the second tier actors have Scando names: Maggie Lawson, Corbin Bernsen, Kirsten Nelson, Timothy Omundson.

    Omundson had a good run on Supernatural. That man needs to work more. He is inherently an interesting cat to watch.

  131. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    From time to time, I like watching old reruns, old movies, or movies set in past decades. One thing I do often is think about the technology the characters in these shows and movies use.

    For instance in “The Post,” set int he 70s, there’s a scene where a reporter goes out to the street with a bunch of quarters to make calls from a pay hone (I suppose so they won’t be traced to his paper).

    I seriously thought: today he’d go to a Starbucks and use a burner phone, or use VOIP and a VPN.

    Also, the same reporter travels back to DC in first class (he gets an extra seat for the boxes of Pentagon Papers he secured). And I thought: first class without a seat back screen and without in flight WiFi? And people paid extra for that!

  132. Stormy Dragon says:

    @de stijl:

    Aaron Sorkin writes dialogue no one would ever speak and it is completely unnatural.

    So does Shakespeare. Unnaturalness doesn’t make writing bad. Indeed, completely natural dialogue (someone ahhing and hemming through a runon sentence that eventually just peters off without ever completing itself) often sounds terrible.

  133. de stijl says:

    One of the cool bits of working in Reykyavik (of which there were many) is that they do names old school Nordic patronymic (and matronymic) schema and not family names.

    Sometimes. It’s not universal.

    It’s cool to meet someone named Karen Gunnarsdottir daughter of Gunnar Pallson. You’d meet her brother Jon Gunnarson.

    Iceland is a pretty cool and interesting place. More open to outsiders. In Sweden, I was always aware that I was not Sweden born. Subtly reminded, but often. Maybe that was the neighborhood. Don’t rely on my anecdotal experience. This was edge of downtown Stockholm in a corporate leased apartment.

    Icelandic is a crazy language. It’s Old Norse with the added island insular effect.

    The grammar is very intricate. Opaque.

    I speak Swedish like a drunk 5 year old. So not fluent. I can read it and get the gist. Simple declarative sentences.

    Which kinda makes sense because I picked it up from habitual drunkards mostly and I was young.

    Modern Swedish is much more streamlined.

    Thankfully, most everyone south of 40 speaks decent English. Not everyone, but most. You can get by. Try to learn, though. At least the easy bits.

    They have a better educational system than we do. By far. Especially in languages.

  134. Jax says:

    I always liked Revolution on NBC. The whole concept of going back to swords after the planes fell out of the skies and the power went out was fabulous. The US of A cut itself up into much the same regions they are now, with governor’s trying to acquire PPE. I was sad when they quit mid-season.

  135. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Mamet writes unnatural dialog. Did anyway. Nowadays, not so sure. Dude went cranky pants alt-right.

    Sorkin writes essays and jams it into actor’s mouths.

    I could watch a Mamet marathon and be thrilled, mostly. Would hard pass on his version of About Last Night, thanks, once was enough. State and Main or before. Make me watch 15 minutes of Sorkin and I would be annoyed, actually pissed.

    That could be just me though.

  136. de stijl says:


    With you on Revolution.

    It was a fantastic concept. Decent actors. Great production. Poorly realized. If you are going to play in that arena lean into the concept.

    The Last Ship had a good concept too and a few good first episodes, but just blahed out into an action show a la The A Team. Michael Bay did get them an actual US Navy ship to shoot on, though.

  137. de stijl says:


    Did you brand the beeves?

  138. de stijl says:


    Most old school plots would be entirely foiled by a smartphone.

    OMG, a killer is stalking us at Camp Crystal Lake.

    Gimme a sec. Let’s Google Crystal Lake. Okay so there was a dude named Jason Vorhees who drowned. His mom lives right down the road, let’s talk to her.

    I can order us up an Uber. He’ll be here in 13 minutes. Everybody be cool. I’m a 5 star and want to keep that.

  139. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Dude I know had shingles in his eye.

    I can’t even imagine.

    I had it on my left side, belly-button high. I couldn’t touch that half of my torso; I couldn’t wear clothes above my waist. I couldn’t lie on that side, and if I lay on my right side I couldn’t have any sheet or blanket (or arm) touch my upper side. Every time I rolled over in my sleep I woke up gasping. For two weeks.

  140. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Wr did, indeed, brand the beeves. It was a decent day. I’m always the doctor, so I’ve done more squats and pulled more syringes than any sane person should do in one day. 😉

  141. Kit says:


    the A13 in the SE is fast. But so what. 3gb of ram and a 4.7 inch LCD screen. I don’t care if the processor is infinitely fast

    iOS typically comes with less memory than Android because it is more efficient and can get away with less. While I’m too lazy to look anything up now (although here is one), you can find tests that compare the loading times of various apps. That’s real world experience.

    I’ll note that both devices have roughly the same battery life although the Samsung needs 2.5x the capacity.

    This review complains about the A51’s display. They sum up this way:

    One important part of the A51 is below average at the price, though: performance. The Samsung Galaxy A51 makes Android feel a little slow, more so than the usual app load discrepancy between a good affordable phone and a top-end one.

    Other parts of the phone are solid. And complaints about low-light camera performance, the opportunism of the patchy ‘quad-camera’ array, and less than flagship level screen brightness apply to most at the price. That the Samsung Galaxy A51 operates more like a phone from the tier below is hard to forget, though.

    You should also mention that Samsung will likely support this pokey phone for two years, while Apple will support the SE for five. You can also look a resale values.

    Anyway, that’s enough about smartphones.

  142. de stijl says:


    Should have been more specific. Not in the eye per se, but the eye socket. Which may actually be worse and even grosser. Sorry, but true thing.

    I know shingles hurts like crazy. I sincerely hope it is behind you forever.

    Hope it never knocks on my door.

  143. de stijl says:

    Got mono in 7th grade.

    Was in the shower and noticed I had red welts everywhere.

    I felt fine, but couldn’t go to school for ten days which sounds awesome, but it gets boring. Kinda like today. I read so many books. I was such a nerd.

    I was sorta pissed because mono is the kissing disease and I had not properly kissed anyone and I desperately wanted to kiss Sandy.

    A few years later I had kissed Sandy. Didn’t work out. But I’m really glad I did.

    Shout out to Sandy C.

  144. Kit says:


    The profit margin figure came from phone arena 18 months ago.

    Sorry to beat a dead horse on this subject, but you know what it’s like when someone is wrong on the internet 😉

    Basing profits on bill of materials is to take a seriously distorted view of the matter. What do you reckon the profit is for selling the latest blockbuster on DVD? Why doesn’t Hollywood just sell DVDs? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. For companies like Apple, there is R&D, marketing, service and support, and plenty of services that are included. The real profit is as I pointed out previously.

    I’ve got nothing against Android, and admire some of the features. But each platform has its own philosophy, and what’s good and bad in each is pretty much baked into the equation. While I have my clear preference, I just cannot understand people who become so passionate about it all.

  145. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Ah, but there’s no WiFi, or the battery goes dead, or plot device 🙂

  146. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Sabrina Lloyd is the actual protagonist. She was the capable one.”

    Ever wonder why she didn’t make the transition to the SciFi version?

    Here’s the story I heard at the time (which, like all good Hollywood stories, may be apocryphal):

    In its second Fox season, Sliders got a new showrunner in David Peckinpah (nephew of). And for whatever reason he and SL never got along. Just before the wrap party, Fox canceled the show, and since she was now going to be free of him, a reportedly intoxicated SL went up to Peckinpah and started in with “Now that this show is canceled, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think of you.” Which she proceeded to do, in exquisite detail.

    Two days later the show was picked up by SciFi.

    She wasn’t.

  147. wr says:

    @Kathy: “One thing I do often is think about the technology the characters in these shows and movies use.”

    I’m constantly amused by my 20-something grad students who write scripts set in the 60s or 70s and have no idea how different life was. Just read one set in 68 which has a lonely guy eating a depressing microwaved dinner, an emergency call to 911 and a small-town library whose “one luxury is a lone computer.” Even little things get to be shockingly anachronistic — one script set in 1961 had a character longing for a bacon-cheeseburger… when A&W first introduced it in 1963.

    All this information is available on Google, but that does you know good if you don’t realize you have to check…

  148. wr says:

    @Kathy: “But the top dog in Sliders was Rhys-Davis. he has the English accent, after all Seriously, he’s a very underrated performer.”

    I think it’s less that he’s underrated than that people have decided his talents are not worth putting up with him. I have been told by people involved that he almost lost the part in Lord of the Rings because of his reputation, and had to pledge that he would be on his best behavior for the entirety of the shoot before Peter Jackson would take a chance on him

  149. wr says:

    @de stijl: “I liked Sliders a lot.”

    Sliders actually belongs in the TV history hall of fame. Not because it is universally remembered and adored… but because without it there probably would never have been a Game of Thrones.

    At the same time that Fox commissioned Sliders, George RR Martin, having recently come off Beauty and the Beast, wrote a pilot for ABC for a similar concept called “Doors.” (Later called “Doorways.”) It was a great script, would have been a much better show than Sliders… The network was enthusiastic, even commissioned six scripts, but the actor they wanted wasn’t available. So they held off production for several months. And by the time they were ready to go, Sliders had been picked up, so ABC ended up passing.

    Martin was so furious over the whole thing he decided to quit TV forever and start writing that really big novel he’d been thinking of…

  150. Kathy says:


    Well, a bacon cheeseburger would at least have been possible in the 60s.

    Microwaves were developed soon after WWII, in fact they were a consequence of wartime research on radar, but didn’t start hitting homes until the late 70s. But a computer in the 60s would have been larger than the library, right? larger than ten libraries, probably 😉

    BTW, I think TV dinners date to the 50s. So there’s that (I could Google it, but I don’t want to).

  151. Kathy says:


    Oh, so that’s where the Futurama mobile game, called Game of Drones, got its name!

  152. wr says:

    @Kathy: “BTW, I think TV dinners date to the 50s. So there’s that ”

    I believe you are right, and I’m certain they were around in ’68. But they would have been heated/cooked in the oven. I can still see those crinkly metal trays…

  153. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @wr:
    Swanson developed tv dinners in 1953, according to Wikipedia.

  154. Mister Bluster says:

    When my mom was in the hospital in the ’50s my dad would bring home frozen Swanson TV dinners several times a week. Turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy and corn or maybe peas? can’t remember, was my choice. Other nights he would take us to the Burger Chef for 15cent hamburgers and 10cent fries. Walk up only. No dining room.
    A real treat was to go to the Steak and Shake when they still had car hops to take your order and bring the tray of food out that attached to the car window while we sat in the car in our pajamas.
    First microwave I used was in the break room at Bloom Junior College in the fall of 1966.
    One year later I took data processing and computer programing classes on the then obsolete
    IBM 1401 that had been donated to the school.

  155. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy: @de stijl:
    The cell phone effect is a very real problem, but also an opportunity. I wrote An Artful Assassin in Amsterdam which is basically a heist book, from the POV of a professional thief and the protagonist uses cell phones in a couple of ways to defeat the police. How can you be in two places at once? Have a compatriot walk your cell phone around. You say I was at X and I say I was at Y? OK, let’s go to the cell phone record and boom: reasonable doubt.

  156. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Well you can get them if you are situated line of sight to the broadcast towers, anyway. As you go farther away and hills, buildings, bridges, and such create obstacles, it becomes harder. Where I live, a $45 power-boosted antenna gets me Ion TV and 3 home shopping channels (no, I didn’t know that they broadcast over the air before, either).

  157. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I liked Revolution, too. I was in Korea at the time, so I didn’t realize that it had been cancelled (I thought that it just hadn’t been popular enough with Koreans), but I could see that they’d painted themselves into a corner on the story line, so I wasn’t surprised when I couldn’t catch up when I came back on vaycay because there was nothing to catch up on.

  158. Kingdaddy says:

    @a country lawyer: Another big thumbs up for both the Flashman books and Quartered Safe Out Here.